Baseball Hall of Famer Frank Robinson dies at 83

The MLB announced Frank Robinson's death following a prolonged illness on Thursday.
The MLB announced Frank Robinson's death following a prolonged illness on Thursday.

Baseball Hall of Famer and trailblazer Frank Robinson died at the age of 83.

The MLB announced Robinson's death following a prolonged illness on Thursday.

Robinson finished his playing career with 586 home runs — fourth-most ever at the time and now 10th on the all-time list.

A two-time World Series champion and two-time MVP in different leagues, Robinson later became MLB's first African-American manager with the Cleveland Indians and eventually guided four franchises in four different decades. 

"Frank Robinson's resume in our game is without parallel, a trailblazer in every sense, whose impact spanned generations," Commissioner Rob Manfred said. "He was one of the greatest players in the history of our game, but that was just the beginning of a multifaceted baseball career.

"We are deeply saddened by this loss of our friend, colleague and legend, who worked in our game for more than 60 years. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I send my deepest condolences to Frank's wife Barbara, daughter Nichelle, their entire family and the countless fans who admired this great figure of our national pastime."

Robinson was named the National League Rookie of the Year in 1956 after hitting 38 home runs and driving in 83 runs. The 38 homers were the most by a rookie until Mark McGwire hit 49 for the Oakland Athletics in 1987.

The mark has been bested only three times since Robinson set it. Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees (52) and Cody Bellinger of the Los Angeles Dodgers (39) both surpassed it in 2017.

A fierce competitor, Robinson played 10 seasons in Cincinnati, making six All-Star teams and winning the MVP award in 1961.

He would move on to the Baltimore Orioles in 1966, where he would win an MVP in his first season with the club — becoming the only player to win the award in both leagues — as he led the team to a World Series victory while winning the Triple Crown with a .316 batting average, 49 home runs and 122 RBIs. He would win two World Series titles in his six years with the Orioles.

After he was traded to the Indians in 1974, he was named the team's player-manager in 1975. He would manage the Indians for two years before he was fired.

His career did not end there, as he would go on to become the first African-American manager in the NL with the San Francisco Giants (1981-84). He also managed the Orioles (1988-91) and the Expos/Nationals (2002-06), compiling a career record of 1,065-1,176 (.475) across all or parts of 16 seasons. 

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). He is one of only three MLB players ever to have his number retired by three teams, along with Nolan Ryan and Jackie Robinson.

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