SALT LAKE CITY — The final chapter in the illustrious life of Frank Robinson has been written, as the Hall of Fame baseball outfielder and pioneering manager died Thursday at 83.
The first chapter of his pro baseball life came in the state of Utah.
Robinson, at the age of 17, got his professional start with the Class C Ogden Reds in 1953. The Reds were a part of the Pioneer League from 1939-55 and played their home games at the now demolished John Affleck Park.
Playing just over half of the 1953 season, Robinson had a standout season in his one year with Ogden. He finished second in the league in batting with a .348 average and tied for fourth in home runs with 17, according to Baseball Reference, while playing in 72 games, more than 50 fewer games than three other top home run hitters.
Robinson had 94 hits in 270 at-bats and added 20 doubles and six triples while driving in 83 runs. Ogden finished the season with a Pioneer League-best 89-42 record, led the league in runs per game (6.77) and was second in batting average (.284). The Salt Lake Bees won the Pioneer League title that season.
Robinson’s time in Ogden lasted one year: the following season, he was promoted to the Tulsa Oilers in the Class AA Texas League. By 1956, he reached the majors at the age of 20.Comment on this story
Robinson played for the five teams, primarily the Cincinnati Reds, during his 21-year MLB career. He was a 12-time All-Star, the National League Rookie of the Year in 1956 and the World Series MVP in 1966 while winning a pair of World Series titles in Baltimore.
He became the first African-American manager in MLB history in 1975, leading four organizations during his managerial career, including his final stint with the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals from 2002-06. Robinson was a first-ballot Hall of Famer, being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982.