Curtis "Curt" Benjamin Roberts (August 16, 1929 – November 14, 1969) was an American baseball second baseman who played three seasons for the Pittsburgh Pirates in Major League Baseball from 1954 to 1956. He was signed by the Boston Braves as an amateur free agent before the 1951 season, and obtained by Pittsburgh a year later. After two seasons in the Pirates farm system, Roberts was the first black Major League player for the Pirates. After becoming the starting second baseman for the Pirates in his rookie year, Roberts' playing time decreased and he was out of the Majors within three seasons. He played for multiple teams in the minor leagues before retiring from professional baseball in 1963.
A native of Pineland, Texas, but raised in Oakland, California, Roberts was considered short by Major League standards, standing 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m). Roberts was a skilled defensive player who could not hit with enough proficiency to remain in the major leagues. Roberts died when an automobile struck him while he was changing a tire on his car. His former Pirates teammates only learned of his death 20 years later when being interviewed for a newspaper article. Although Roberts' career was short, it paved the way for other black players to debut for the Pirates, the most notable of whom was future Baseball Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente.
By Dean Hanley
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