The National Baseball Hall of Fame Remembers Robin Roberts

Hall of Fame Pitcher Passed Away Thursday

May 06, 2010
Robin Roberts passed away Thursday at the age of 83. (Milo Stewart Jr./National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)

" You play ball and never anticipate anything like this. It is a thrill to know that you belong there." 

 -- Robin Roberts, on his Hall of Fame induction

Robin Roberts’ Hall of Fame plaque (elected, 1976)

Robin Evan Roberts

Philadelphia N.L., Baltimore A.L., Houston N.L., Chicago N.L.

Tireless worker who never missed a start in decade of the fifties. Won 286 over 19 year career. Won 20 games 6 years in a row for Philadelphia Whiz Kids. Led N.L. in innings pitched, 1951-55 and in complete games,
1952-56. Started 5 All-Star Games. Major
League Player of the Year, 1952 and 1955.

Robin Roberts Bio

Born: September 30, 1926 at Springfield, IL

Height: 6-1 Weight: 200

Threw right and batted both

Longtime Philadelphia Phillies ace Robin Roberts used speed and control to dominate National League hitters throughout the 1950s. “He looks like the kind of pitcher you can’t wait to swing at, but you swing and the ball isn’t where you thought it was,” said Hall of Famer Willie Stargell. Roberts totaled 286 career wins, including a stretch of six straight 20-win seasons. “He keeps you off balance with his various change of speeds,” said N.L. manager Harry Walker. “When you think you have him solved and are ready to cut yourself loose, boom comes the fastball. Faster than you think.”

Hall of Famers Remember Robin Roberts

“Robin was a true gentleman of the game, a Hall of Famer in every sense. He was so proud to be a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, and served as a Hall of Fame Board member with great distinction, thoughtfulness and a fondness for the Museum's role in preserving the game and its history. Cooperstown will miss one of baseball's most compassionate and caring individuals, and we extend our deepest sympathy to his family.” Jane Forbes Clark, Chairman, Baseball Hall of Fame

 “Robin was such a giant in baseball. Not only was he the face of the Phillies in the 1950s, but he was among the most dominant hurlers to ever step on to a pitching mound. His legacy will be his Hall of Fame career and his important role in establishing the players' association, but his hallmark was the class and dignity with which he led his life. Robin's warm heart and humorous personality made him a fan favorite and there's not a person who met him who did not become richer because of that. He was a dear friend, a frequent visitor to Cooperstown and we'll miss him very much." Jeff Idelson, Hall of Fame President

“Robin was my favorite Hall of Famer. I felt a genuine connection with Robin. He had an ease about him and he transcended generations. He touched many lives, mine being one. I feel blessed to know him, and I will miss him deeply.” – Dennis Eckersley

“He was very supportive of my managing at the minor league level. He often told me to get your pitchers to throw as often as they can, all year around. He also said the best pitch in baseball was a fastball at the knees. He told me he became a Hall of Fame pitcher when he started pitching to contact, allowing his teammates to make the plays. I will miss him.”  Ryne Sandberg

“Robin Roberts - A truly great all-time pitcher and hall of famer in baseball, but even more, truly a great human being who I will miss dearly, as will all Phillies and baseball fans across America.” Jim Bunning

“Robin was a dear friend, a great competitor and I will miss him. When I was playing no one told you where you stood in the records books or on the all-time rankings list. Ten years after I retired I saw that I had pitched 303 complete games and Robin had 305. From that day forward, every time I saw him, I told him that if I had known he was two ahead of me, I would have thrown three more complete games. Every Christmas card I sent to him was addressed "Robin (305) Roberts.” – Gaylord Perry 

“I first met Robin in 1999 when I was inducted.  He welcomed me with open arms and I had the chance to get to know him over the years and even manage against him in Hall of Fame Fantasy Camps. I have never met a kinder, nicer, more genuine person in my life. He had that knack of being able to embrace you and become your friend, regardless of age.” – George Brett

“Robin was a Hall of Fame person. He gave so much of his time and intellect to the game and the players. He will be missed for his smile and wit. His passing hurts so much.” – Johnny Bench

“I was saddened to learn of the passing of my friend Robin this morning. He and his late wife Mary were wonderful people. Robin will always be remembered for his Hall of Fame pitching career, but those closest to him will remember him more for his dedication to his family, the baseball players association, the Baseball Hall of Fame, and his coaching influence on young men at many levels. He was a special guy, I can’t say how many times I refer to his career accomplishments as the epitome of what a pitcher should strive to be. Anyone who knew Robin, or had a chance to work with him in any way, knows what a kind man he was. Donna and I join everyone in praying for his family during this tough time,”  Mike Schmidt

“I enjoyed spending time with Robbie on the golf course or at the ballpark and listening to his baseball stories. He was a walking history of the game and I will miss him dearly. My deepest sympathies go out to his family,”  Steve Carlton

"I roomed with Robin my first year in Baltimore. I was 19 and he was 38. Fully knowing that I or some other young pitcher would eventually take his place, he couldn't have been a better mentor, teaching all of us about the nuisances of pitching. That the fastball was the best pitch in baseball and I better be smart enough to understand I had a great one I used to keep asking him questions as we were getting ready to go to sleep. He said, 'Kid, I am an old man, and I need my rest, we will talk in the morning.' I saw him pitch a 13-hit shutout. My first appearance in the big leagues was at 19, in Boston, with the bases loaded and Tony (Conigliaro) at the plate. Robin got me into that predicament. Tony C. struck out. I could have gotten the grand slam out of way to the first batter I faced. That night he took Dave McNally and me to dinner and picked up the check. I couldn't believe he did that. He then took us on the MTA, a couple of stops, because neither Dave or me had ever ridden on the train in Hang Down Your Head Tom Dooley. He was a Hall of Famer both on and off the field, and he will be truly missed."  Jim Palmer

"I am saddened to hear about Robin passing away. He was a dear friend, not to mention a idol of mine growing up. One of the highlights of my career was facing him in May of 1958. He will be missed by many and myself."  Orlando Cepeda

"Not only was he a great pitcher, but Robin was a wonderful human being.  He came to Baltimore late in his career to pitch and he helped so many of our young pitchers.  They don't come any better than Robin.  He was so supportive of the MLB PLayers Alumni, BAT and the Hall of Fame.  I am shocked and saddened by his passing.  He was, simply put, fantastic."  Brooks Robinson

“He was a real tribute to the game, a great competitor with extreme knowledge of the game. We were friendly enemies during our playing days and good friends later on – highlighted by the Hall of Fame “team”. – Duke Snider

“Robin was a dear and close friend of mine and he will always remain an important person not only in my personal life, but in my baseball career as well. He will always stand out in my mind because he was the first pitcher I ever faced in the Major Leagues and I was fortunate enough to go 4-for-4 against him. He was a great competitor over the years and he was never fun to face on the mound. As I got to know him over time, I found out what an incredible man he was. I will miss Robin and wish his family all the best.” – Willie McCovey

Major League Baseball Remembers Robin Roberts

“Robin Roberts was a Phillies treasure, a Hall of Fame pitcher and a Hall of Fame person. He will be sorely missed. Having known Robin since the late 1960s, this is a personal loss as well as one felt by the entire Phillies organization and our fans,”  David Montgomery, Phillies' President and CEO

“When I think of Robin there is definitely one word that comes quickly to mind: class. He was a class act both on and off the field. He was definitely one of the most consistent quality pitchers of all time, and the way he lived his life was exemplary. Every young baseball player should should model their life after Robin,”  Bill Giles, Phillies' Chairman

“Baseball and the Phillies not only lost one of the greatest pitchers the game has ever known but the Carpenter family also lost a true friend. He was my idol as I grew up with the 1950 Phillies,”  Ruly Carpenter, former Phillies president

“A fine gentleman – great pitcher and a personal friend – happy to know Robbie. As a pitcher, he challenged everyone,”  teammate Stan Lopata

“Greatest friend and greatest pitcher I ever saw. One in a million – well respected for his ability and as a person,”  teammate Bob Miller

“Robin was a great guy and a great pitcher. He was always interesting to talk with and a great representative of the Phillies and Major League Baseball. He loved the game and was a mentally tough guy. You could tell that by the number of complete games he pitched. You don’t see those guys anymore, and probably never will,”  Charlie Manuel

“Robin was one of the only guys I have ever known to have actually played with my great-grandfather. Robin would always tell me stories about people in my family being that he was from my hometown, but especially about my grandfather and my great-grandfather. He would make it a point to tell me good things about them. That was how much of an overall good guy [Robin] was. He will definitely be missed and remembered. And being that he was from Springfield, Ill., he definitely has a special place in my heart,”  Jayson Werth

“Every time he came around the clubhouse he would start talking about pitching. He talked with me about my slider, and anything he had to say I was all ears. Another thing about Robbie was that he never talked about the way things were when he played the game. He realized that the game changed with time. I was really fortunate to be able to talk with a living legend about pitching,”  Brad Lidge

“This is very sad news. We are losing somebody who was a part of Phillies and baseball history, a real legend. Even though he had been out of the game for so long he still got a standing ovation when he was introduced to our fans. We just saw him in Spring Training and he looked fine. This is a real loss,”  Shane Victorino

“Almost every day I look at the Phillies Hall of Fame jerseys that hang in the hallway by the clubhouse. I try to appreciate what he did as a pitcher. Looking back at the impact he had on the game, it was special. He would always kid around when he came by and would be concerned about how I was and how my family was doing. I feel like I lost a friend. He bled Phillies red. He was a true Phillie top to bottom,”  Jamie Moyer


Ralph Kiner: Probably the best fastball I ever saw was Robin Roberts. His ball would rise around six or eight inches, and with plenty on it. And he had great control, which made him very difficult to hit.

Gene Conley: You give Robin Roberts a run or two lead in the late innings and there was no way anybody was going to take it away from him. He could reach back when he had to. He didn’t look like he was doing anything different, but, boy, he was doing it when he had to.


Robin Roberts: I went out for the baseball team at Michigan State. They asked me, ‘Well, what do you play?’ And I said, ‘What do you need?’ And they said, ‘Pitchers.’ So I said, ‘Well, I’m a pitcher.’

Robin Roberts: I don’t think anyone was ever able to concentrate in a baseball game any better than I was. I stood out there in total isolation, just throwing that ball as well as I could. Nothing bothered me.