Baseball legend and trailblazer Frank Robinson dead at 83

On the field, Robinson was one of the game's most-feared sluggers for a almost unfathomable stretch, with his first All-Star nod coming in his Rookie of the Year season of 1956 and his final one occurring in 1974, his final full campaign.

Frank Robinson, a former Baltimore Oriole and Hall of Famer, has died at the age of 83. A 12-time All-Star selection in the outfield, Robinson also was a Rookie of the Year and won a Gold Glove. As a member of the Reds, he was the 1961 National League MVP.

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred released the following statement in the wake of Robinson's passing.

Robinson, one of the game's most feared sluggers and a fierce competitor, starred in both of baseball major leagues. A Triple Crown victor, he was a member of two World Series champion Orioles squads.

Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982 when he was first eligible, Robinson batted at least.300 in nine different seasons, had 2,943 career hits, drove in 1,812 runs and played on five pennant-winning teams. But by 1965, despite hitting 33 home runs and driving in 113 runs, Red's management considered him old and expendable.

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.323 with 37 home runs and 124 RBIs and led the majors in slugging (.611), OPS (1.015) and intentional walks (23) for a 93-61 Reds club that lost in the World Series to the New York Yankees. He went on to make 14 All-Star game appearances, and now ranks 10th on the all-time home run list with 586.

He went on to manage the San Francisco Giants (1981-1984), and then returned to Baltimore as skipper (1988-1991) before ending his field career managing the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals franchise between 2002-2006. He won National League Rookie of the Year in 1956, hitting.290 with 38 home runs at age 20 for the Reds.

"Frank Robinson's wife, Barbara Ann Cole, once said, "He believes in rules and he respects the game". In 2005, Frank was a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award, for 'setting a lasting example of character in athletics'.

A no-nonsense guy, Robinson also had a sharp wit.

It was a proclamation from baseball royalty, words backed up by deeds that built statues and brought honors to one of the greatest players the game of baseball has ever seen.

Gary Sherman spent his childhood imitating Frank Robinson, he said Thursday night. That served him well in Baltimore where, in addition to being a star right fielder, he was the judge for the team's Kangaroo Court, assessing playful fines for missing signs, uniform mishaps and other things he deemed as infractions.

  • Stacy Allen