Ed Roebuck (2011)

Ed Roebuck admits he once pitched over 400 innings during a season in the minor leagues and winter ball. That is quite a departure from the way pitchers are handled today.


Edward Jack Roebuck was born on July 3, 1931 in East Millsboro, PA, and went on to fashion a 11-year career in major league baseball.

Roebuck was not a multi-sport star at Brownsville HS - he concentrated on baseball.

"We had a very good high school team," Roebuck recalled. "We had a very good coach Mr. Slick (Charlie) and there were some real good prospects in the Mon Valley and Fayette County. Deacon Dan Towler, the great running back from Donora, also was a fine baseball player.

"I think we did win our conference in high school - I pitched against Freddy Youman and he was at Charleroi - I think we won our division maybe one or two years, but we did have a good team."

Roebuck graduated ahead of his class in 1948 and that put his baseball career on hold for awhile.

"I played American Legion baseball - I couldn't play pro ball right away," Roebuck said. "There were several clubs that were interested in me. I played American Legion ball and pitched for the coal mining teams for that summer."

He attended a workout held by the Brooklyn Dodgers at Washington, PA and that was a big factor when he decided to sign a pro baseball contract.

"My brother said 'lets go to this tryout camp' and I said the Red Sox are practically living at my house. My mother used to cook breakfast and the Boston scout Socko McCarey used to sit under our peach tree and eat peaches. But we went to Washington and I tried out as a pitcher and as a hitter and I heard nothing from Brooklyn. I continued my playing in the summertime. We went to the finals with the American Legion team and if we had beaten one more team we would have played a team from the Lehigh Valley that featured Curt Simmons - who the Phillies gave a lot of money to.

"We lived way back in the sticks and one day this big black Buick comes up to the house and I was surprised that he got his car through all the mud and everything. He wanted to take me to Brooklyn and my mother said you're not taking him anywhere until his brother okays the deal. I had five brothers and three sisters and my one brother Joe said - go ahead and go with him. The guy was Jim Murray from the Dodgers ticket department and he drove me to Brooklyn. We went to Ebbets Field and I worked out again - I went to Brooklyn on the recommendation of scouts Rex and Joe Bowen who had run the tryout camp in Washington.

"Branch Rickey took me up to his office and he presented me with a contract, but I had already been committed to the Red Sox, but Boston couldn't match Brooklyn's offer - so I signed with the Dodgers."

Roebuck began his journey through the vast Dodgers minor league chain at Newport News in 1949 and went 8-14.

"I'm 17-years old and I break in at Newport News - a very, very fast "B" league. I was in over my head. I went back the next year and was starting every three days in 1950. After a rough year I went back to Elmira and in 1951 I had a real good year - I almost led the league in earned run average. I went to Montreal for the next three-years with Walter Alston," Roebuck stated.

In 1954 Roebuck posted a 18-14 season and won a trip to the major leagues. He pitched in Havana during the winter and was 14-7 down there.

"I pitched over 400 innings," Roebuck offered. "Can you imagine the pitch count in those days?"

Roebuck was 23 years old when he broke into the big leagues on April 18, 1955, and Alston who was now managing the Dodgers converted the 6'2 - 185 pound right-hander into a relief pitcher. Alston paired him with Clem Labine to form a potent 1-2 punch in the bullpen.

In 1955 Roebuck had 12 saves and was a major factor in the Dodgers pennant run. Brooklyn won the "Subway" series with Yankees in seven games to win the World Championship.

"I led the club in saves and I really got hot at the beginning in April and May and June. I had an arrangement with the general manager - if I stayed one month with the club I was to get $500 dollars. I waited until the All-Star break and I went up to the GM and said 'hey how about my $500?' I think I was third in ERA at the time - so he said we can't do that - we did that with Clyde King and he never won a game the rest of the year. So that ended that," said Roebuck.

As far as the World Series victory Roebuck has fond memories.

"Johnny Podres throwing the shutout - He was really a hero and Johnny really enjoyed it," recalled Roebuck.

The sinkerball specialist pitched for Brooklyn and Los Angeles for nine years and posted a 40-22 record with 44 saves.

Roebuck was with the team when it left Brooklyn and went to Los Angeles.

"We were young and looking for new territory and we liked to travel - so I was looking forward to the move," Roebuck stated. "It was a shame they moved the franchise out of there. They were great fans."

Roebuck missed the Dodgers World Championship season of 1959 with a shoulder injury, but bounced back to post eight wins and eight saves in 1960.

In 1962 he appeared in 64 games with a 10-2 record and nine saves. Unfortunately he was tagged with a loss in the final game of a three game playoff with the San Francisco Giants, who went on to face the New York Yankees in the World Series.

Midway through the 1963 season Roebuck was traded to the Washington Senators.

Roebuck had two solid seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies - in 1964 he was 5-3 with 12 saves and a 2.22 ERA and 1965 he was 5-3 in 44 games. 1964 was the year the Phillies infamous collapse and they lost the pennant to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Roebuck retired from baseball after the 1966 season with a career mark of 52-31, with 62 saves and a 3.35 ERA.

He became a scout for several organizations for the next 35 years. He scouted for Atlanta, Los Angeles, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Boston. Two notable players he signed were Jason Kendall and Freddy Sanchez.

Roebuck is retired and living in Lakewood, CA with his wife of 50 years, Janice.


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