Here is all you need to know about Frank Robinson’s massive impact on the Orioles: They have won three World Series since moving to Baltimore in 1954, and two of those three came during Robinson’s six seasons with the club between 1966 and 1971. So, two World Series titles in six seasons with Robinson and one in the other 59 seasons he was not on the club as a player.
Taking that further, they played in four World Series in his six seasons and twice in the other 59 years. They won 100 or more games three times in his six seasons and twice in the other 59 years.
His impact was huge, vast, critical, vital, all-important, franchise-turning - we could keep going, they all apply here.
The baseball Hall of Famer has passed away after a lengthy battle with bone cancer. He was 83.
The Orioles acquired No. 20 from the Reds on Dec. 9, 1965. They gave up Milt Pappas, Dick Simpson and Jack Baldschun. It was a trade that ended up big in the Orioles’ favor. It was a trade every team always hopes to make. They hope to be good enough to acquire that one player that puts them over the top. Robinson did that for the Orioles.
He and Brooks Robinson joked they were brothers but they were not. Robinson was a black man from Beaumont, Texas, and Brooks a white man from Little Rock, Ark. But when No. 5 and No. 20 combined forces, the Orioles became No. 1.
The 1965 Orioles won 94 games and finished eight games out of first. They were close. But with Frank Robinson, they played in four of the next six World Series. In Robinson’s first Orioles season, he won the Triple Crown, was the American League MVP and was the World Series MVP when the O’s swept the favored Los Angeles Dodgers in four straight games.
So, yeah, nice first year with the club.
He played in 11 All-Star games and was the only player ever to win the MVP Award in both leagues. He was National League MVP with the Reds in 1961 after he had been Rookie of the Year with Cincinnati in 1956. When his career ended, he had hit 586 home runs, fourth-most at the time behind Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth and Willie Mays.
He was a first-ballot Hall of Famer in 1982, going in with an O’s logo on his plaque, even though he played longer in Cincy. On April 28, 2012, the Orioles unveiled his statue at Camden Yards. Both the Orioles and Reds retired his No. 20.
Robinson was the first African-American field manager in the history of the game when he was player-manager for the 1975-1976 Cleveland Indians. He managed the Orioles from 1988 to 1991, and that includes the “Why Not” Orioles of 1989 that went from 54 to 87 wins. He managed the Montreal Expos from 2002-2004 and when the team moved to Washington, he became the first manager of the Nationals in 2005 and 2006.
It’s a sad day for Orioles fans, especially the long-time fans that remember Frank as an Oriole. He brought some levity to the clubhouse with his kangaroo court and that kept it loose. But he was all business on the field and a big reason that some of the best Orioles teams ever were so great.
The Robinson family has asked that, in lieu of flowers, contributions in Frank’s memory can be made to the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tenn., or the National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, D.C.
RIP to No. 20.