It's almost hard to believe that Hall of Famer Frank Robinson turned 80 on Monday, but it has been 49 years since he led the Orioles to their first world championship in his first season in an Orioles uniform.
Manager Buck Showalter reflected on Robinson's legacy during his pregame news conference late Monday afternoon and shared his appreciation for the way that one of baseball's greatest players still embraces the Orioles.
"Frank was winning,'' Showalter said. "The conversation can stop with just about anything he could do to win a game. You knew where his priorities were. I love talking to him. It's always about getting to the end game. You can tell he has a great passion for it."
Robinson played only six of his 21 major league seasons in Baltimore, but chose to go into the Hall of Fame as an Oriole and has never made a secret of his lasting affection for the organization and its fans. He also has strong ties to the Nationals, since he came over with the Montreal Expos and was the Nats' first manager in Washington.
Of course, he was the first African-American manager in major league history and he also came back to manage the Orioles from 1988-1991. He currently works as an assistant to the commissioner in baseball's central office.
"His job the last few years, he had to be careful about showing partiality,'' Showalter said. "He wasn't too good at it when it came to the Orioles. I could tell how much he liked talking to the players in the spring, and they liked listening to him … a very captive audience. He speaks from his heart. If you're just around him for a while, you see the passion."