Take a look back at Frank Robinson's legendary career

Feb 09, 2019, 00:46
Take a look back at Frank Robinson's legendary career

Robinson is still the only player to win MVP in both leagues, earning National League honors with the Reds in 1961 and the American League award with the Baltimore Orioles in 1966.

He was the Rookie of the Year in 1956 when he hit a rookie-record 38 homers for the Reds, and won the Triple Crown in 1966 during his first season with the Orioles. 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.

His legacy, however, was cemented the day he simply stood in the dugout at old Cleveland Stadium as the first black manager in Major League Baseball.

Robinson went on to run the dugouts of the Giants (becoming the first black manager in the National League), Orioles, and Expos/Nationals. A 12-time All-Star selection in the outfield, Robinson also was a Rookie of the Year and won a Gold Glove.

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"Frank Robinson's resume in our game is without parallel, a trailblazer in every sense, whose impact spanned generations", Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. He was a once-in-a-lifetime player, then the rare player-manager before finishing out his career in various executive roles for Major League Baseball.

Robinson was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 1982, with 89.2 percent of the vote.

Robinson, the first African-American manager in MLB history and the only player to win MVP awards in both the American and National leagues, was 83 and had suffered from bone cancer. He hit 586 career home runs, 179 of them as an Oriole. Among being both a player and a manager, Robinson worked in the Baltimore Orioles front office and also as vice president of on-field operations for Major League Baseball. He and the Orioles won three more AL pennants and another World Series over the next five seasons.

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. Statues of Robinson stand outside the Reds' Great American Ball Park, the Orioles' Oriole Park at Camden Yards, and the Indians' Progressive Field.

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A 14-time All-Star, Robinson's career ranks among the best in the game's history.

The Orioles confirmed Robinson's passing Thursday afternoon.

On the field, Robinson was a history maker as well. Things didn't get much better right away as Baltimore went on to lose its first 21 games and finished 54-107.

Robinson also was outspoken about white pitchers not being openly rebuked for throwing at black batters. "When I presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005, I noted that 'Baseball fans across America will tell you the feeling is returned".

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