Baseball Hall of Fame member and original manager of Washington Nationals. Led 2005 team to 81-81 record, relieved of duties after 71-91 record in 2006. Held a grudge with franchise for several years, seems to be over it though.
I think I might hold a grudge against Walter O’Malley and Horace Stoneham for creating West Coast baseball — I have not been watching the Nats as their games are starting after 10 p.m. since they are at the Anaheim Angels. No, I won’t call them by their “proper” name because it is really redundant, about is geographically indefensible for a baseball team. One of the things I always appreciated about baseball was if a team had a city name in it, they actually resided in that city. Football, hockey and basketball aren’t great about that, but baseball was until the Angels decided to tack on the name of a city 30+ miles away. Also, in the past I was critical of the team renaming itself to Anaheim back in the 1990s, but it has a larger (and growing) population than Pittsburgh or Cincinnati.
Since I haven’t watched the games, I got my fix remembering the last time the Nats were in Anaheim, courtesy of rocket1124 at Capital City Goofballs:
It won’t happen because there is already precedent — Ted Williams.
Williams, one of the greatest hitters of all time with the Boston Red Sox, was the last manager of the Washington Senators. In fact, he is the only man to lead a D.C. baseball team to a winning season (86-76 in 1969) in the last 50+ years. That was not enough to get him in the ring of honor, though I’ll point out it makes him more worthy than a couple of former Expos. Robinson, who managed here for 2 seasons, broke even in 2005 and had a losing record in 2006.
There seems to be a consensus that a Frank Robinson Day is in order and the bitter split seems to be a distant memory. Chances are that is because Jim Bowden is not part of the franchise. Perhaps the Hall of Stars can be restarted and moved down from the parking garage to a place that makes more sense. Put Robinson in then, along with several other worthy people. Or combine the ring of honor with the Hall of Stars which was the Ring of Stars at RFK Stadium prior to 2005.
Now, isn’t that better than reading about the latest loss to the freaking Florida Marlins? I can’t stand that team, they have the Nats number, overachieve regularly, play in an empty football stadium, had teal uniforms and somehow won two World Series.
The timing of this post becomes kind of interesting in light of Manny Acta’s firing yesterday. Hey, I didn’t choose when Wise would write the column.
MIKE WISE – Robinson Deserved Better – The Post I certainly don’t disagree that the Nationals handled the dismissal of Frank Robinson very poorly. They should have been up front with him and not strung him along. Any manager deserves that but especially one of the greatest living players. However, I’ve got mixed feelings about a Frank Robinson Day at Nationals Park sometime. He certainly had some highs as manager — the pine tar feud with the Angels and getting the umpires to overturn a home run by the Braves Bryan Jordan on Memorial Day 2005 come to mind. Robinson had some lowlights too — a specific example was yanking John Halama in the middle of an at bat in the first inning of a late season game. I walked out after that, the first time I ever left a sporting event early in disgust.
When it comes down to it, I don’t know that Robinson deserves a day all to himself — his Washington tenure ended with him 10 games under .500. If he does “deserve” his own day, does Manny Acta too? Robinson did not have a lot to work with and get a lot out of it in the first half of 2005, but that was really about it. Perhaps a compromise is in order — have him out for Opening Day 2010, a celebration of the Nationals fifth anniversary, something along those lines. If they want to bring other original Nats around, I’m cool with that too. Granted some of those original Nats are still playing, but guys like Brad Wilkerson and John Patterson are not and I wouldn’t mind seeing them show up.