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Hall of Famer Robinson hits links for charity

Frank Robinson can still swing a golf club, especially for charity.

The 74-year-old Hall of Famer is serving as host of Friday’s MLB Urban Youth Academy golf tournament at the Pacific Palms’ Industry Hills Golf Club.

Angels general manager Tony Reagins, Rod Carew, Dusty Baker and other stars will participate in the event to help extend the impact of the academy in Compton.

“It’s had a tremendous impact on young inner-city kids in L.A.,” Robinson said. “It’s an outlet for them to come play baseball. They have professional coaches with tremendous experience. The program has also helped them work on their academics.

“It’s not just about baseball, it’s about learning how to play the game. If the kids want to be groundskeepers, they’ll teach them. Umpires come talk to them.”

The year-round academy, part of MLB’s Urban Youth Initiative, provides kids with free baseball and softball instruction and also offers clinics throughout Southern California.

Robinson is a special assistant to MLB commissioner Bud Selig and is in New York for the World Series. If there’s a Game 7, he won’t have much time from the final out until Friday’s 10:30 a.m. shotgun start.

Robinson said he is proud to be associated with the Urban Youth Academy because of its impact on young children who otherwise might not have opportunities to play sports or begin thinking about a career.

In four years of the program, 28 players have been selected in baseball’s draft. The annual golf tournament is a fund-raiser for the academy and helps provide programs and uniforms.

Robinson said he hasn’t played golf in three weeks, but he’s looking forward to it. Asked how long he can drive the ball, Robinson exclaimed: “I’m 74!”

“My game isn’t good. I’m up and down,” Robinson added. “I play in spurts. Sometimes, I have to go a long time without playing.”

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