KANSAS CITY, MO.—Kansas City Royals legend Frank White is one of the most honored players in team history. On Friday, White was given another award recognizing his work both on and off the field with the Negro League Baseball Museum's Jackie Robinson Legacy Award.
In 1947, Robinson became the first African-American player in modern Major League history as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers. White, a Kansas City native who spent his entire career with the Royals, was a five-time All-Star and eight-time Gold Glove Award winner in his 18 years with the team, and now works as an analyst with the Royals television team.
White's number, along with those of former teammate George Brett and former manager Dick Howser, was retired by the team in 1995. A statue of White now stands outside of Kauffman Stadium.
White says it was a quite a surprise for him when he found out that his name was even in the same conversation as Jackie Robinson's.
"I'm very humbled by this honor, you know, to be honored on Jackie Robinson Day and to be honored in his shadow is just a great feeling," said White.
Negro Leagues Museum president Bob Kendrick says that White shouldn't be surprised because he is a perfect fit for the award.
"It's a well deserved award," said Kendrick. "To be compared to Jackie Robinson in any light is meaningful, but Frank certainly deserves this for not only what he did on the field, but more importantly, what he's done off the field during his career which certainly embodies the spirit of Jackie Robinson."
Robinson's career in professional baseball began in Kansas City in 1945, when he signed a contract with the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues for $400 a month. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972. He died later that year of a heart attack at age 53. His number 42 was retired by Major League Baseball in 1997.