Frank Robinson dies at 83

Frank Robinson dies at 83

Frank Robinson dies at 83

Robinson's 21-year playing career began with the Cincinnati Redlegs in 1956 at the age of 20.

The MLB website said Robinson, who died at his California home, had been suffering from a long-term illness. He was 83 years old.

Robinson was the only player to win the MVP award in both the National and American leagues and became major league baseball's first African American manager in 1975 with the Cleveland Indians. He ultimately appeared in 21 campaigns, compiling an eye-popping.294/.389/.537 lifetime batting line in 11,742 trips to the plate.

Robinson is now 10th on the all-time home run list with 586.

Over the next decade and a half, Robinson was one of the most feared hitters in the game. All told, his ongoing service cemented his legacy as one of baseball's all-time lifers.

Hall of Fame outfielder Frank Robinson died on Thursday after a battle with bone cancer, according to the New York Daily News' Bill Madden and MLB.com's Joe Trezza. The Reds, Orioles and Indians each have retired Robinson's No. 20 and saluted him with statues at their ballparks.

For all he did on and off the field, Robinson was presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George W. Bush in 2005. His 1961 Reds team lost the Series to the Yankees in five games while his 1969 Orioles lost that World Series to the Miracle Mets.

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"Pitchers did me a favour when they knocked me down", Robinson said.

A no-nonsense guy, Robinson also had a sharp wit.

An All-Star outfielder in 12 seasons and a first-ballot selection to Cooperstown, Robinson also was a Rookie of the Year and picked up a Gold Glove.

"Frank Robinson's resume in our game is without parallel, a trailblazer in every sense, whose impact spanned generations", Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. We were friends.Frank was a hard nosed baseball player who did things on the field that people said could never be done.I'm so glad I had the chance to know him all of those years. He garnered Manager of the Year honors with the O's in 1989 when the Orioles improved their win total by more than 30 games and missed making the ALCS by just two games. He continued to stay involved as a manager long after retirement, spending time with the San Francisco Giants as the National League's first African-American manager, and later with the Orioles, Montreal Expos and Washington Nationals.

Robinson retired with the Indians after the 1976 season.

After his career in the dugout, Robinson filled a variety of roles with the league and all the while tirelessly advocated for more opportunities for African-Americans in baseball.

His ability to exact revenge on pitchers who knocked him down became so well known that Phillies manager Gene Mauch was said to have fined any pitcher who dared dust off Robinson.

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