Frank Robinson, Major League Baseball’s first black manager, dies at 83

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Frank Robinson
Robinson stands beside a statue of himself

Legendary baseball Hall of Famer Frank Robinson – the first African-American to manage a professional team – has died aged 83, baseball officials say.

After winning Most Valuable Player awards in both US leagues – the only player in history to do so – he went on to manage Cleveland in 1975.

With a total of 586, he is 10th on the list of the most home runs hit in a major league career.

Robinson, who holds countless other records, died at home in California.

Since his debut, more than half of all teams have had a black manager.

Crowding the plate

Born in Beaumont, Texas, in 1935, Robinson got his start in Major League Baseball in 1956 – just nine years after Jackie Robinson broke the colour barrier by joining a professional team.

In his first at-bat for Cleveland he hit a home run.

Over his career, he coached the Baltimore Orioles, the San Francisco Giants and Montreal.

Robinson became the first manager of the Washington Nationals after the team relocated from Montreal for the 2005 season.

The Orioles and fellow legend Hank Aaron were among the many teams and players expressing their sadness on social media:

Robinson was known to crowd the plate before the pitch, and famously was hit by the ball 198 times.

“Pitchers did me a favour when they knocked me down,” Robinson said. “It made me more determined. I wouldn’t let that pitcher get me out.”

Reuters
Robinson with President George W Bush in 2007

Robinson went on be presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by US President George W Bush in 2005 for his work in and out of baseball.

Baseball legend Frank Robinson dies

Legendary baseball Hall of Famer Frank Robinson – the first African-American to manage a professional team – has died, baseball officials say. After winning Most Valuable Player awards in both US leagues – the only player in history to do so – he went on to manage Cleveland in 1975.

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