Robinson, Frank

born Aug. 31, 1935, Beaumont, Tex., U.S.

U.S. baseball player and the first black manager in major league baseball.

Robinson played principally for the Cincinnati Reds (1956–65) and Baltimore Orioles (1966–71). In 1966 he won the triple crown, leading the league in home runs (49), runs batted in (122), and batting average (.316). He later managed the Cleveland Indians (1975–77), San Francisco Giants (1981–84), Baltimore Orioles (1988–91), and Montreal Expos (since 2002).

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▪ American athlete
born August 31, 1935, Beaumont, Texas, U.S.
 
 American professional baseball player who became the first black manager in Major League Baseball.

      As a youth, Robinson played sandlot and American Legion Junior League baseball in Oakland, California, and at McClymonds High School, where he also played football and basketball. The right-hander played third base and pitched occasionally. After graduation he was signed by the National League Cincinnati Reds and played with their minor league teams (third base and outfield) until he joined the parent club in 1956, the year he was awarded Rookie of the Year honours. He batted more than .300 in 5 of 10 years before he was traded to the American League Baltimore Orioles in 1966. In his first season with Baltimore, he won the Triple Crown—leading the league in home runs (49), runs batted in (122), and batting average (.316). He remained with Baltimore through 1971 and then played with the National League Los Angeles Dodgers (1972) and the American League California Angels (1973–74) and Cleveland Indians (1974–76). With 586 career home runs, Robinson ranked fourth in home runs hit, after Hank Aaron (Aaron, Hank) (755), Babe Ruth (Ruth, Babe) (714), and Willie Mays (Mays, Willie) (660) when he retired in 1976.

      Robinson began managing the Indians in 1975, the first African American to manage a major league team. He had begun his managing career in winter baseball for the Santurce team in the Puerto Rican League in 1968 and had also coached at Baltimore and in the minor leagues for the International League. In 1981 he became manager of the National League San Francisco Giants. In 1984 Robinson returned to the Orioles, working as a coach, as a manager, and in the front office for the team's upper management. He stayed with the Orioles until the end of the 1995 season. In 2000 Robinson was put in charge of discipline as a vice president of Major League Baseball,meting out fines and suspensions in controversial imbroglios, and in 2002 he became manager of the Montreal Expos. Robinson was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, in 1982.

Additional Reading
Robinson described his career in My Life Is Baseball (1968), written with Al Silverman, and in Extra Innings (1988), written with Barry Stainback. Russell J. Schneider, Frank Robinson: The Making of a Manager (1976), analyzes race in baseball and Robinson's historic shift from player to manager.

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Universalium. 2010.

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