Baseball has lost another legend. Hall of Famer Frank Robinson passed away Thursday, February 7. He was 83.
Robinson had been in failing health for months and was in hospice care at his home in the Bel Air neighborhood of Los Angeles. Major League Baseball did not give a cause of death.
Robinson, the youngest of 10 children, was born Aug. 21, 1935, in Beaumont, Texas.
After his family moved from Texas to California, he attended McClymonds High School in Oakland, California. While there, he was a basketball teammate of NBA legend Bill Russell
Robinson made his debut with the Cincinnati Reds in 1956 at only 20 years old. That same season, he went on the win Rookie of the Year. During his career he also play for the Baltimore Orioles, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the California Angels and the Cleveland Indians.
Even with his remarkable record as a player — he is still the only player to be named the MVP in both leagues — Robinson will go down in history as much for being a trailblazer in sports management. In 1975, Robinson was named the manager of the Cleveland Indians making more history in the process. Robinson was the first African-American manager in baseball history. While at the helm of the Orioles, he was named American League Manager of the Year in 1989.
Robinson won his first MVP award for the Reds in 1961, when he hit 37 home runs with National League-highs in slugging percentage and on-base plus slugging.
During the off-season of the 1965-1966 season, Robinson was trades to the Baltimore Orioles. This trade lead to the best year of his playing career coming in 1966. He won that season’s American League MVP award and captured baseball’s rare Triple Crown — leading the league in batting average, home runs and RBI.
He was also a 12-time All-Star and was the MVP of the All-Star Game in 1971.
Robinson was honored with America’s highest civilian award in 2005 when President George W. Bush bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom on him.
Robinson is survived by his wife, Barbara, and daughter, Nichelle.