Published: Sat, February 09, 2019
Sports | By Brett Lawson

Baseball Legend Frank Robinson Dies At 83

Baseball Legend Frank Robinson Dies At 83

Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982 when he was first eligible, Robinson batted at least.300 in nine different seasons, had 2,943 career hits, drove in 1,812 runs and played on five pennant-winning teams.

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. 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. He later served as a senior adviser to commissioner Rob Manfred.

"We are deeply saddened by this loss of our friend, colleague and legend, who worked in our game for more than 60 years".

Robinson passed away in his Los Angeles home surrounded by his wife Barbara, daughter Nichelle and other family members.

Notable quote: "The only reason I'm the first black manager is that I was born black".

On Dec. 9, 1965, the Cincinnati Reds traded Robinson to the Orioles for pitchers Milt Pappas, Jack Baldschun and outfielder Dick Simpson.

"I'm not a superman", Robinson said when he was hired as the Indians' player-manager after the 1974 season, toward the end of a decorated playing career spent primarily with the Cincinnati Reds and Baltimore Orioles.

Robinson later spent several years working as an executive for Major League Baseball and for a time oversaw the annual Civil Rights Game. He would win two World Series titles in his six years with the Orioles.

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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.

Though paid only an additional $20,000 to handle both jobs, Robinson took the position knowing his place in history.

"Pitchers did me a favor when they knocked me down", he said. "Open the door and to let more African-Americans to have the opportunity to come through it".

A no-nonsense guy, Robinson also had a sharp wit. "He was one of the greatest players in the history of our game, but that was just the beginning of a multifaceted baseball career".

There is a statue of Robinson in Heritage Park beyond the center-field stands at Progressive Field in Cleveland. In 1989 he was voted AL Manager of the Year.

Robinson was 1,065-1,176 over his 16 years as a manager, and though he never made the playoffs, he also mentored Dusty Baker and Joe Morgan, who would follow in his footsteps. Though the two men were unrelated, they were often mentioned together. The Baltimore Sun recently reported that Robinson was in the late stages of a long illness.

Robinson was the only player to hit a ball completely out of old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore and once connected for grand slams in consecutive innings of a game. He eventually settled in the Ashburton neighborhood in a house on Cedardale Road. He won the American League's Triple Crown in 1966 when he hit.316 with 49 home runs and 122 RBI.

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