MastroNet August 2005
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Hall of Fame pitcher Robin Roberts retains memories—good and bad—of events that unfolded during a stellar 19-year career. In celebration of what were mostly glorious times, Roberts sorts the hopes, the pain and the irony. "When I was with Houston at the end of my career, Bob Gibson walked up to me one day when I was running in the outfield. He asked me why I didn't quit and said what a shame it was that I was ruining a great career and just trying to hang on. Years later, I saw Gibson trying to do the same thing," Roberts recalls. It was likely Roberts' very nature that wouldn't allow him to let go. In terms of effort, there are few who gave more and got less in return. Recruited by Michigan State University as a basketball player, Roberts accidentally latched onto baseball while at the Big 10 institution. It was soon evident that the righthander was equipped with mound skills that, when honed in his early days with the Philadelphia Phillies, were to make him one of baseball's most effective pitchers of all time. A tireless worker, Roberts started three games in a five-day span in 1950—the run culminating with an October 1, 10-inning triumph over Brooklyn that gave the Phils their first National League pennant in 35 years. The "Whiz Kids" exploits aside, Roberts toiled for some god-awful teams for a franchise in steady decline as the seasons dragged on. Following the flag-winning '50 season (in which Roberts went 20-11), the mound ace logged 20 or more triumphs in each of the next five seasons, as well. But never during that period did the Phils finish higher than fourth. Completing his 14-year Phillies tenure, Roberts endured four successive seasons in which the Phils never escaped the NL cellar. In his latter season in Philly—pitching for a Phils team that went 47-107—Roberts went 1-10 and was released on October 16. Immediately signed by the New York Yankees, Roberts remained in the Bronx until the following April 16. (In a show of class, the Phillies retired Roberts' number "36" before the 1962 opener—the team's first in 13 seasons that Roberts didn't start.) Still, for the Yanks, Roberts never threw a single pitch and was released. Exacting a bit of revenge later that season, Roberts, who was signed by the Baltimore Orioles in late May, bested the Yanks' Whitey Ford on August 26 to complete a five-game sweep that trimmed the Bronx Bombers' lead to just three games over Minnesota and the L.A. Angels. Having posted 42 wins in three-plus seasons with the O's, Roberts had uneventful stays with the Astros and Cubs before drawing the curtain on his Hall of Fame career. Offered here is a vintage Phillies relic: a home jersey worn by Roberts during his last season in the City of Brotherly Love. This cream-colored, button-down flannel garment features red pinstripes and boasts "Phillies" embroidered across the chest in red-on-white cursive—complete with stars to dot the "i's." Roberts' famed number "36" is applied to the back in like fashion. Situated upon the left front tail, a "Wilson" size "44" manufacturer's label is accompanied by a strip tag on which "1961" is chain stitched in black numerals. In like fashion, "R. Roberts" appears on a strip tag within the collar. Roberts' black marker signature ("10") lies on the lower portion of the jersey's front left side. The item reveals evidence of moderate wear and shows no signs of repair or alteration. Graded A-10 by MEARS. LOAs from Dan Knoll, Dave Bushing & Troy Kinunen/MEARS, Steve Grad/PSA DNA and James Spence Authentication.
Robin Roberts 1961 Philadelphia Phillies Signed Game Worn Home Jersey
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