Phillies offically retire No. 36
Roberts and the 1950s Whiz Kids honored before game
PHILADELPHIA -- Hall of Famer Robin Roberts originally had his jersey number, 36, retired by the Phillies in 1962.On that spring day, though, there was no big ceremony. The pitcher had just been released by Philadelphia the year before and was in Spring Training with the Yankees when he received a phone call from Phillies officials. "They said they'd like to meet me for lunch at a restaurant in Tampa," Roberts, now 81, recalled. "So I went there and that's where they retired my number." The legendary pitcher recalled that about six people were in attendance at the Tampa restaurant for the initial retiring of his number. Considerably more were on hand at Citizens Bank Park on Saturday night, when the Phillies held a pregame ceremony to honor Roberts and officially retire his number as part of the team's Alumni Weekend. The night was also a salute to the Phillies' 1950 National League championship squad, affectionately known as the Whiz Kids. Six other members of that team joined Roberts on the field for the pregame ceremony, including catcher Stan Lopata, pitcher Curt Simmons, pitcher Bob Miller, infielder Putsy Caballero, outfielder Jack Mayo and coach Maje McDonnell. "The nice part was having the Whiz Kids back," Roberts said. Roberts was a crucial member of that 1950 squad, winning 20 contests and tossing 21 complete games. In the last five days of the season, Roberts made three starts, including his win on the final day of the 1950 season, when the Phils won the pennant in Brooklyn. The Hall of Famer's 14-year stint in Philadelphia included 234 wins and a team-record 272 complete games. But, for Roberts, there was never a team quite like the Whiz Kids. Roberts smiled as he recalled the squad's championship run. "The city went crazy," he said.
Kevin Horan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.