Robin Roberts dies at 83
Chris Solari here hijacking Hey Joe for some sad news. Former Michigan State baseball and basketball star Robin Roberts, the only Spartan in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, died Thursday morning at his home in Florida. Roberts' number 36 is one of three MSU retired for baseball, along with his former coach John Kobs (25) and Kobs' successor Danny Litwhiler (1).
I had the chance to talk Robin on May 3, 2009, at the dedication ceremony for McLane Stadium, so I thought I'd pass along some of what he had to say about his days in East Lansing:
On joining the baseball team as a junior to play for legendary coach John Kobs: "I was a basketball player, and I went out for baseball. John was surprised. He knew me from basketball, and I went out. And he said, 'What are you doing out 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'm a pitcher.' Turned out, I was right."
On coming back to MSU: "At my age, I'm lucky I am able to come back. But I feel part of it. We weren't in the Big Ten then. I played basketball, and one year we were really a solid basketball team. But baseball, we weren't in the Big Ten – but we beat Michigan twice, which was a big deal. I imagine it still is, but it was a real big deal then. ... When we played Michigan, we'd have a decent crowd. But that was the only time."
On the MSU men's basketball team's run to the Final Four in Detroit: "I watched it closely. I was surprised to be honest that they were able to beat Louisville and then beat Connecticut. It was bad against North Carolina – they were good and they had a hot streak. But it was really nice. They played together as a team. I never saw a team that played together like they did. That's the only way they beat Louisville."
Here are two must-read links on the former Philadelphia Phillies great:
Roberts' Hall of Fame induction speech: http://baseballhall.org/news/event/robin-evan-roberts-induction-speech