Robinson was a pioneer in so many ways and fought to a long, productive career as a player and manager. He burst onto the scene in 1956 with the Cincinnati Reds, hitting .290 with 38 home runs, 83 RBIs and 166 total hits. His Rookie of the Year award kicked off a 21 year playing career full of accolades.
The Playing Career
In 1961, at the age of 25, he won the National League MVP. His numbers were bonkers (.323 AVG/37 HR/124 RBI/176 H/.404 OBP/.611 SLG/1.015 OPS). What’s even crazier is he increased his numbers in 1962, playing in 162 games, and finished 4th in the MVP vote.
In 1966, Robinson became the first player in history to win the MVP in both leagues, taking home the prize in his first year with the Baltimore Orioles. He batted .316 with a career high 49 homers and 122 RBIs, which was good enough for the Triple Crown that year as well. The man was an absolute beast. In addition to winning MVP that year, he led the Orioles to a World Series win and won World Series MVP. This was the first of two World Series victories for Robinson, who also beat his former team, the Cincinnati Reds, in 1970.
The Managing career
In 1974, while playing for the Cleveland Indians, Robinson became the first African American manager in MLB. He was a player manager for his final two seasons before calling it quits after the 1976 season. After Cleveland, Robinson went on to manage the San Francisco Giants, Baltimore Orioles, and Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals. Robinson won American League Manager of the Year Award in 1989 after amassing 33 more wins than in 1988.
Robinson currently sits 10th all time in home runs with 586. The 14-time All Star was elected to the Hall of Fame as a Baltimore Oriole in 1982. His number 20 was retired by the Reds, Orioles, and Indians. He is a member of the Hall of Fame for each of those teams, and has had a bronze statue added to each of their stadiums.
I could go on and on. Frank Robinson brought so much to the game and to the people around him.
It’s a sad day for baseball. RIP Frank Robinson. You will be sorely missed.
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