Jack Roberts - Athlete (Baseball) - Class of 2022
Jack Roberts was born in the hamlet of Campbellville in 1934. After a notable Juvenile-level career in his hometown, a newly formed Intermediate team, the Campbellville Merchants, was eager to bring the young pitcher into the fold when its players first stepped onto the field, under the direction of Len Andrews, in 1952.
Over the course of his stellar amateur career, the southpaw hurler would win 180 games for his “Village Nine” team, dropping only 46 decisions, recording a winning percentage of .796.
The Merchants’ fans instantly took to their star, as his 1.89 earned run average propelled Campbellville to an unheard of 12 Ontario titles in 16 years. In a village of merely 300 residents at the time, it was not unusual for 1,400 or more fans to pack the Old Ball Park to see their ace terrorizing opponents’ line-ups.
Nicknamed “Banana” for the way he intimidated batters with sidearm pitches that appeared to be headed straight for left-handed opponents, Jack’s victories accounted for 43.5% of the team’s 411 wins during a 16-year reign of domination, of which he pitched in 15 seasons.
The zenith of his powers came quite possibly in 1966, when at age 32 he pitched two back-to-back no-hitters in the Ontario Baseball Association’s final series. Only a single error in each game prevented him a perfect 18 innings, as he did not walk a single batter in either match.
Jack passed away in 2022 at the age of 87, secure in the knowledge he held one of the greatest amateur pitching careers this province has ever seen.