Baseball legend Frank Robinson dies at 83

Frank Robinson

During the course of his legendary career, Robinson was selected for 14 All-Star games, won two regular season MVP awards and was named the MVP of the 1966 World Series for the Baltimore Orioles.

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 1975, he became player-manager of the Cleveland Indians. 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.

He made the All-Star team 12 times won and is the only player to win the MVP award in each league. "He was one of the greatest players in the history of our game, but that was just the beginning of a multifaceted baseball career", Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday in a statement. After being called "not a young 30" by Reds general manager Bill DeWitt, Robinson won the Triple Crown, leading the Orioles to the American League pennant.

His major league debut with the Reds arrived fewer than 10 years after Jackie Robinson - no relation - shattered the color line in Major League Baseball, two years after Brown v. Board of education desegregated American schools and nine years before the Voting Rights Act of 1965 would grant black Americans full enfranchisement under the law. At age 20, he was voted NL Rookie of the Year after hitting a then rookie-record 38 home runs.

In his first game in 1975 managing the Cleveland Indians, Robinson batted himself second as the designated hitter and belted a home run in the first inning. He hit.323 with 37 home runs and 124 RBIs and led the majors in slugging (.611), OPS (1.015) and intentional walks (23) for a 93-61 Reds club that lost in the World Series to the New York Yankees. He finished his career with 586 home runs, placing him 10th for most home runs in a career.

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.

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

Robinson managed the San Francisco Giants from 1981-84, and succeeded Cal Ripken Orioles manager after the Orioles began the 1988 season with six straight losses.

There are statues of Robinson at the ballparks in Baltimore and Cincinnati.

Robinson is also a member of the Reds, Orioles, Indians and Nationals' team halls of fame.

Gary Sherman spent his childhood imitating Frank Robinson, he said Thursday night.

However, Robinson was also aware of the challenges he would face as the league's first African-American manager.

Robinson is considered a trailblazer in the game of baseball. That served him well in Baltimore where, in addition to being a star right fielder, he was the judge for the team's Kangaroo Court, assessing playful fines for missing signs, uniform mishaps and other things he deemed as infractions.



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