Frank Robinson knows baseball as he’s been a major league player, manager and now works as Major League Baseball’s Executive Vice President of Baseball Development.
The Hall of Famer was at the Building Baseball: Through our Youth Gala Saturday at Lakefront Arena.
The fundraising event benefitted New Orleans’s Urban Youth Academy at Barrow Stadium and the University of New Orleans baseball team.
The youth academies around the nation help the game since they expose more youth to baseball.
“It helps the game because it allows young people an opportunity to play and learn the game of baseball,” Robinson said. “They don’t have to pay to do it. It’s free. That’s what’s so nice about the Urban Youth Academies.”
While the participants get to learn the game there are also tutors at each facility and each person is encouraged to continue with their education.
“Everybody that comes to play baseball is not going to be a major league player,” Robinson said. ”A lot of them are not even going to be professional baseball players. What we would like for these kids to do is really focus on their studies and their schooling.
“We want them to focus on getting into college, getting into a university because that’s something that stays with them all their life. If they happen to be very fortunate to make it to professional baseball, that’s a bonus. “
One recent development in the game he liked was the one-game playoff with which both World Series competitors started their postseason.
“We had a great finish to the season,” Robinson said. “A lot of teams had a shot at getting in to the playoffs. It’s amazing that two teams that made it into the playoffs, last berth, were in the World Series, the Giants and Kansas City. That was great because that was the added tier of playoff games, one-and-out. They went all the way.”
Robinson started his playing career with the Reds and he received a plethora of honors. He was part of the 1966 and 1970 World Series title teams in Baltimore.
Although he received plenty of accolades during his career as a player and manager, he doesn’t spend time thinking about the past.
“I don’t allow myself to think about the past,” he said. “ I don’t reflect on it. When someone asks me about it, the best thing for me in the past was making it to the major leagues and playing 21 years in the major leagues.”