Baseball Hall Of Famer And Pioneer Frank Robinson Dies At 83

Baseball Hall Of Famer And Pioneer Frank Robinson Dies At 83

Baseball Hall Of Famer And Pioneer Frank Robinson Dies At 83

Word emerged today that legendary former ballplayer and manager Frank Robinson has passed away at 83 years of age.

Robinson died in California with family by his side, Major League Baseball said. Later, Robinson spent several years working as an executive for Major League Baseball.

He was the first player to win MVP awards in both leagues and the first African-American manager in MLB.

A fearsome hitter, Robinson ranks 10th on the career home runs list with 586. He also became the first African-American manager when he was hired by the Cleveland Indians in October 1974. In his first season leading the dugout, which was also his age-39 campaign as a player, he posted a 153 OPS+ and drew 29 walks against 15 strikeouts in 149 trips to the plate.

Late in his playing days, Robinson became baseball's first African-American manager for the Cleveland Indians.

No one embarrassed Robinson and no one intimidated him either. All told, his ongoing service cemented his legacy as one of baseball's all-time lifers. He was voted into the Pro Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.

Following Robinson's 1965 season with the Reds - the team that signed him out of Xavier University in Cincinnati - GM William DeWitt traded him to the Orioles for two pitchers and an outfielder and to justify it declared Robinson to be "an old 30".

In 2005, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush. The O's would win two World Series titles with Robinson as a player.

"Frank was a proponent of civil rights causes on and off the field, including policies that paved the way for minorities to have increased access to executive and management positions in baseball", the Orioles said in a statement. The award honors "individuals for an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors".

"Frank Robinson's résumé in our game is without parallel, a trailblazer in every sense, whose impact spanned generations", Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. He was elected to the All-Star Game 12 times and was the unanimous choice for National League Rookie of the Year in 1956 while with the Reds.

Though he retired from playing following the 1976 season, he continued to be a part of the game as a manager for many years. "Frank was a hard nosed baseball player who did things on the field that people said could never be done".

He became the first African-American manager in Major League Baseball history in 1975, leading four organizations during his managerial career, including his final stint with the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals from 2002-06.

Robinson crafted a Hall of Fame career from deft skill with the bat and a fiery personality.

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.

Basketball legend Bill Russell said Robinson was a good friend.

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