Former Indians player/manager and the first African-American manager in Major League Baseball, Frank Robinson has died at the age of 83.
Robinson played 21 seasons in the Majors, for the Reds, Orioles, Dodgers, Angels and Indians. He served two years as player-manager with the Indians (1975-76) and was exclusively manager in 1977. He also managed for the San Francisco Giants, Baltimore Orioles, Montreal Expos and Washington Nationals.
But it was with the Indians that Robinson became the first African-American manager in the major league history.
Robinson was a 14-time All-Star and the only player to win MVP in both leagues — with the Reds in 1961 and the Orioles in 1966. Robinson was named Rookie of the Year in 1956 when he played for Cincinnati, was a Triple Crown winner for Baltimore in 1966 and won two World Series titles with the Birds.
He retired as a player in 1976 after 21 years in which he hit 586 home runs and drove in 1,812 runs. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982.The Indians organization released the following statement…
“The Cleveland Indians organization is deeply saddened by the passing of baseball legend Frank Robinson. Our organization and the City of Cleveland are proud to have played a role in Frank’s significant impact on the game when he became the first African-American manager in baseball history on April 8, 1975. The fact Frank hit a solo home run in his first at-bat that day as the Indians’ player-manager symbolizes his greatness as a Hall of Fame ballplayer. The entire Indians organization extends its thoughts and prayers to the Robinson family.”
The Indians unveiled a statue in his honor, which resides in Heritage Park at Progressive Field, and retired his uniform #20 on May 27, 2017.