Robin Roberts 1952 #059
by William Szczepanek
This card of Robin Roberts is another from Topps' first major issue in 1952. Roberts pitched for 19 years (1948-1961) in the major league for four teams, predominantly for the Philadelphia Phillies. He registered 286 career wins and was the workhorse for the Phillies in the 1950s leading the league in games started for 6 consecutive years from 1950 through 1955. In 1952 through 1956 Roberts led the league in complete games and at one point pitched 28 complete games in a row. From 1951 through 1955 he led the league in innings pitched, winning 28 games in 1952 and 23 games in each of the next 3 years.
He led the league in strikeouts in 1953 and 1954 with 198 and 185, respectively, but was also a control pitcher who issued only 1.7 walks per nine innings for his entire career. Five times he led the league in home runs allowed, but often they were solo blasts that did little damage.
Between 1950 and 1961 Roberts was the Opening Day starter for the Phillies ─ a record (12) and pitched 45 shutouts in his career. He was a 7-time All Star and second for MVP honors in 1952 behind Hank Sauer of the Cubs.
As a 23 year-old Roberts led the 1950 Whiz Kids' Phillies to their first pennant in 35 years and was the first Phillies' pitcher to achieve 20 wins since Grover Cleveland Alexander in 1915. Roberts started 3 games in the last 5 days (4 in the last 9) of the season to get the Phillies past the Brooklyn Dodgers for the pennant.
On October 1, 1950 Roberts faced Don Newcombe of the Dodgers who also was a 19 game winner at the time. Roberts hadn't won a game since September 12th, a 1-0 victory over Max Lanier and the St. Louis Cardinals. The game was tied 1-1 going into the Dodger's last of the ninth. Roberts walked Cal Abrams who went to second on a Pee Wee Reese single. Duke Snider followed with a single to center, and on a controversial play, Abrams dashed home only to be thrown out by Richie Ashburn. With Reese and Snider on second and third Roberts walked Jackie Robinson to fill the bases. This is where Roberts excelled. He got Carl Furillo to pop up to first baseman Eddie Waitkus and Gil Hodges to fly out softly to Del Ennis in right. The Phillies went on to win on a home run by Dick Sisler in the 10th when Roberts took the Dodgers out in order in the last of the tenth.
"I love you, and you're God's child, but natural beauty will
only take you so far." ─ Robin Roberts' (mother)
You can check out Robert's statistics at Baseball Reference.com.