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'The best player I ever played with': Teammates, others remember Orioles Hall of Famer Frank Robinson

Former teammates and others remember Orioles Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, who died Thursday at age 83:

“Today is a very sad day because I lost not only my teammate, but also a very dear friend. I loved Frank and got to know him so much better after we both retired. I spoke to him a few days ago and he sounded good. He wanted to be home. I let him know that Connie and I were pulling for him, and that he, Barbara, and Nichelle were in our prayers. As a player, I put Frank in a class with Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, and Mickey Mantle. He was the best player I ever played with. When he came here in 1966, he put us over the top. He was a great man and he will be deeply missed.

“I don’t think I ever saw the guy make a mental mistake." — Orioles Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson

“Frank took us from being a good team in 1965 to being a great team in 1966. I’m glad Cincinnati thought he was ‘an old 30’ when they traded him.” — Orioles Hall of Famer Jim Palmer

“He was like a brother to me. I saw him a week ago. He didn’t complain, just took it one day at a time. Frank was a strong-charactered individual and was prepared for [death]. In life, he gave back to his fellow man in every way that he could — a trailblazer in his own right.” — Orioles teammate Don Buford

“He brought a new attitude to the Orioles. Guys would be standing around before a game, talking to players on the other team. Frank said, ‘Cut that crap out — they’re not your friends until we’re done.’ ” — Orioles first baseman Boog Powell

“If a guy had on a different-colored uniform, Frank literally hated him. He gave the impression of having a chip on his shoulder, and he dared anyone to knock it off.” — former Orioles second baseman Davey Johnson

“Frank Robinson was not only one of the greatest players in Orioles history, but was also one of the premier players in the history of baseball. Fans will forever remember Frank for his 1966 season in which he won the Triple Crown and was named MVP during a year that brought Baltimore its first World Series championship. His World Series MVP performance capped off one of the greatest individual seasons in baseball history. An Orioles Legend and a Baseball Hall of Famer, Frank brought us so many wonderful memories, including two championships, during his time in Baltimore.” — the Angelos family

“Frank Robinson’s resume in our game is without parallel, a trailblazer in every sense, whose impact spanned generations. He was one of the greatest players in the history of our game, but that was just the beginning of a multifaceted baseball career. Known for his fierce competitive will, Frank made history as the first MVP of both the National and American Leagues, earned the 1966 AL Triple Crown and World Series MVP honors, and was a centerpiece of two World Championship Baltimore Orioles’ teams. With the Cleveland Indians in 1975, Frank turned Jackie Robinson’s hopes into a reality when he became the first African-American manager in baseball history.” — Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred Jr.

“Frank Robinson is one of the most important and influential figures in Baltimore sports history. We salute the incredible contributions he made to the game of baseball and to our city. His legacy is everlasting. Rest in peace, Frank. Our thoughts and prayers are with your family.” — Baltimore Ravens

— Compiled by Mike Klingaman

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