During his time as manager of the Washington Nationals, Frank Robinson has greeted President Bush at RFK Stadium and dined as the president's guest at the White House. Today, he will be Bush's guest at a ceremony in which he will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civil award.
"It's an honor, no question," Robinson said this week.
Robinson will join a wide-ranging list of recipients -- from boxing great Muhammad Ali to outgoing Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan -- in receiving the award today. He is being honored in part for being baseball's first black manager, a role he assumed when he took over the Cleveland Indians in 1975. Robinson has since served managerial stints in San Francisco, Baltimore and Montreal before coming with the Expos franchise to Washington. He managed the Nationals to an 81-81 record and last place in the National League East in 2005, the team's first season in the District.
In announcing that Robinson would receive the honor, the White House called him "one of the greatest baseball players ever."
Joining Robinson today at the White House to receive the medal will be Ali; Greenspan; Gen. Richard Myers, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Paul Rusesabagina, who provided shelter to people during the Rwandan genocide in 1994; entertainers Carol Burnett, Andy Griffith and Aretha Franklin; software designers Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn; golfer Jack Nicklaus; and former congressman Sonny Montgomery.
-- Barry Svrluga