Frank Robinson Has Passed Away.

Frank Robinson has passed away at the age of 83.

This one is personal to us.

We remember Robinson (and his brother Brooks) as members of the Baltimore Orioles. We never saw a more gracious off the field, fierce competitor on the field than Frank Robinson.

When Robinson was traded to the O’s we were happy, but concerned. The Cincinnati Reds had claimed the National League MVP was “too old.” The trade for Robinson remains one of the worst trades in MLB history. With the Orioles,…

In his first season in Baltimore, Robinson showed he still had plenty left in his 30-year-old body as he was named the AL MVP following a 1966 campaign in which he won baseball’s Triple Crown. His MLB-best marks of 49 home runs, 122 RBIs, .316 batting average and 122 runs scored helped carry the Orioles to their first World Series title.

That 1966 MVP season included a sweep of the powerful Dodgers in four games. That MVP vote meant that at the time, Robinson was the only person to win the MVP in both leagues.

After the 1966 season, the O’s put out a book on the season including the above image. During the season the team established a “kangaroo court” where players were fined by “Judge” Robinson for infraction on everything from plays on the field to being late to meetings, to wearing ugly clothes.

Lord help a player that dared questioned his rulings.

Robinson became the first black manager in MLB history when he was named as a player manager for the Cleveland Indians.

After concluding the 1974 season as a member of the Indians, Robinson made history in 1975 as the first African-American to be named manager of a major league club, while he was still playing.

Though paid only an additional $20,000 to handle both jobs, Robinson took the position knowing his place in history.

“They said this was the chance for you to break that barrier,” Robinson told Outside the Lines in 2016. “Open the door and to let more African-Americans to have the opportunity to come through it.”

It must have been us because we never thought of Robinson being defined by his race. We only saw the player and the leader and thought he would make a great manager. The fact that he broke a color barrier didn’t matter to us as it did to others. He had earned the job, in our opinion.

(As a side note, the cited ESPN article notes that when he first moved to Baltimore, Robinson had trouble finding a place to live because of his race. We don’t remember that being publicized, but shame on people who denied him, or anyone a place to live because of one’s race.)

Robinson was elected to the Hall of Fame on the first ballot.

Anything else would have been a farce.

We feel lucky to have seen Robinson in his prime – to watch him, to learn from him and in a really tiny, minuscule way be a part of those who helped create his legacy by cheering and rooting for a man of his talent and humanity.

RIP, Frank Robinson.

Heaven just got a really good player for their team.

One Response to “Frank Robinson Has Passed Away.”

  1. Thomas L Gaume says:

    For a few years he made it worth the price of spring training tickets just to go watch him sit on a bucket by the dugout at Space Coast Stadium. Great player that loved and played the game like few ever could, and a better man.