Harvey Robinson has a free pass to athletic events at George Rogers Clark High School. This weekend , he will be the guest of honor.
Robinson, 91, will receive the prestigious Martin Luther King Lifetime Achievement Award during the Central Bank Classic Saturday at Norton Gymnasium. Robinson will be honored prior to the George Rogers Clark-Meade County contest at 5:30 p.m. Robinson is looking forward to the contest.
“I have a pass for anything they have at school, free of charge,” he said. “I (went) to a lot of games when I could drive. I haven’t been drive for two or three years, before then, I went to almost all of the ball games.”
An avid Cincinnati Reds fan, Robinson was a co-founder of the Winchester Little League and coached the Reds and the Cubs. He also served as director of the Little League Football League.
“I really enjoyed that,” he said. “We had a rule at that time that whoever the father was, his children played for him. Of course it’s different now, but that was a rule that we set up. If you had a kid, you had to manage him. I remember, you could slide at first base. You can’t do that now.”
One of Robinson’s four sons, James Robinson, said his father was a “serious manager.”
“He was all about teaching the kids the fundamentals (of baseball),” he said.
Before he started managing younger players, Robinson was a pitcher and infielder for the Portersville Pirates, a traveling African-American baseball team. The squad resembled a semi-professional baseball team.
“That was something,” he recalled. “We had fun. We went to West Liberty, and at the time, you (went to the game) in an open truck. They paid you maybe $50.”
Robinson remembers when late Los Angeles Dodgers Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in the Major Leagues and attended various games at Crosley Field and Riverfront Stadium.
“I would drive up and drive on the old road,” he said. “I wouldn’t go any other way but Highway 27. I would make it in as good of a time as any other road. I’ve had plenty of tickets given to me. One time, I won something and had a chance to go out on the field. When I went to Crosley, I would park at the train station (and walk to the ball park).”
In retirement, Robinson visits the Generations Center during the week and also attends Broadway Christian Church.
“I go to church on¿Sunday (and visit the Generations Center) and that’s about the size of it,” he said. “It gives you something to do and that’s the main thing.”
As he reflected on his lifetime accomplishments, from running Fifth Street Grocery to his own sanitation business to driving a school bus along with serving on various community boards and leadership positions at Broadway Christian, he admitted that he fell short of one goal.
“I’ve done pretty much everything, but make money,” he said with a smile. “Everything, but money.”
However, his influence has been valuable to many throughout Clark County.