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Dave Roberts

World Series champion pitcher

January 12, 2009|times staff and wire reports

Dave Roberts, 64, a left-handed pitcher who played for the 1979 World Series champion Pittsburgh Pirates during a 13-year career in the major leagues, died Friday of lung cancer at his home in Short Gap, W.Va.

A native of Gallipolis, Ohio, Roberts was born Sept. 11, 1944. After graduating from high school, he was approached by several major league teams and signed with the Philadelphia Phillies. He played for Phillies farm teams and in the then-Kansas City A's and Pittsburgh Pirates organizations before being taken by the San Diego Padres in the October 1968 expansion draft.

He made his debut with the Padres on July 6, 1969, and played with them through the 1971 season. In addition to the Pirates, he played for Houston, Detroit, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle and the New York Mets.

In 1971, he won 14 games for the Padres and finished second in the National League with a 2.10 ERA. In 1973, he won 17 games and pitched six shutouts for Houston. During his career, he won 103 games and lost 125.

Family members said he developed lung cancer from asbestos exposure as a young man.

He played at a time when baseball contracts were far less lucrative. In the off-season, he worked as a boilermaker.

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