Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, who led the Orioles to their first World Series title in 1966, is in the late stages of a long illness, according to a source with direct knowledge of the situation.
Robinson, 83, was the first African-American manager in both the American and National Leagues. He also managed the Orioles for parts of four seasons (1988-1991) and worked in the club’s front office during a long post-playing career that most recently has been spent as an executive in MLB’s central office.
He has been battling health problems for several months and last appeared at a major baseball event in July, when he traveled to Washington to take part in the All-Star Game festivities.
There has been no comment on the situation from family members or Major League Baseball.
When Robinson retired as a player after breaking the managerial color barrier by agreeing to be the player-manager of the Cleveland Indians in 1974, his offensive statistics placed him among a handful of truly elite offensive players. His 586 career home runs ranked fourth all-time, though he has been overtaken by six players during the past two decades.
He became the first African-American manager in the National League when he was hired by the San Francisco Giants in 1981. He also managed the Montreal Expos and accompanied the franchise on its move to Washington, where he was the Nationals’ first manager.
As a player, he was National League Rookie of the Year for the Cincinnati Reds in 1956 and won the Most Valuable Player award in both leagues — with the Reds in 1961 and the Orioles in 1966.