Blue Rocks mourn Robin Roberts’ death

    The Phillies’ great, who played minor league ball in Wilmington, died in Florida at age 83.

    Philadelphia Phillies legend Robin Roberts died this morning of natural causes at his home in Temple Terrace, Florida.  He was 83.

    Delaware Valley baseball fans keenly remember Roberts’ 14 year stint with the Phils, including his role on the National League pennant winning 1950 “Whiz Kids”, but First State fans also remember his brief stint with the old Wilmington Blue Rocks on his way to the big leagues.

    “It is (a sad day). The entire Blue Rock family was saddened to learn of Robin’s passing.  Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”  said Blue Rocks General Manager Chris Kemple.

    Roberts, who was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1976, played for the original Wilmington Blue Rocks in 1948.  He didn’t stay for long.  Roberts was called up in June of that season after going 9-1 with a 2.06 ERA in 11 starts with the Rocks.

    Roberts brief, but memorable run with the Blue Rocks was enough for the current of edition of the franchise to retire his number 36 before the Carolina League All-Star game in June of 1998.  Roberts is one of only two players to have his number retired by the Blue Rocks.  The other is former Kansas City Royals star Mike Sweeney (now with Seattle), who played in Wilmington in 1995.

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    “I vividly remember when he was out here in 1998 when his number was retired.”  Kemple recalled, “The other thing that certainly comes to mind is the close friendship he had with our former president Matt Minker, who passed away a couple of years ago. They were very close and Matt thought the world of Robin Roberts.”

    Roberts complied a 286-245 career record in the majors over 19 season.  As a member of the Phillies, he went 234-199 from 1948 to 1961.  He won a career high 28 games in 1952.

    The Blue Rocks will observe a moment of silence for Roberts before tonight’s 6:35 game against Salem at Frawley Stadium.

    Funeral arrangements for Roberts are pending.

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