Baseball Hall of Famer Frank Robinson Dead At 83

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Frank Robinson of the Cincinnati Reds posed with a bat in 1962. BL-366.62 (National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)
Robinson is still the only player to win MVP in both leagues.

Baseball Hall of Famer Frank Robinson died Thursday after battling a long illness, according to MASN in Baltimore. He was 83 years old.

Known for his elite talent and intense demeanor, Robinson became a central figure in advancing Major League Baseball’s integration of Black players after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947.

Frank Robinson played in Cincinnati from 1956 to 1965. He was inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame in 1978. (Photo: hoto Credit: Rhodes/Klumpe Reds Hall of Fame & Museum Collection)

Robinson exploded on the scene in 1956 and for the next six decades established a legacy that’s second to none. That includes becoming MLB’s first Black manager in 1974.

On the field, Robinson was a history maker as well. After signing with the Cincinnati Reds in 1953, he faced a tough road filled with racist taunts and death threats. It’s a road Robinson not only overcame, but conquered en route to producing one of the greatest careers in MLB history.

Robinson is still the only player to win MVP in both leagues, earning National League honors with the Reds in 1961 and the American League award with the Baltimore Orioles in 1966. At age 20, he was voted NL Rookie of the Year after hitting a then rookie-record 38 home runs. He went on to make 14 All-Star game appearances, and currently ranks tenth on the all-time home run list with 586.

In 1974, the Cleveland Indians made Robinson MLB’s first Black manager while he was still an active player. Robinson would go on to have managerial stints with the San Francisco Giants, which made him the NL’s first Black manager, as well as the Baltimore Orioles and Montreal Expos during their transition into the Washington Nationals.

Robinson’s No. 20 is retired by the Reds, Orioles and Giants.

Because he helped pave the way for future generations of Black players and managers, Robinson will always be one among the most important figures in MLB’s history.

This article originally appeared in the Huffington Post.

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