Robin Roberts was simply magnificent in 1952. Winner of 20 or more games in six consecutive seasons from 1950-1955, Roberts won a career-high 28 contests in ’52. He complimented the win total with a career-low 2.59 earned run average.
During the ’52 campaign the workhorse topped the NL in starts (37), complete games (30), innings (330). Roberts’ 8.6 WAR led all men – pitchers and position players – on the Senior Circuit.
Many saw him as the league MVP. Instead writers gave the honor to NL homerun and RBI champ Hank Sauer whose 5.6 WAR was 10th-best in the league.
Some report that the slight gave Commissioner Ford Frick the idea of an award for the best pitcher each season. Three years later baseball’s winningest pitcher Cy Young passed away. The following season Frick presented the inaugural Cy Young Award to Dodger right-hander Don Newcombe.
By that time, Roberts’ best years were behind him. Though he led NL pitchers in WAR five times during the 1950s, Roberts never received the Cy Young Award.
In the collection is this letter from longtime owner and manager of the Philadelphia Athletics, Connie Mack. On team letterhead the Grand Old Man of Baseball writes to the chairman of the Robin Roberts Day Committee.
Dated two weeks after the conclusion of the ’52 World Series, the letter praises Roberts.
“You are paying tribute to a young man who is not only one of the greatest pitchers of his day, but who is a credit to the game of baseball in every way,” Mack writes.
“Robin Roberts is the ideal American athlete – – – a real leader who possesses the perfect blend of the will to win and the spirit of fair play and good sportsmanship.”
Typed on Athletics team stationary, the letter is signed neatly at the bottom by the Hall of Fame manager.
Met Roberts in Oneonta Ny in 1964. I was a studemt at Oneonta
college and Roberts owned a sporting goods shop.