(Host) The state of Vermont and Vermont’s new entry in the New England Collegiate Baseball League honored former Hall of Fame pitcher Robin Roberts at a special ceremony on Monday. Roberts won 286 games in a major league career that started in 1948 and ended in 1966. Before he was he signed by the Philadelphia Phillies, Roberts played two seasons in the old Northern League in central Vermont for the Twin City Trojans.
Governor Jim Douglas officially designated Monday as “Robin Roberts Day” in Vermont and the Vermont Mountaineers retired his jersey number and dedicated a granite plaque in his honor at their field in Montpelier. Roberts told reporters at a Montpelier news conference that his illustrious career as a pitcher had an accidental beginning when he talked to the baseball coach at Michigan State University. Roberts was a member of the college’s basketball team at the time:
(Roberts) “And the coach knew me from basketball, the baseball coach, and he said, ‘What are you doing here?’ And I said, ‘I can play your game, coach.’ And he said, ‘What do you play?’ And I said, ‘What do you need?’ He said, ‘I need pitching. And I said, ‘I’ll pitch.’ I was a third baseman, really. I really was a guy that played every day and I could play. But I could also throw strikes and two years and two months from that conversation I was in the big leagues. So it doesn’t read that way nowadays. You have scouts and trainers and dieticians and everybody. In my day you just showed up and if you could play, you could play.”
(Host) The Mountaineers made Roberts an active member of their roster for their game on Monday night so that his number could be retired as an official player in the League.