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Hall of Fame pitcher Robin Roberts dead at 83

PHILADELPHIA - Long before pitch counts, setup men and closers, Robin Roberts usually finished what he started.

Roberts, the tireless Hall of Fame pitcher who led the Philadelphia Phillies to the 1950 National League pennant as part of the famed "Whiz Kids," died yesterday. He was 83.

Roberts died of natural causes at his home in Temple Terrace, Fla., the Phillies said, citing his son Jim.

The righthander was the most productive pitcher in the National League in the first half of the 1950s, topping the league in wins from 1952 to 1955, innings pitched from '51 to '55 and complete games from '52 to '56.

He won 286 games and put together six consecutive 20-win seasons. Roberts had 45 career shutouts, 2,357 strikeouts and a lifetime ERA of 3.41. He pitched 305 complete games, but also gave up more home runs than any other major league pitcher. Phillies pitcher Jamie Moyer is on the verge of breaking that mark. The 47-year-old Moyer has given up 498 homers, seven fewer than Roberts.

Roberts played in an era when pitchers expected to go the distance. In the past 25 years, Phillies pitchers threw a total of 300 complete games - five fewer than Roberts all by himself. Roberts made 609 career starts, finishing more than half.

"Robin was one of the most consistent, competitive and durable pitchers of his generation and a symbol of the Whiz Kids," commissioner Bud Selig said.

Roberts was the leading pitcher on the 1950 squad that won the franchise's first pennant in 35 years. Roberts put together a 20-11 season with a 3.02 ERA and a league-leading five shutouts.

He started Game 2 of the World Series against the Yankees and held New York to one run on nine hits through nine innings.

With the score 1-1 in the top the 10th, Joe DiMaggio led off with a home run, giving New York a 2-1 win. The Yankees would go on to sweep.

Roberts spent 14 of his 19 seasons in Philadelphia and was the stalwart of the rotation from 1948 to 1961. His best season was 1952, when he went 28-7 with a 2.59 ERA.

Roberts started five All-Star games and was placed on the team seven times.

He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1976.

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