He died of bone cancer Thursday.
The Indians opened at home that year and Robinson, still active, batted himself second as the designated hitter.
In 1975, Robinson became the first black manager in Major League Baseball and was one of many African-American players to follow Jackie Robinson's success after the baseball color line was broken. In 1966 he won Major League Player of the Year, the American League Triple Crown and the AL Babe Ruth Award, as well as being named both the AL and World Series MVP. At the end of his playing career Robinson finished with 586 home runs (10th all-time), 1,812 RBI, 2,943 total base hits and a career batting average of.294.
The fact Frank hit a solo home run in his first at-bat that day as the Indians' player-manager symbolizes his greatness as a Hall of Fame ballplayer.
Robinson won Rookie of the Year in 1956.
"Frank Robinson's résumé in our game is without parallel, a trailblazer in every sense, whose impact spanned generations", Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. The Reds, Orioles and Indians retired his No. 20 and honored him with statues at their stadiums.
After his dismissal from Cleveland, Robinson returned to the Orioles as a coach from 1978-80 and 1985-87. He signed to the Cincinnati Reds and he made his professional debut at age 21.
In 2005, Robinson received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest United States civilian award, for setting a lasting example of character in athletics.
"Then [Medich] throws me this bastard slider just off the outside part of the plate", Robinson once said.
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Because he helped pave the way for future generations of black players and managers, Robinson will always be among the most important figures in MLB's history.
Robinson also won an MVP award with the Orioles in 1966 and remains the only player to win an MVP award in each league after also taking home the title with the Reds in 1961. His World Series MVP performance capped off one of the greatest individual seasons in baseball history.
Robinson also managed San Francisco, Baltimore and Montreal.
Former Nationals catcher Brian Schneider, who played for Robinson in D.C. and Montreal, expressed a similar sentiment.
"Frank will be forever remembered for his enormous impact on our game as an extraordinary player, a gifted manager, and a deeply committed member of the Board of Directors of the Hall of Fame".
"The baselines belong to the runner, and whenever I was running the bases, I always slid hard", Robinson declared. The legend managed four seasons with the Giants and 16 seasons overall, winning 1,065 games. The award honors "individuals for an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors".
On the field, Robinson was a history maker as well.
Survivors include his wife, Barbara, and daughter Nichelle.