If it were not for Steve Carlton, Robin Roberts would easily be the best pitcher in franchise history. His 71.8 career wins above replacement is the highest among all pitchers in franchise history and second only to Mike Schmidt among all players. He is one of only five players to have their number retired by the team.
Roberts pitched 14 seasons for the Phillies from 1948 to 1961. He was a seven-time All-Star from 1950 to 1956, nearly winning the MVP award in 1952. He led the league in wins, starts, complete games, innings pitched, strikeouts, fielding-independent pitching, walks per nine innings, and strikeout-to-walk ratio, in multiple seasons.
Roberts led the 1950 “Whiz Kids” team to the World Series before being swept by the Yankees. Roberts pitched a 10-inning complete game in Game Two but allowed the game-winning home run in the top of the 10th. That year, he had a 20-11 record, started a league-leading 39 games, and tossed five shutouts.
Roberts nearly won the MVP award (before the Cy Young was created) in 1952, finishing second in voting. Hank Sauer edged him out by four percent of the vote. Roberts led the league in wins (28), starts (37), complete games (30), innings pitched (330), walks per nine innings (1.2), and strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.29).
Among all pitchers in franchise history, Roberts ranks first in innings pitched and complete games, second in wins, starts and strikeouts, and third in shutouts. When starting pitchers regularly pitched 300 innings and made more than 40 starts, Roberts was among the best at it.
He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1976 and was the inaugural inductee onto the Phillies Wall of Fame in 1978.