Ed Roebuck, pitcher on the Brooklyn Dodgers 1955 championship team, dies at 86

Ed Roebuck. right, poses with other members of the Dodgers' 1955 championship team including George Shuba, left, and Clem Labine at a Dodgers Stadium reunion in 2005.
(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)
Share via

Ed Roebuck, who pitched for the only Brooklyn Dodgers team to win a World Series championship and the first Dodgers team in Los Angeles, died Thursday. He was 86.

He was found unresponsive in his Lakewood home, according to his son Ron. The cause of death had not been determined.

Roebuck made his major league debut for the Dodgers in 1955, when their lineup included Hall of Famers Roy Campanella, Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese and Duke Snider. Roebuck worked out of the bullpen, pitching in more games than two relievers who would become much better known: Sandy Koufax and Tom Lasorda.


That Brooklyn team won the World Series. Roebuck and the rest of the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles after the 1957 season. He played for the Dodgers through 1963 and in the major leagues through 1966, twice coming back from shoulder injuries long before arthroscopic surgery had been invented.

In 1959, he played first base in the minor leagues while waiting for his pitching shoulder to heal. He batted .265 with five home runs, and one day when throwing the ball he felt the shoulder snap back into proper form.

“He had what you call a frozen shoulder,” Dodgers trainer Bill Buhler told The Times. “It isn’t too common anywhere, even in baseball. It was a miracle cure. That quick throw just did it for him.”

After his playing career, he was a scout for four decades. He won his second World Series championship ring 49 years after his first, as a scout for the 2004 Boston Red Sox. His son said Friday he was proud of working in baseball beyond his playing career.

“He always said he never had a real job,” Ron Roebuck said.

In 1951, he was married to his wife, Janice, on the same day his minor league teammate, Don Zimmer, was married.

“He [Zimmer] got married at home plate, and Janice and I got married in a church,” Roebuck told the Society for American Baseball Research. “She wanted no part of a home-plate ceremony.”


In addition to his wife and son, survivors include his daughter-in-law Hilary and grandchildren Sage and Satchel. Plans for a memorial service have not yet been finalized.

Follow Bill Shaikin on Twitter @BillShaikin