MLB’s first black manager and civil rights leader, dead at 83

Frank Robinson Passed Away This Morning

Frank Robinson, who died in Los Angeles after a battle with bone cancer, was all of those things in a 60-year Hall-of-Fame career during which he hit (10th all-time) 586 home runs, was the only player in history to win Most Valuable Player awards in both leagues, became the first black manager in major league history, won the Triple Crown with the Orioles in 1966 and, as both a player and later-life MLB dean of discipline, was a vigorous proponent of how the game was supposed to be played.

By the time he was done with the uniformed portion of his career, Robinson compiled a .294 average, a .926 OPS, 1,829 runs, 1,812 RBI and a 10th most all-time 198 hit-by-pitches. He also had 10 homers and 19 RBI in 35 postseason games with the Reds and Orioles, and in 1989 was named American League Manager of the Year with the Orioles.

Robinson, 83, was still working in baseball as a special advisor to Commissioner Rob Manfred in a long and decorated career that began in 1953 when he was signed for $3,500 by legendary Cincinnati Reds superscout Bobby Mattick out of McClymonds High School in Oakland, CA – the same high school that produced Vada Pinson, Robinson’s Reds’ outfield mate from 1958-65 and Curt Flood, another baseball trailblazer. Robinson was born in Beaumont, TX but grew up in West Oakland, the youngest of his parents’ 10 children. In 1949, he met and came under the tutelage of George Powles, a legendary local baseball coach for whom he played with both the American Legion team in Oakland and later at McClymonds.

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