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Frank Robinson

Updated on December 1, 2016

Frank Robinson was an American baseball player and manager, who became the first black manager of a major league baseball team. His selection as pilot of the Cleveland Indians, announced in October 1974, followed an outstanding 19-year major league career, during which he also managed Santurce in the Puerto Rican winter league for five seasons.

Robinson was born in Beaumont, Texas, on August 31, 1935. He was signed by Cincinnati at age 17 and joined the Reds as an outfielder in 1956, winning honors as rookie of the year. He helped Cincinnati win the pennant in 1961 and was named the National League's most valuable player. After the 1965 season he was traded to Baltimore. In 1966, as the Orioles captured the pennant, he won the triple crown (leading the league in batting average, home runs, and runs batted in) and was named most valuable player in the American League. He thus became the first player to be voted most valuable in each major league. With Robinson playing the outfield and first base, Baltimore won the league championship three more years, 1969 through 1971.

Robinson was traded to Los Angeles in 1972 and to the California Angels in 1973. Prior to becoming player-manager with the Indians, he had hit 574 home runs. A righthanded hitter, he was also an accomplished fielder and base runner.


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