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This Day In Astros History: May 4, 1966

This is going to be a quick one. Hearken all the way back to 1966 for this one, when a 38-year old Robin Roberts dialed back the clock enough to shut out the Chicago Cubs 4-0.

That's right, Hall of Famer Robin Roberts pitches for the Astros back in the early years of the franchise. He was on the team for two seasons, made 23 appearance and 22 starts. This game was his 25th and final shutout of a 19-year career that saw him win 20 games four times and post a record of 286-245. Roberts had an ERA+ of 113 for his career and posted a career-high 177 in 10 starts with Houston in 1965.

Before that, his best season was 1953, when he had an ERA+ of 153, won 23 games, pitched 346 2/3 innings with five shutouts, two saves and a league-high 198 strikeouts. That's right. As Roberts was collecting 305 complete games in his career, he also saved 25 games. Dude just had a rubber arm. He never had a high strikeout rate, but compensated by never walking anyone and he won enough games to finish second in the National League MVP voting in 1952. First place that season was Cubs catcher Hank Sauer.

In this one, his last shutout, Roberts struck out nine, which was a feat, considering he only struck out 26 batters that entire season for Houston. He allowed seven hits and two walks to pick up his second victory of the season.

The offense was provided by shortstop Sonny Jackson, who went 2 for 4 with his ninth steal of the season and Dave Nicholson, who went 1 for 3 with a three-run home run that broke the game open in the sixth inning. Rusty Staub, John Bateman and Bob Aspromonte all had hits in the game.

Here's the graphic replay of the game, thanks to Back to Baseball. As an added bonus, since this is from the 1966 season, I'm sure @1966Astros will have something to say about it. Cool idea highlighting one of my favorite semi-obscure Astros in catcher John Bateman (who still holds the team record for most home runs by a catcher).