WASHINGTON, October 1 (Xinhua) -- Frank Robinson bid goodbye Sunday to an adoring crowd at Washington's RFK Stadium that cheered his every appearance on the field.
"I've never done anything harder than what I have to do now, and that's to say goodbye," Robinson, manager of the Washington Nationals, said during a pregame tribute to him.
Fans applauded repeatedly and waved signs with big red hearts, and when he was done, the opposing team gathered around to hug him to show affection for a man who is among the most respected figures in baseball.
As one of the most revered figures in the game and a hero to black Americans, Robinson's departure is not the usual letting go of a manager at season's end. He twice won the Most Valuable Player award, was the first black manager, ranks sixth with 586 homers and is a member of the Hall of Fame.
The 71-year-old was also known for a fiery temperament as a player and uncompromising approach to player discipline when he was a league executive.
Robinson's career began in 1956 when he earned Rookie of the Year honors for the Cincinnati Reds. Back then, black ballplayers were visible in the struggle for civil rights, after Jackie Robinson made U.S. history in 1947 by breaking the "color line" as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Enditem