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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jackson County Executive Frank White, Jr. will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Kansas City Royals Opening Day at Kauffman Stadium on Thursday.

Fifty years after making his major league debut with the Kansas City Royals, White will now take the mound as Jackson County Executive.

White played 18 seasons for the Royals, was named an All-Star five times, won eight Gold Glove Awards and was elected to the Royals Hall of Fame.

“As a kid growing up on the city’s eastside, I would walk by Municipal Stadium and hear the crack of a bat and roar of the fans, dreaming that one day I’d get a chance to play for my hometown team,” White said. “I am forever grateful to Mr. Kauffman for giving me an opportunity to make that dream come true.”

White went on to say it’s an honor to be part of the long-standing tradition of throwing out the ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day.

“I only wish my parents were here to see it,” he said. Thankfully, I have my wife Teresa, family, fans and friends to share in this special occasion with me. I am blessed beyond measure and as the Royals recognize the 1973 team, I am honored to stand with my teammates, wearing powder blue, with the number 20 on my back. See you at the K and Go Royals!”

The Royals take on the Minnesota Twins at 3:10 p.m. Thursday at Kauffman Stadium for Opening Day.