Robert Clinton Richardson (born August 19 1935 in Sumter, South Carolina) is a former second baseman in Major League Baseball who played for the New York Yankees from 1955 through 1966. He batted and threw right-handed.
Debuting on August 5, 1955, Richardson is often considered one of the most underrated Yankees of all time. He racked up 1432 hits in his career, with a lifetime batting average of .266, 34 home runs and 390 RBIs. He also won 5 Gold Gloves at second base, while forming a top double play combination with shortstop (and roommate) Tony Kubek.
His best year was probably 1962, when he batted .302 with 8 home runs and 50 runs batted in. His 209 hits led the American League, and he stole 11 bases in 161 games. He made the AL All-Star team once again that year, won his second Gold Glove, and came in second in the AL MVP voting, just behind teammate Mickey Mantle.
One of the best parts of Richardson's game was his ability to make contact. He only struck out 243 times in his entire 12-year career, usually accomplished today in about two years by power hitters. He was among the top three players in the league in at bats per strikeout eight times during his career, and led the league three times, all later on in his career. He topped out in his last year, striking out just once for every 21.8 at bats.
He also led the league in at bats three times, and would come to be known as a workhorse, rarely missing a game. His career high was 692 at bats in 161 games in 1962.
He had an all-time fielding percentage of .979 at second base.
Richardson won 3 World Series (1958, 1961, 1962) in the 7 he played in (1957, 1958, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964), all with the Yankees. He made the final out of the 1962 Series, snaring a screaming line drive off the bat of Willie McCovey, that if it were two or three feet higher would have won the Series for the San Francisco Giants.
He was named World Series MVP in 1960 when he helped the Yankees against the Pittsburgh Pirates, although they lost in a Series in which normally light-hitting second basemen (the other being the Bucs' Bill Mazeroski) shone at the plate. During that Series, he hit .367 with 11 hits in 30 at bats. He had a home run and 12 RBIs, and also racked up 2 doubles and 2 triples in the 7-game series. To this day, Richardson remains the only World Series MVP selected from the losing team.
In the 1964 World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, he tied a World Series record with 13 hits. However, with his Yankees losing 7-5 in Game 7, and batting against Cardinal ace Bob Gibson, he had the dubious distinction of also making the final out of the Series, popping out to second base counterpart Dal Maxvill.
- 7-time AL All-Star (1957, 1959, 1962–1966)
- World Series MVP in 1960
- Lou Gehrig Memorial Award winner in 1963
- 5-time Gold Glove winner (1961–1965)
- Led the league in hits in 1962 (209)
- Signed as an amateur free agent by New York Yankees (June 12, 1953).
- Bobby Richardson (as well as Hideki Matsui) holds the record for the most RBI's in a single World Series game (6).
- Richardson wore the uniform number 1 (one) for the majority of his career (1958–1966)
- Richardson is a born-again Christian. In the 1980s, he served as a collegiate baseball coach at Liberty University.
- His manager Casey Stengel once made this observation about Richardson, who was better known for his glove than his bat: "Look at him. He don't drink, he don't smoke, he don't chew, he don't stay out too late, and he still don't hit .250!" His career average was, in fact, .266, and he batted at a .305 clip in World Series play.