Roberts’ number retired while still an active player
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Roberts’ number was the first-ever retired by the Phillies, who began play in the National League in 1883.
“He had the best fastball I ever faced,” Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner said of Roberts.
But an incredible workload – one that featured six straight seasons of 300-plus innings from 1950-55 – began to take its toll at the end of the 1950s. In 1961, Roberts went 1-10 with an earned-run average of 5.85, prompting the Phillies to send him to the Yankees.
Roberts allowed five hits and three earned runs in three innings of work for the Yankees that day in 1962, but never pitched in an official game for the Bronx Bombers. He was released in May, but caught on with Baltimore, where he went 10-9 with a 2.78 ERA in 191.1 innings in 1962. From 1962-64, Roberts won 37 games with the Orioles before finishing his career with Houston and then the Cubs in 1965 and 1966.