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Robin Roberts

Robin Roberts

Position(s):
P
Born:
September 30, 1926
Bats:
Left
Throws:
Right
Height:
6'
Weight:
190 lbs
Major League Debut:
6-18-1948 with PHI
Allstar Selections:
1952 ML, 1952 TSN, 1955 TSN, 1962 LG
Hall of Fame:
1976

Intro

Workhorse Robin Roberts won twenty games six straight years and established himself as one of the best pitchers of the 1950s. He was the ace of the 1950 Phillies "Whiz Kids," starting three games in the last five days of the season to lead the team to their first pennant in 35 years. A fantastic control pitcher, Roberts never walked more than 77 batters in any one season. He won 286 games in his 19-year Hall of Fame career.

Unform Number

#36 (1948-1961), #38 (1962-1966)

Replaced By

Roberts was muscled out of the Astros' 1966 rotation by Turk Farrell and Bob Bruce.

Best Season

From 1952-1955, Roberts led the NL wins every season. He won 28 games in 1952, but his 1953 season was a shade better. Posting a 23-16 record, Roberts pitched in bad luck. His 2.75 ERA was second in the league as he led the loop in K's (narrowly missing the Triple Crown). In a career-high 346 2/3 innings, he walked just 66 batters.

Factoid 1

Robin Roberts holds the major league record for most consecutive Opening Day starts for the same team (12). He started every season opener for the Phillies from 1950 to 1961.

Factoid 2

Robin Roberts' 28 wins in 1952 are the most in the National League since 1935 (when Dizzy Dean also won 28).

Transition

Before 1948 Season: Signed by the Philadelphia Phillies as an amateur free agent; October 16, 1961: Purchased by the New York Yankees from the Philadelphia Phillies; May 8, 1962: Released by the New York Yankees; May 21, 1962: Signed as a Free Agent with the Baltimore Orioles; August 6, 1965: Signed as a Free Agent with the Houston Astros; August 6, 1965: Released by the Baltimore Orioles; October 29, 1965: Released by the Houston Astros; March 30, 1966: Signed as a Free Agent with the Houston Astros; July 13, 1966: Signed as a Free Agent with the Chicago Cubs; July 13, 1966: Released by the Houston Astros; October 4, 1966: Released by the Chicago Cubs.

Strengths

Control

Weaknesses

Surrendering the longball.

Fast-Working Pitcher

Robin Roberts was one pitcher who found a way to interrupt the batters rhythm, without altering his own. He did this by devising an elaborate choreography for his mound routine. Early on in his career, Roberts was enthusiastic and nervous, with a powerful fastball, but a rushed delivery that ruined his control and prevented him from establishing any rhythm. He'd fire a strike or two, and then lose his release point and toss four straight balls. A pitching coach recommended that he adopt a pre-pitch routine to help him control his energies, and if you look at his pitching record, you can see the advice take hold. He went 7-9 in his rookie year (1948), the next year he evened it to 15-15, and then he was off on a string of six straight twenty-win seasons that wasn't broken until 1956. Over the years, Roberts added layers to the routine so that, by his prime, it was a piece of choreography as intricate as a cobra's mating dance. Before throwing a pitch he'd take a breath and adjust his belt back and forth, like a man preparing to unburden himself of some really bad news. Then he'd bend at the waist, and fool with his left pant-leg, and look towards the plate. Then he'd finally adjust his cap, rock into a slow motion wind-up, and fire home. He'd repeat the whole thing, unabridged, before each and every pitch he threw. Roberts had an outstanding fastball, and all this slow, absent-minded motion preceding his pitches made them seem even faster than they were. Roberts gave up more home runs than any pitcher in history, which tells us that his stuff wasn't completely overpowering. But, he's a Hall of Famer; a fact that serves notice of his pitching wit and creativity. Roberts came up with something that worked. From Kirk Robinson's May 30, 2002, column

Roberts vs. Roberts

On April 13th, 1954, in Pittsburgh's first opening game at home in 61 years, the Pirates defeated the Phils 4-2, before a crowd of 32,294. Curt Roberts, the Bucs' first black player, hit a triple against Robin Roberts in the first inning.

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Tagged:
1950 World Series, 1976 Hall of Fame, Robin Roberts, Whiz Kids

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