Sports history in Black: Frank Robinson becomes first African American player-manager

By Mike Patton

NABJ Black News & Views

Frank Robinson was a great baseball player. He batted .300 nine times, hit 30 home runs 11 times and hit a total of 586 home runs during his career, which held the record for fourth place in major league history when he retired in 1976. The Beaumont, Texas, native has one accomplishment that towers above others.

California Angels', Frank Robinson at bat during a game on June 29, 1973. Photo credit: Frank Robinson, Los Angeles Times
California Angels’, Frank Robinson at bat during a game on June 29, 1973. Photo credit: Frank Robinson, Los Angeles Times

On Oct. 3, 1974, Robinson signed on with the Cleveland Indians as a player. He also was named the manager, making him the first Black American manager in Major League Baseball history. The one-year contract Robinson signed was estimated at $180,000.

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