Robert Gerald Miller was born on July 15, 1935 in Berwyn, Illinois. In his senior high school year he pitched nine games, striking out 106 batters while throwing two no hitters.
The Detroit Tigers signed him as a bonus baby for $60,000 at the same time they signed future Hall of Famer Al Kaline in 1953. With the bonus baby rules at the time, the player had to be placed on the MLB team’s roster right away, remaining there for two full years.
The tall six foot left hander debuted that June at age 17 & is still the youngest Tiger pitcher in their long history. He was used in relief most of the season, earning his first career win against the A.L. New York club at Tiger Stadium. He finished the year at 1-2 with a 5.94 ERA. He pitched for four seasons in Detroit as a reliever, going 4-6 in that time. He posted ERA’s under three in his second & third seasons.
In 1956 he began the season with the Tigers, but was then sent back to the minor leagues, returning in July to go 0-2 & post a 5.68 ERA. Miller would spend the next five seasons pitching in the minor leagues, highlighted by a 14-9 year at AA Birmingham in 1959.
In 1962 he was with the Cincinnati Reds pitching in just six games, but allowed 13 earned runs in just five innings of work. In early May got traded to the New York Mets along with Cliff Cook in exchange for Don Zimmer.
If the ’62 Mets weren’t already confusing, it got worse when this Bob Miller reported to a team that already had a Bob Miller pitching for it. Not only that but the two Bob Millers would also be roommates together on the road. In classic Stengel fashion, Mets manager Casey Stengel just called the other Bob Miller “Nelson” to make things easier.
This Bob Miller made his Mets debut on July 24th in the 12th inning in Milwaukee in a game against the Braves. He also took his first loss that day, when he gave up a walk off HR to Del Crandall. On August 4th he earned a victory when Frank Thomas hit a walk off HR in the bottom of the 14th inning. In that month he would win another game in relief on August 21st, beating the Pittsburgh Pirates. On August 30th he took a loss to the Philadelphia Phillies.
Miller finished the year at 2-2 with a 7.08 ERA allowing 16 earned runs in 20 innings pitched over 17 appearances. At age 26 Bob Millers career would be over after the season.