April 8, 1975, the future Hall of Famer became the first black manager in MLB history when his Indians opened their season at home against the Yankees. Jackie Robinson's widow Rachel threw out the ceremonial first pitch in front of a crowd of 56,715. Frank was still on the active roster as a player, so he penciled himself into the starting lineup as the designated hitter, batting second behind Oscar Gamble. The 39-year-old brought the Cleveland fans to their feet by taking Doc Medich deep in the first inning for his 575th career home run. It was also his eighth career Opening Day homer, a record. With one swing of the bat, the Tribe led 1-0.
In the following half-inning, the Yankees jumped on Indians starter Gaylord Perry for three runs on four hits, with Chris Chambliss' two-run double serving as the big blow. But the wily veteran clamped down and shut out the visitors over the final seven innings, and the Cleveland batters battled back with a big contribution from another prominent former Oriole. 33-year-old Boog Powell, acquired from the O's in a trade two months earlier, slugged a solo home run in the fourth inning (#304 of his career) to tie the game at 3-3. Two innings later, he drove in George Hendrick with a double to put the Indians on top 4-3. Boog eventually scored on a Jack Brohamer single to make it 5-3, and that would be the final. Frank Robinson began his managerial career with an exciting win.