Dave Roberts (outfielder)

David Ray Roberts (born May 31, 1972) is an American professional baseball manager and former outfielder who is the manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers of Major League Baseball (MLB). He played for five MLB teams over a ten-year career and then coached for the San Diego Padres before being named Dodgers manager for the 2016 season. The son of a Japanese mother and African American father, Roberts became the first manager of Asian heritage to lead a team to the World Series in 2017, when the Dodgers captured the National League pennant. Although he played for the Boston Red Sox for only part of one season, his most notable achievement as a player was a key stolen base in the 2004 ALCS that ignited the Red Sox's drive to their championship that year. Roberts batted and threw left-handed.

Dave Roberts
Dave Roberts Winter Meetings.jpg
Roberts at the 2015 Winter Meetings
Los Angeles Dodgers – No. 30
Outfielder / Manager
Born: (1972-05-31) May 31, 1972 (age 48)
Naha, Okinawa, Japan
Batted: Left Threw: Left
MLB debut
August 7, 1999, for the Cleveland Indians
Last MLB appearance
September 27, 2008, for the San Francisco Giants
MLB statistics
Batting average.266
Home runs23
Runs batted in213
Stolen bases243
Managerial record425–270
Winning %.612
As player

As manager

As coach

Career highlights and awards

Early lifeEdit

Roberts was born in Naha, Okinawa. His African American father, Waymon, was a United States Marine stationed in Japan when he met and married Eiko, Roberts' Japanese mother. Roberts has a younger sister, Melissa.[1] His childhood was spent moving from one military base to another before settling in San Diego, California.[1]

Roberts attended Vista High School as a freshman and was the MVP of the junior varsity baseball team.[2] He transferred to Rancho Buena Vista High School when it opened the following year, where he was a standout in football, basketball and baseball.[2] In football, he was a three-year starter at quarterback; as a senior, he helped lead his team to the San Diego Section Class 3A championship.[3] Roberts was recruited to play football for the Air Force Academy as an option quarterback, but declined because he wanted to play baseball.[2]

Roberts decided to attend UCLA and joined the Bruins baseball team as a walk-on outfielder after impressing coaches with his speed and enthusiasm.[2] He hit .331 as a sophomore with 36 stolen bases[4] and as a junior he hit .296 with 28 steals.[4] The Cleveland Indians drafted him in the 47th round of the 1993 MLB draft.[5] He was disappointed with being drafted so low, behind seven other UCLA juniors and his coach told him he needed to improve his defense and that his weak throwing arm was hurting his draft stock.[2] He improved by getting to the ball quicker and was able to lead the Bruins in outfield assists as a senior,[2] while also hitting .353 with 45 steals.[4] He left UCLA as the school's all-time stolen-base leader and graduated with his Bachelor of Arts degree in history in 1995.[6]

Professional baseball careerEdit

Detroit TigersEdit

Roberts was selected by the Detroit Tigers in the 28th round of the 1994 MLB draft[7] and signed with them on June 9, 1994.[8] He began his career with the Jamestown Jammers, the Tigers short-season class "A" team in the New York–Pennsylvania League. Roberts hit .292 with 12 steals for the Jammers, who won the division title with a 42–32 record.[9][10] For the 1995 season, he was promoted to play for the Lakeland Tigers in the Florida State League, where he hit .303 in 92 games with 30 stolen bases, fourth best in the league.[10][11]

In 1996, Roberts was assigned to the Visalia Oaks of the California League. The Oaks were a co-op team made up of players from several organizations. He was frustrated with the assignment and thought about quitting baseball but his father talked him out of it.[12] In 126 games, he hit .272 with 65 stolen bases,[10] which led all of minor league baseball and he scored 112 runs, tops in the Cal League.[11] He appeared in three games for the AA Jacksonville Suns of the Southern League at the end of the season and had two hits in nine at-bats.[10] He also hit a three-run home run in the 15th inning to help the Suns win game 1 of their playoff series.[13] The following season, he remained at Jacksonville and played in 105 games for them, with a .296 average and 23 steals.[10] In 1998, Roberts once again began the season with the Suns. He played in 69 games and hit .326 with 21 stolen bases[10] and was named to the Southern League mid-season all-star team.[11]

Cleveland IndiansEdit

In June 1998, Roberts and Tim Worrell were traded to the Cleveland Indians for Gerónimo Berroa.[14] Roberts was traded just prior to the Southern League All-Star Game and played in the game wearing an Indians hat even though the Indians did not have a Southern League team at the time.[11] He was assigned to the Akron Aeros of the Eastern League where he batted .361 in 56 games with 28 steals.[10] He was promoted to the Buffalo Bisons, the Indians Triple-A team in the International League late in the season.[15] He had only two hits in 15 at-bats for the Bisons[10] but remained with the team in the playoffs, as the Bisons won their first Governors' Cup in nearly 40 years[16] and made it to the Triple-A World Series.[15] Roberts later said that his promotion to Buffalo was exciting to him because he realized he was getting close to the big leagues and his time there allowed him to become a better ballplayer.[15]

Roberts played with Los Cañeros de Los Mochis in the Mexican Pacific League in 1998-99 before wearing the uniform of the Caguas Criollos in Puerto Rico, where he played with Alex Cora and had Joey Cora as general manager. Almost 20 years later Roberts, as manager of the Dodgers, would go on to meet Alex Cora as manager of the Red Sox in the 2018 MLB World Series.

Roberts was a non-roster invitee at Indians spring training in 1999 but was assigned to Buffalo to start the season.[11] In 89 games for the Bisons, he had a .271 batting average with 39 steals.[10] He earned International League all-star honors for the season.[16] His contract was purchased by the Indians on August 7, 1999[11] and he made his major league debut batting leadoff and playing center field for the Indians against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. In his debut he had three hits in five at-bats and stole a base: he was also picked off once.[17] His first MLB hit was a double to center field in his second at-bat, off of Bobby Witt of the Devil Rays in the second inning.[17] He hit his first home run on August 30 off of Ramón Ortiz of the Anaheim Angels.[18] On September 24, he hit a grand slam homer off of John Hudek of the Toronto Blue Jays.[19] Overall, he was in 41 games for the Indians in 1999 and hit .238 with two homers, 12 RBI and 11 stolen bases.[8] He also appeared in two games of the 1999 American League Division Series (ALDS), going hitless in three at-bats.[20]

Roberts spent most of 2000 back in the minors with Buffalo, where he had a .292 average in 120 games with a career high 13 homers, 55 RBI and 39 steals.[10] He also was second in the league with 93 runs scored.[11] He was called up to the Indians briefly from May 26–29 and then was called up when rosters expanded in September.[11] In 19 games for the Indians, he had only two hits in 10 at-bats while being used primarily as a late-game defensive replacement.[21] After the season, he had surgery on his left shoulder to repair a torn labrum and fraying around his rotator cuff, which caused him to begin the following season on the 60-day disabled list.[11] When he returned on June 24, he was optioned back to the Bisons,[11] where he hit .303 in 62 games.[10] His 97 career steals in parts of four seasons in Buffalo ranks as the tops in franchise history and he would eventually be selected to the Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame.[16] He was again recalled to the majors in September and had four hits in 12 at-bats in 15 games for the Indians.[8] In parts of three seasons with Cleveland, he hit .242 in 75 games.[8]

Los Angeles DodgersEdit

Roberts playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers

On December 22, 2001, Roberts was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for minor league pitchers Christian Bridenbaugh and Nial Hughes.[22] The 2002 season with the Dodgers was Roberts' first full season on a major league roster and he was the Dodgers leadoff hitter and starting center fielder. He finished the season with a .277 batting average in 127 games with 45 stolen bases.[23] He missed the final seven games of the regular season with a partially torn oblique.[11]

In 2003, Roberts appeared in only 107 games due to neck and hamstring injuries[11] and hit .250 while stealing 40 bases[8] He was the 10th Dodgers player in history with consecutive 40-steal seasons and committed his first career error on April 22 against the Cincinnati Reds, snapping a streak of 406 attempts without an error.[11] He began the 2004 campaign with the Dodgers and hit .253 in 68 games with 33 steals[11] despite missing most of May with a strained hamstring.[11]

Boston Red SoxEdit

On July 31, 2004, the Dodgers traded Roberts to the Boston Red Sox for minor league outfielder Henri Stanley.[24] He played in 45 games for the Red Sox and hit .256.[8] Roberts made a large contribution to the 2004 Red Sox post-season even though he did not play in the 2004 World Series. Most notable was his stolen base against the Yankees in the 2004 American League Championship Series Game 4. The Red Sox were facing elimination in the bottom of the ninth inning, down four runs to three. Kevin Millar drew a walk from Yankees closer Mariano Rivera. Roberts, who had not played in ten days, came in to pinch run with Bill Mueller hitting. Rivera attempted to pick off Roberts three times before, on the first pitch to Mueller, Roberts stole second base, just beating the throw of Yankee catcher Jorge Posada. Following the steal, Mueller singled, Roberts scored from second, and the Sox went on to win the game in 12 innings, beginning their run of eight straight wins culminating in Boston's first World Series title since 1918.[25][26] In 2006, the event was recognized as a Memorable Moment in Red Sox history by the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame.[27]

San Diego PadresEdit

The Red Sox traded Roberts to the San Diego Padres on December 20, 2004, in exchange for outfielder Jay Payton, infielder Ramón Vázquez, minor league pitcher David Pauley and cash.[28]

Roberts played center field for the Padres in 2005, hitting .275 in 115 games.[8] and then moved to left field when they acquired Gold Glove winner Mike Cameron from the New York Mets before the 2006 season.[29] That 2006 season, Roberts established career highs with a .293 batting average, 49 steals, and 13 triples,[8] the latter mark tying Tony Gwynn's 19-year single-season franchise record.[11] In the 2006 National League Division Series, Roberts hit .438 to lead the Padres, though they still were eliminated from the playoffs by the St. Louis Cardinals.[30]

San Francisco GiantsEdit

Roberts playing for the San Francisco Giants

In December 2006, Roberts signed with the San Francisco Giants. The Giants, trying to acquire a center fielder, first tried to sign Gary Matthews, Jr. and Juan Pierre, but both players passed on the Giants in favor of other teams. Roberts agreed to a 3-year, $18-million deal with the team in early December 2006. The Giants backloaded the deal, agreeing to pay Roberts $5 million in 2007 and $6.5 million in 2008 and 2009.[31]

Roberts' career with the Giants got off to a slow start because of injury. He spent most of May and early June on the disabled list. Roberts was batting only .216 before he went on the disabled list, but his swing had been hampered by the bone chips and spurs in his elbow that required surgery.[32] He finished the season hitting .260 in 114 games with 31 stolen bases.[8] Continually bothered by injuries, he only played in 52 games in 2008, hitting a career low .224 with only five steals.[8]

On March 5, 2009, Roberts was released by the Giants, despite the team still owing him the last year of his contract.[33]

Player profileEdit

Roberts had above-average knowledge of the strike zone. He had little power, but was a spray hitter who used raw speed to get on base and stretch singles to doubles. Once on base, he commonly "manufactured" runs with such tactics as stealing second base, moving to third on a grounder, and coming home on a sacrifice fly. When healthy, Roberts was widely known as one of the best base stealers in baseball[citation needed]. From 2002 to 2006, he had 195 steals, as well as an 81 percent success rate, both of which were the second-best in the majors among base stealers with 175 steals just behind stolen base king Rickey Henderson in the career stolen base rate rankings. In fact, Roberts is one of only 53 players in major league history with a career stolen base success rate above 80% (minimum 80 attempts). He had exceptional range in the outfield, but his below-average arm occasionally allowed his opponents to take extra bases on him.[34]

Broadcasting careerEdit

In May 2009, Roberts retired from baseball and joined NESN as a studio analyst and occasional color commentator for Red Sox telecasts.[35] After one season as a broadcaster, he left the network to join the Padres as a Baseball Operations Special Assistant, where he would work with players in the organization on outfield defense, base running and bunting.[36]

Coaching and managing careerEdit

San Diego PadresEdit

Roberts as Padres coach

On October 18, 2010, Roberts was hired by the San Diego Padres as the first base coach, replacing Rick Renteria when he was promoted to bench coach.[37] When Rentería was named manager of the Chicago Cubs after the 2013 season, Roberts once again succeeded him, named as manager Bud Black's bench coach for the 2014 campaign.[38]

On June 15, 2015, Roberts filled in as the Padres' manager for one game when Black was fired after starting 2015 at 32–33 and six games behind in the National League West.[39] The Padres lost that game 9–1 to the Oakland Athletics.[40] Pat Murphy was named as the new manager the next day and Roberts returned to his bench coach role for the rest of the season.[41]

Los Angeles DodgersEdit

Roberts was named manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers on November 23, 2015.[42] Roberts became the first minority manager in the franchise's history. In 2016, the Dodgers set an MLB record in Roberts' first year by placing 28 players on the disabled list throughout the season, as well as setting the record for the most pitching changes (606) in a single season. Despite the injuries, the Dodgers won their fourth consecutive NL West title and advanced to the 2016 NLCS. Roberts received praise during the postseason for how he used Kenley Jansen in non-traditional closer situations. Roberts was selected as the Sporting News National League Manager of the Year[43] and was voted by the Baseball Writers' Association of America as the National League Manager of the Year.[44]

In 2017, Roberts led the Dodgers back to the playoffs, where they swept the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2017 NLDS and then defeated the Chicago Cubs in five games in the 2017 NLCS. Roberts became first manager of Asian heritage ever in the World Series, as well as the fourth African-American manager.[45] The Dodgers faced the Houston Astros in the 2017 World Series, where they were defeated in seven games.

In 2018, the Dodgers got off to a rocky start at the beginning of the season with a 16–26 record, but rebounded to win the NL West, finishing 92–71. Roberts led the Dodgers to the 2018 World Series after the Dodgers defeated the Atlanta Braves three games to one in the 2018 NLDS and then defeated the Milwaukee Brewers in seven games in the NLCS. The Dodgers faced one of Roberts' former teams, the Boston Red Sox, and former Dodgers teammate Alex Cora for the championship. Boston won the series in five games, giving the Red Sox their ninth World Series title and the Dodgers a second consecutive World Series loss.

On December 3, 2018, Roberts and the Dodgers agreed to a four-year contract extension, running through the 2022 season.[46]

Managerial recordEdit

As of games played on September 10, 2020
Team Year Regular season Postseason
Games Won Lost Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
SD 2015 1 0 1 .000 Interim Manager
SD total 1 0 1 .000
LAD 2016 162 91 71 .562 1st in NL West 5 6 .455 Lost NLCS
LAD 2017 162 104 58 .642 1st in NL West 10 5 .667 Lost World Series
LAD 2018 163 92 71 .564 1st in NL West 8 8 .500 Lost World Series
LAD 2019 162 106 56 .654 1st in NL West 2 3 .400 Lost NLDS
LAD 2020 45 32 13 .711 TBD
LAD total 694 425 269 .612 25 22 .532
Total [47] 695 425 270 .612 25 22 .532

Personal lifeEdit

Roberts observes flight operations from the primary flight control tower on board USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) in December 2010

Roberts married his high school girlfriend, Tricia, in 1997. They have two children. Roberts, along with former teammate Rich Aurilia and friends John and Noelle Micek, have been partners in Red Stitch Winery, based in Cardiff, California, since 2008.[48]

In March 2010, Roberts was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma.[49] By June 2011, after receiving treatments for lymphoma, Roberts reported he had received a clean bill of health.[50]

Roberts is a Christian. Roberts spoke of his faith in 2016 by saying, "I stopped trying to be good enough and earn my way into heaven and accepted God’s gift of eternal life through His Son Jesus Christ in 1988. It wasn’t until just a few years ago, though, that I really understood how much God loved me in sending Jesus to die in my place and really started living for Him, putting Him first in my life, making Him Lord. My relationship with Christ is the most important thing in my life. Beyond the game of baseball, He gives me lasting joy, contentment and peace. That’s the great thing about allowing Jesus to become Lord–He really knows and wants what is best for my life."[51]

He is the cousin of American sports radio personality Evan Roberts.[52]


  1. ^ a b Brown, Tim (December 1, 2015). "Dave Roberts is evidence why race can be both important, meaningless". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Hoornstra, JP (November 25, 2015). "How new Dodgers manager Dave Roberts emerged as a leader at every stop". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  3. ^ Mitchell, Houston (November 23, 2015). "Eight things you should know about Dave Roberts". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  4. ^ a b c "Dave Roberts baseball statistics". Baseball Cube. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  5. ^ "1993 Cleveland Indians Picks in the MLB June Amateur Draft". Baseball Reference. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  6. ^ "Dave Roberts Named Dodgers Manager". UCLA Bruins. November 23, 2015. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  7. ^ "1994 Detroit Tigers Picks in the MLB June Amateur Draft". Baseball Reference. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Dave Roberts Statistics & History". Baseball Reference. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  9. ^ Kindberg, Scott (November 24, 2015). "From Jamestown To Los Angeles". The Post-Journal. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Dave Roberts minor league statistics & history". Baseball Reference. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "Dave Roberts bio". mlb.com. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  12. ^ Hagerty, Tim (January 13, 2015). "Dave Roberts almost retired in Single-A". Sporting News. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  13. ^ Zellen, Peter (June 15, 1997). "Suns Getting Much-Needed Hot Bat from Roberts". Florida Times Union. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  14. ^ "Baseball briefs". Deseret News. June 25, 1998. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  15. ^ a b c Harrington, Mike (July 14, 2013). "Inside Baseball: Bisons gave Roberts a leg up on his career". Buffalo News. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  16. ^ a b c Buffalo Bisons (July 9, 2013). "Young, Roberts, Harrington elected to Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame". milb.com. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  17. ^ a b "August 7, 1999 Cleveland Indians at Tampa Bay Devil Rays play-by-play and box score". Baseball Reference. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  18. ^ "August 30, 1999 Anaheim Angels at Cleveland Indians play-by-play and box score". Baseball Reference. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  19. ^ "September 24, 1999 Cleveland Indians at Toronto Blue Jays play-by-play and box score". Baseball Reference. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  20. ^ "1999 AL Division Series (3–2): Boston Red Sox (94–68) over Cleveland Indians (97–65)". Baseball Reference. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  21. ^ "Dave Roberts 2000 Batting Gamelogs". Baseball Reference. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  22. ^ "Red Sox Don't Have Any Room for Reese". Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. December 22, 2001. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  23. ^ "Dave Roberts 2002 Batting Gamelogs". Baseball Reference. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  24. ^ Kubatko, Roch (August 1, 2004). "At end of four-team deal, Garciaparra becomes Cub". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  25. ^ Crasnick, Jerry (September 15, 2009). "Red Sox fans still as passionate as ever". ESPN.com. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  26. ^ "October 17, 2004 American League Division Series Game 4, New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox play-by-play and box score". Baseball Reference. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  27. ^ Petraglia, Mike (October 25, 2006). "Remy, Roberts in Red Sox Hall". MLB.com. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  28. ^ "Red Sox get Payton, Vazquez, prospect and cash". ESPN.com. Associated Press. December 21, 2004. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  29. ^ Krasovic, Tom (April 2, 2006). "Padres put fresh face on future". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  30. ^ "2006 NL Division Series (3–1): St. Louis Cardinals (83–78) over San Diego Padres (88–74)". Baseball Reference. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  31. ^ Schulman, Henry (December 3, 2006). "Third choice, top dollar: Giants sign Roberts for three years, $18 million". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved August 17, 2007.
  32. ^ Schulman, Henry (June 4, 2007). "Roberts' return could provide spark". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved August 17, 2007.
  33. ^ Baggarly, Andrew (March 5, 2009). "UPDATED: Giants release Dave Roberts, eat $6.5 million". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  34. ^ "Breaking down July trades" (Baseball America). ESPN Africa. 31 July 2004. Retrieved 7 September 2019. Roberts, 32, upgrades Boston's speed, defense and depth. He possesses little power and his arm is below average
  35. ^ Finn, Chad (April 30, 2009). "Roberts added to NESN roster". boston.com. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  36. ^ "Dave Roberts leaves NESN to join Padres staff". MassLive.com. Associated Press. December 8, 2009. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  37. ^ "Dave Roberts now first base coach". ESPN. Associated Press. 7 October 2010. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
  38. ^ "Padres name Dave Roberts as bench coach and José Valentín as first base coach". mlb.com. November 19, 2013. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  39. ^ Lin, Dennis (June 15, 2015). "Padres fire manager Bud Black". San Diego Union-Tribune. Archived from the original on November 24, 2015.
  40. ^ "June 15, 2015 Oakland Athletics at San Diego Padres play-by-play and box score". Baseball Reference. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  41. ^ "Former ASU baseball coach Pat Murphy named Padres interim manager". statepress.com. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
  42. ^ Gurnick, Ken (November 23, 2015). "Roberts is Dodgers' pick to be manager". Dodgers.com. MLB. Retrieved November 23, 2015.
  43. ^ McGuire, Justin (October 24, 2016). "Terry Francona, Dave Roberts voted Sporting News managers of the year". Sporting News. Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  44. ^ Weisman, Jon (November 15, 2016). "MOY bueno! Dave Roberts is NL Manager of the Year". Dodgers.com. MLB. Retrieved November 15, 2016.
  45. ^ Walker, Rhiannon (October 11, 2017). "Dave Roberts can join Cito Gaston as the only black managers to win World Series". The Undefeated. Archived from the original on October 27, 2017.
  46. ^ Kelly, Matt (December 3, 2018). "Dave Roberts, Dodgers agree to 4-year deal". Dodgers.com. MLB. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  47. ^ "Dave Roberts". Baseball Reference. Sports Reference. Retrieved September 28, 2015.
  48. ^ "David & Tricia Roberts". Red Stitch Winery. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  49. ^ "Roberts being treated for lymphoma". ESPN. May 3, 2010. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  50. ^ "Padres 1B Coach Dave Roberts Gets Good Medical Report". WBZ-TV. Associated Press. 20 June 2011. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
  51. ^ Romano, Jason (23 October 2017). "Dodgers manager Dave Roberts says the most important thing in his life is a relationship with Christ". Sports Spectrum.
  52. ^ "Evan Roberts on Twitter:..." twitter.com. Kudos to my cousin Dave on some brilliant managing

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Rick Renteria
San Diego Padres first base coach
Succeeded by
José Valentín
Preceded by
Rick Renteria
San Diego Padres bench coach
Succeeded by
Mark McGwire