Indians: Frank Robinson, MLB’s first African-American manager, has passed away

Frank Robinson

His ability to exact revenge on pitchers who knocked him down became so well known that Phillies manager Gene Mauch was said to have fined any pitcher who dared dust off Robinson.

Robinson, one of the game's most feared sluggers and a fierce competitor, starred in both of baseball major leagues.

Late in his playing days, Robinson became baseball's first African-American manager for the Cleveland Indians.

"Frank Robinson's résumé in our game is without parallel, a trailblazer in every sense, whose impact spanned generations", Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.

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.

Robinson was the only player to hit a ball completely out of old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore and once connected for grand slams in consecutive innings of a game. In his first at-bat as their player-manager, he hit a home run. Robinson responded to that judgment with a vengeance. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame as a Baltimore Oriole in 1982.

He would win two World Series titles in his six years with the Orioles.

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A paragon of consistency, Robinson's worst seasons were the stuff of dreams for most Major League Baseball players.

"With that 1966 season, Robinson became the first - and remains the only - player to win the MVP in both leagues". He made 13 All-Star teams. And while he never led his league in a Triple Crown category other than in 1966 when he managed it in all three, he led his league in slugging percentage, OPS and OPS+ four times, including three years in a row (1960-62).

Robinson is now 10th on the all-time home run list with 586.

Robinson paved the way for many in the big leagues and is honored with statues dedicated to him outside Camden Yards in Baltimore and Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati. In 1989 he was voted AL Manager of the Year. The National League, originally founded in 1876, consists of the following teams: Arizona Diamondbacks; Atlanta Braves; Chicago Cubs; Cincinnati Reds; Colorado Rockies; Los Angeles Dodgers; Miami Marlins; Milwaukee Brewers; New York Mets; Philadelphia Phillies; Pittsburgh Pirates; San Diego Padres; San Francisco Giants; St. Louis Cardinals; and Washington Nationals.

Pitch after pitch, Robinson smashed into the palm trees in left-center field.

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.

In 2005, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush.

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