Thursday morning Frank Robinson passed away at the age of 83. The MLB player and coach was battling bone cancer and lost the battle after a lengthy time. Robinson was the first African American manager in the MLB in 1975 for the Clevland Indians. He also is the only player to ever win MVP in both leagues during his time playing. During the 1966 season, he won the Triple Crown while playing for the Baltimore Orioles and he is currently ranking 10th on the career home runs list with 586. Robinson was inducted in his first year of eligibility into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. Most recently, he served as the MLB’s executive vice president of baseball development, where he made it a focus to help increase African-American participation in the game. After that, he served as a senior advisor to the commissioner of the MLB, Rob Manfred.
He started his career with the Cincinnati Reds in 1956 and won the Rookie of the Year in his inaugural season, and later won a Golden Glove in the 1958 season for his defensive performance during the season. In 1961, Frank Robinson lead the Reds to the World Series for the first time in a 21 year span. The team lost that year, but his performance in the season was one to remember, where he lead the majors in slugging percentage, OPS, and intentional walks. His performance in the 1961 season earned him the MVP award in the National League. A few years later, he was traded to the Baltimore Orioles in 1966 due to Reds owner, Bill DeWitt, thinking he was an “Old 30”. That next season he helped lead the Orioles to their first World Series win and earned himself another MVP award, but this time for the American League. He played for another four seasons in Baltimore and played for the Dodgers, Angels, and Indians from 1972 to 1974.
That next year, he became the first African-American manager in the MLB all while he was still playing as part of the team. He pulled the double duty of a player-manager through the 1976 season but stayed as a manager for the Indians for one more year. He then became a coach for the Orioles from 1978 to 1980, at which he became a coach for the San Francisco Giants until 1984. He came back as a coach to the Orioles in 1985 and then transitioned into the manager role from 1988 to 1991. He finished out his managerial career with the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals from 2002-2006.
Frank Robinson was a record-breaking and racial barrier-breaking MLB legend and will be remembered in the game as one of the pioneers that helped form the game for years to come.