Maurice Van Robays

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Maurice Rene Van Robays (November 15, 1914 – March 1, 1965), nicknamed "Bomber," was a Major League Baseball player who was born and died in Detroit, Michigan. Primarily an outfielder, Van Robays spent six seasons in the majors, all with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was 6'0" tall and weighed 190 lbs, and he wore glasses, unusual for a ballplayer of the time.

Originally signed by his hometown Detroit Tigers, Van Robays replaced Hall of Famer Lloyd Waner as the Pirates' starting right fielder late in 1939. The next season, he finished third in the National League in RBI with 116, benefitting from the on-base efforts of teammates such as Arky Vaughan and Vince DiMaggio. At the end of the year, Van Robays drew eight points in league MVP voting, finishing twenty-fourth despite a .316 OBP and .402 slugging percentage. He returned as a starter the next season, but subsequently moved into a bench role, and he never played in the majors again after hitting .212 in 59 games during the 1946 season, though he helped lead the Oakland Oaks to a Pacific Coast League championship in 1948.

Van Robays is credited with naming the "eephus pitch", developed by teammate Rip Sewell. In a 1942 exhibition game, Sewell threw a high, arching lob to the plate, and when the pitch finally arrived, Dick Wakefield swung and missed. After the game, manager Frankie Frisch asked Sewell what he called the pitch, and Van Robays replied "that's an eephus pitch." When Sewell asked him what an eephus was, Van Robays said, "Eephus ain't nuthin'." From then on, Sewell called it the eephus pitch. [1]

He was buried in Detroit's Mount Olivet Cemetery.

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