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Frank Robinson Debuted as MLB First African-American Manager for Cleveland 48 Years Ago

Frank Robinson

Cleveland’s 28th manager Frank Robinson debuted as MLB’s first African-American Manager on April 8, 1975.  As the team’s player/manager Robinson was the designated hitter that game. The Indians were facing the Yankees and general manager, Phil Seghi, told Robinson to “hit a homer during his first at-bat.”

Robinson did just that. He took a took a fastball low and away out of the park off Yankee’s pitcher Doc Medich.


The trailblazer would manage three seasons for Cleveland. Over the 16-year span of his managerial career Robinson also ran the helm of San Francisco, Baltimore and Washington baseball teams.


Robinson was enshrined to the 1982 Hall of Fame class. He was a first ballot inductee and had 89 percent of votes from the Baseball Writer’s Association of American. Robinson made his rookie debut in 1956 with Cincinatti at the age of 20. He was the unanimous choice for NL Rookie of the year – batting .290 with 38 home runs.

Robinson was traded to Baltimore in 1965 and he made quite the statement that season. With 49 homers, 122 RBIs and a .316 average Robinson captured the Triple Crown. He won the Junior Circuit’s MVP that season making him the only player in history to claim an MVP in both leagues.

In 1966, Robinson would play a huge role in the Orioles World Series win. His key hits in the four-game series sweep of the Dodgers earned Robinson World Series MVP.


Cleveland honors Robinson

On May 27, 2017 the Indians retired #20 with Robinson in attendance. The organization also unveiled a statue of Robinson at Progressive Field that day. He will always be revered in Cleveland where he broke the barrier and paved the way for others ahead of him.

Robinson wanted to be known for his skill not for the color of his skin as he stated:

It’s nice to come into a town and be referred to as the manager of the Cleveland Indians instead of as the first black manager.

Frank Robinson was not only a pioneer in the game of baseball, the integrity and passion he displayed transcended every facet of his life.

I attended Malone College to pursue a Journalism career in Politics...I have found that writing about Sports is a lot more fun! I am an avid NBA, MLB & NFL fan. Find me on Twitter @nats_sportschat



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