Frank Robinson (1935-2019), trailblazing Major League Baseball manager and Hall of Fame player

Frank Robinson

Frank Robinson

He died of bone cancer Thursday.

During his 21-seasons in the MLB, the legendary baseball star made major league baseball history as the first African-American manager when he managed the Cleveland Indians during the last two years of his playing career. Robinson responded by winning the Triple Crown and his second MVP award in 1966, his first season in Baltimore.

Fourth on the career home run list behind only Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, and Willie Mays when he retired with 586 dingers, Robinson now ranks 10th on the list.

Robinson was named baseball's first black manager in October 1974, and managed the Indians in 1975, 1976 and for part of the 1977 season.

An All-Star outfielder in 12 seasons and a first-ballot selection to Cooperstown, Robinson also was a Rookie of the Year and picked up a Gold Glove.

"We are deeply saddened by this loss of our friend, colleague and legend, who worked in our game for more than 60 years", Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. Statues of Robinson stand outside the Reds' Great American Ball Park, the Orioles' Oriole Park at Camden Yards, and the Indians' Progressive Field.

Frank Robinson was the youngest of 10 children and began playing baseball at an early age. He would again win a World Series title in 1970. Robinson was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor given to civilians in the United States, by President George W. Bush in 2005.

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As a manager, he worked with the San Francisco Giants, Baltimore Orioles and Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals over his 16-year career. He is one of only three Major League Baseball players ever to have his number retired by three teams, along with Nolan Ryan and Jackie Robinson.

"Knowing what he's done out beyond baseball and being the first black manager and then working at the commissioner's office, I like what he did after he retired", Horton said.

Horton says, if not for injuries that put a bit of a damper on his career, Granderson could have ended up like Robinson. We were friends.Frank was a hard nosed baseball player who did things on the field that people said could never be done.I'm so glad I had the chance to know him all of those years.

All told, Robinson was an All-Star in five of his six seasons with Baltimore, reaching the World Series four times and batting.300 with 179 home runs.

Robinson was also a monumental figure in Baltimore history as an activist in the civil rights movement. The award honors "individuals for an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors".

Survivors include his wife, Barbara, and daughter Nichelle.

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