Frank Robinson, Baseball Legend and Black Pioneer, Dead at 83

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WASHINGTON (106.7 The Fan) -- Frank Robinson, a baseball Hall of Famer, Major League Baseball's first player to win Most Valuable Player in both leagues and its first African-American manager, is dead at 83, the league has confirmed.

Robinson helped lead the Baltimore Orioles to two World Series titles (1966, 1970) in four trips between the 1966 and 1971 seasons. In the 1966 season, Robinson won the Triple Crown – leading the American League with a .316 batting average, 49 home runs and 122 RBI – the American League MVP and World Series MVP.

Robinson began his career with a boom, slashing .290 with 38 homers and 83 RBI for the Cincinnati Reds, winning NL Rookie of the Year in 1956. He wrapped up his prolific 21-year playing career in 1976 with a .294 lifetime batting average, .389 on-base and .537 slugging percentages, with 586 home runs and 1,812 RBI.

In 1975, the Cleveland Indians named Robinson player-manager, making him Major League Baseball's first-ever African-American manager. He would manage the Indians through his final two seasons as a player, and through one partial season in 1977, compiling a 186-189 record. Robinson would go on to manage the San Francisco Giants (1981-84), Orioles (1988-91), Montreal Expos (2002-04) and Washington Nationals -- he was the first manager in Nationals' history.

Managing the Nationals in their inaugural 2005 season, Robinson led a ragtag group of baseball journeymen to the top of the NL East through the middle of July, D.C.'s first touch of baseball since the Senators packed up for Texas after the 1971 season. Robinson, at 69, still had a gut full of fire and was ready to go toe-to-toe with any manager or ump at the drop of a hat. The Nats finished the season in fifth place at 81-81, but the nation's capital now had a thirst for winning baseball.

Robinson managed the Nats for one more season in 2006, his final year as a big-league skipper. He would go on to work in various front office roles for the league.

In 2005, Robinson was bestowed the highest civilian honor in the United States, awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush.

By Chris Lingebach