Glancing Back, and Remembering Floyd Robinson
Fleet Floyd Robinson was a fixture in the Chicago White Sox outfield in the early 1960s. A solid hitter and sure-handed outfielder, Robinson was the offensive lynchpin for a White Sox team that, from 1963 to 1965, was the second-best American League team … to the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins.
Robinson played semi-pro and minor league baseball from 1954 through 1957 when his team at the time, San Diego in the Pacific Coast League, became the AAA affiliate of first the Cleveland Indians and then the Chicago White Sox. The White Sox brought Robinson up for the last month of the 1960 season and he remained a starting outfielder for Chicago for seven seasons. He hit .310 in his rookie campaign of 1961, finishing third in balloting for the Rookie-of-the-Year award behind Don Schwall and Dick Howser.
Robinson hit .312 in 1962, with 11 home runs, 10 triples and 109 RBIs. He led the American League with 45 doubles. His batting average slipped to .283 in 1963, but he rebounded to hit .301 in 1964.
In both of those seasons, the White Sox finished second to the Yankees. Those White Sox teams were known for excellent pitching that carried a suspect offensive lineup. Robinson’s bat was critical to that lineup, and when his hitting productivity started to decline in 1965 (.265 batting average with 14 home runs and 66 RBIs), his days in Chicago became numbered. He hit .237 in 1966 and was dealt to the Cincinnati Reds for left-handed pitcher Jim O’Toole.
Robinson never regained the hitting magic from earlier in his career. He hit only .238 for the Reds in 1967 and hit for a combined .219 for the Oakland A’s and Boston Red Sox in 1968. He retired following the 1968 season with a career batting average of .283.