Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, the first black manager in Major League Baseball and the only player to win the MVP award in both leagues, has died. He was 83.
Robinson had been in hospice care at his home in Bel Air. MLB confirmed his death Thursday.
Robinson hit 586 career home runs and won the Triple Crown while leading the Baltimore Orioles to their first World Series championship in 1966.
An All-Star outfielder in 12 seasons, his legacy extended far beyond the batter’s box.
Robinson fulfilled his quest to become the first African-American manager in the big leagues when the Cleveland Indians hired him in 1975. In his first at-bat as their player-manager, he hit a home run.
Robinson also managed San Francisco, Baltimore and Montreal. He became the first manager of the Washington Nationals after the franchise moved from Montreal for the 2005 season.
Later, Robinson spent several years working as an executive for MLB.
Robinson was the NL MVP with Cincinnati in 1961 and Baltimore in 1966. The Reds, Orioles and Indians have retired Robinson’s No. 20 and saluted him with statues at their ballparks. He’s also in the Nationals’ Ring of Honor.
Major League Baseball released a statement upon news of Robinson’s death.
Major League Baseball is sad to confirm the passing of Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, the first African-American field manager in the history of the game and longtime MLB executive, who was 83. He passed away this morning at his home in California, surrounded by family and friends.
Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. issued the following statement today:
“Frank Robinson’s résumé in our game is without parallel, a trailblazer in every sense, whose impact spanned generations. He was one of the greatest players in the history of our game, but that was just the beginning of a multifaceted baseball career. Known for his fierce competitive will, Frank made history as the first MVP of both the National and American Leagues, earned the 1966 AL Triple Crown and World Series MVP honors, and was a centerpiece of two World Championship Baltimore Orioles’ teams.
“With the Cleveland Indians in 1975, Frank turned Jackie Robinson’s hopes into a reality when he became the first African-American manager in baseball history. He represented four franchises as a manager, most recently when Baseball returned to Washington, DC with the Nationals in 2005,” the statement read.
“Since 2000, Frank held a variety of positions with the Commissioner’s Office, overseeing on-field discipline and other areas of baseball operations before transitioning to a senior role in baseball development and youth-focused initiatives. Most recently, he served as a Special Advisor to me as well as Honorary American League President. In 2005, Frank was a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, for ‘setting a lasting example of character in athletics.’
“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.”