Baseball great Frank Robinson dead at 83

Baseball great Frank Robinson, the first African-American manager in baseball history, died Thursday aged 83 (AFP Photo/Jason Miller)
Baseball great Frank Robinson, the first African-American manager in baseball history, died Thursday aged 83 (AFP Photo/Jason Miller)

Los Angeles (AFP) - Pioneering baseball great Frank Robinson, the first African-American to become a manager in the major leagues, died Thursday, Major League Baseball announced. He was 83.

Robinson, who was reportedly suffering from bone cancer, passed away at his home in Los Angeles.

The Hall of Famer won two World Series titles during a glittering career, both with the Baltimore Orioles.

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Robinson was one of baseball's most recognisable figures during more than six decades in the sport.

He exploded onto the scene in 1956 after winning Rookie of the Year honours and would go on to win the MVP award with the Cincinnati Reds in 1961 and the Orioles in 1966.

He remains the only player to win MVP awards in both the National League and American League.

His also won the 1966 Triple Crown, which is awarded to the player who leads a season for batting average, home runs and RBIs.

Robinson, who retired from playing in 1976, finished his career with 586 home runs, putting him 10th on the all-time list.

In 1975 he made history by becoming the first African-American manager in Major League Baseball, acting as player-manager for the Cleveland Indians.

His appointment came less than three decades after namesake Jackie Robinson had broken the colour barrier by becoming the first African-American to play in the major leagues in 1947.

"If I had one wish in the world today, it would be that Jackie Robinson could be here to see this happen," Robinson said after his appointment. Jackie Robinson had died in 1972.

He would later go on to manage the San Francisco Giants, Orioles, and Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals.

Robinson however was unable to repeat his playing career World Series success after transitioning to the dugout.

He later described his early management style as too demanding.

"Listen, I was the first black manager in baseball and there was incredible pressure," he said in 1981. "I don't blame anyone else. I was too tough….I lack patience.

"I probably got on guys a little too hard, with the wrong tone of voice."

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