Dave Roberts: A Life in Baseball

Dave Roberts was born on May 31, 1972 in Japan on a military base in Okinawa to his mother Eiko and father Waymon (who was a United States Marine).  He spent most of his childhood moving from one military base to the next, before finally moving to and staying in San Diego, California with his family and sister Melissa.  He attended Vista High School his freshman year, before transferring to Rancho Buena High School, that had just opened, and where he was a three-sport standout athlete in football, basketball, and of course, baseball.  

Collegiate and Professional Baseball Career 

He was recruited by the Naval Academy to play football, but baseball was on the top of his list.  Roberts decided to attend UCLA and then walked-on as an outfielder.  He received no attention from major league scouts after hitting .331 with 36 stolen bases his sophomore season, which made him even more determined to get better.  Roberts would then go on to hit .296 with 28 stolen bases his junior year and would have his best year as a senior, hitting .353 and stealing 45 bases.   

Dave Roberts would play for five teams throughout his ten-year MLB career, including the Cleveland Indians, Los Angeles Dodgers, Boston Red Sox, San Diego Padres, and the San Francisco Giants.  He was selected in the 28th round, 781st overall pick, of the 1994 MLB draft by the Detroit Tigers.  After four years with the organization, Roberts was traded to the Cleveland Indians, the team who he’d eventually make his MLB debut with.  Yet the most defining moment of his career would be his stolen base in Game Four of the 2004 ALCS with the Boston Red Sox.  The Red Sox found themselves in a three-games-to-none hole against their hated rival, the New York Yankees, entering the critical Game Four.  The game went into the bottom of the ninth with arguably the greatest closer of all time, Mariano Rivera, on the mound and the Yankees with a one run lead.  The speedy Dave Roberts would be asked by his manager, Terry Francona, to pinch run for Kevin Millar who reached via a base on balls.  Roberts would proceed to steal second base and score the game-tying run on a single.  The Red Sox would stay alive by winning Game Four, and then go on to win the next seven in a row, and ultimately break “The Curse of the Bambino” by winning their first World Series title since 1918.  

Even though Roberts would only play for the Red Sox during the 2004 season, he is and always will be welcomed with open arms in Boston.   

Post-Playing and Coaching/Managerial Career 

After Roberts retired from playing professional baseball in 2009, he would join the NESN broadcast team as an occasional color commentator and studio analyst for the Boston Red Sox.  He would leave the broadcast booth after just one season and join the San Diego Padres as a Baseball Operations Special Assistant, working with base running, bunting, and outfielders defensively.  In 2010, Dave Roberts would become the Padres’ First Base Coach when Rik Renteria was promoted to Bench Coach.  Roberts himself would then be promoted to Bench Coach for the 2014 season after Renteria left to manage the Chicago Cubs.  

On November 23, 2015, Dave Roberts became the first minority manager in Los Angeles Dodgers franchise history when he was named their newest manager.  Roberts was awarded the National League Manager of the Year, after leading his team to the NLCS in his first year with the Dodgers and first year as a manger.  In just his second season as the skipper, Roberts led his team to having the best record in baseball and is now just two wins away from winning his first World Series as a manager.