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Robinson in trio named to Cactus League HOF

First African-American manager to be honored, along with Perry, Uecker
MLB.com @boomskie

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Frank Robinson has been named to the Cactus League Hall of Fame. He will be honored next month, along with pitcher Gaylord Perry and Brewers announcer Bob Uecker.

Robinson and Perry are already members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and Uecker is a Ford C. Frick Award winner for his lifetime contributions to baseball announcing.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Frank Robinson has been named to the Cactus League Hall of Fame. He will be honored next month, along with pitcher Gaylord Perry and Brewers announcer Bob Uecker.

Robinson and Perry are already members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and Uecker is a Ford C. Frick Award winner for his lifetime contributions to baseball announcing.

The fifth Cactus League induction is slated for the Cactus League's annual luncheon on Feb. 20.

Robinson told MLB.com that he's honored and is trying to arrange his schedule to be there. Perry has pledged to attend. And Uecker, a renowned humorist, is a possibility to be on hand to make one of his self-deprecating and funny speeches.

Robinson was specifically named to the honor for his role as the first African-American manager in Major League Baseball history. Robinson took over the Cleveland Indians in 1975.

The Indians, at the time, trained during the spring at Hi Corbett Field in Tucson, Ariz. Robinson reprised that role as the first African-American manager in National League history in 1981 with the San Francisco Giants, who trained in Phoenix and later moved to Scottsdale.

Thus, the Cactus League connection.

"I wanted to further the cause for African-Americans and minorities in baseball," Robinson said about taking on the role of player-manager for the Indians in 1975. "I wanted to be a manager one day. I didn't want to be a player-manager."

Robinson remained as a player-manager in 1975-76 and had only 285 at-bats. He has said in the past that because of the dual roles, he fell short of 3,000 hits by 57 and 600 home runs by 14.

In 2017, the Cactus League Hall of Fame inducted Willie Mays, Ernie Banks, Monte Irvin and Larry Doby on the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson and Doby breaking the color barrier in Major League Baseball in 1947. All four played in the Cactus League.

Mays, the only living member of that quartet, attended the luncheon and had a great time interacting with the fans gathered that day.

The goal of the Cactus League Hall of Fame is to honor "those who played a key role in the growth and development of Major League Spring Training baseball in Arizona as well as a select group of players who helped to solidify the league's reputation as a premier showcase of Major League baseball talent and contribute to the league's legend and culture."

Frank Robinson, now 82, is a national treasure and highly historic figure in baseball history.

Robinson is the lone player to win the Most Valuable Player Award in both leagues -- in 1961 with the Reds and in '66 with the Orioles. He also was World Series MVP in '66 when the Orioles swept the Dodgers and All-Star Game MVP in '71.

As a manager, Robinson headed four clubs: the Indians, Giants, Orioles and Expos/Nationals, winning 1,065 games in 16 seasons, the last one for Washington in 2006. He was named American League Manager of the Year in 1989 for taking the Orioles from 101 losses in '88 to 87 wins and a second-place finish in the AL East the following season.

Video: KC@CLE: Indians honor Frank Robinson in Cleveland

Robinson is currently MLB's executive vice president of baseball development and the honorary president of the AL. As a senior advisor to Commissioner Rob Manfred, Robinson assists on matters regarding on-field activities.

He was inducted in Cooperstown, N.Y., in 1982 -- his first time on the ballot -- with 89.2 percent of the vote.

Perry won 314 games and completed 160 of them playing 22 seasons for eight teams, including the Giants, Padres, Indians and Mariners, who all train in the Cactus League.

Perry was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1992 with 77.2 percent. It was his third time on the ballot.

Uecker won the Frick Award in 2003, the year Eddie Murray and the late Gary Carter were inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The longtime announcer got big laughs during his induction speech behind the Clark Sports Center, particularly about his career as a .200-hitting catcher.

While playing for the Phillies, Uecker said manager Gene Mauch once told him to "grab a bat and stop this rally or send me up there without a bat and try for a walk."

"I'd look down to the third-base coach for a sign and have him turn his back on you," Uecker said. "But you know what? Things like that never bothered me. I've set records that will never be equaled. Ninety percent I hope are never printed."

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter.