A Historic Day for Baseball and, in a small way, for the Mariners
Forty years ago today, April 8, 1975, Frank Robinson made his debut as the first African-American manager in Major League Baseball history.
Robinson had been traded to the Indians in September of 1974, and in 1975 he took over as a Player/Manager.
Robinson managed his first game on April 8, at home versus the visiting New York Yankees. Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn was on hand, Rachel Robinson, the widow of Jackie Robinson, threw out the first pitch and over 56,000 fans and a hoard of national media were present to witness the historic game.
Also on hand was Mariners Sr. Vice President of Communications Randy Adamack.
For Randy, April 8, 1975, marked his first game as the Public Relations Director for the Indians.
Randy was responsible for working with the media that flocked to cover the Indians and the historic story of Robinson managing beginning during spring training (in Tucson, Arizona) and continuing through Opening Day and the 1975 season.
Robinson batted himself second in the first game, and he homered on an 0-2 count in the first inning, drilling a Doc Medich pitch over the left-field wall. Accounts of the day describe “the crowd going nuts.”
“I was screaming along with everyone else in the dugout when he hit the ball,” said Boog Powell, who was on his way to a Comeback Player of the Year season for the Indians, after the game.
The Indians won 5-3, their first victory on a year that would see them improve to a 79-80 mark. (The next season the Indians were 81-78, their first above-.500 finish since 1968.).
The winning pitcher that day was Gaylord Perry, who tossed a complete game, allowing 3 runs on 9 hits vs. New York.
Perry, of course, would win the 300th game of his career on May 6, 1982, for the Mariners in the Kingdome, also against the Yankees, and also a complete game in which he allowed 3 runs on 9 hits.
The Director of Public Relations for Gaylord in 1982 was the same as in Cleveland on April 8, 1975.
Randy Adamack started with Seattle as PR Director in 1978 and has remained with the club since. First as PR Director (1978-82), then Director of Marketing (1983-86), then Sr. Director of Communications (1987-Aug. 1990), VP of Communications (Sept. 1990-2012) and his current position of Sr. VP of Communications since January of 2013.