By Zane Miller
10. Sam Jethroe (1950)
Jethroe picked up RotY honors in 1950 with the Boston (now Atlanta) Braves, nabbing 18 home runs, 58 RBIs and 159 hits in 141 games. Jethroe spent most of his MLB time with the Braves, capturing a total of 49 home runs, 181 RBIs and 460 hits in 442 games played before his final game in 1954.
9. Joe Black (1952)
Black scored RotY in 1952 with the Brooklyn (now Los Angeles) Dodgers, securing 15 wins, 85 strikeouts and 142 and a third innings pitched in 56 games played for a 2.15 ERA, which also allowed him to finish as an MVP finalist that season. Black played most of his career with the Dodgers, as he claimed 30 career wins with 222 strikeouts and 414 innings pitched in 172 games, taking a career ERA of 3.91 in the process before retiring in 1957.
8. Bill Virdon (1955)
Virdon claimed RotY honors in 1955 for the St. Louis Cardinals, picking up 17 home runs, 68 RBIs and 150 hits in 144 games. Despite his strong rookie season coming with the Cardinals, Virdon would spend most of his career with the eventual division rival Pittsburgh Pirates, as he got 91 home runs, 502 RBIs and 1,596 hits in 1,583 games played along with the World Series title in 1960 with the Pirates, retiring after the 1968 season.
7. Jack Sanford (1955)
Sanford claimed the 1957 RotY award with an impressive 19 wins, 188 strikeouts and 236 and two-thirds innings pitched in just 33 games played for the Philadelphia Phillies. Sanford played most of his career with the San Francisco Giants, pitching to 137 wins, 1,182 strikeouts and 2,049 and a third innings pitched in 388 games, becoming a Cy Young Award finalist in 1962 before retiring in 1967.
6. Wally Moon (1954)
Moon captured the RotY in 1954 for the St. Louis Cardinals on the strength of 12 home runs, 76 RBIs and 193 hits in 151 games played. Moon spent the majority of his career with the Dodgers, hitting 142 home runs, 661 RBIs and 1,399 hits in 1,457 games. Moon won two World Series rings with the Dodgers in 1959 and 1965, as he would go out on top with his retirement after the 1965 campaign.
5. Jim Gilliam (1953)
Gilliam scored RotY in 1953 with the Brooklyn (now Los Angeles) Dodgers, getting six home runs, 63 RBIs and 168 hits in 153 games played. Gilliam ended up playing his entire career with the Dodgers, becoming one of the original players for the franchise’s move to Los Angeles, as he claimed 65 career home runs, 558 RBIs and 1,889 hits in 1,956 games. Gilliam earned four World Series championships, one with Brooklyn in 1955 and the other three in LA in 1959, 1963 and 1965, retiring after the 1966 season.
4. Orlando Cepeda (1958)
Cepeda won the 1958 RotY award with the Giants in the team’s first season in San Francisco, hitting 25 home runs, 96 RBIs and 188 hits in 148 games. Cepeda, having most of his career with the Giants, nabbed 379 home runs, 1,365 RBIs and 2,351 hits over the course of his career. Cepeda was also an MVP finalist in 1961 before winning the award in 1967, the same year he would win the World Series as a member of the Cardinals. After retiring in 1974, Cepeda would eventually be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999.
3. Willie McCovey (1959)
McCovey nabbed RotY honors in 1959, scoring 13 home runs, 38 RBIs and 68 hits in only 52 games for the Giants. McCovey would go on to play most of his career in San Francisco, netting an impressive 521 home runs, 1,555 RBIs and 2,211 hits in 2,588 games played before retiring after the 1980 campaign. McCovey was an MVP finalist in 1968 and won in 1969, thus enabling him to reach the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1986.
2. Frank Robinson (1956)
Robinson captured the RotY award in 1956 for the Cincinnati Redlegs (now Cincinnati Reds), hitting a whopping 38 home runs, 83 RBIs and 166 hits in 152 games played. Robinson went on to spend the majority of his career in Cincinnati, as he smacked 586 home runs, 1,812 RBIs and 2,943 hits in 2,808 games prior to his 1976 retirement. Robinson was an MVP finalist in 1969 and 1971 and would win the award in both 1961 and 1966. Robinson also earned two World Series rings as a member of the Baltimore Orioles in 1966 and 1970, prompting his induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982.
1. Willie Mays (1951)
Mays claimed 1951’s RotY award with the Giants thanks to 20 home runs, 68 RBIs and 127 hits in 121 games played. Mays spent most of his career with the Giants organization both in New York and San Francisco, as he had an astounding 660 home runs, 1,903 RBIs and 3,283 hits in 2,992 games before retiring after the 1973 season. Mays also earned two MVP awards in 1954 and 1965, while also being named a finalist four times, coming in 1958, 1960, 1962 and 1966, going along with his World Series victory with the Giants in 1954. In 1979, Mays was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.