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Frank Robinson open to being honored at Nationals Park

By Adam Kilgore

There are tributes at Nationals Park to Montreal Expos, to Washington Senators, to Homestead Grays. There is still nothing to signify one of the most important people in the history of the current franchise in Washington, one of the most legendary figures in baseball history: Frank Robinson, a Hall of Fame player and the Nationals' first -- and, based on won-loss record, most successful -- manager.

The lack of recognition for Robinson seems closer than ever to changing. Asked today if he would be more amenable to coming to Nationals Park for a Frank Robinson Day or a similar ceremony with Stan Kasten no longer working for the team, Robinson answered in the affirmative.

"Yes, sir," said Robinson, who is in Orlando for the GM Meetings in his official capacity with the commissioner's office. "Yes I would, very much so. I would be honored if they would be willing to have me back."

Robinson held animosity toward the Nationals over the way his dismissal was handled at the end of the 2006 season. Those feelings had already begun to thaw, and with Kasten leaving, the Nationals have an entirely different front office from when Robinson last wore a major league uniform.

Even in early May, when Robinson made his first trip to Nationals Park, Robinson had started feeling better about his relationship with the Nationals.

"I just felt I was not treated the right way leaving here -- not being fired, but not treated the right way here. I was upset about it, bitter about it. But over the few years that have passed now, that's gone. I have no animosity toward the Nationals. It's going to be a good organization. A very good organization. I hold no grudges."

By Adam Kilgore  | November 16, 2010; 2:35 PM ET
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Hope I can be there to honor Frank! Well deserved.

Posted by: poncedeleroy | November 16, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

I hope they don't honor Frank for having managed the club for a couple of years of 5th place finishes. Come on. Frank is among the greats of all time; a great among greats in the HOF. He did get jobbed by the Nats, but he does not deserve charity as being some pillar of the franchise or hero of Nats' yore. Becasue he is not. What's next, Manny Acta Day?

Posted by: dfh21 | November 16, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Agreed, let him be honored where he played. All Washington was under Robinson was first in war, first in peace, last in the National League. He received honors he deserved as a player, and even by being the first black manager, at Cleveland. This stay was not worthy of note.

Posted by: Nemo24601 | November 16, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Frank was not only a manager but had duties for the team when it was an orphan of MLB. This is not a charity offering to him.

Posted by: poncedeleroy | November 16, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I'd rather a Robinson day then a Youpii bobblehead day. Every day needs a promotion, don't they?

Posted by: SCNatsFan | November 16, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Well, Frank managed two seasons. The first season he produced a .500 season. The second was not as good, but still better than the Nats have been able to do in recent years.

Of course, Frank had the advantage of working under all the MLB owners as a group. While they treated the Nats shabbily, they were more generous in many ways to the club than the current owners have been. I am thinking of the approval of the Soriano trade as an example. Lerner has never approved a trade for a guy making anywhere near that salary.

Posted by: EdDC | November 16, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Frank's main problem here was that he was not submissive enough to the front office. Since then, the Nats have hired managers who are just happy to have a big league managing job, who get paid next to nothing, and who don't rock the boat. Frank didn't mind rocking any boat around.

Posted by: EdDC | November 16, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Frank Robinson should be added to that so-called Ring of Honor at Nationals Park as a representative of the current Nationals. But before that, Frank Howard needs to be added as a representative of the 1960s expansion Washington Senators. There is no reason whatsoever that these two teams should be excluded from this honor when room can be found in it for two guys who never played even a single minute in Washington.

Posted by: FeelWood | November 16, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Nice gesture that you could say amounts to an apology for the shabby way he was disposed of. Still pretty sad that this franchise has to stoop to honoring one of the most famous and accomplished players to suit up for its prime rival. It's like the Dodgers having a day for Mickey Mantle or Joe Dimaggio.

Posted by: Fairfax6 | November 16, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Frank Robinson simply does not need any honors from a club he had a few years worth of connection to, comprising a midling mangerial run and an awkward front office stint. Let Cincy and Baltimore have their hero, his glory is there and in Cleveland where he broke in as a historic manager. Let's leave his legacy where it lies.

Posted by: dfh21 | November 16, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Frank is among the greatest figures in the history of the game. Any franchise with which he was associated should celebrate the connection.

Posted by: icefandc | November 16, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

I am intrigued that Atlanta traded for Dan Uggla and got him at a pretty low price. My first thought is that Rizzo did not really want Uggla over Espinosa, or that he is still hoping for Dunn, and doesn't want poor defense on the right side of the infield.

I would be just as happy if he is working on something bigger that would require trading people that Florida would have wanted for Uggla. I am also happy to see Florida weakened, even if Atlanta is strengthened. The Nats have to claw their way up one position at a time. They may not catch Atlanta or the Phillies next year, but I want to go into February thinking they have a real chance to catch Florida and the Mets.


Posted by: kevincostello | November 16, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

StunK blew Frank off the spring after he got fired - said he was going to have a day, and then hey - it never happened. Frank should still be managing the team today. Or at least be GM. Or something. Anything

Posted by: Brue | November 16, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

KC -- I think that the Fish and the Braves are way ahead of the Nats at this point. The Braves just added a monster bat and they are not likely done (one of the slugging 1B's will end up in Atlanta). And they already have great arms.

Right now, and I realize it is ealry, the Nats are looking at 5th place yet again.

The Phils and Braves are elite. The Fish out-pitch the Nats by a ton, they are going to add Buck at C, Infante is a nice piece for them (high BA, solid speed and D guy); they have Hanley Ramirez, Mike Stanton and Gaby Sanchez as a core and they will likely try to land a slugging 3B (there are several out there to be moved or inked -- Reynolds, Encarnacion, Kouzmanoff, Beltre). All the Mets need to do to be better than the Nats is to heal-up some and that is happening and they will not stand pat (not to mention they have the brainiest front office in basbeall right now, which is likely to help).

It is go time for Rizzo and company. The Division is improving, Phils, Marlins, Braves have all made moves or signings, the Mets settled with K-Rod - and the action in Nats Town? (crickets)

Posted by: dfh21 | November 16, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

StanK was a jackass for treating F.Robby the way he did then he went on the John Thompson show after the firing and proclaimed "i am not a racist" before Thompson or Al Koken had a chance to ask him any question's about anything let alone the firing i've had little respect for StanK and to think their's been talk about him being appointed commisioner of MLB(you've got to be kidding!). I'll fly into town for that day Frank has alway's been one of my favorite players and yes he deserves the honor anybody that watched the 05 Nats that season knows that Frank was key to them winning and finishing at .500.

Posted by: dargregmag | November 16, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

"StunK blew Frank off the spring after he got fired - said he was going to have a day, and then hey - it never happened."

The Frank Robinson Day in 2007 never happened because Frank Robinson didn't want it to happen. The Nats offered to do it, Robinson turned them down.

Posted by: nunof1 | November 16, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

I would like the Nationals to honor Frank Robinson and I would like very much to be there. I think Frank managed very well given the talent he had to work with. He is important to baseball, important to the Nationals, and important to me. One of the greatest stars to ever play the game, and one of the most interesting managers in the last twenty years.

Honor him with a day, retire his number, put his name on the ring of fame, give him a bobble head, and hire him for the broadcast booth.

Posted by: natbiscuits | November 16, 2010 7:51 PM | Report abuse

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