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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Happy Birthday Frank

According to my Page-A-Day e-calendar that is delivered to my inbox every morning, one of my favorite sports figures ever has a birthday today.

Happy 75th, Frank Robinson. I bow to your overall greatness.

Yeah, I agree, the time was right to make a change when the Nationals made it - thought with the way things worked out maybe they should have left well enough alone. As expected given that JimBow was still in charge, that change was handled poorly. Frank deserved a lot better.

Even though he played for the hated Orioles, I loved watching Robinson play baseball. The man had some skills.

Say what you will about him as a manager, he will forever be responsible for one of the Nats greatest moments. When you rank your top five, don't forget the night he offered to replace several of Mike Scioscia's body parts.

One of my best afternoons as a sports writer came many years ago, when a relatively young Frank Robinson visited Richmond as part of some sort of promotional tour. I can't even remember what he was doing at the time - managing someone somewhere, I think. The local newspaper for retired people sent me out to do a story on a freelance basis.

I introduced myself, told him what I was doing and he gave me that Frank stare and said, "So what the hell do you want to talk to me for then? Do I LOOK retired? Do I act retired?"

Uh, no, but I think that's the point.

He laughed, patted me on the shoulder and we sat down and talked for about an hour. Speaking of top fives, I'd put it in my top five interviews of all time. He was very open, very frank (or Frank, pun intended).

He closed with, "Trust me, son, people my age aren't old. I have lots of life left, lots of things to do."

He's gone through his 60s since then and halfway through his 70s and you can darn sure say he was telling the truth.

I wish he was more involved with the Nationals. Not sure in what capacity he'd fit, but if Mike Rizzo can hire 97 assistants surely the Nats could have found some spot for him.

He's 75 now but trust me, he's still not old.

Happy Birthday Frank. Here's hoping you're good for about 50 more.


softball girl said...

Gotta change that poll Mike. It makes me sad every time I see it.

MikeHarris said...

Yeah, I'm going to get it out of there tomorrow. Odd thing is, I've received more votes since the news.

Does the Strasburg news make you want to swallow cyanide? Something along those lines.

Would you sacrifice 10 years off your life to make the injury go away?

I'll come up with something.

George Templeton said...

I wouldn't love baseball without two teams that Frank Robinson managed. The 1989 Orioles and the 2005 Nationals! Happy birthday to one of baseball's finest men!

Anonymous said...

Well, it's not as if Robinson is unemployed right now. He has a gig in the commissioner's office.

But the Nats do need to get him up on that Ring of Honor soon. Like the day before yesterday.