No. 36 made it to 83. Today, Hall-of-Fame Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Robin Roberts left the game. He was my boyhood hero and the man whose name inspired my own.
Robin is probably best known for two things. He led the Phillies to the World Series in 1950 as part of the young team immortalized in baseball lore as “The Whiz Kids.” And he gave up more home runs than any pitcher in Major League history.
That World Series took place in October, 1950, and a month later I was born. My father liked the name Robin, and gave it to me. As a result, I followed Robin Roberts’s career, though he had his very best years before I became a fan.
And what years, and career accomplishments, he had. He won 20 or more games six straight years, and led the National League in victories between 1952-1955. He once pitched 28 complete games in a row.
As an adult, I always wanted to meet my hero, and I came very close in 1993. The MLB All-Star Game was held in Baltimore that year, and I wrote to Robin Roberts and asked if my sons and I could meet him during the weekend. He wrote back and told me to meet him at his hotel, but somehow our signals got crossed, and we missed him. Then a few years later he was to sign autographs at a memorabilia show in Chantilly, Va. My good friend Todd Marcum pulled some strings, and I got to sit with Robin while he signed baseball cards and other items for his fans. Today I’m so glad I had that moment.
People who knew him say he was a gentleman, and he always followed his Phillies right up till his passing. Here’s an interesting piece of trivia about my favorite player – he is the only pitcher to have victories against the Boston Braves, the Milwaukee Braves, and the Atlanta Braves…