Swap Shop: Frank Robinson for Milt Pappas and Jack Baldschun
In exchange for Robinson, the 1961 National League Most Valuable Player, the Reds received two pitchers and an outfielder: starter Milt Pappas, reliever Jack Baldschun and the right-handed hitting Dick Simpson.
The 30-year-old Robinson batted .296 for the Reds in 1965 with 33 home runs and 113 runs batted in. In 10 seasons with Cincinnati, he batted a combined .303 and averaged 32 home runs and 101 RBIs per season. His best season with the Reds came in 1962, when he batted .342 with 39 home runs and 136 RBIs. That season he led the National League in doubles (51), on-base percentage (.421 and slugging average (.624). It marked the third consecutive season when Robinson led the league in slugging.
Pappas was 13-9 for the Orioles in 1965 with a 2.60 ERA. In 34 starts, he pitched 221.1 innings with nine complete games and three shutouts. In eight full seasons with the Orioles, Pappas averaged 14 wins and more than 200 innings per season. His best season for the Orioles came in 1964, when he was 16-7 with a 2.97 earned run average.
The Orioles had acquired Baldschun three days earlier in a trade with the Philadelphia Phillies. Baldschun was 5-8 for the Phillies in 1965 with a 3.82 ERA. He posted six saves in 65 appearances.
A week earlier, the Orioles had traded first baseman Norm Siebern to the California Angels for Simpson who batted .222 in eight games with the Angels after hitting .301 with 24 home runs in AAA ball.
On paper, the trade looked like a steal for the Reds, who were rebuilding their pitching staff and had unloaded a hitter they believed was on the down-slope of his career. Robinson proved the Reds wrong. He had a career year for the Orioles, winning the Triple Crown and the American League Most Valuable Player award while leading the Orioles to their first World Series championship.
Both Robinson and Pappas had productive careers that extended into the 1970s. But Robinson was the only player in the trade to be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame.