"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."