20 Days – Frank Robinson

Frank Robinson

You probably already know that on April 8, 1975, Frank Robinson, presently Major League Baseball’s executive vice president of baseball development, became baseball’s first black manager. It was a moment that another Robinson, Jackie, the first black MLB player, always wanted to see, but it came nearly three years after the latter’s passing. Frank Robinson was player-manager for the Indians that day in a 5-3 victory over the Yankees, in front of 56,715 at Municipal Stadium.

Frank Robinson

Frank Robinson, executive vice president of baseball development for Major League Baseball

But did you know this: Robinson homered in his first at-bat of that game, a solo shot off Doc Medich in the first. It was a 2-2 fastball low and away. He tipped his cap reaching the plate, saying later that was for his wife, who was seated with their son and daughter.

“Any home run is a thrill, but I’ve got to admit, this one was a bigger thrill,” Robinson said of what was then his 575th of 586 career homers. He would play one more season after that one.

Of course, there were many more memorable Opening Day moments for Robinson, having won Most Valuable Players awards in both leagues, first with Cincinnati and then with Baltimore. He calls it nearly impossible to choose one favorite hit out of his 2,943 career hits, but here is one story he told me. It happened for Cincinnati in 1956:

“My first one. My first hit in the big leagues. Double off the center-field wall against the St. Louis Cardinals, playing against Stan Musial. It was exciting for me. Opening Day. Never forget the first one. You always remember the first one. You always hope a lot more are going to come after that, but you’re not sure.”

I asked who was pitching, and he said, “Vinegar Bend Mizell. Told you, you’ll never forget it. He became a Congressman later.”

The Opening Day Countdown Down Under blog would be remiss without mentioning greats like Mike SchmidtLou Brock and Don Sutton here, and let’s not forget a moment at Arizona in 2001 when a batter and catcher were together in a Game 7 moment of history, both wearing No. 20, and their names were Luis Gonzalez and Jorge Posada. Frank White . . . Kevin Youkilis . . . the memories of seasons past are rich, and we prepare to welcome a new one starting March 22 in Sydney. MLB Schedule | Tickets

Who should be No. 19?


  1. dawn duncan

    I’m a huge needs fan since my GPA was a maintance supervisor named Moorland Lawrence at the OLD REDS stadium base ball PARC in the 80s… Since hi an passing we’ve got a new GABP that myself dawn Duncan promise my nieces an nephews to carry a tradition papa is to do an that’s opening day at THE stadium… start in approx. 7 years ago I camped out 9 days I believe on fountain square Cincinnati Ohio. Year #2, I was 7 months pregnant an camped out for think 8 days and that year I got a personalized nursery just made my whole year that it did.. now my little nephew troy camps out with me year #2 for him this year….here is our problem SHERRY STRUNK HAS ALSO CAMPED OUT WHO HAS BEEN FIRST SEVERAL SEVERAL TIMES….MY COMPLAINT: I WAS TOLD TO LEAVE LAST YEAR AS I WAITED ALONE TO START A LINE TO CAMPOUT, I WAS ASKED TO LEAVE AN NOT RETURN TILL 24 HOURS BEFORE TIX SALES…..MY NEPHEW TROY BOY IS 8 YEARS AN I WANT TO TEACH him to follow all rules but at the same time sherry was hiding behind the pillars an never was seen or told to leave an she did not leave… and this of course left being first, its been 2+ years since we’ve have been number 1 for this reason I don’t want to ever be told can not campout for not following directions. I want to be positive an good role model for my n&n’s …I’m trying to teach morals an values to my n&n’s at the sometimes this is a tradition I want to continue to carry on In memory of (my pawpaw) Todd Moreland Lawrence’s name an memory..any idea of ticket sales for opening day??? We have our own 4 year old Dakota Dawn who has been involved since in mommy belly (8/15/09)!! We love our REDS an save all of uncle Andy’s “yearly bonuses” for the year to go to reds games with kids its very important for myself to start an carry out my pawpaw Todd’s tradition…. I know the game is March 31st have already told teacher won’t be in school that day an just found out its group picture day for Dakotas Pre k class…tough choice to make but i’m sure will miss it for our national holiday CINCINNATI REDS OPENING DAY of events!!! For these kids the parade an game is THE one thing we do every year, wouldn’t miss it, even campingn out pregnant at 17° (being the coldest while we have , camped out for tickets was like 9days )we made the paper an news each year and was an continues to be a blast……my nieces (3 of them) an only nephew Troyboy (9 yrs old) is so excited an lil Bella (7) is more excited to join the tent this year its going to be her 1st year!!! There is a lot of construction going downtown Cincinnati on an not sure how that will effect the camp out its at GABP also because can’t use fountain square any more due to the tea party incendent (we have no control of).. We keep track normally being 2 week before game day tickets go on sale for opening. day…My nephew said to me “aunt dawn we have to be number 1 this year so I can tell my class an mom an dad we done it!!! ( my mother raises him)we’ve just found out after his father had a. heart attact he needs double heart valve replacement we were told at the beginning of Feb being 31yrs old on life support this lil boy has no clue an how bad shape his dad is in..his parents live In Texas …All I can try to do keep him busy like I have been, not to mention my mother has breast cancer again that these kids dont know about… I just want this to be THE best year for I praythe worst dont happen but we have some serious health issues troy dont know…. So nothing better than to be number 1 an keep him busy with a good thing to remember this year in event god forbid something happens to my mother (his GMA) or his father because we dont have the $6000 needed for him to even do the surgery!!! So I would love to be prepared an just waiting for the go ahead for ticket sales our tent blankets an hand warmers are ready an in truck for the word…. were guessing around st patty’s day parade would be time but not sure….ANY INFO WE WOULD GREATLY APPRECIATE FOR SURE !!! THANKS FROM DAWN DUNCAN AN HER LITTLE REDS FAN CLUB!!!!

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