Frank Robinson, iconic player from a past generation, will have a key role in molding baseball's future. Major League Baseball announced Tuesday that Robinson has been appointed as the league's executive vice president of baseball development.
Robinson, a Hall-of-Famer and the only man to win Most Valuble Player awards in both leagues, will now be in charge of endeavors like the Futures Game and the Civil Rights Game. The league's Urban Youth Academies -- three existing and a few being built -- will also fall under Robinson's domain.
Major League Baseball operates academies in Houston, Compton, Calif., and Puerto Rico, and it's set to open a facility in New Orleans this summer. It's all part of the plan to return baseball to the inner city, and in that respect, you'd be hard pressed to find a better role model than Robinson.
"With more than 55 years of knowledge and experience in our game, Frank Robinson continues to be an extraordinary ambassador for Baseball," said Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. "This position will allow Frank to represent the national pastime to the next generation and guide the development of inner-city kids on and off the field, a cause that has always been close to his heart."
Robinson most recently served as Special Assistant to the Commissioner, but he has an incredibly rich career resume. Robinson, who ranks ninth on the all-time home run chart, was the first African-American manager in league history, and he's sat at the helm for five different teams.
He also spent a few seasons as an assistant general manager for Baltimore, and he's worked in several capacities for the commissioner's office. Robinson, a native of Beaumont, Texas, will immediately start working on the Future's Game, which takes place on July 8.
The Civil Rights Game will take place in Atlanta in mid-August, and Major League Baseball appears set to open its Urban Youth Academy in New Orleans sometime this summer. Robinson will also oversee the construction of future facilities in Philadelphia and in Hialeah, Fla.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com.