Frank Robinson (1935-2019), trailblazing Major League Baseball manager and Hall of Fame player


Robinson was truly a legendary figure, having been the first player to win the MVP award in both leagues before becoming the first black manager in MLB history.

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

Robinson was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 1982, with 89.2 percent of the vote.

Robinson also led the Orioles to another World Series title in 1970.

In 1975, Robinson fulfilled his quest to become the first African-American manager in the big leagues when he was hired by the Cleveland Indians. He left Cleveland in 1977 and returned to managing with the San Francisco Giants from 1981-84 before returning to the Orioles as manager of the team from 1988-1991. He became the first manager of the Washington Nationals after the franchise moved from Montreal for the 2005 season - the Nationals put him in their Ring of Honor, too.

The Reds, Orioles and Indians have retired his No. 20 and honored him with statues at their stadiums.

Robinson finished his playing career among all-time leaders in multiple offensive categories including home runs (586), RBIs (1,812), runs scored (1,829) and walks (1,420). Robinson led the Orioles to their first championship that October.

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Major League Baseball (MLB) is the most historic professional sports league in the United States and consists of 30 member clubs in the USA and Canada, representing the highest level of professional baseball.

Following the end of his managerial career, Robinson moved to the Major League Baseball offices and served in several different roles from 2007-2015, ending as the Executive Vice President of Baseball Development.

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred released the following statement in the wake of Robinson's passing.

Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell, who played on a high school basketball team with Robinson according to ESPN, called his longtime friend "one of the greats". He played for the California Angels in 1973 and was dealt to Cleveland late in the 1974 season.

"I knew there was going to be an terrible lot of pressure, a lot of expectation and a lot of unhappy people because when things went right, fine, but when things went wrong, it was going to be doubly bad because of me being the first black manager", Robinson said.

After a 10-year stay with the Reds that included a 1956 Rookie of the Year award, the 1961 MVP and a Gold Glove, the 30-year-old Robinson was traded by Cincinnati to the Baltimore Orioles ahead of the 1966 season. In his post-playing days, he won Manager of the Year with the O's in 1989.

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