Tag Archives: Salem Senators

Memorial Day–Jimmy Robertson

28 May

Born in Albany, Oregon on August 31, 1919, James G. “Jimmy” Robertson attended Willamette University in Salem, Oregon.  The Salem Statesman Journal called him:

“A hustling catcher and court star under coaches Spec Keene and Howard Maple at Willamette.  He was voted to Northwest conference teams in both sports.”

After graduating in 1942, Robertson signed his first professional contract with the Salem Senators in the Western International League (BR, and other sources conflate Robertson with several other players, including a shortstop by the same name who played with Salem in 1940).

Robertson made his professional debut on May 6; Salem defeated the Tacoma Tigers 6 to 2.  He was 0-2, with a sacrifice, was hit by a pitch, and scored a run.  The Journal said:

 “He caught a mighty smooth game.”

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Jimmy Robertson

The next day, Robertson collected his first three professional hits, and first three RBIs in an 11 to 6 victory over Tacoma.

Robertson had appeared in just 21 games, hitting .250, when he was drafted, his final game was June 14.  The Statesman Journal said:

“That was a nice sendoff the 800-odd fans gave Jimmy Robertson on Sunday when he came to bat for the first time against the Tigers.”

In his last plate appearance, Robertson was hit by a pitch:

“But Jimmy didn’t mind as it came during that terrific seventh when Salem brought the house down.”

The Senators split a double header with Tacoma that day.

The Statesman Journal said:

“Yep, the Navy gets itself a good man in Robby, and when Uncle Sam is through with him, we hope he brings his dash and fire back to play for our Senators.”

Robertson trained as a pilot in North Carolina and Texas and went to the South Pacific in December of 1943 serving as a flight leader of a B-25 Mitchell bomber squadron.

The Statesman Journal said:

“First Lt. James G. Robertson, better known over the Willamette Valley and Western International baseball league as Jimmy, or ‘Jeem,’ basketball and baseball star has been killed in action in the South Pacific.”

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First Lt. James G. Robertson

According to Robertson’s hometown paper, The Albany Democrat-Herald, the telegram sent to his wife–who gave birth to a daughter while Robertson was in the service–on April 24, 1944 gave no other details other than he had “died in the line of duty.”

The Eugene Guard said:

“He was a great competitor and his friends and acquaintances may be sure he got in some good licks…before the third strike.”

He is buried at Willamette Memorial Park in Albany.