Frank Robinson dead: Baseball's first black manager in MLB dead at 83

Baseball Hall of Famer Frank Robinson dies at 83

Baseball Hall of Famer Frank Robinson dies at 83

Robinson's career started with the Cincinnati Reds in 1956 as he won the Rookie of the Year Award in the National League that year.

Former Orioles pitcher Jim Palmer, who also gained first-ballot entry into the Hall, once called Robinson, "the best player I ever saw". He became the first manager of the Washington Nationals after the franchise moved from Montreal for the 2005 season.

Frank Robinson, the Hall of Fame Baltimore Orioles legend who was the first African-American manager in Major League Baseball history, died Thursday following a long illness. Yet, here he is, dissecting a day nearly 13 years ago, an afternoon contest with the Astros at RFK Stadium that was one of the most memorable managerial moments of Frank Robinson's career.

"Frank Robinson's resume in our game is without parallel, a trailblazer in every sense, whose impact spanned generations".

Robinson, one of the game's most feared sluggers and a fierce competitor, starred in both of baseball major leagues. Traded to the Baltimore Orioles, he excelled for six seasons, including two World Series wins and a World Series MVP Award in 1966. At age 20, he was voted NL Rookie of the Year after hitting a then rookie-record 38 home runs. After concluding the 1974 season as a member of the Indians, Robinson made history in 1975 as the first African-American to be named manager of a major league club, while he was still playing. In 1966, he won the Triple Crown, leading the AL with a.316 average, 49 homers, 122 RBIs and 122 runs.

Robinson hit 586 home runs - he was fourth on the career list behind only Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth and Willie Mays when he retired and now ranks 10th. Among being both a player and a manager, Robinson worked in the Baltimore Orioles front office and also as vice president of on-field operations for Major League Baseball. 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. "He was one of the greatest players in the history of our game, but that was just the beginning of a multifaceted baseball career".

In 2005, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush.

We invite you to share condolences for Frank Robinson in our Guest Book. Statues of Robinson stand outside the Reds' Great American Ball Park, the Orioles' Oriole Park at Camden Yards, and the Indians' Progressive Field.

After his dismissal from Cleveland, Robinson returned to the Orioles as a coach from 1978-80 and 1985-87. Things didn't get much better right away as Baltimore went on to lose its first 21 games and finished 54-107.

However, Robinson was also aware of the challenges he would face as the league's first African-American manager. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame as a Baltimore Oriole in 1982.

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