But it was on the diamond, rather than court, where fame awaited Robinson.
Robinson would go on to be a productive hitter well into his late thirties.
When he arrived in Baltimore, Robinson and his family struggled to find housing in the city, with many landlords refusing black tenants.
Robinson played the game with grace, yet was known as fierce competitor who combined hard work with natural talent. He famously crowded the plate and led the league in being hit by pitches seven times.
"They said this was the chance for you to break that barrier", Robinson told Outside the Lines in 2016.
I've had the privilege of traveling the world for more than two decades. "I wouldn't let that pitcher get me out".
Stylist James Lewis, who trimmed Sherman's hair and mustache while he talked, said he remembered Robinson once buying beers for a crowd of Reds fans after a big win. "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.
Robinson carried a similar philosophy as a baserunner, unapologetically sliding spikes high whenever necessary. This is why I have always respected the game and tried to get others to appreciate and respect this game. Yet, here he is, dissecting a day nearly 13 years ago, an afternoon contest with the Astros at RFK Stadium that was one of the most memorable managerial moments of Frank Robinson's career. But by 1965, despite hitting 33 home runs and driving in 113 runs, Red's management considered him old and expendable.
He was the first player to win MVP awards in both leagues and the first African-American manager in MLB.
It was a proclamation from baseball royalty, words backed up by deeds that built statues and brought honors to one of the greatest players the game of baseball has ever seen.
He made the All-Star team 12 times won and is the only player to win the MVP award in each league.
Robinson finished his playing career among all-time leaders in multiple offensive categories including home runs (586), RBIs (1,812), runs scored (1,829) and walks (1,420). 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.
In 1956, Robinson won Rookie of the Year in Cincinnati and later won his first MVP award in 1961.
Gary Sherman spent his childhood imitating Frank Robinson, he said Thursday night.