Roberts was 'real gentleman,' La Russa says

Roberts was 'real gentleman,' La Russa says

PHILADELPHIA -- News of the passing of legendary Phillies pitcher Robin Roberts early Thursday morning made its way into the Cardinals clubhouse before the game, and manager Tony La Russa was saddened by the loss of a man he got to know over the years.

"I knew him pretty well," La Russa said. "He was the coach over at University of South Florida. I remember taking the White Sox into there for an exhibition game one time, because Robin asked us to go in there.

"He was just a real gentleman," La Russa added. "He was a great man. No ifs, ands or buts, just a great man."

Roberts died at the age of 83 at his home in Temple Terrace, Fla. The Hall of Famer was the winningest right-hander in Phillies history, with 234 victories and a 3.41 ERA over 14 seasons.

The Phillies held a moment of silence for him before the game and hung his jersey up in the dugout.

"I saw him in Spring Training when I was a young guy," La Russa said. "He pitched in a great era, man. Threw against some great hitters, there were some great pitchers. Best ever."