Hall of Famer Pioneering Manager Frank Robinson dies at 83 The Associated Press7 Feb 2019
08 February, 2019, 07:28
In 1966 he won Major League Player of the Year, the American League Triple Crown and the AL Babe Ruth Award, as well as being named both the AL and World Series MVP. "He was one of the greatest players in the history of our game, but that was just the beginning of a multifaceted baseball career".
Because he helped pave the way for future generations of black players and managers, Robinson will always be among the most important figures in MLB's history.
In April 1975, Robinson made history as a player-manager for the Cleveland Indians, becoming the first African-American MLB manager. He smashed 586 home runs, made the All-Star Game 14 times and remains the only player to win the Most Valuable Player Award in both leagues. While still active, Robinson fulfilled his quest to become the first African American manager in the big leagues.
In the six years Robinson spent as an Oriole, the team went to the World Series four times, winning twice in 1966 and 1970.
Robinson also managed San Francisco, Baltimore and Montreal.
- Crowding the plate, fearsome and fearless, Frank Robinson hammered his way into the Hall of Fame. His No. 20 was also retired by the Reds, Orioles and Indians. He became the first manager of the Washington Nationals after the franchise moved from Montreal for the 2005 season - the Nationals put him in their Ring of Honor, too.
Despite coming off a 33-homer, 113-RBI season in 1965, Robinson was called an "old 30" by Reds owner Bill DeWitt and shipped to Baltimore.
Robinson later spent several years working as an executive for Major League Baseball and for a time oversaw the annual Civil Rights Game.
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The MLB Players Alumni Association tweeted Robinson was "a remarkable human being" and noted he had received a Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civil honor, by former President George W. Bush in 2005.
When he arrived in Baltimore, Robinson and his family struggled to find housing in the city, with many landlords refusing black tenants. His 1961 Reds team lost the Series to the Yankees in five games while his 1969 Orioles lost that World Series to the Miracle Mets.
But it was as a slugger that Robinson may be best remembered.
After his dismissal from Cleveland, Robinson returned to the Orioles as a coach from 1978-80 and 1985-87. He then homered in the first inning of the 1966 World Series opener at Dodger Stadium and capped off the four-game sweep of Los Angeles with another homer off Don Drysdale in a 1-0 win in Game 4.
Being the sport's first black manager "was nothing compared to what Jackie did or what he went through, but it was important because I was the first and that meant the door's open", Robinson told OTL in 2016.
In 1989, the Orioles were a surprising contender and finished second in the AL East, winning 85 games.
That December, Robinson was the centerpiece in what would ultimately be one of the most lopsided trades in baseball history, going to Baltimore for pitchers Milt Pappas and Jack Baldschun and outfielder Dick Simpson.
Survivors include his wife, Barbara, and daughter Nichelle.
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