SAN FRANCISCO — Frank Robinson, a Hall of Fame slugger who briefly managed the Giants during a groundbreaking career, passed away Thursday. Robinson was 83.
Robinson went to McClymonds High School in Oakland and went on to hit 586 big league homers, play in 14 All-Star Games, and become the only player to win the MVP Award in both leagues. He became the first African American manager in MLB history with the Indians and managed the Giants from 1981-84.
Robinson died in Los Angeles after a battle with bone cancer, according to the Daily News.
“Frank Robinson’s résumé in our game is without parallel, a trailblazer in every sense, whose impact spanned generations," commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. "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."
Robinson made his big league debut in 1956 and won the Rookie of the Year Award as a 20-year-old after hitting 38 homers and leading the league with 122 runs. That was just the beginning of one of the most prolific careers in the sport’s history. Robinson hit double-digit homers in every full season of his career and led the league in OPS four times and runs three times. He was known as a fearless hitter, and he led the league in getting hit by pitches on seven different occasions.
When he retired after 21 seasons, Robinson had a stunning .294/.389/.537 slash line as a big leaguer and ranked fourth all-time in homers. He still ranks 10th all-time, and he is 16th in MLB history in runs scored.
Robinson was elected into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot in 1982, and by then he was already deep into his post-playing career. He made history in 1975 when he became a player-manager with the Indians. He joined the Giants in 1981, going 264-277 in four seasons. The 1982 Giants — featuring Joe Morgan, Chili Davis and Jack Clark — were Robinson’s best team, going 87-75 and finishing third in the NL West.
Robinson was honored at AT&T Park in a 2017 ceremony attended by Willie Mays, the late Willie McCovey and Barry Bonds. Before the ceremony that day, current Giants manager Bruce Bochy remembered Robinson as one of his favorite players growing up.
“I really admired everything he meant and what he accomplished in baseball, and he was instrumental, after Jackie Robinson, to opening doors in baseball to African Americans and making this such a better game, getting the best athletes out here and making this a better product,” Bochy said.