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Frank Robinson

Frank-robinson

Personal Info
Birth August 31, 1935, Beaumont, TX
Professional Career
Debut April 17, 1956, Cincinnati Reds vs. St. Louis Cardinals, Crosley Field
Team(s) As player

As manager

HOF induction: 1982
Career Highlights
  • All Star Games: 12
  • MVP: 1961, 1966
  • American League Triple Crown: 1966
  • World Series MVP: 1966
  • Led American League in Batting average: 1966 (.316)
  • Led league in On Base Percentage: 1962, 1966.
  • Led league in slugging percentage: 1960 (.595), 1961 (.611), 1962 (.624) & 1966 (.637)
  • Led league in runs scored: 1956 (122), 1962 (134), & 1966 (122)
  • Led league in home runs: 1966 (49)
  • Led league in RBIs: 1966 (122)
  • Career batting average: .294
  • NOTE: In his 20 year career as a player, Robinson was in the "Top Ten" in slugging percentage 17 times, home runs 15 times, runs scored 13 times, RBIs 10 times, and batting average 10 times.

Frank Robinson (born August 31, 1935 in Beaumont, Texas), is a Hall of Fame former Major League Baseball player. He was an outfielder, most notably with the Cincinnati Reds and the Baltimore Orioles. During a 21-season career, he became the first player (and still the only player) to win League MVP honors in both the National and American Leagues, won the Triple crown, was a member of two teams that won the World Series (the 1966 and 1970 Baltimore Orioles), and amassed the fourth-most career home runs at the time of his retirement (he is currently seventh).

During the last two years of his playing career, he served as the first permanent African-American manager in Major League history. On September 30, 2006, he was told that his contract as manager of the Washington Nationals would not be renewed. By playing in 1956 and managing in 2006, he became only the third man to manage a major league team 50 years after his debut as a major league player, joining Connie Mack and Casey Stengel.

Early careerEdit

Robinson was born in Beaumont, Texas and grew up in Oakland, California. Robinson attended McClymonds High School in Oakland where he was a basketball teammate of future NBA great Bill Russell.

Playing careerEdit

Baseball Hof
Frank Robinson
is a member of
the Baseball
Hall of Fame

Robinson had a long and successful playing career. Unusual for a star in the era before free agency, he split his best years between two teams: the Cincinnati Reds (1956 - 1965) and the Baltimore Orioles (1966 - 1971). The later years of his career were spent with the Los Angeles Dodgers (1972), California Angels (1973 - 1974) and Cleveland Indians (1974 - 1976). He is the only player to be named Most Valuable Player in both leagues, in 1961 with the Reds and again in 1966 with the Orioles.

In his rookie year, 1956, he hit a then rookie-record 38 home runs as a member of the Cincinnati Reds and was named Rookie of the Year. His best of many seasons with the Reds was 1961, when the Reds won the pennant and Robinson won his first MVP award. The Reds lost the 1961 World Series to the Yankees.

Prior to the 1966 season, Reds owner Bill DeWitt made the controversial decision of sending Robinson to Baltimore in the same deal that sent ace pitcher Milt Pappas to Cincinnati. The trade tarnished Dewitt's legacy, and outrage over the deal made it difficult for Pappas to adjust to pitching in Cincinnati. (The trade has been made famous in the 1988 movie Bull Durham, where Susan Sarandon's character says, "Bad trades are a part of baseball, I mean who can forget Milt Pappas for Frank Robinson, for gosh sakes.") DeWitt famously defended the deal to skeptical Reds fans by claiming that Robinson was "an old 30." Meanwhile, Robinson's first year in Baltimore was a historic one. He accomplished the rare feat of winning the Triple Crown, leading the American League with a .316 batting average, 49 home runs and 122 runs batted in. The Orioles won the World Series, something Robinson's Reds had never accomplished, and Robinson was named the Series MVP.

On June 26, 1970, Robinson 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. Coincidentally, the same runners were on base on both home runs—Dave McNally on third, Don Buford on second and Paul Blair on first.

Robinson's Orioles won three consecutive pennants between 1969 and 1971, and won the 1970 World Series.

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), though he has since been passed by Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa.

Managing careerEdit

Frank Robinson became the first black manager of a Major League Baseball team, when he was a player-manager with Cleveland in 1975. He holds the distinction of being the first black manager in both the American and National Leagues. He managed the Cleveland Indians (1975 - 1977), San Francisco Giants (1981 - 1984), Baltimore Orioles (1988 - 1991) and Montreal Expos / Washington Nationals (2002 - 2006).

Robinson's managerial record is 1,065-1,176, a .475 winning percentage. He was awarded the American League Manager of the Year Award in 1989 for leading the Baltimore Orioles to an 87-75 record, a huge turnaround from their previous season in which they went 54-107. After spending some years in Major League Baseball as the Director of Discipline, MLB offered the former manager the chance to manage the Expos.

Robinson's style of managing is somewhat controversial. In 2005, the Montreal Gazette's Stephanie Myles reported that he had spent much time playing golf during his years in Montreal. The septuagenarian sometimes spent 16 hour days between the course and the games at night. This practice came under heightened scrutiny in the American capital. Also, some journalists have questioned his lack of use of statistics to determine pitching match-ups with his hitting line-ups. Robinson defended his style of managing by saying that he goes by his "gut feeling."

  • In a June 2005 Sports Illustrated poll of 450 MLB players, Robinson was selected the worst manager in baseball.
  • In 2005, one of Robinson's Nationals players asked him, in all seriousness, if he had ever played in the majors. This was reported on Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel as an illustration of how little some current players are aware of the history of the game.
  • On Thursday, April 20, 2006, with the Nationals winning 10-4 against their division rival, the Philadelphia Phillies, Nats manager Frank Robinson got his 1,000th win, becoming the 53rd manager to reach that milestone.[1] He had earned his 1,000th loss two seasons earlier.[2]
  • During a game against the Houston Astros on May 25, 2006, Frank Robinson was forced to pull out the Nationals catcher, Matt LeCroy, during the middle of the 7th inning. In baseball, there is an unwritten rule that managers do not remove position players in the middle of an inning. Instead, managers are supposed to discretely switch position players in between innings. However, Nationals third string catcher, Matt LeCroy, let Houston Astros baserunners steal seven bases over seven innings with two throwing errors. Although the Nationals won the game 8-5, Frank Robinson found the decision so difficult to make on a player he respected so much, he broke down crying during the post-game interviews.[3]

On September 30, 2006, the Nationals' management declined to renew Robinson's contract for the 2007 season. [1]. On October 1, 2006 he managed his final game, a 6-2 loss to the Mets, and prior to the game addressed the fans at RFK Stadium [2].

The Nationals have chosen not to offer Robinson any position for 2007, though they stated he was welcome to come to spring training in an unspecified (and presumably unpaid) role. Robinson, who wanted either a front office job or a consultancy, declined.[3]

HonorsEdit

In addition to his two Most Valuable Player awards (1961 and 1966) and his World Series Most Valuable Player award (1966), Robinson was honored in 1966 with the Hickok Belt as the top professional athlete of the year in any sport.

In 1982, Frank Robinson was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility along with Hank Aaron. Robinson is also a charter member of the Baltimore Orioles' Hall of Fame (along with Brooks Robinson), and a member of the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame, being inducted into both in 1978. Both the Reds and the Orioles have retired his uniform number 20.

In 1999, he ranked Number 22 on The Sporting News list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and was nominated as a finalist for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.

He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom on November 9, 2005, by President George W. Bush.[4]

See alsoEdit

BibliographyEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. Johnson, Nats give Robinson 1000th win.
  2. Frank Robinson.
  3. Mark Zuckerman (2006-05-26). Robinson tearful after win. The Washington Times. Retrieved on 2006-05-29.
  4. 2005 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients.

External linksEdit

Preceded by:
Bill Virdon
National League Rookie of the Year
1956
Succeeded by:
Jack Sanford
Preceded by:
George Altman
Major League Player of the Month
July, 1961
Succeeded by:
Warren Spahn
Preceded by:
Dick Groat
National League Most Valuable Player
1961
Succeeded by:
Maury Wills
Preceded by:
Ron Santo
Major League Player of the Month
August, 1964
Succeeded by:
Bob Gibson
Preceded by:
Mickey Mantle
American League Triple Crown
1966
Succeeded by:
Carl Yastrzemski
Preceded by:
Zoilo Versalles
American League Most Valuable Player
1966
Succeeded by:
Carl Yastrzemski
Preceded by:
Tony Oliva
American League Batting Champion
1966
Succeeded by:
Carl Yastrzemski
Preceded by:
Tony Conigliaro
American League Home Run Champion
1966
Succeeded by:
Harmon Killebrew & Carl Yastrzemski
Preceded by:
Rocky Colavito
American League RBI Champion
1966
Succeeded by:
Carl Yastrzemski
Preceded by:
Sandy Koufax
World Series MVP
1966
Succeeded by:
Bob Gibson
Preceded by:
Sandy Koufax
Babe Ruth Award
1966
Succeeded by:
Lou Brock
Preceded by:
Jim Northrup
Two Grand Slams in a game
June 26, 1970
Succeeded by:
Robin Ventura
Preceded by:
Carl Yastrzemski
Major League Baseball All-Star Game
Most Valuable Player

1971
Succeeded by:
Joe Morgan
Preceded by:
Tony La Russa
American League Manager of the Year
1989
Succeeded by:
Jeff Torborg
Preceded by:
Ken Aspromonte
Cleveland Indians Manager
1975-1977
Succeeded by:
Jeff Torborg
Preceded by:
Dave Bristol
San Francisco Giants Manager
1981–1984
Succeeded by:
Danny Ozark
Preceded by:
Cal Ripken, Sr.
Baltimore Orioles Manager
1988-1991
Succeeded by:
Johnny Oates
Preceded by:
Jeff Torborg
Montreal Expos Manager
2002-2004
Succeeded by:
Last Manager
Preceded by:
First Manager
Washington Nationals Manager
2005-2006
Succeeded by:
Manny Acta

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