Baseball legend Frank Robinson dies at 83

Feb 09, 2019, 00:47
Baseball legend Frank Robinson dies at 83

Robinson was rookie of the year for the Cincinnati Reds as a 20-year-old in 1956. 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. He became the first manager of the Washington Nationals after the franchise moved from Montreal for the 2005 season.

Robinson went on to run the dugouts of the Giants (becoming the first black manager in the National League), Orioles, and Expos/Nationals. Later, Robinson spent several years working as an executive for Major League Baseball.

He made the All-Star team 12 times won and is the only player to win the MVP award in each league.

"Frank Robinson's resume in our game is without parallel, a trailblazer in every sense, whose impact spanned generations", MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.

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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. Robinson responded by winning the Triple Crown and his second MVP award in 1966, his first season in Baltimore.

"Frank Robinson and I were more than baseball buddies", Hank Aaron tweeted.

In 1974, the Cleveland Indians made Robinson MLB's first black manager while he was still an active player. He hit.323 with 37 home runs and 124 RBIs and led the majors in slugging (.611), OPS (1.015) and intentional walks (23) for a 93-61 Reds club that lost in the World Series to the New York Yankees.

In his career, Robinson hit 586 home runs, 10th of all time in the majors. He was Rookie of the Year and went on to play for the Reds until 1965.

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That December, Robinson was the centerpiece in what would ultimately be one of the most lopsided trades in baseball history, going to Baltimore for pitchers Milt Pappas and Jack Baldschun and outfielder Dick Simpson. 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'.

"Frank Robinson's wife, Barbara Ann Cole, once said, "He believes in rules and he respects the game".

There is a statue of Robinson outside the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati.

Gary Sherman spent his childhood imitating Frank Robinson, he said Thursday night. He helped win back baseball fans in the city with his presence and personality, while leading a team that competed for the NL East title into the final month of that first season in Washington. Things didn't get much better right away as Baltimore went on to lose its first 21 games and finished 54-107. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame as a Baltimore Oriole in 1982.

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However, Robinson was also aware of the challenges he would face as the league's first African-American manager.