5/6 Hall of Fame memories
Hall of Fame pitcher Robin Roberts died on Thursday at the age of 83. Lou Piniella was his teammate briefly in 1964 on the Baltimore Orioles, which was Piniella’s only season with the O’s. Piniella had one at-bat that year when he made his Major League debut Sept. 4, 1964, in the fourth inning. He pinch-hit for Roberts, who started that game.
“I grounded out to shortstop, and when I got back to the dugout, he said, ‘[Heck], I could’ve done that,'” Piniella said, laughing.
Actually, Piniella grounded out to the second baseman, according to the boxscore but you get the picture. Roberts lost the game, 7-1, to the Los Angeles Angels at Dodger Stadium.
“I get back to the dugout, and he said, ‘[Darn], Rook, I could’ve done that. What the [heck] did they send you up to hit for me?'” Piniella said.
Piniella would see Roberts during the offseason because he lived near him in the Tampa, Fla., area.
“I followed his career because I was a fan of the ‘Whiz Kids’ back with Richie Ashburn and Curt Simmons and that whole group and Robin was a mainstay of that pitching staff,” Piniella said. “They used to train right in Clearwater, 18, 20 miles from home, so I used to go see them play.”
— Carrie Muskat