Frank Robinson

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Frank Robinson : biography

August 31, 1935 –

On September 30, 2006, the Nationals’ management declined to renew Robinson’s contract for the 2007 season, though they stated he was welcome to come to spring training in an unspecified role. Robinson, who wanted either a front office job or a consultancy, declined. 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.

Robinson’s record as a manager stands as (1065–1176).http://www.baseball-reference.com/managers/robinfr02.shtml

Playing career

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 tied the then-record of 38 home runs by a rookie, as a member of the Cincinnati Reds, and was named Rookie of the Year. Although the Reds won the NL pennant in 1961 and Robinson won his first MVP that year, his best offensive year arguably came in 1962, when he hit .342 with 51 doubles, 136 RBI and 134 runs. The Reds lost the 1961 World Series to the Yankees.

Robinson practiced a gutsy batting style, crowding the plate perhaps more than any other player of his time. For this reason, he racked up high HBP (hit-by-pitch) totals, and experienced many knockdowns. Asked by an announcer what his solution to the problem was, he answered simply, "Just stand up and lambast the next pitch", which he often did.

Prior to the 1966 season, Reds owner Bill DeWitt sent Robinson to Baltimore in exchange for pitcher Milt Pappas, pitcher Jack Baldschun and outfielder Dick Simpson. The trade is now considered among the most lopsided deals in baseball history, especially as Robinson was only 30 years old and appeared to have many productive years ahead of him. DeWitt attempted to downplay this fact and defend the deal to skeptical Reds fans by famously referring to Robinson as "an old 30.""Baseball: More Than 150 Years" by David Nemec and Saul Wisnia. Publications International, Ltd. 1997,page 413 It forever tarnished Dewitt’s legacy, and outrage over the deal made it difficult for Pappas to adjust to pitching in Cincinnati (he was traded out of town after only three seasons). There were also rumors that Robinson did not get along well with teammate Vada Pinson. In Robinson’s first year in Baltimore, he won the Triple Crown, leading the American League with a .316 batting average (the lowest ever by a Triple crown winner), 49 home runs (the most ever by a right-handed Triple crown winner) and 122 runs batted in. On May 8, 1966, Robinson became the only player ever to hit a home run completely out of Memorial Stadium. The shot came off Luis Tiant in the second game of a doubleheader against the Cleveland Indians. Until the Orioles’ move to Camden Yards in 1991, a flag labeled "HERE" was flown at the spot where the ball left the stadium.

The Orioles won the 1966 World Series and Robinson was named the Series MVP. In the Orioles’ four-game sweep of the defending champion Los Angeles Dodgers, Robinson hit two home runs—in Game One, which Baltimore won 5–2, and in Game Four, the only run of the game in a 1–0 series-clinching victory. Both home runs were hit off Don Drysdale.

It was in Baltimore that he first became active in the civil rights movement. He originally declined membership in the NAACP unless the organization promised not to make him do public appearances. However, after witnessing Baltimore’s segregated housing and discriminatory real estate practices, he changed his mind and became an enthusiastic speaker on racial issues.

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. The same runners were on base on both home runs—Dave McNally on third, Don Buford on second and Paul Blair on first.