Hall of Fame pitcher Robin Roberts, who led the Philadelphia Phillies to the 1950 National League pennant, died of natural causes Thursday at age 83.
Citing Roberts’ son Jim, the Phillies said the right-handed Hall of Famer died at his home in Temple Terrace, Fla.
``He was a boyhood hero of mine,’’ Phillies president David Montgomery said of Roberts, who led the NL in wins from 1952-55. ``His career and stats speak for themselves. But first and foremost he was a friend and we’ll miss him badly.’’
Roberts won 286 games and put together six consecutive 20-win seasons. He also had 45 career shutouts, 2,357 strikeouts and a lifetime ERA of 3.41.
Roberts played in an era when pitchers were expected to go the distance.
He made 609 career starts and finished 305. In the past 25 years, Phillies pitchers have thrown a total of 300 complete games.
Roberts’ No. 36 jersey, which the team retired in 1962, was hung in the Phillies’ dugout before Thursday’s game with St. Louis. Players will wear No. 36 on their sleeves starting tonight.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown also honored Roberts by placing a memorial wreath on his plaque Thursday. Roberts earned election to the Hall in 1976.
That year also marked the death of former teammate Jim Konstanty, a Strykersville native who settled in Oneonta.
Konstanty earned All-Star and NL MVP honors in 1950, when he went 16-7 with a 2.66 ERA and had a leaguebest 22 saves for the Phillies.
The same season, Roberts went 20-11 with a 3.02 ERA and an NL-best five shutouts. Konstanty took the loss in Game 1 of the 1950 World Series against the New York Yankees, who won, 1-0.
Roberts followed with a complete- game loss in Game 2 as the Yankees won, 2-1, after Joe DiMaggio homered in the top of the 10th inning.
Konstanty’s grandson Mike, a 2004 Oneonta High graduate, is an active player in the Cincinnati Reds’ organization.
Said Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson: “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.”