Obama and Curry to Boys of Color: ‘You Matter’

Obama and Curry to Boys of Color: ‘You Matter’

Video Courtesy of FOX 10 Phoenix


Former President Barack Obama and Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry told a roomful of boys of color on Tuesday that they matter and urged them to make the world a better place.

Obama was in Oakland, California, to mark the fifth anniversary of My Brother’s Keeper, an initiative he started after the 2012 shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. The death of the African-American teen sparked protests over racial profiling.

The initiative was a call to communities to close opportunity gaps for boys of color, especially African-American, Latino and Native American boys, Obama said to roughly 100 boys attending the alliance’s first national gathering. The My Brother’s Keeper Alliance is part of the Obama Foundation.

“We had to be able to say to them, ‘you matter, we care about you, we believe in you and we are going to make sure that you have the opportunities and chances to move forward just like everybody else’,” Obama said.

Obama, who left office in 2017, was joined by basketball star Curry. The men spoke for about an hour, answering questions from the audience and joking around. They talked about lacking confidence or being aimless as teens.

Obama praised single mothers, including his own. He advised the boys to look for a mentor, and to find opportunities to guide others.

Curry joined the former president in praising the value of team-work.

“What we do on the court and the joy that comes out of that is second to none,” he said, “because nothing great is done by yourself.”

The former president cracked up the audience, and Curry, when asked a question about being a man. He said that being a man is about being a good person, someone who is responsible, reliable, hard-working and compassionate. Being a man, he said, is not about life as portrayed in some rap or hip-hop music.

“If you are very confident about your sexuality, you don’t have to have eight women around you twerking,” he said to applause. “‘Cause I’ve got one woman who I’m very happy with. And she’s a strong woman.”

In Nigeria’s tight election, the Christian vote is key

In Nigeria’s tight election, the Christian vote is key

Incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari, center, and opposition presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar, right, stand for a group photo with other candidates after signing an electoral peace accord at a conference center in Abuja, Nigeria, on Feb. 13, 2019. Nigeria is due to hold general elections on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

Ask worshippers at St. Charles Catholic Church what they want most from Nigeria’s presidential election, and the answer is peace.

“We don’t want any more bloodshed in Nigeria,” said Everistus Suburu, vice chairman of the church in the northern state of Kano. “We are tired of (Islamic extremist group) Boko Haram.”

The presidential campaign has been largely free of the religious pressures that marked the 2015 vote when Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim northerner, defeated a Christian president from the south who had grown unpopular over his failure to control Boko Haram.

Now, with the leading candidates both northern Muslims, the Christian vote may be decisive in sweeping the incumbent from power for the second time in as many elections in Africa’s most populous country.



Video Courtesy of DW News


Nigeria’s 190 million people are divided almost equally between Christians mainly in the south and Muslims, like Buhari and his opponent Atiku Abubakar, who dominate in the north.

Across northern Nigeria, where street scenes are rich with Islamic customs and mosques, people of different faiths have co-existed over the decades, even joining forces in recent years to fight Boko Haram, which opposes a secular Nigeria.

Yet religious tensions remain even in an election that offers no clear sectarian choice, underscoring the pervasive influence of faith in Nigerian politics.

It’s not certain which of the top two candidates Christian voters will support, or if they will vote as a bloc.

In a bit of last-minute drama, the electoral commission decided early Saturday, just hours before polls were to open, to postpone the election until Feb. 23. The commission’s chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, cited “very trying circumstances” in logistics for the balloting, including bad weather affecting flights and fires at three commission offices in an apparent attempt “to sabotage our preparations.”

The delay has deepened the sense of mistrust and frustration some northern Christians feel toward Buhari’s government.

“The major problem we have in this country is that our leaders don’t have the fear of God,” said Murna Samuel, a schoolteacher in Yola, capital of the northern state of Adamawa, complaining about the postponement. “We are in a mess. It’s like they don’t want to do this election.”

Over the years, in an informal system known as zoning, Nigeria’s presidency has tended to rotate: A Muslim from the north is succeeded by a Christian from the south. This is widely seen as key to holding the country together.

The incumbent Buhari, a Muslim, took over from Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian. Now Buhari is seeking a second term, and his chief opponent is Muslim. The rotation to a Christian could come after a second term for Buhari.

Both Buhari and Abubakar have Christian running mates, in keeping with tradition. Without legal backing, however, the rotational system essentially relies on the goodwill of the politicians of the day.

“I am concerned,” said the Rev. Maurice Kwairanga of the Catholic Secretariat in Yola. “If the Muslims are given a platform where there are no checks and balances, they want to turn the whole country to Islam. If you want to build a chapel, the process you have to go through is very difficult. And even if you complete the process you may not get the chapel.”

In Yola and other northern towns, killings allegedly undertaken by Muslim herders from the Fulani ethnic group have alarmed Christians, especially when no suspects are arrested.

Abubakar is expected to perform well among Christian voters in some central states, such as Plateau and Kaduna, where the problem of marauding herders is severe, said Sylvester Akhaine, professor of political science at Lagos State University.

“The issue of herdsman disturbs the Christians,” said Godswill Sambo, a barman in Yola who is a member of the Lutheran Church. “For me, I will support a person who will bring peace to Nigeria and who is opposed to discrimination. You can see that Nigeria is disunited.”

Other Christians in Yola strongly support Abubakar, noting that his companies, including a major hotel and a university, employ hundreds of people across the religious divide.

“Atiku may be Muslim, but he has opened up more job opportunities for everyone in this place,” said Sunday Abraham, a spaghetti salesman with the Dangote Group. “At least there is a sign of job creation for all in him.”

Researchers seek fuller picture of first Africans in America

Researchers seek fuller picture of first Africans in America

In this April 10, 2018, file photo, Historic Jamestown staff archaeologist Lee McBee displays artifacts as he talks with visitors at the dig site of the Angelo slave house in Jamestown, Va. A few historical markers and records mention these early slaves, but there’s been scant research on their lives. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

The first Africans to arrive in English-controlled North America were so little noted by history that many are known today by only their first names: Antony and Isabella, Angelo, Frances and Peter.

Almost 400 years ago, they were kidnapped and forcibly sailed across the ocean aboard three slave ships — the San Juan Bautista, the White Lion and the Treasurer — and then sold into bondage in Virginia.

Now their descendants, along with historians and genealogists, are seeking recognition for a group of 20-some Africans they describe as critical to the survival of Jamestown, England’s first successful settlement in North America.

“We need to reclaim our history. We need to tell our story,” said Calvin Pearson, head of Project 1619 , which is named after the year those first Africans landed near what became Hampton, Virginia.

A few historical markers and records mention these early slaves, but there’s been scant research on their lives. President Barack Obama made the area where they arrived a national monument in 2011 to ensure that its history was not lost, and Pearson and others are working to learn more.

Before the slaves arrived, Jamestown was starving. “Basically all of those people were right off of the streets in England,” said Kathryn Knight, who in May will release a book titled “Unveiled – The Twenty & Odd: Documenting the First Africans in England’s America 1619-1625 and Beyond.”

Those colonists “didn’t know how to grow anything. They didn’t know how to manage livestock. They didn’t know anything about survival in Virginia,” Knight said. The Africans “saved them by being able to produce crops, by being able to manage the livestock. They kept them alive.”

The slaves’ arrival marked the beginning of the region’s fractured relationship with blacks. More than two centuries later, Virginia became home to the Confederate capital, and in the last week its governor has been pressured to resign for a racist photo that appeared on his page in a 1984 yearbook.

The new arrivals were Catholic and many spoke multiple languages, according to Ric Murphy, an author and descendant of John Gowan, one of the Angolan captives.

In this Feb. 1, 2019 photo, Mark Summers, a historian at Historic Jamestowne poses for a photo in Jamestown, Va. Summers leads tourists down paths once used by Angelo, also known as Angela, who was one of the first Africans to arrive in North America. Although there’s not much known about Angela, Summers said being able to show people where she lived and the grounds she walked is a spiritual experience for some. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

They came from a royal city and “were quite informed and educated, and several of them, based upon what they did in the latter part of their years, clearly were leaders in the community in one form or the other,” Murphy said. “Many of them became landowners, which is quite different from the false narrative of what an enslaved person was.”

In Jamestown, historian Mark Summers leads tourists down paths that Angelo — also known as Angela — walked after being sold to a Captain William Pierce.

Like many of that first group, her life is largely a mystery. In fact, her entire known biography “could probably fit on a 3×5 index card,” Summers said. But being able to show people where she lived and walked is a spiritual experience for some, he said.

For African-Americans, “this is the same thing as going to Plymouth Rock,” said Summers, who works at the Historic Jamestowne park. “Here’s a place where you can stand and say, ‘We set foot here, and we can still walk this ground.'”

The first Africans were among more than 300 taken out of the Ndongo region of Angola, a Portuguese colony of mostly Catholic Africans, on the San Juan Bautista bound for Mexico. That ship was attacked and plundered by the White Lion and the Treasurer, which together seized about 60 slaves. After stopping in the Caribbean and trading some of the slaves for provisions, the White Lion sailed for Virginia with its human cargo.

Englishman John Rolfe, who would later marry Pocahontas, documented the White Lion’s arrival at what was then called Point Comfort.

“He brought not anything but 20, and odd Negars, which the Governor and Cape Merchant bought for victualle,” Rolfe wrote in a letter in January 1620, meaning that the colony purchased the slaves with provisions.

A 1620 census showed 17 African women and 15 African men in Jamestown.

Although sold into servitude, many of those original Angolans fared better than the millions of African slaves who came to North America later, said John Thorton, a Boston University professor of African American studies and history.

“They had a better chance at a better future than almost anybody who followed them because they were the first,” Thorton said. “A lot of them ended up owning property, and they ended up owning slaves of their own.”

By intermingling with the English colonists, some had children who ended up passing for white and merging into early colonial society, Thorton said.

Some, like the Catholic John Pedro, met with tragedy, Pearson said.

Pedro “ended up owning quite a bit of land in Virginia. When the English Civil War broke out, it was Protestants versus Catholics,” Pearson said. Pedro moved to Maryland to live with other Catholics, but he was captured in a battle and executed.

Antony and Isabella became servants for a Captain William Tucker, gained their freedom around 1635 and started a homestead in Kent County, Virginia, Pearson said. Around 1623, they had a son named William Tucker who “became the first documented African child born in English-occupied North America.”

Descendants of Antony and Isabella are buried at a Hampton cemetery that has been in use since the 1600s, Pearson said.

Knight has a different interpretation of those early records, concluding that Frances gave birth to Peter first, making him the first African child born in Virginia.

Described in later records as a “Negro carpenter,” Peter married and received his freedom with the promise of paying 10,000 pounds of tobacco to his master around 1676. He made the last payment in 1682, Knight said.

Murphy, who wrote “Freedom Road: An American Family Saga from Jamestown to World War,” said it’s important for black people to know about these first Africans because it “helps us have more ownership of American history.”

Pearson, whose organization plans to honor the anniversary of the Africans’ arrival on Aug. 24, agrees.

“From here, we see the beginnings of the Africa imprint on what would become the United States of America. It’s worth remembering.”

Before multiculturalism, blackface rampant in US pop culture

Before multiculturalism, blackface rampant in US pop culture

Video Courtesy of CNN


At the time Virginia’s future political leaders put on blackface in college for fun, Dan Aykroyd wore it too — in the hit 1983 comedy “Trading Places.”

Sports announcers of that time often described Boston Celtics player Larry Bird, who is white, as “smart” while describing his black NBA opponents as athletically gifted.

Such racial insensitivities ran rampant in popular culture during the 1980s, the era in which Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and the state’s attorney general, Mark Herring, have admitted to wearing blackface as they mimicked pop singer Michael Jackson and rapper Kurtis Blow, respectively.

Meanwhile, Chicago elected its first black mayor, Michael Jackson made music history with his “Thriller” album, U.S. college students protested against South Africa’s racist system of apartheid and the stereotype-smashing sitcom “The Cosby Show” debuted on network television.

It would be another 10 years before the rise of multiculturalism began to change America’s racial sensibilities, in part because intellectuals and journalists of color were better positioned to successfully challenge racist images, and Hollywood began to listen.

“We are in a stronger position to educate the American public about symbols and cultural practices that are harmful today than we were in the 1980s,” said Henry Louis Gates Jr., director of the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University.

During the ’80s, college faculties and student bodies were less diverse, Gates said. Some scholars who entered college during the 1960s had yet to take on roles in which mainstream culture would heed their cultural critiques, he said.

At the time Northam and Herring put on black makeup, Hollywood and popular culture still sent messages that racial stereotypes and racist imagery were comical and harmless, despite pleas from civil rights groups and black newspapers.

Herring was a 19-year-old University of Virginia student when he wore brown makeup and a wig to look like rapper Kurtis Blow at a 1980 party. Three years before that, white actor Gene Wilder darkened his face with shoe polish in the movie “Silver Streak” co-starring Richard Pryor. He used a stereotypical walk to impersonate a black person living in an urban neighborhood.

On television, viewers could see a Tom and Jerry cartoon featuring the character Mammy Two Shoes, an obese black maid who spoke in a stereotypical voice. The 1940s cartoon series was shown across several markets throughout the 1980s. Television stations ignored complaints from civil rights groups.

Elsewhere, Miami erupted into riots following the acquittal of white police officers who killed black salesman and retired Marine Arthur McDuffie in what many called a case of police brutality. President Jimmy Carter visited and pressed for an end to the violence, but a protester threw a bottle at his limousine as he left.

When Northam wore blackface to imitate Michael Jackson and copy his moonwalking skills at a 1984 San Antonio dance contest, television stations still aired Looney Tunes episodes with racially insensitive images using Bugs Bunny and other characters despite some controversial episodes being taken off the air in 1968.

African-Americans, however, had reason to be hopeful amid electoral gains. A year before, in 1983, Chicago became the latest city to elect a black mayor, Harold Washington, after activists registered 100,000 new black voters. That election, Jesse Jackson later said, paved the way for him to seek the Democratic nomination for president in 1984.

“It was out of that context that my own candidacy emerged,” Jackson said in the 1990 “Eyes on the Prize” documentary. Jackson lost the nomination to former Vice President Walter Mondale.

Two years after Northam’s moonwalk performance, the comedy “Soul Man” hit theaters. In the movie, Mark Watson, played by white actor C. Thomas Howell, takes tanning pills in a larger dose to appear African-American so he can obtain a scholarship meant for black students at Harvard Law School. The movie drew a strong reaction from the NAACP and protesters to movie theaters.

Still, “Soul Man” took in around $28 million domestically, equivalent to around $63.5 million today.

Despite those images, new and popular black cultural figures also emerged, including Eddie Murphy, Oprah Winfrey and a young Michael Jordan. Black Entertainment Television, or BET, was founded in 1980 by businessman Robert L. Johnson, giving the country access to black entertainment using 1970s sitcoms and music.

But as Nelson George argued in his book “Post-Soul Nation: The Explosive, Contradictory, Triumphant and Tragic 1980s as Experienced by African Americans,” BET failed to counter negative images by relying on free music videos and investing little money in original programming. “Through this conservative strategy, BET prospered while offering little new to a community starved for images of itself,” George wrote.

In addition, the new black cultural figures rarely engaged in politics or spoke out against racial injustice.

Sometimes, stereotypes and comments did result in consequences. For example, CBS fired sports commentator Jimmy Snyder, known as Jimmy the Greek, in 1988 after he suggested in a television interview that black athletes were better because of slavery. The Los Angeles Dodgers fired general manager Al Campanis in 1987 for saying on ABC’s “Nightline” that blacks “may not have some of the necessities to be, let’s say, a field manager or perhaps a general manager” and they were poor swimmers.

In 1987, black demonstrators marched in all-white Forsyth County, Georgia, to protest the racism that kept blacks out for 75 years. They were promptly attacked by white nationalists hurling rocks and waving Confederate flags. The shocking images sparked national outrage and led Oprah Winfrey to air an episode of her then-5-month-old syndicated talk show from the county.

“What are you afraid that black people are going to do?” Winfrey asked the audience.

“I’m afraid of them coming to Forsyth County,” one white man told her.

Today, Gates said, people can no longer claim ignorance. While it should have been understood that blackface was offensive during the 1980s, one might have had to go to the library to learn exactly why, he said.

“We also have more records digitized,” Gates said. “The access to archives is larger, and we have more diversity in the media so we can say these images are painful … and why we shouldn’t use them.”

Frank Robinson, baseball’s fearsome trailblazer, dies at 83

Frank Robinson, baseball’s fearsome trailblazer, dies at 83

Video Courtesy of ABC News


Crowding the plate, fearsome and fearless, Frank Robinson hammered his way into the Hall of Fame.

His legacy, however, was cemented that day in 1975 when he simply stood in the dugout at old Cleveland Stadium — the first black manager in Major League Baseball.

Robinson, the only player to earn the MVP award in both leagues and a Triple Crown winner, died Thursday at 83. He had been in failing health and in hospice care at his home in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles. MLB said he was with family and friends at the time.

“Frank Robinson’s resume in our game is without parallel, a trailblazer in every sense, whose impact spanned generations,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.

Robinson hit 586 home runs — he was fourth on the career list behind only Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth and Willie Mays when he retired and now ranks 10th. An MVP with Cincinnati and Baltimore, he led the Orioles to their first World Series championship in 1966.

“Frank Robinson and I were more than baseball buddies. We were friends. Frank was a hard-nosed baseball player who did things on the field that people said could never be done,” Aaron posted on Twitter.

“Baseball will miss a tremendous human being,” he said.

An All-Star outfielder in 12 seasons and a first-ballot selection to Cooperstown, Robinson also was a Rookie of the Year, a Gold Glove outfielder and a bruising runner.

But his place in the sport’s history extended far beyond the batter’s box and basepaths.

Robinson fulfilled his quest to become the first African-American manager in the big leagues when he was hired by the Cleveland Indians. His impact was immediate and memorable.

The Indians opened at home that year and Robinson, still active, batted himself second as the designated hitter. In the first inning, he homered off Doc Medich and the crowd went crazy, cheering the whole April afternoon as Cleveland beat the Yankees.

The Reds, Orioles and Indians have retired his No. 20 and honored him with statues at their stadiums.

Robinson later managed San Francisco, Baltimore and Montreal. He became the first manager of the Washington Nationals after the franchise moved from Montreal for the 2005 season — the Nationals put him in their Ring of Honor.

More than half the major league teams have had black managers since his debut with Cleveland.

Robinson later spent several years working as an executive for MLB and for a time oversaw the annual Civil Rights Game. He advocated for more minorities throughout baseball and worked with former Commissioner Bud Selig to develop the Selig Rule, directing teams to interview at least one minority candidate before hiring a new manager.

For all he did on and off the field, Robinson was presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George W. Bush in 2005.

“Frank Robinson’s wife, Barbara Ann Cole, once said, “He believes in rules and he respects the game. He reveres the game,'” Bush said in a statement. “When I presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005, I noted that ‘Baseball fans across America will tell you the feeling is returned. In the game we love, few names will ever command as much respect and esteem as the name of Frank Robinson.'”

Brooks Robinson, a fellow first-ballot Hall of Famer, said he spoke to his Baltimore teammate and longtime friend a few days ago.

“He was the best player I ever played with,” he said.

Hall of Fame manager Joe Torre played against and worked with Frank Robinson for years.

“He was a tough nut,” Torre recalled at the owners’ meetings in Orlando, Florida. “He never lost that feistiness, which puts a smile on your face … He was always that guy that commanded a lot of respect and he had a presence about him.”

Born Aug. 21, 1935, in Beaumont, Texas, Robinson attended McClymonds High School in Oakland, California, and was a basketball teammate of future NBA great Bill Russell. But it was on the diamond, rather than court, where fame awaited Robinson.

“We all know we lost one of the Greats,” Russell tweeted.

Starting out in an era when Mays, Aaron, Mickey Mantle and Ted Williams were the big hitters, Robinson more than held his own over 21 seasons — if anything, many who watched Robinson felt he never got his full due as an all-time great. He finished with 1,812 RBIs and hit .294 — he played in the World Series five times, and homered in each of them.

Robinson was the only player to hit a ball completely out of old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore and once connected for grand slams in consecutive innings of a game. But he didn’t just slug away, as evidenced by a .389 on-base average boosted by 1,420 walks against 1,532 strikeouts. Extremely alert on the bases, he had 204 steals.

Robinson played the game with grace, yet was known as fierce competitor who combined hard work with natural talent. He planted himself near the plate, yielding to no pitcher, and didn’t seem to care about being brushed back or getting hit by a pitch 198 times.

“Pitchers did me a favor when they knocked me down,” Robinson said. “It made me more determined. I wouldn’t let that pitcher get me out.”

And opposing pitchers noticed.

“Frank Robinson might have been the best I ever saw at turning his anger into runs. He challenged you physically as soon as he stepped into the batter’s box, with half his body hanging over the plate,” Hall ace Bob Gibson once wrote.

“As a rule, I’m reluctant to express admiration for hitters, but I make an exception for Frank Robinson,” Gibson wrote.

Robinson carried a similar philosophy as a baserunner, unapologetically sliding spikes high whenever necessary.

“The baselines belong to the runner, and whenever I was running the bases, I always slid hard,” Robinson declared.

Robinson broke in with a bang as a 20-year-old big leaguer. He tied the first-year record with 38 home runs for Cincinnati in 1956, scored a league-high 122 times and was voted NL Rookie of the Year.

Robinson was the 1961 NL MVP after batting .323 with 37 homers and 124 RBIs for the pennant-winning Reds, and reached career highs in runs (134) and RBIs (136) in 1962.

All-time hits leader Pete Rose joined the Reds the next year.

“He had a huge influence on me when I first came up in ’63,” Rose told The Associated Press by phone. “Frank was a really aggressive, hard-nosed player, and it rubbed off on everybody. Frank was the one who took me under his wings, so to speak. … Frank consistently talked to me about playing the game the right way,” he said.

Robinson was an All-Star, too, in 1965, but Reds owner Bill DeWitt decided Robinson was an old-ish 30 and time to make a move.

That December, Robinson was the centerpiece in what would ultimately be one of the most lopsided trades in baseball history, going to Baltimore for pitchers Milt Pappas and Jack Baldschun and outfielder Dick Simpson.

Robinson became an instant hit with the Orioles in 1966 as the unanimous AL MVP and a Triple Crown winner.

On May 8, he became the only player ever to hit a home run completely out of Baltimore’s home park, Memorial Stadium. The drive came against Cleveland ace Luis Tiant and the spot where the ball sailed over the left-field wall was marked by a flag that read “HERE” that remained in place until the Orioles left for Camden Yards in 1991.

Robinson batted .316 with 49 home runs and 122 RBIs during his first season in Birdland. He then homered in the first inning of the 1966 World Series opener at Dodger Stadium and capped off the four-game sweep of Los Angeles with another homer off Don Drysdale in a 1-0 win in Game 4.

Robinson hit two home runs against Rose and the Reds to help win another crown for the Orioles in 1970.

All told, Robinson was an All-Star in five of his six seasons with Baltimore, reaching the World Series four times and batting .300 with 179 home runs. The cap on his Cooperstown plaque carries on O’s logo.

Pappas went 30-29 over two-plus seasons with the Reds, Baldschun won one game in 51 appearances over two years with Cincinnati and Simpson hit five home runs as a part-time outfielder for the Reds during two mediocre seasons.

Robinson was traded to the Dodgers before the 1972 season. He played for the California Angels in 1973 and was dealt to Cleveland late in the 1974 season.

His managerial debut came 28 years after Jackie Robinson broke the MLB color barrier as a player.

“Every time I put on this uniform, I think of Jackie Robinson,” Frank Robinson said as he began his new role.

Jackie Robinson’s widow, Rachel, and daughter Sharon paid tribute.

“Frank Robinson was a dear friend and realized one of Jack’s great hopes, becoming baseball’s first African-American manager. He was remarkable and made us all feel proud for his many contributions to baseball and to society,” they said together in a statement.

Robinson had coached for the Orioles and worked in their front office when he became their manager in 1988 after the team opened at 0-6. Things didn’t get much better right away as Baltimore went on to lose its first 21 games and finished 54-107. The next season, the O’s went 87-75 and Robinson was voted AL Manager of the Year.

Tough and demanding, he went 1,065-1,176 overall as a big league manager.

A no-nonsense guy, Robinson also had a sharp wit. That served him well in Baltimore where, in addition to being a star right fielder, he was the judge for the team’s Kangaroo Court, assessing playful fines for missing signs, uniform mishaps and other things he deemed as infractions.

At the time, the Orioles had a batboy named Jay Mazzone, whose hands were amputated when he was 2 after a burning accident. Mazzone capably did his job for years with metal hooks and became good friends with Robinson.

Some players, though, initially weren’t sure how to treat the teen.

“Frank Robinson broke the ice,” Mazzone said. “He was running his Kangaroo Court and calling a vote among the players, whether to fine somebody or not.”

“It was either thumbs up or thumbs down,” he recalled. “After the vote, he said, ‘Jay, you’re fined for not voting.’ Everybody laughed. After that, I was treated just like everybody else.”

Survivors include his wife, Barbara, and daughter Nichelle.

There was no immediate word on funeral arrangements. The family said in lieu of flowers, contributions in his Robinson’s memory could be made to the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee, or the National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, D.C.

___

AP Sports Writer Joe Kay and AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum contributed to this report.