Frank Robinson

Frank Robinson was born on August 31, 1935 in Beaumont, Texas.

Frank had a sensational season as a rookie in 1956 with the Cincinnati Reds. He hit 38 home runs which set a new record for home runs by a rookie and was named the Rookie Of The year.

Frank Robinson was named the National League's Most Valuable Player in 1961. He hit 37 home runs along with 124 runs batted in and a .323 batting average. The Reds won the pennant that season but lost the World Series to the New York Yankees.

His best season with the Reds though was 1962. Frank hit 39 homers, drove in 136 runs and batted .342.

On December 9, 1965, Frank Robinson was traded to the Baltimore Orioles for Jack Baldschun, Milt Pappas and Dick Simpson. Reds general manager Bill DeWitt explained that it was better to trade a star player too early rather than too late. He said that Frank Robinson was "an old 30 years old".

He proved his former GM wrong. In his first season with the Orioles, he led the American League in batting average at .316, runs batted in with 122 and home runs with 49. He was the first Triple Crown winner since Mickey Mantle did it in 1956. He was also named the American League Most Valuable Player, making him the first and still the only player to win the MVP in both leagues. The Orioles also won the World Series in 1966 beating the Los Angeles Dodgers in four straight games. Frank was named the series MVP.

Just to add a little salt to the wound, Frank Robinson led the Orioles to the World Series Championship in 1970, defeating the Reds.

On June 26, 1970, he hit back-to-back grand slams (in the fifth and sixth innings) in the Orioles' 12–2 victory over the Washington Senators at RFK Stadium. The same runners were on base on both home runs. Dave McNally on third, Don Buford on second and Paul Blair on first.

His career totals include a .294 batting average, 586 home runs, 1812 runs batted in, and 2,943 hits in 2808 games played. At his retirement, his 586 career home runs were the fourth-best in history (behind only Henry Aaron, Babe Ruth, and Willie Mays). He is second on Cincinnati's all-time home run leaders list (324) behind Johnny Bench and is the Red's all time leader in slugging percentage of .554.

Frank finished his career with brief appearances for the Los Angeles Dodgers, California Angels and Cleveland Indians.

Frank Robinson managed in the winter leagues late in his playing career. By the early 1970s, he had his heart set on becoming the first black manager in the majors. In fact, the Angels traded him to the Indians midway through the 1974 season due to his open campaigning for the manager's job.

In 1975, the Cleveland Indians named him player-manager, giving him distinction of being the first black manager in the Majors.

His managing career would go on to include Cleveland (1975–1977), San Francisco Giants (1981–1984), Baltimore Orioles (1988–1991) and Montreal Expos / Washington Nationals (2002–2006).

Frank Robinson was inducted into Baseball's Hall Of Fame in 1982 as an Oriole. In 1999, he was ranked number 22 on the Sporting News 100 Greatest baseball Players.


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