Hall of Famer, pioneering manager Frank Robinson dies at 83

09 February, 2019, 11:24 | Author: Ginger Lawrence
  • Frank Robinson right with Pete Rose before a spring training game in 1966

Baseball Hall of Famer Frank Robinson dies at 83.

The final chapter in the illustrious life of Frank Robinson has been written, as the Hall of Fame baseball outfielder and pioneering manager died Thursday at 83.

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 later became baseball's first African-American manager. It's a road Robinson not only overcame, but conquered en route to producing one of the greatest careers in Major League Baseball history.

Known for his elite talent and intense demeanor, Robinson became a central figure in advancing Major League Baseball's integration of black players after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947. He was manager of the year in 1989 with Baltimore. Robinson responded to that judgment with a vengeance. He also won the Triple Crown while leading the Orioles to their first World Series championship in 1966. "I'd have voted for him for the Hall of Fame right there". "I thought, 'This SOB is trying to strike me out on three pitches ... on my day!"

In the six years Robinson spent as an Oriole, the team went to the World Series four times, winning twice in 1966 and 1970.

"Have I been hard on players?"

Robinson played for the five teams, primarily the Cincinnati Reds, during his 21-year Major League Baseball career. He was an All-Star, too, in 1965, but Reds owner Bill DeWitt decided Robinson was an old-ish 30 and time to make a move. Though his clubs never finished first and posted a combined 1,065-1,176 record, Robinson was a trailblazer, opening the door for African American and other minority managers in the years since. His MLB-best marks of 49 home runs, 122 RBIs, .316 batting average and 122 runs scored helped carry the Orioles to their first World Series title.

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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.

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

Robinson was named the player-manager of the Indians for the 1975 season, the first black manager in the game.

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

He also served as MLB's executive vice president of baseball development, with his focus on increasing African-American participation in the sport. In 2005, Frank was a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award, for 'setting a lasting example of character in athletics'.

But it was as a slugger that Robinson may be best remembered.

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.

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