(Everready, Speedboy, Big Boy)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
Roy Roberts spent almost 20 years in the Negro Leagues, primarily as a pitcher.
He debuted in 1916 with the Atlantic City Bacharach Giants, allowing 3 hits, one walk and 4 runs (3 earned) in 1/3 of an inning. He improved to 3-5, 3.36 (117 ERA+) in 1917. Among top eastern black teams, he was 4th in ERA (between Shang Johnson and String Bean Williams) and WHIP (1.22).
Roberts fell to 2-3, 4.86 (55 ERA+) in 1918 though he was 6 for 15 at the plate. In 1919, he was 1-2 with a 3.68 ERA (98 ERA+). Moving to the Brooklyn Royal Giants in 1920, he was 2-2 with a 2.31 ERA (87 ERA+). He fared very well in his lone start against a white major league team, holding the Washington Senators to five hits and two runs (one earned) while fanning 12 but lost, 2-1, to José Acosta, thanks to an error by Buck Ridgley.
In 1921, he was a workhorse for the Columbus Buckeyes, going 11-16 with a 3.45 ERA (116 ERA+) while completing 23 of 26 starts. He also hit .204/.243/.255. While he led the Negro National League in losses, he just missed the top 10 in ERA (placing 11th) and tied Dicta Johnson for 10th in wins. He was also among the 1921 NNL leaders in games pitched (35, tied for 2nd with Bill Holland), starts (2nd, two behind Jim Jeffries), complete games (1st by 1), saves (tied for 6th with 1), innings (245 1/3, 2nd to Jeffries' 261), runs allowed (123, 1st by two ahead of José Suárez), earned runs (94, the most, four ahead of Bill Force), hits allowed (209, 2nd, 31 behind Jeffries), homers allowed (10, 3rd, behind John Finner and Force), walks (99, 1st, 17 more than Jeffries), hit batsmen (22, 1st, 7 ahead of Sam Crawford) and strikeouts (126, tied for 3rd with Dave Brown).
The big right-hander fell to 5-6, 7.43 with the Bacharach Giants in 1922. He had a 0-2, 5.03 record for the team in 1923 and 1-1, 3.54 in 1924. During 1925, Everready Roberts was 0-4 with a 5.34 ERA between Atlantic City and the Chicago American Giants (Chicago won).
The Floridian was 2-2 with a 4.83 ERA in 1926 and did not pitch in the 1926 Negro World Series against the Chicago American Giants. In 1927, he was 10-8. He appeared in game 3 of the 1927 Negro World Series, relieving Jesse Hubbard and replaced by Hubert Lockhart during a 7-0 loss. Chicago again prevailed.
For 1916-1926 and 1934 (the years for which Seamheads.com has his stats as of May 2018), he was 28-47 with 53 complete games in 80 starts. He allowed 655 hits and 296 walks in 654 innings while striking out 327. He had 4.40 ERA (90 ERA+). He hit .196/.234/.231 (34 OPS+).
- Seamheads database
- The Complete Book of Baseball's Negro Leagues by John Holway
- The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues by James Riley