Friday, December 20, 2013

133 - Dave Roberts

About This Player
Dave Roberts played in 10 Major League seasons and six with the San Diego Padres.  Roberts was also one of four players named "Dave Roberts" and one of two who played in 1973.

Roberts began his professional career as a phenom with high expectations placed upon him becoming the sixth player since the amateur draft was instated to go straight to the Majors without spending time in the minor leagues.  He was drafted out of the University of Oregon as the first pick overall in the June 1972 amateur draft.  He was signed to a big league contract later that month and made his debut that day entering in the 12th inning of second game of a doubleheader against the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Roberts spent most of the season at 3rd base, but was moved to 2nd when the Padres promoted Dave Hilton that September.

Roberts would begin 1973 as 2nd base, but was demoted to the minors after struggling in April.  After hitting successfully for the Triple-A Hawaii Islanders, Roberts was promoted back to the Majors and took over the starting third base position from a struggling Hilton.  Roberts posted his most successful numbers in 1973 hitting .286 with 21 home runs and 64 RBI.

However, Roberts would start to struggle the following year and the Padres would continue to have trouble finding their regular third baseman.  Roberts would lose the starting role to and win it again from Dave Hilton in 1974. He would also be replaced by Mike Ivie, a converted catcher, and win the job again in 1975.  Roberts would spend the entire 1976 season at Triple-A and return the following year as the Padres' backup catcher. 

As Roberts struggled offensively, he would expand his defensive flexibility by playing at other positions and, thus, extending his playing career.  Roberts would play his first games in the outfield in 1978.  He was traded to the Rangers and spend the next two seasons as their utility player.  Roberts would later play one season each with the Astros and Phillies before ending his career.

Roberts was inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 1994.

About This Card
In his first Topps card, Dave Roberts is celebrated with the Topps All-Star Rookie Cup.  Considering the excitement surrounding rookies in today's sport card market, I wonder how much fan fare Dave Roberts received as a first overall pick entering the Majors immediately.

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