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July 2019
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Commissioner Manfred issues statement as MLB mourns loss of its first Black manager and Hall of Fame outfielder, Frank Robinson at age 83




Frank Robinson at bat 1960 photo By Unknown - Manny's Baseball Land via, Public Domain, https

Major League Baseball is sad to confirm the passing of Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, the first African-American field manager in the history of the game and longtime MLB executive, who was 83. He passed away this morning at his home in California, surrounded by family and friends.

Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. issued the following statement today:

“Frank Robinson’s résumé in our game is without parallel, a trailblazer in every sense, whose impact spanned generations. He was one of the greatest players in the history of our game, but that was just the beginning of a multifaceted baseball career. Known for his fierce competitive will, Frank made history as the first MVP of both the National and American Leagues, earned the 1966 AL Triple Crown and World Series MVP honors, and was a centerpiece of two World Championship Baltimore Orioles’ teams.

“With the Cleveland Indians in 1975, Frank turned Jackie Robinson’s hopes into a reality when he became the first African-American manager in baseball history. He represented four franchises as a manager, most recently when Baseball returned to Washington, DC with the Nationals in 2005. Since 2000, Frank held a variety of positions with the Commissioner’s Office, overseeing on-field discipline and other areas of baseball operations before transitioning to a senior role in baseball development and youth-focused initiatives. Most recently, he served as a Special Advisor to me as well as Honorary American League President. In 2005, Frank was a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, for ‘setting a lasting example of character in athletics.’

“We are deeply saddened by this loss of our friend, colleague and legend, who worked in our game for more than 60 years. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I send my deepest condolences to Frank’s wife Barbara, daughter Nichelle, their entire family and the countless fans who admired this great figure of our National Pastime.”

The Robinson family has asked that, in lieu of flowers, contributions in Frank’s memory can be made to the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee or the National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, D.C.


* .294 Batting average

* 2,943 Hits

* 586 Homers (10th all-time)

* RBI’s 1,812

* As a Player

Cincinnati, Baltimore, LA Dodgers, California, Cleveland

* As a Manager

Cleveland, San Francisco, Baltimore, Montreal/Washington

Record: 1,065 wins, 1,176 losses, winning percentage of .475

* As a Coach

California, Baltimore twice and Milwaukee


* 14-time MLB All-Star

* 2 World Series titles



* World Series MVP

* Triple Crown winner

* NL Rookie of the Year

* AL Manager of the Year

* Retired Jersey #20

Reds, Orioles, Indians

* Team Hall of Fames

Reds, Orioles, Indians, Nationals Ring of Honor

* Baseball Hall of Fame Induction

1982, first ballot with 89.2% of the vote

Frank was born in Beaumont, Texas on August 31, 1935. He was the youngest of 10 children. His parents divorced when he was an infant and he stayed with his mother, who moved to Alameda, California, in the Oakland area. He attended McClymonds High school where his basketball teammate was the legendary center Bill Russell. On the baseball team, his teammates included Vada Pinson and Curt Flood.

On February 7, 2019, Robinson died of bone cancer in Los Angeles at the age of 83.