November 1, 2014

Frank Howard throws out ceremonial first pitch

Frank (“Hondo”) Howard, the former Washington Senators/Texas Rangers slugger, threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Washington Nationals Third Baseman Ryan Zimmerman before the NLDS Game Four against St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday, October 11, 2012.

Frank Howard threw out the ceremonial first pitch – NLDS Game 4: St. Louis Cardinals v. Washington Nationals, October 11, 2012 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Frank Howard threw out the ceremonial first pitch – NLDS Game 4: St. Louis Cardinals v. Washington Nationals, October 11, 2012 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Ryan Zimmerman caught the ball from Frank Howard’s ceremonial first pitch – NLDS Game 4: St. Louis Cardinals v. Washington Nationals, October 11, 2012 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Frank Howard chats with Nats Manager Davey Johnson before throwing out ceremonial first pitch – NLDS Game 4: St. Louis Cardinals v. Washington Nationals, October 11, 2012 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Ryan Zimmerman and Frank Howard catching up – NLDS Game 4: St. Louis Cardinals v. Washington Nationals, October 11, 2012 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Cheryl Nichols is a Columnist and Photographer for District Sports Page. She is credentialed to cover the Washington Capitals and has reported on the community service and fan events for Nats News Network and Caps News Network since 2006. Cheryl is an accomplished action photographer and has been published in The Washington Post and many other local media. She was a credentialed photographer for the 2010 season covering the Washington Nationals. You can follow her on Twitter @cnichols14.

Washington Nationals welcome Frank Robinson back for ceremonial first pitch

There were a lot of folks in the stands today at the Washington Nationals Game 3 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Division Series that frankly had no idea why Frank Robinson, mostly known in this area as the Triple Crown winning outfielder for the Baltimore Orioles, was throwing out the ceremonial first pitch. The influx of new fans that have invaded Nationals Park, caught up in the excitement of Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper, and the first playoff appearance in team history since the relocation, has either blurred out — or are just ignorant of — the first few years of the team in D.C., when they called dilapidated RFK home after being wards of the state, treated as second class citizens under stewardship of MLB itself.

Nats former Manager Frank Robinson threw out the ceremonial first pitch – NLDS Game 3: St. Louis Cardinals v. Washington Nationals, October 10, 2012 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

The man who managed those clubs — first in Montreal, then between Montreal and San Juan Puerto Rico, then finally at RFK — was the very same Frank Robinson.

Wednesday, D.C. baseball fans that did remember the many contributions Frank Robinson made to the Expos, Nationals and Major League Baseball in general, finally got their chance to salute and celebrate Robinson, the living legend.

“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, now 77,  pulled on the familiar No. 20 jersey and strode to a red mat in front of home plate and delivered a strike to the current No. 20, Ian Desmond. Informed later Desmond changed his uniform number to 20 to honor the Nats former manager, Robinson replied, “Really? 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.”

Ian Desmond and Frank Robinson – NLDS Game 3: St. Louis Cardinals v. Washington Nationals, October 10, 2012 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Robinson went on to admit it felt nice to put the No. 20 back on, but confided, “Not as good as it was before.”

The Hall of Famer spoke well of his two seasons in D.C.

“People were saying that baseball wouldn’t go here with the Orioles just down the way and I told them they were wrong,” Robinson said. “.I said these are great baseball fans here. You put a good product out there, they’ll come out and root for the team. It’s good to see this, and well-deserved.”

Robinson, who now works as an executive vice president for MLB, reminisced about the 2005 and 2006 seasons when he guided the undermanned Nats against the N.L. East.

“We thought we had a good chance to [make the playoffs] in ’05, the first year,” Robinson said. “We had a terrific first half, and someone turned the switch off at the break, and a different team came back after the break. But it was fun the first half of the season.”

Asked why his time in the District was so important to him, even though it represented such a short stint in the entirety of his career, Robinson replied, “The fans have always been nice since we got back here. 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.”

Looks like Frank Robinson made the umps laugh before game – NLDS Game 3: St. Louis Cardinals v. Washington Nationals, October 10, 2012 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

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Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Nats and the Caps, and previously wrote Nats News Network and Caps News Network. Dave’s first sports hero was Bobby Dandridge. Follow Dave’s Nationals coverage on Twitter @NationalsDSP.

Frank Robinson to throw out first pitch on Wednesday

Former Washington Nationals Manager Frank Robinson will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the first ever playoff game at Nationals Park on Wednesday, October 10, 1:07 p.m.

Longtime Nats fans have been looking forward to having Robinson back since his departure so plan to arrive early.

As first reported by Bill Ladson of mlb.com and then confirmed by Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.

Frank Robinson on his last day as Manager for the Washington Nationals, 10/01/2006 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

Fans express their love for Frank Robinson on his last day as Manager for the Washington Nationals, 10/01/2006 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

Cheryl Nichols is a Columnist and Photographer for District Sports Page. She is credentialed to cover the Washington Capitals and has reported on the community service and fan events for Nats News Network and Caps News Network since 2006. Cheryl is an accomplished action photographer and has been published in The Washington Post and many other local media. She was a credentialed photographer for the 2010 season covering the Washington Nationals. You can follow her on Twitter @cnichols14.

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