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Sports

The Sports Report: Frank Robinson was one of the greatest ever

Frank Robinson
Frank Robinson in 1967.
(AP)

Howdy everyone, and welcome to the Friday edition of the Los Angeles Times daily sports newsletter. My name is Houston Mitchell and I’m your host for the festivities. Subscribe to this newsletter by clicking here.

Let’s get to it.

MLB

One of the greatest players in baseball history, Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, died Thursday at age 83.

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It is impossible to talk about a player of Robinson’s stature in a newsletter item, but here are some items of note about Robinson:

--Only player to win an MVP award in each league (Cincinnati in 1961, Baltimore in 1966).

--Won Triple Crown in 1966 with Baltimore when he led AL with a .316 average, 49 homers and 122 RBIs

--Won Rookie of the Year award with Cincinnati in 1956.

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--Hit 30-or-more homers in a season 11 times.

--14-time All-Star

--Member of two World Series champion teams (Baltimore in 1966 and 1970).

--Was named the 1966 World Series MVP.

--Retired after the 1976 season with 586 homers, fourth-highest at the time (still 10th-highest).

--Elected to the Hall of Fame in 1982 after being named on 89.2% of ballots.

--First African American manager in the majors (Cleveland in 1975).

--Won 1989 AL manager of the year award with Baltimore.

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--Played on the McClymonds High (in Oakland) basketball team as future Celtics great Bill Russell.

And that just scratches the surface.

“Frank Robinson and I were more than baseball buddies — we were friends,” Henry Aaron, 85, said Thursday. “Frank was a hard-nosed baseball player who did things on the field that people said could never be done. I’m so glad I had the chance to know him all of those years. Baseball will miss a tremendous human being.”

“Frank Robinson’s resume in our game is without parallel, a trailblazer in every sense, whose impact spanned generations,” Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “He was one of the greatest players in the history of our game, but that was just the beginning of a multifaceted baseball career.”

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Also passing away this week was Don Johnson, a UCLA basketball All-American under coach John Wooden who went on to become one of the winningest coaches in California community college history at Cypress College. He was 88.

Johnson led the Bruins to the 1951 Pacific Coast Conference Southern Division title and the 1952 PCC championship, leading the team in rebounding both seasons.

Lakers

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The Lakers ended up not acquiring Anthony Davis, but general manager LeBron James, I mean, Magic Johnson, did make a deal before Thursday’s deadline, getting 6-11 forward Mike Muscala from the Clippers for forward Michael Beasley and center Ivica Zubac.

The move opens a roster spot that the Lakers might use to sign Carmelo Anthony, a friend of LeBron’s.

So, good news if you are a Lakers fan and a friend of LeBron’s: That puts you right in line to play for the team.

Meanwhile, worries about team dissension took a back seat for one game at least when Rajon Rondo made the game-winning shot to lift the Lakers over the Boston Celtics, 129-128.

Times columnist Dylan Hernandez points out that James isn’t quite the drawing card for other talent that the Lakers expected.

Clippers

Bojan Bogdanovic had 29 points and seven rebounds to lead the Indiana Pacers to a 116-92 victory over the short-handed Clippers.

They were short-handed because he Clippers executed a flurry of moves leading up to Thursday’s trade deadline that, the team believes, leave their roster younger and more flexible both for the end of this season and ahead of a critical offseason.

NBA

Here’s a look at the non-Lakers and Clippers related trade deadline deals:

On the move Thursday

Marc Gasol, C, Memphis traded to Toronto for C Jonas Valanciunias, G CJ Miles and F Delon Wright.

James Ennis, F, Houston traded to Philadelphia for draft considerations.

Markele Fultz, G, Philadelphia traded to Orlando for G Jonathan Simmons and a 2020 first-round draft pick. The 76ers get a second-round pick.

Shelvin Mack, G, Memphis traded to Atlanta for G Tyler Dorsey.

Nikola Mirotic, F, New Orleans traded to Milwaukee as part of a three-team deal that sends the Milwaukee C Jason Smith and F Stanley Johnson to New Orleans.

Nick Stauskas, F, and Wade Baldwin IV, G, Houston traded to Indiana for unknown compensation. Stauskas and Baldwin have gone from Portland, to Cleveland to Houston already this week.

Caleb Swanigan, F, Portland traded to Sacramento for F Skal Labissiere.

On the move Wednesday

Ryan Anderson, F, Phoenix traded to Miami for G Tyler Johnson and G Wayne Ellington.

Harrison Barnes, F, Dallas traded to Sacramento for F Justin Jackson and F Zach Randolph.

Stanley Johnson, F, Detroit traded to Milwaukee for C Thon Maker.

Otto Porter Jr., F, Washington traded to Chicago for F Jabari Parker and F Bobby Portis.

Iman Shumpert, G, Sacramento traded to Houston as part of a three-team trade that includes G Brandon Knight and F Marquese Chriss going to Cleveland and G Alec Burks being sent to Sacramento.

Dodgers

The Philadelphia Phillies acquired catcher J.T. Realmuto from the Miami Marlins for catcher Jorge Alfaro, two promising pitching prospects and international bonus pool money.

The Dodgers were rumored to be in the hunt for a catcher, but now it looks like they will open the season with Russell Martin and Austin Barnes as their backstops.

There will be more on this in Monday’s Dodgers newsletter.

Kings

Austin Wagner and Adrian Kempe scored during regulation as the Kings defeated the Philadelphia Flyers, 3-2.

Ducks

Anders Nilsson stopped 45 shots for his first shutout of the season as the Ottawa Senators beat the Ducks, 4-0. The Ducks have lost six straight and are 2-14-4 since Dec. 17. Thursday’s game was the fourth of a five-game trip that ends Saturday in Philadelphia.

Figure skating

Bradie Tennell is in the lead after the first half of the women’s competition at the Four Continents championships. She scored 73.91 points on her short program. Kaori Sakamoto, the Japanese champion and defending Four Continents champion, is second with 73.36 points. American Mariah Bell was third with 70.02 points.

The men’s short program was Thursday night, ending just after this newsletter was written.

Best sports movies

As we continue our runup to the Oscars by having Times readers pick the best sports movie of all time, we move on to baseball. You have chosen the best football and basketball movies, and we have received over 30,000 ballots, so make sure your vote counts by clicking here or emailing me here. This time, we will have you pick your top seven baseball movies of all time.

This date in sports history

1935: The Philadelphia Eagles use the first pick of the first NFL draft to select Jay Berwanger of the University of Chicago. Berwanger never plays in the NFL.

1972: Josh Gibson and Buck Leonard are elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

1982: The Dodgers trade Davey Lopes to the Oakland A’s to minor leaguer Lance Hudson, breaking up the longest-running infield in baseball history.

1986: Spud Webb (5 feet 7) with the NBA Slam Dunk contest.

Notable births on this date

1960: NHL star Dino Ciccarelli

1960: Figure skater Linda Fratianne

1970: NBA star Alonzo Mourning

Notable deaths on this date

1956: Longtime manager and Baseball Hall of Famer Connie Mack, 93.

And finally

That concludes the newsletter for today. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, please email me here. If you want to subscribe, click here.


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