Frank Robinson dies at 83

Lynette Rowe
February 8, 2019

Robinson, the first African-American manager in MLB history and the only player to win MVP awards in both the American and National leagues, was 83 and had suffered from bone cancer. A 12-time All-Star selection in the outfield, Robinson also was a Rookie of the Year and won a Gold Glove.

Frank Robinson, a former Baltimore Oriole and Hall of Famer, has died at the age of 83.

Robinson broke into major leagues in 1956 as a hot hitter and graceful fielder with the National League's Cincinnati Reds.

"With that 1966 season, Robinson became the first - and remains the only - player to win the MVP in both leagues".

He also led his teams to two World Series titles - winning with the Orioles in 1966, when he also was voted the World Series MVP, and in 1970.

Robinson went on to run the dugouts of the Giants (becoming the first black manager in the National League), Orioles, and Expos/Nationals.

The Robinson family has asked that in lieu of flowers, contributions in Frank's memory can be made to the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee, or the National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, D.C.

The Reds, Orioles and Indians have retired his No. 20 and honored him with statues at their stadiums. Robinson not only racked up 586 career home runs - still tenth-most in history - but struck out only 789 times while drawing 698 walks. He won the Triple Crown with the Orioles in 1966 and became the first black manager in Major League Baseball history in 1975 with the Cleveland Indians.

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"Frank Robinson and I were more than baseball buddies", Hank Aaron tweeted. Our organization and the City of Cleveland are proud to have played a role in Frank's significant impact on the game when he became the first African-American manager in baseball history on April 8, 1975.

His ability to exact revenge on pitchers who knocked him down became so well known that Phillies manager Gene Mauch was said to have fined any pitcher who dared dust off Robinson.

On the field, Robinson was one of the game's most-feared sluggers for a almost unfathomable stretch, with his first All-Star nod coming in his Rookie of the Year season of 1956 and his final one occurring in 1974, his final full campaign.

He played for the Dodgers in 1972 and was traded to the California Angels after the season, played with them in 1973 and for most of the 1974 season before he was dealt to Cleveland.

A paragon of consistency, Robinson's worst seasons were the stuff of dreams for most Major League Baseball players.

"You think about great players, generational players- there weren't many better (than Robinson)".

After his dismissal from Cleveland, Robinson returned to the Orioles as a coach from 1978-80 and 1985-87. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame as a Baltimore Oriole in 1982.

After news of his passing, many athletes paid tribute to Robinson and what he meant to the game.

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