Frank Robinson, key to Orioles’ 1st World Series title, dies at 83

Frank Robinson, key to Orioles’ 1st World Series title, dies at 83

He was named MVP twice - once while he was with the Reds and once with the Orioles, making him the first player to earn the title in both leagues.

Former Orioles pitcher Jim Palmer, who also gained first-ballot entry into the Hall, once called Robinson, "the best player I ever saw".

In 1975, he became player-manager of the Cleveland Indians.

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.

He made the All-Star team 12 times won and is the only player to win the MVP award in each league.

"Frank Robinson's résumé in our game is without parallel, a trailblazer in every sense, whose impact spanned generations".

Robinson died in California with family by his side, Major League Baseball said. A Triple Crown victor, he was a member of two World Series champion Orioles squads.

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His major league debut with the Reds arrived fewer than 10 years after Jackie Robinson - no relation - shattered the color line in Major League Baseball, two years after Brown v. Board of education desegregated American schools and nine years before the Voting Rights Act of 1965 would grant black Americans full enfranchisement under the law. It was the only home run anyone ever hit out of long-gone Memorial Stadium.

Late in his playing days, Robinson became baseball's first African-American manager for the Cleveland Indians.

Robinson, who led the AL with a.316 average, 47 home runs and 122 runs batted in, was the first Triple Crown victor since 1947. He hit 586 career home runs, 179 of them as an Oriole.

He went on to manage the San Francisco Giants (1981-1984), and then returned to Baltimore as skipper (1988-1991) before ending his field career managing the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals franchise between 2002-2006. He and the Orioles won three more AL pennants and another World Series over the next five seasons. It's a road Robinson not only overcame, but conquered en route to producing one of the greatest careers in Major League Baseball history.

Robinson also worked for the game off the field as a consultant, and then executive, with the commissioner's office. His iconic number 20 is retired in four different ballparks.

There is a statue of Robinson outside the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati. 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'. Things didn't get much better right away as Baltimore went on to lose its first 21 games and finished 54-107.

Robinson, who also reached the 1961 World Series with the Reds, was traded by the Orioles to the Los Angeles Dodgers in December 1971.

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