Thursday, January 25, 2007
ESPN announced yesterday that it has hired former Washington Nationals manager Frank Robinson as an analyst during spring training and the first two weeks of the season, part of the cable network's efforts to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson becoming the first African American to play in the majors.
Frank Robinson, who found out earlier this month that the Nationals would not offer him a paying job, enjoyed a Hall of Fame career as a player before he became the sport's first black manager in 1975. He did not return a phone call seeking comment on his post yesterday.
"He lived through the segregated society, was directly impacted by Jackie's heroism and was inspired to continue Jackie's legacy by breaking the manager barrier," ESPN coordinating producer Dave Roberts said in a statement. "Our fans will benefit from Frank's insight, anecdotes and history."
ESPN said it would use Robinson, 71, as an in-studio analyst on several of its shows, including "SportsCenter," "Baseball Tonight" and "Cold Pizza" as well as on the ESPN News network. Robinson also will appear on some spring training game broadcasts and have roles on the radio and the network's Web site. His participation will end with Jackie Robinson Day, April 15 -- the anniversary of Jackie Robinson's debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
-- Barry Svrluga