Inaugural Class of 2009
Jim Falls Nosal 1958; Jim Falls Dairymen 1960; Jim Falls Cadets 1961-64; Jim Falls Sturgeons 1965-69, 71-77;
Jim Falls Mobile 1970
A standout shortstop and a reliable relief pitcher, Atkinson spent his entire 19-year league career playing for five different teams in Jim Falls.
The bulk of his time and greatest success came with the Sturgeons, as he helped them win division crowns in 1967 and 1973, and qualify for the WBA in 1967, 1968, 1972, 1973, and 1975.
Hit .300 or better in 10 seasons, doing so consecutively in his last seven years of play, during which he averaged 20 hits a year and hit an accumulative .374. Won back to back batting titles in 1975 at .462 (24 for 52) and 1976 at .438 (21 for 48). Led the league in hits with 24 in 1975, doubles with 5 in 1974, and tied for the league lead in triples with 2 three times (1963,1967,1975). Still tied for 2nd all-time in triples with 11.
Led the league in runs scored with 16 in 1974 and 14 in 1975, stolen bases with 10 in 1968, and tied for the league lead or led the league in walks three times (1969,1971,1975) with a high of 19 free passes in 1971. Ranks 5th all-time in stolen bases with 77, leading the league with 10 bags in 1968. Topped the 20 hit mark a total of five times.
From the slab, knuckleballing Atkinson led the league with a career high 4 saves in 1975, tying for the league lead in that category five times previously. Captured an ERA title in 1965 with a mark of 2.22 (7 ER in 28.1 IP) and again in 1973 with a miniscule 0.52 ERA (1 ER in 17.1 IP). His career total of 15 saves currently ranks 3rd all-time.
A participant in 10 All-Star games (1961,1963-1968,1971-1973), Frank was named the game’s MVP in 1965 when he went 2-for-2 with a double, RBI, and some flashy defensive plays in the East’s 4-0 win over the West. Playing in the era before yearly All-CRBL teams, the right-handed swinging Atkinson was the first league player to collect over 300 hits and compile over 200 innings pitched. Undoubtedly, Frank will be remembered as one of the best players to ever represent Jim Falls in league competition.