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The Phillies Nation Top 100: #3 Robin Roberts

The Phillies Nation Top 100 continues today with #3. Our mission is to assess the Top 100 Phillies players of all time using impact to the Phillies, individual achievement, team achievement, traditional stats, and analytics as our criteria. The list was compiled by Ian Riccaboni and Pat Gallen with input from the rest of the Phillies Nation staff. 

From this point forward, each weekday, we will reveal two Phillies from the PN Top 100 in separate posts. To view the players listed thus far, please click here. To view the 2008 iteration of the list of Greatest Phillies of All Time as compiled by Tim Malcolm, please click here.

Please check back tomorrow morning for #2.

#3 – Robin Roberts

Years: 1948-1961

234-199, 3.46 ERA, 1.171 WHIP in 3739.1 IP

Previous Rank: 3 (No Change)

fWAR Phillies Rank: 2nd among pitchers, 4th among Phillies

Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1976

Won 20 games or more in six-straight seasons (1950-1955), led MLB in games started in six-straight seasons (1950-1955), threw 20 or more complete games in seven-straight seasons

Ranks first in Phillies history in IP, CG

Made seven-consecutive NL All-Star teams (1950-1956), Five Top 7 NL MVP finishes

There isn’t a whole lot to say about Robin Roberts, the greatest right-handed pitcher in Phillies history, that hasn’t already been said. Roberts is the all-time leader in Phillies’ history in appearances, innings pitched, and complete games and ranks second in wins, strikeouts, and games started, and third in shutouts. Roberts also was selected to seven-straight NL All-Star teams and started on the hill for five of those teams. But it is perhaps his link to one of the biggest underdog stories of all-time that helps Roberts rank so highly on this list.

In 1950, Roberts would lead baseball with 39 games started and five shutouts, going 20-11 with a 3.02 ERA, starting the All-Star game, and finishing seventh in MVP voting for the NL Pennant-winning Phillies. The group, collectively known as the Whiz Kids with an average age of 26.4 years old, shocked baseball, winning the pennant by two games over Brooklyn. Roberts, just 23 at the time, would lead them into the 1950 World Series, where he would lose a 2-1 ball game in the tenth inning. Yes, Roberts pitched all ten innings. Roberts would throw a scoreless eighth inning in relief in Game 4, but the damage was done, and the Phillies would lose 5-2 in Game 4 and the series 4-0.

Roberts was just about everything you could ask of a starting pitcher. Roberts was reliable: Roberts led the National League in games started in six-straight years while throwing 20 or more complete games in seven-straight years. Roberts was durable: from 1951 through 1955, Roberts led the MLB in innings pitched. And he was a winner: from 1948 through 1961, his years as a Phillie, Roberts led all right handers in wins across MLB.

From the day he was signed prior to the 1948 through October 16, 1961, when the Yankees purchased his contract, Roberts was among the best pitchers in baseball: Roberts ranked second in wins, third in appearances, second in starts, second in complete games, third in shutouts, second in innings pitched, and third in strikeouts. Aside from a 1-10 hiccup in 1961, Roberts was remarkably consistent. Roberts won 10 or more games in 12-straight seasons (1949-1960) and won 20 games or more in six-straight seasons (1950-1955).

Roberts would be traded from the Yankees to the Orioles prior to the start of the 1962 season, spending parts of four seasons in Baltimore, parts of two seasons in Houston, and his final season, 1966, with the Cubs. Roberts was elected to the Hall of Fame on his fourth try on the ballot in 1976 and was the first Phillie elected to the Phillies Wall of Fame in 1978. Roberts died of natural causes at the age of 83 on May 6, 2010 at his home in Florida. There has never been, and may never will be, a better right-handed pitcher for such a consistent period of time for the Phillies than Robin Roberts.

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