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Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, baseball’s first black manager, dies

by Mickey McLean
Posted 2/07/19, 04:21 pm

Baseball Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, the first African-American to manage in the major leagues and the only player to win the MVP award in both the National and American leagues died Thursday. He was 83. Robinson had been under the care of hospice at his home in Bel Air, Calif., according to Major League Baseball.

Robinson, who was born in Beaumont, Texas, on Aug. 21, 1935, played 21 seasons in the majors as an outfielder with the Cincinnati Reds, Baltimore Orioles, Los Angeles Dodgers, California Angels, and Cleveland Indians, winning the National League MVP award in 1961 with the Reds and the American League honor with the Orioles in 1966, when he also won the Triple Crown, leading the league in home runs, runs batted in, and batting average. He was a 12-time All-Star and a first-ballot selection to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

In October 1974, the Indians named Robinson player-manager for the 1975 season, making him the first African-American manager in the majors, 28 years after Jackie Robinson (no relation) broke baseball’s color barrier as a player. Robinson also managed the San Francisco Giants, the Orioles, the Montreal Expos, and the Washington Nationals in their inaugural season after relocating from Montreal. He later worked as an executive for Major League Baseball and advocated for more minority representation in all aspects of the game. In 2005, President George W. Bush awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Robinson’s wife of 57 years, Barbara, survives him. They had two children, a son, Frank Kevin, and a daughter, Nichelle.


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Mickey McLean

Mickey is executive editor of WORLD Digital.

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