Klingaman: 50 years ago, Frank Robinson’s search for housing in Baltimore ‘opened doors’ for others

From Mike Klingaman at the Baltimore Sun on January 22, 2016, with mention of SABR member Bob Luke:

In the first few weeks he wore an Orioles uniform, Frank Robinson threatened to leave the team because his family couldn’t find a place to live in the segregated Baltimore of 1966. Everyone knows Robinson went on to win the Triple Crown and lead the Orioles to their first world championship that year.

But this more trying chapter of his most famous season has seldom been told in the 50 years since.

Dealt to the Orioles in the offseason, Robinson had sought housing in January 1966, to no avail. Several times, the slugging outfielder was rejected because of race. In February, the Orioles began spring training in Florida and Robinson turned the search over to his wife, Barbara. One day she phoned him in disgust.

“She said nothing was ‘available’ and that she wanted to take our two kids back to California, where we had family,” Robinson said. “I told her, ‘You stay there and I’ll be right up.’ I told [team owner] Jerry Hoffberger I was leaving camp because my family couldn’t find housing in Baltimore. He said, ‘Give me a couple of days and I’ll get this thing settled.'”

Read the full article here: http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/orioles/bs-sp-frank-robinson-housing-0124-20160122-story.html

Originally published: January 25, 2016. Last Updated: January 25, 2016.