Meet Charlie Robertson

Charlie Robertson, 1922On January 31, 1896, Charles Culbertson Robertson entered the world by way of Dexter, TX, estimated population 300. After graduating from Nocona High School with the class of ’15 in nearby Nocona, Robertson took off for a two-year stint at Austin College.

Higher education not being all it was cracked up to be, and Robertson having developed a serviceable low-speed curveball by then, young Charles signed a contract in 1919 with the Chicago White Sox. At 23 years old, Robertson made his major league debut May 13, 1919, surrendering two earned runs, five hits, zero walks and facing nine St. Louis Browns batters across two complete innings of work. The Sox lost that game 2-1 (entirely thanks to Robertson), but held on to a 2.5-game lead over the Boston Red Sox in the American League. The Sox would go on to win the AL pennant that year and ultimately rig the World Series, but Robertson would be absent from White Sox baseball from his debut until the beginning of the 1922 season.

Sox Manager Kid Gleason gave Robertson the start on April 22, only Robertson’s second, and with a mighty-on-paper Tigers squad in town it probably would’ve been just another shellacking. Robertson, however, found some kind of grace within and tossed the first perfect game in White Sox history.

Robertson went a nonspectacular 14-15 for a 77-77 White Sox team, and finished the season with a career best 3.64 ERA. His three shutouts were seventh-best in the American League, his 272 innings pitched (!) enough for tenth-most (!!), and his 34 starts fifth-most, not to mention his 21 complete games putting him in a three-way tie for seventh that year.

The next season would see Robertson hold steady (13-18, 3.81 ERA, 255 IP), but arm problems crept in and worsened his seasons incrementally until his South Side tenure ended with an 8-12 1925 season. The St. Louis Browns took a chance on Robertson in 1926, as did the Boston Braves in 1927 and 1928, but neither were really rewarded for their gamble; Robertson only appeared in eight games for St. Louis, and went 9-22 for Boston.

On June 22, 1928, Boston sold Robertson’s contract to the Dallas Rangers of the Texas League, and Robertson never pitched in the big leagues again, his career ending the way it began: a young man and his curveball, cut loose into the Longhorn frontier. Robertson lived on in certain notoriety for a while as the Last White Sox Pitcher To Throw A Perfect Game, but even that seemingly eternal title eventually proved itself fleeting.