- Dumb Luck Wins
- Tough Luck Losses
- Out Prevention Percentage
- Infield Outs Prevented
First, a brief recap of the criteria: I looked only at a player’s listed name, not his real name. Any player with a listed 1st name of Robert or any of its common variants (Bob, Bobby, Rob, Robby, or Roberto) is eligible. Players are largely ranked by Baseball-Reference’s WAR, using only their time with that franchise.
Below, each of the NL franchises are listed in order of the quality of their best Robert.
St. Louis Cardinals
Best Robert: Bob Gibson
Other Notable Roberts: Bob CaruthersBob Forsch Bobby Wallace
What else is there to say about Gibson? In his Hall of Fame career, spent entirely with the Cardinals, he won an MVP & 2 Cy Youngs, made 8 All-Star Teams, and won 9 Gold Gloves. His legendary 1968 season is one of the best ever: a 1.12 ERA (258 ERA+) and 13 shutouts in over 300 innings. That season was worth nearly 12 WAR on its own, which would be enough to lead several of these lists. Gibson’s WAR is the most for a pitcher in Cardinals history, and the 4th-most overall, behind Stan MusialRogers Hornsby Albert Pujols
Best Robert: Roberto Clemente
Other Notable Roberts: Bob FriendBob Veale Bob Elliot
Man, the Pirates are loaded with Roberts. Friend would lead most franchises’ lists–in fact, he’s the top pitcher in Pirates history by WAR–yet he ranks a distant second to one of the greatest Robert(o)s of all time, Clemente, who has the 2nd-best WAR in Pirates history behind Honus Wagner
Best Robert: Bobby Abreu
Other Notable Roberts: Bob BooneBob Allen Robert Person
One of the supremely underrated players of his era, Abreu consistently excelled in his 9 years in Philly, hitting .303 / .413 / .516, making 2 All-Star Teams, and even winning a Gold Glove. He had an OPS+ of at least 126 in every full year with the team and led the league in double and triples once each. His WAR ranks 5th among Phillies hitters and 8th overall.
San Francisco/N.Y. Giants
Best Robert: Bobby Bonds
Other Notable Roberts: Robby ThompsonBobby Thomson Bob Brenly
The elder Bonds made 2 All-Star Teams and won 3 Gold Gloves in his years with the Giants. Despite high strikeout totals, he was consistently an offensive asset, posting an OPS+ of at least 116 in every year with the team. In 1973, Bonds led MLB in runs, total bases, and strikeouts, which is certainly a strange combination. Bonds ranks 15th in position-player WAR in franchise history, and 21st overall. I went with Brenly over Bobby Bolin
Best Robert: Bob Rush
Other Notable Roberts: Bob O’FarrellBob Buhl Bob Wicker
The right-handed Rush was a mainstay of the Cubs’ rotation for a decade, making 2 All-Star Teams. Because most of those Cubs teams were dreadful, Rush’s win-loss totals tended to be unimpressive, but he was a quality pitcher. His best trait was an ability to limit home runs; he led the NL in HR per 9 innings twice. His best year came in 1952, when he posted a 2.70 ERA in 250 innings. His WAR ranks 9th in Cubs history among pitchers (ahead of Greg Maddux
Best Robert: Bob Welch
Other Notable Roberts: Bob CaruthersBob Miller Bob Ojeda
In Welch’s decade in L.A., he pitched 1820 innings with a 114 ERA+. He made only 1 All-Star Team and was a bit overshadowed by more famous teammates, but he was generally a very good pitcher. He’d eventually win a Cy Young
Best Robert: Bob Elliot
Other Notable Roberts: Bobby LoweBob Horner Bob Buhl
Elliot, one of a long string of excellent Braves third basemen, won an MVP in his first year with the Boston Braves, then followed that up by leading the majors with 131 walks in 1948. He hit a stellar .295 / .398 / .485 for the franchise, making 3 All-Star Teams in 5 years. He ranks 17th in Braves history in position-player WAR and 28th overall. Though perhaps the real “best Robert” in Braves history should be someone who never played a game for the club: legendary manager Bobby Cox.
Best Robert: Bob Watson
Other Notable Roberts: Bob BruceBob Knepper Bob Aspromonte
Watson debuted in MLB with 1 PA at age 20 for the 1966 Astros. He would play another 13 years with the club, mostly at 1st base and in left field, and would make 2 All-Star Teams. He consistently posted very good offensive numbers despite playing in the Astrodome. Poor defensive numbers hold his WAR back somewhat, however. He has the 10th-best position-player WAR in Astros history, and the 14th-best overall.
Best Robert: TIE Bob EwingBob Purkey
Other Notable Roberts: Bobby AdamsBob Bescher Bobby Tolan
I just couldn’t decide between these two pitching Bobs. They had the exact same WAR, in roughly the same amount of time, and both made about the same impact on the team. Purkey made 3 All-Star Teams & had one great year (1962); Ewing also had one great year (1907) and probably would have made around 3 All-Star Teams if they had had those when he played. It’s just too close to call. They’re tied for 14th in WAR among pitchers in franchise history, and tied for 33rd overall. (By the way, Rob Dibble
Washington Nationals / Montreal Expos
Best Robert: Bob Bailey
Other Notable Roberts: Bob SebraBob Henley Bob McClure
Bailey played for 17 seasons, but he had his best years in Montreal, playing 3 positions (1st, 3rd, and left field) and hitting fairly well. He wasn’t a star, but he was very solid. He’s tied with Rusty StaubPedro Martinez
San Diego Padres
Best Robert: Roberto Alomar
Other Notable Roberts: Bob ShirleyBob Miller Bob Owchinko
Alomar broke into the majors with the Padres at age 20, and made his first of 12 straight All-Star Teams with them in 1990, at age 22. That offseason, he was traded to the Jays with Joe CarterTony Fernandez Fred McGriff
New York Mets
Best Robert: Bob Ojeda
Other Notable Roberts: Bobby JonesBobby Bonilla Bob Apodaca
Ojeda edges out Jones (the right-handed one this time) based on his excellent 1986 season, which was better than anything Jones put together for the Mets. Jones did throw a 1-hit shutout in the 2000 NLDS, but Ojeda’s overall numbers in the ’86 playoffs are a bit better than Jones’ from ’00. Jones and Ojeda rank 18th and 20th, respectively, in pitching WAR in Mets franchise history.
Best Robert: Rob Deer
Other Notable Roberts: Bob WickmanBob McClure Bob Coluccio
I was hoping this would happen. Deer, the big-swingin’, big-whiffin’ slugger, hit .229 in 5 years with the Brewers, yet still posted a 112 OPS+. Sure, he didn’t hit well enough to really justify his poor defense and lack of a proper position, but when he got a hold of one, few players could hit it farther. Deer ranks 35th in Brewers history among position-players.
Best Robert: Robb Nen
Other Notable Roberts: Bobby Bonilla
The Marlins acquired Nen midway through their inaugural season; the next year, he took over closer duties. He accrued 108 saves and a 122 ERA+ in his time in south Florida. While he’ll be better-remembered for his more dominant seasons in San Francisco, he’s not a bad Robert representative for such a young team. His WAR is 11th-best in franchise history among pitchers and 26th-best overall.
Best Robert: Bobby Jones
Other Notable Roberts: Bobby EstalellaBobby Chouinard
This is the left-handed-throwing Bobby Jones, not the right-handed one from the same era. It’s kind of funny that Jones is the top Robert in Rockies history, considering that he had a 5.90 ERA with the team. Of course, that 5.90 ERA was good enough for a 92 ERA+ in those pre-humidor, homer-happy years, and a 92 ERA+ isn’t embarrassing at all. His WAR ranks just 40th among pitchers in franchise history.
Best Robert: Bobby Chouinard
Other Notable Roberts: Bobby WittRoberto Alomar Bob Wickman
Look, D’backs: I know you’ve only been around since 1998, but COME ON. Get a better Robert, ASAP. (No, Ryan Roberts
By the way, this is the 5th team for whom Alomar has finished in the top 4; he also made the lists for the Orioles, Blue Jays (1st), Padres (1st), and Diamondbacks. Nobody else appeared on even 4 different teams’ lists, though a bunch of players made 3 lists.
Tagged with: Bob Bob Allen Bob Apodaca Bob Aspromonte Bob Bailey Bob Bescher Bob Boone Bob Brenly Bob Bruce Bob Buhl Bob Caruthers Bob Coluccio Bob Elliot Bob Ewing Bob Forsch Bob Friend Bob Gibson Bob Henley Bob Horner Bob Knepper Bob McClure Bob Miller Bob O'Farrell Bob Ojeda Bob Owchinko Bob Purkey Bob Rush Bob Sebra Bob Shirley Bob Veale Bob Watson Bob Welch Bob Wicker Bob Wickman Bobby Bobby Abreu Bobby Adams Bobby Bonds Bobby Bonilla Bobby Chouinard Bobby Estalella Bobby Jones (left-handed) Bobby Jones (right-handed) Bobby Lowe Bobby Thomson Bobby Tolan Bobby Wallace Bobby Witt first names names National League player names Rob Rob Deer Rob Dibble Robb Nen Robby Robby Thompson Robert Person Roberto Roberto Alomar Roberto Clemente Roberts
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