Thanks For The Memories, #36

MANHATTAN, NY - 1950's: Pitcher Robin Roberts #36 of the Philadelphia Phillies, poses for a portrait prior to a 1950's game against the New York Giants at the Polo Grounds in Manhattan, New York. Roberts played for the Phillies from 1948-1961. (Photo by Kidwiler Collection/Diamond Images/Getty Images)

News broke today of the passing of legendary Phillies pitcher Robin Roberts.  The Hall of Famer pitched long before my time, but like many younger Phils fans, I was told stories of his brilliance.  My grandfather had shown me slides of games he pitched at Connie Mack Stadium and would enlighten me with the story of the Whiz Kids and the wonderful times clinching the 1950 pennant.
Roberts’ stats speak for themselves.  But besides the Hall of Fame pitcher he was, he was a constant with the Phillies organization for much of his life after he retired.  His personality and gentle spirit and love of the game, won over most anyone that he met.   When I was a teenager, my grandfather got to meet Roberts and had him autograph a baseball.  It was an item he was very proud of.  The very day he obtained that ball he placed it in a viewing box and kept it on his bedroom dresser.
Right before my grandfather passed away, he gave that ball to his great-grandson, my son.  My son was only 1 ½ at that time, so I took the ball and made sure I put it on his bedroom dresser, just like my grandfather had kept it in his house.  When my son was old enough (I think he was 3), he asked about that baseball and who had signed it.  I told him it was Robin Roberts, a pitcher from the Phillies’ old days.
My son was filled with curious questions (DISCLAIMER: my child, even when he was 3, was and still is a baseball fanatic): Was he a good pitcher?  Did he play with Whitey?  And so on.   So one day I sat him down and told him the story of Roberts’ dominance the last week of the 1950 season and about the Whiz Kids in general.  I became nostalgic because I realized that at that moment I was doing with my son, what had brought so much joy to my grandfather when he did with me.  My son listened to every word and on our next visit to Citizens Bank Park, he was excited to recognize the #36 painted on the bricks, symbolizing his retired jersey number.
So on hearing of the news of his passing today, I have been reminiscing about the stories I was told and the memories came flooding back.  Baseball is funny like that.  It crosses generation lines and helps us all to remember great times and family members who may have passed.  So may I say, Rest in Peace Robin, and thank you for all you have done for baseball, the Phillies, and us fans.


3 Responses

  1. RIP- Robin Roberts

    …a Phillies legend

  2. This is perfect and I’m tearing up. Thanks for everything, Robin. ❤

  3. Well done article! He was the reflection of perfection and will be missed by many Phillies fans.

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