Frank Robinson, one of baseball’s all-time greatest players and the first manager in Washington Nationals history, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the first ever playoff game at Nationals Park. The honor, which a person familiar with the situation confirmed, will be the Nationals’ first formal honoring of Robinson since they chose not to retain him following the 2006 season.
This week, the Nationals extended the invitation to Robinson, now an official with the commissioner’s office. The Nationals had offered him other chances to return, and he always declined. This time, he accepted.
Robinson, 77, managed the Nationals to an 81-81 record in 2005, the legendary, tough leader of a team that captured Washington. After he went 71-91 in 2006, the Nationals, no longer owned by MLB, replaced him with Manny Acta, which led to an acrimonious departure.
Robinson has come to back to Nationals Park in an official capacity, but never to be recognized for his contribution to the Nationals. He still has many connections to his team. He managed Ryan Zimmerman in his rookie season. He played from 1966 to 1971 with Manager Davey Johnson on the Orioles. This spring, Ian Desmond switched his uniform to No. 20 to honor Robinson.
Robinson’s involvement was first reported by MLB.com.