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Robin Roberts Autographs, Memorabilia & Collectibles

Born: September 30, 1926 in Springfield, Illinois
Died: May 06, 2010 in Temple Terrace, Florida
Biography | show moreshow less

Full name Robin Evan Roberts
Born September 30, 1926, Springfield, Illinois
Died May 6, 2010, Temple Terrace, Florida
First Game: June 18, 1948; Final Game: September 3, 1966
Bat: Both Throw: Right Height: 6' 0" Weight: 190

Selected to the Hall of Fame in 1976
Named Major League Player of the Year by The Sporting News (1952)
Named NL Pitcher of the Year by The Sporting News (1952 and 1955)
Named pitcher on The Sporting News Major League All-Star Team (1952 to 1955)

This article was written by Ralph Berger and is presented in part, courtesy of the Society for American Baseball Research

It's unusual to call a ballplayer both a journeyman and a star, but the description fit Robin Roberts. From 1950 to 1955, he was the top right-hander in the National League; for most of the remained of his career he was a crafty veteran hanging on with a mix of decent, fair, and poor seasons. Either way, he would go out, take his turn on the mound without saying a word, and do his job. The players behind him seemed to play with a little more intensity when Roberts pitched. The standing joke was that Andy Seminick and Stan Lopata, who caught Roberts, always took their rocking chairs with them when Roberts was pitching, in testament to his outstanding control. Time magazine's Dick Seamon wrote of Roberts in 1956: "He never bothers with fancy stuff but makes do with what he has: a dinky curve, a sneaky but unspectacular fast ball, and a frustrating change of pace. He offers no single dramatic talent -- he has no counterpart of Carl Hubbell's spectacular screwball, Walter Johnson's terrifying fastball, Bobby Feller's strike-out touch. Pitch for pitch, many of his contemporaries have what the trade calls 'more stuff,' pitches that are harder, faster, or trickier. But better than any of them now on the mound, Robin Roberts can put the ball where he wants. There is one precious-diamond word for him -- control." Seamon compared Roberts to Walter Johnson. Seamon compared Roberts' character and approach to Walter Johnson's, citing Roberts' "stubborn refusal to toss bean balls," wait for umpires to discard scuffed balls, use the brush-back pitch to intimidate hitters, or issue an intentional walk.

Robin Roberts was one of the last of a breed of pitchers who completed ballgames. Today a pitcher hurls 100 pitches and is relieved by a specialist. Seven innings and out seems to be the rule. A pitcher may get the win or loss many times, but he's rarely standing on the mound at the finish. This wasn't the case with Roberts, who recorded 305 complete games in his career.

Roberts was a hard-nosed competitor. He did not try to finesse the hitters; he dared them to hit the ball. When there were men on base, he reached back and burned the corners for strikes. Roberts' slow deliberate windup and delivery was so fluid that hitters could not wait for the pitch to come. It looked so easy; then the ball would explode over the plate, astonishing the hitters. "He's so close, you gotta watch him like an eagle," said umpire Jocko Conlan.

Film Credits | show moreshow less

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