Hall of Famer Frank Robinson threw out the ceremonial first pitch of Game 3 of the National League Division Series. Donning his trademark No. 20 jersey, Robinson threw a strike to Ian Desmond, much to delight of the soldout crowd at Nationals Park.
“It was very delightful and quite an honor,” Robinson said. “I enjoyed doing it. I thank the Lerner family for asking me to do it.”
Robinson was able to wear his No. 20 jersey, the same number that Desmond switched to this season in honor of the Hall of Fame outfielder and former manager. Robinson joked that wearing the jersey didn’t feel the same as when he was playing.
“Not as good as it was before, but it was good,” Robinson said. “I thanked Mr. Desmond for letting me put it on for a few seconds.”
When Robinson was informed that Desmond changed his jersey from No. 6 to No. 20, he said it was an honor.
“That is very nice of him to say that. He has worn it well and I wish him good luck with it for the future,” Robinson said.
Robinson reflected on baseball coming back to Washington, D.C., in 2005 and how well he was received at Nationals Park.
“The fans have always been nice since we got back here,” Robinson said. “That is one of the reasons why it was so nice being here, playing here and managing here, because the fans are really great. They were excited today, sure. It was nice to hear them say the nice things they had to say. I wish them well. They deserve it what has happened here today.”
Robinson also remembered his playing days in Baltimore alongside current Nationals manager Davey Johnson and what he was like on the field as a player under Orioles manager Earl Weaver.
“Davey has had success wherever he has been, that is no surprise,” Robinson said. “He was a good heady hitter and a good heady player. And he was a thinker. If Earl would hold still long enough, he would tell Earl how to do things, but Earl wasn’t having too much of it.
“But Davey was a real thinker. Sometimes he would think too much, and that is where he got the name, ‘Dum-Dum.’ Because he would get four hits and he would be out working on his hitting the next day and think himself into an 0-fer. He was a good teammate and a good player. He knew the game. And he played it well.”
Robinson said he always trusted that baseball would be a success in D.C. and felt from the outset of his time here the team could succeed.
“It was exciting times when we came here,” Robinson reflected. “The two years we spent here, especially the first half of the first year, it was great. And it was good for the fans, because people were saying baseball wouldn’t go here with the Orioles just down the way. I told them they were wrong from the beginning. I said these are great baseball fans here and you put a good product out there, they will come out and root for the team. It is great to see this and it is well deserved.”