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Jerry Robertson

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Jerry Lee Robertson

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"There is something about . . . knowing that you can compete with the Aarons and Mays and once in a while even get them out." - Jerry Robertson

Jerry Robertson had the best ERA among the four main starters for the expansion 1969 Montreal Expos. The next season he pitched for the 1970 Detroit Tigers and had an ERA better than the team average.

Robertson was born in Winchester, KS (through 2010 he is the only major leaguer born there) and was one of two major leaguers born in Kansas in 1943, with the other one being Paul Edmondson, who also broke into the majors in 1969.

Jerry attended Washburn University of Topeka a couple years before Davey Lopes went there. Robertson was drafted in the 27th round in 1965 and spent most of his minor league career in the St. Louis Cardinals organization. His career minor league record was an impressive 38-22 and his ERA was 2.82.

The Expos picked him up in the expansion draft and he made his major league debut in April 1969, pitching in the Expos' very first game in relief and giving up no runs. Although he appeared 11 times in relief that year, he became the second most-utilized starter with 27 starts. His record was 5-16 but his ERA of 3.96 was the only ERA under 4.00 of pitchers with at least 15 starts. He was the same age as Bill Stoneman, the pitcher who had the most starts on the team.

After the 1969 season Robertson was traded to the Tigers, and posted a 3.68 ERA for them in 11 relief appearances. He was also in 18 games for Toledo that year.

In 1971 he pitched for Tidewater in the New York Mets organization, going 5-3 with 6 saves. His teammates there included Jim Bibby, Buzz Capra and Jon Matlack. Although Jerry's ERA was approximately the same as that of Bibby, the latter went on to a long major league career while Jerry's was over.

A biography of Robertson indicates that he was born on the family farm and although he was a three-sport letterman in high school expected to graduate and work the family farm. However, he was recruited to play college baseball and then drafted by the pros. Sparky Anderson managed him a couple years in the minors. Warren Spahn was his manager in 1968. Billy Martin was his manager in 1970. Jerry had some injury problems while in the minors in 1970 and chose to retire in 1971 because of the pain while pitching. After baseball he became an executive with the YMCA and later Director of Athletics at Washburn U.

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