Robert Lanor Roberts
Born: September 30, 1928 (Spokane, Washington)
Died: January 11, 2015 (Kennewick, Washington)
Bob Roberts pitched for the Vancouver Capilanos for part of the 1953 season and all of the 1954 season, when the Caps won the pennant in the Western International League in their last year of operation.
Born in Spokane, Wash., where he starred at Rogers High School, Roberts turned professional at age 18, pitching for the Boise Iida.) Pilots of the Pioneer League. He left Boise suddenly in 1948 to be with his father, who died soon afterwards. He was suspended by Organized Baseball for abandoning his team and spent the 1949 season in Spokane’s Independent Twilight league.
He was reinstated for the 1950 season, earning a roster spot with the hometown Indians of the Western International League.
On July 22, 1951, Roberts won both games of a doubleheader in relief at Tacoma, Wash., as Spokane twice came from behind for 4-1 and 3-2 victories.
He went 22-21 over three seasons before being sold to the Calgary Stampeders of the same league.
The 5-foot-9, 175-pound right-hander came to Vancouver midway through the 1953 season.Roberts got the win in relief in Vancouver’s season-opener in 1954, as the Capilanos defeated the visiting Victoria Tyees by 12-7. Roberts came in with runners on base and no outs in the third, pitching out of the jam without surrendering a run. He was mostly untouched until he tired in the ninth, when Victoria scored two runs on three walks and a pair of singles.
The pitcher went 5-0 in his first seven games in 1954 with 17 strike outs in 42 innings pitched. He ended the campaign with a 12-5 record.
Roberts went on to pitch for the Seattle Rainiers, Wenatchee (Wash.) Chiefs, and Lewiston (Ida.) Broncs, before finishing his career with the Yakima (Wash.) Braves in 1959. Over 12 seasons, he posted a record of 108-91.
A capable hitter, who handled spot duty in the outfield and was frequently called upon to pinch hit, Roberts hit .255 in 796 at-bats, a better average than many everyday players.