Frank Robinson, MLB Hall of Famer and Pioneering Manager, Dead at 83

Baseball Hall of Famer Frank Robinson dies at 83

He finished his career with 586 home runs, placing him 10th for most home runs in a career.

In 1975, he became player-manager of the Cleveland Indians.

He also served as MLB's executive vice president of baseball development, with his focus on increasing African-American participation in the sport. Led by Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr., MLB now features record levels of labor peace, competitive balance and industry revenues, as well as the most comprehensive drug-testing program in American professional sports.

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

Robinson passed away in his Los Angeles home surrounded by his wife Barbara, daughter Nichelle and other family members. He was also baseball's first black manager. In 1966, he won the Triple Crown, leading the AL with a.316 average, 49 homers, 122 RBIs and 122 runs.

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". He won National League Rookie of the Year in 1956, hitting.290 with 38 home runs at age 20 for the Reds.

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Robinson also led the Orioles to another World Series title in 1970. Thanks in part to a fearless stance that placed his head and hands in the way of many a fastball, Robinson was also hit by a pitch on 198 occasions - ninth most in Major League Baseball history.

In his first game in 1975 managing the Cleveland Indians, Robinson batted himself second as the designated hitter and belted a home run in the first inning. Robinson went on to say, "I believe that every ball that stays in the park ought to be caught". "Open the door and to let more African-Americans to have the opportunity to come through it".

Former Nationals catcher Brian Schneider, who played for Robinson in D.C. and Montreal, expressed a similar sentiment.

"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.

It was a proclamation from baseball royalty, words backed up by deeds that built statues and brought honors to one of the greatest players the game of baseball has ever seen. He was the NL Most Valuable Player in 1961, the same year the Reds won the league pennant.

Originally, Robinson did not have himself in the lineup that afternoon at Municipal Stadium, but his boss, Tribe general manager Phil Seghi, talked him into it by saying "Frank, this is your day". "But how long the door would stay open depended on basically the way I conducted myself and the success that I would have". He eventually settled in the Ashburton neighborhood in a house on Cedardale Road. Known for his fierce competitive will, Frank made history as the first MVP of both the National and American Leagues, earned the 1966 AL Triple Crown and World Series MVP honors, and was a centerpiece of two World Championship Baltimore Orioles' teams.

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