#285 Robin Roberts
Roberts is of course best known for his many years with the Phillies, and for a six-year stretch where he was one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball. Those days were long over by 1964, which was his third year with the Orioles. This card is one of the worst in my collection, condition-wise. It’s beat up all over, with smashed corners, stained borders, a scratched surface, and creases near three of the corners. About the only good thing about it is that it’s complete with no paper loss, and is relatively well-centered. As you can see, there was no trivia question on this card because his stats took up too much room.
The SMR for this card is $20 in NM, a far cry from the $250 his 1949 Bowman rookie card commands in the same condition.
Roberts’ career was somewhat left for dead when he went a horrifying 1-10 with a 5.85 ERA as a 34-year-old with the Phillies in 1961. The Phils allowed his contract to be purchased by the Yankees after the season but he never appeared in a game with New York. He was released by the Yankees early in the ’62 season and picked up by Baltimore, where he ended up having a career rejuvenation, posting ERAs of 2.78, 3.33, and 2.91 in three full seasons with the Birds. He was still performing well when he was released by Baltimore in the middle of the 1965 season. He went to Houston for the rest of ’65 and part of ’66, then to the Cubs for a rough stint before hanging it up for good. He tried one more comeback in 1967 in the minors, but never got another major league shot. Roberts was never traded in his career, rare for a guy who played so long.
Roberts was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1976. He was spectacular for six years, and then varied between decent and terrible the rest of his career. His HOF case is really based on his performance from 1950-55. He was an All-Star in each of those years and finished in the top seven in the MVP balloting five times. He was second to Hank Sauer(?) in the voting in 1952, when he went 28-7 with a 2.59 ERA, 1.021 WHIP, 3.29 K/BB ratio, and 30(!) complete games.