Frank Robinson, first African-American MLB manager, dies at 83

Hall of Famer Frank Robinson passed away today at the age of 83 after a battle with bone cancer.

He became the first African-American manager in Major League Baseball history in 1975, leading four organizations during his managerial career, including his final stint with the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals from 2002-06.

Robinson finished his playing career among all-time leaders in multiple offensive categories including home runs (586), RBIs (1,812), runs scored (1,829) and walks (1,420).

As a player manager, Robinson hit a home run in his first at-bat.

Robinson went on to manage five teams, including the Orioles from 1988 to 1991 and the Nationals for the first two seasons after baseball returned to D.C.in 2005.

Robinson is also in the Nationals' Ring of Honor.

Robinson was rookie of the year for the Cincinnati Reds as a 20-year-old in 1956. He became the first manager of the Washington Nationals after the club moved from Montreal for the '05 season - the Nats put him in their Ring of Honor. Robinson went on to say, "I believe that every ball that stays in the park ought to be caught".

Frank Robinson, right, with Pete Rose before a spring training game in 1966. While he had up and downs as a manager, Robinson was awarded the American League Manager of the Year Award in 1989 for leading the Orioles to an 87-75 record.

Despite bearing the same surname, Frank is not related to Jackie Robinson but he won the first Jackie Robinson Society Community Recognition Award from George Washington University. He won the World Series with the Orioles in 1966 - earning series MVP honors after batting.286 with two home runs - and 1970.

After the last of his managing jobs in 2006, Robinson went on to work for MLB in a variety of roles, among them the vice president of on-field operations, senior vice president for Major League operations and honorary American League president.

Born Aug. 21, 1935, in Beaumont, Texas, Robinson attended McClymonds High School in Oakland, California, and was a basketball teammate of future NBA great Bill Russell.

"The kid actually said, 'Holy cow, I knew he was famous, but I didn't know how", Showalter said. It was the only home run anyone ever hit out of long-gone Memorial Stadium. 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. In 1975, Robinson became manager of the Cleveland Indians, breaking the color barrier.

Playing just over half of the 1953 season, Robinson had a standout season in his one year with Ogden. Mazzone capably did his job for years with metal hooks and became good friends with Robinson.

Vanessa Coleman

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