By Craig Muader
The Dec. 6 Veterans Committee meetings had just broken up when Tom Seaver pulled me aside.
“Where’s my cameraman? I want you to take a photo of me with this gentleman,” Seaver said, pointing to fellow Hall of Famer and Veterans Committee member Robin Roberts.
With my palms sweating as the camera focused on 597 big league victories, I pressed the button then showed the image to Seaver.
“I’m keeping this one,” said Tom Terrific, turning to Roberts to start a conversation about pitching, hitting and the craft of baseball.
It seemed whenever Robin Roberts was around, those in his company knew that it was a special moment.
The world lost a legend on Thursday morning when Roberts passed away at age 83. With him went a large part of an era – a time when pitchers completed their starts and rarely missed their turn in the rotation. Roberts was one of the best at both, posting 305 complete games (the most of any pitcher who began his big league career after World War II) and never missing a start in the 1950s.
But he was more than just his numbers. A member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s Board of Directors and a frequent participant in Museum programs, Roberts exhibited an easy-going quality that helped others relax around a baseball immortal.
Sitting next to him after snapping the picture, I got the feeling that this was a man that was truly comfortable in his own skin.
We should all be so lucky.
Thank you, Tom, for your foresight in asking for a picture. And thank you, Robin, for letting us know the true meaning of the world “gentleman.”
Craig Muder is director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.