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Robin Roberts

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Robin Evan Roberts (September 30, 1926 - May 6, 2010) was an American former Major League Baseball starting pitcher. He pitched with the Philadelphia Phillies (1948–61), Baltimore Orioles (1962–65), Houston Astros (1965–66) and Chicago Cubs (1966). He is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.



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Roberts was born in Springfield, Illinois. After World War II, Roberts returned to Michigan State University—where he had attended an Army Air Corps training program—to play basketball, not baseball. Almost by accident he became a baseball pitcher for MSU. After playing for MSU and spending his second summer playing in Vermont with the Barre-Montpelier Twin City Trojans, he was signed by the Phillies.

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Roberts made his major league debut on June 18, 1948; and in 1950 he led his Phillies, the youngest major league baseball squad ever fielded, to its first National League pennant in 35 years. Roberts started three games in the last five days of the season, defeating the heavily favored Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field, in a pennant-deciding, 10-inning game. It was his 20th victory, becoming the Phillies' first 20-game-winner since Grover Cleveland Alexander did it in 1917. Since then, the 1950 Phillies have been known as the "Whiz Kids."

Between 1950 and 1955 Roberts won 20 games each season, leading the NL in victories from 1952 to 1955. Six times he led the league in games started, five times in complete games and innings pitched, and once pitched 28 complete games in a row. During his career, Roberts never walked more than 77 batters in any regular season. In addition, he helped himself as a fielder as well as with his bat, hitting 55 doubles, 10 triples, and five home runs with 103 RBI.

His 28 wins in 1952, the year he won the The Sporting News Player of the Year Award, are the most in the National League since 1935, the year Dizzy Dean also won 28 games.

Although he had 28 wins in 1952, Roberts had his best season in 1953, posting a 23-16 record and leading the NL pitchers in strikeouts with 198. In a career-high 346⅔ innings pitched he walked just 66 batters, and his 2.75 ERA was second in the league behind Warren Spahn's 2.10.

One of the most memorable highlights of his career occurred on , 1954, when Roberts gave up a lead-off home run to Cincinnati Redleg Bobby Adams and then retired 27 consecutive batters to win 8-1, on a one-hit game.

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After the conclusion of the 1961 season, Roberts was released by the Philadelphia Phillies. Roberts then tried out in spring training with the New York Yankees but was released shortly after the season began. After that the Baltimore Orioles picked him up and he had several successful seasons for the Orioles, going 42-36 in 3½ seasons before moving on to the Houston Astros and Chicago Cubs to conclude his career.

His final major league game was on August 26th 1966, but he pitched for the Reading Phillies during 1967.

Roberts coached the University of South Florida Bulls baseball team from 1977-1985. He led the team to its first NCAA Tournament in 1982.

During the baseball off–season, Roberts toured with the Robin Roberts All–Stars basketball team. He played against other touring teams, such as the Harlem Globetrotters.

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In his 19-season career, Roberts compiled a 286-245 record with 2,357 strikeouts, a 3.41 ERA, 305 complete games, 45 shutouts, and 4,688⅔ innings pitched in 676 games. He holds the Major League records for home runs allowed by a pitcher (505) and for most consecutive Opening Day starts for the same team with 12, between 1950 and 1961.Roberts was the only pitcher in major league history to defeat the Boston Braves, the Milwaukee Braves and the Atlanta Braves.

Robin Roberts was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1976.

In 1999, he ranked number 74 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and was a nominee for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. The Phillies have honored him with the retirement of his uniform number 36 and a statue outside the first base gate of Citizens Bank Park.

On July 21, 2003, Roberts returned to Montpelier, Vermont to accept two honors: The Vermont Mountaineers retired his number from his playing days with the Barre-Montpelier Twin City Trojans, and Governor Jim Douglas presented him a proclamation that made the day "Robin Roberts Day" in the State of Vermont. Robin Roberts died of an undisclosed illness in Temple Terrace, Florida on May 6, 2010 at age 83.

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  • 7-time All-Star (1950-56)
  • 5-time Top 10 MVP (1950, 1952-55)
  • 6-time won 20 or more games (1950-55)
  • 4-time led league in won games (1952-55)
  • Twice led the league in strikeouts (1953-54)
  • Led league in shutouts (1950)
  • 6-time led the league in games started (1950-55)
  • 5-time led league in complete games (1952-56)
  • 5-time led league in innings pitched (1951-55)
  • 6-time pitched over 300 innings (1950-55)
  • Ranks #27 on the all-time wins leaderboard
  • Holds the record for most home runs allowed by a pitcher, with 505
  • Holds five Philadelphia Phillies team records as of 2008: most complete games pitched, most games pitched, most innings pitched, most hits allowed, and most losses

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Roberts has written two books about his baseball experiences: The Whiz Kids and the 1950 Pennant (1996, ISBN 156639466X), and My Life In Baseball (2003, ISBN 1572435038), both with C. Paul Rogers, III, a law professor at Southern Methodist University.

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Preceded byWarren Spahn National League Strikeout Champion1953-1954 Succeeded bySam Jones
Preceded byLarry Jansen & Sal Maglie National League Wins Champion
1952-1955
(1953 with Warren Spahn)
Succeeded byDon Newcombe
Preceded byWarren Spahn Lou Gehrig Memorial Award1962 Succeeded byBobby Richardson

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