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David Ray Roberts (born May 31, 1972 in Okinawamarker, Japanmarker) is a former Major League Baseball outfielder. Previously, he played with the Cleveland Indians ( - ), Los Angeles Dodgers ( - ), Boston Red Sox (2004), San Diego Padres ( - ), and San Francisco Giants ( - ). Roberts bats and throws left-handed. He is the son of a retired Marine in Japan (Waymon Roberts) and a native Okinawan mother (Eiko) and was raised in San Diego, Californiamarker. He is perhaps best known for his stolen base in the 9th inning of Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS, which was such a notable play that it is often simply referred to as "The Steal." He currently serves as a color commentator on NESN for the Boston Red Sox as Jerry Remy recovers from an illness.

High school, college

Roberts attended Rancho Buena Vista High School in Vista, Californiamarker, where he was a standout in football, basketball, and baseball. 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.

He was a member of the UCLA Bruins baseball team.

Major league career

Roberts has above-average knowledge of the strike zone. He has little power, but is a spray hitter who can use raw speed to get on base and stretch singles to doubles. Once on base, he commonly "manufactures" runs by employing such tactics as stealing second base, moving to third on a grounder, and coming home on a sacrifice fly. When he is healthy, Roberts is widely known as one of the best base stealers in baseball . From 2002 to 2006, Roberts 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.

Roberts has exceptional range in the outfield, but his below-average arm occasionally allows opponents to take extra bases on him. According to some sports commentators, Roberts sometimes has trouble judging where the ball is going to land, and does not always run the most direct route to the ball . Roberts compensates for this difficulty with his excellent speed.

Roberts joined San Diego in 2005. The speedy Roberts seemed an optimal choice to roam the spacious outfield at Petco Parkmarker. He played center field for the Padres until they acquired Gold Glove winner Mike Cameron from the New York Mets before the 2006 season. Roberts then moved to left field.

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. The team's attention quickly turned to Roberts who was coming off a career year with the Padres. Roberts agreed to a 3-year, $18-million deal with the team in early December 2006. By signing with the Giants, Roberts and teammate Ryan Klesko were reunited with former Padre manager Bruce Bochy who had become the Giants' new manager about a month prior. The Giants backloaded the deal, agreeing to pay Roberts $5 million in and $6.5 million in and 2009 .

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. When Roberts returned, his numbers improved, but they were not in line with his production in 2006. Some Giants announcers speculated on broadcasts that Roberts had come back too early from elbow surgery because of his desire to help the team. Roberts' production was also limited upon his return by other minor nagging injuries. His typical offensive production returned in July and August. On April 10, 2009 Roberts was released by the Giants. On April 12, 2009, Roberts retired.

In May 2009, Roberts joined NESN as a studio analyst and substitute color commentator for Red Sox telecasts while regular commentator Jerry Remy recovers from lung cancer surgery.

2004 postseason

  • Roberts made a number of contributions to the Red Sox' first World Series win in 86 years. The most notable was his stolen base against the Yankees in the ALCS Game 4. The Red Sox were facing elimination in the bottom of the ninth inning, down 4 runs to 3. Kevin Millar drew a walk from Yankees closer Mariano Rivera. Roberts, who had not played in ten days, came in to pinch run. Rivera threw to first base three times (the last almost picked off Roberts); on the next pitch, Roberts stole second base, just beating the throw. Bill Mueller followed with a single, Roberts scored, and the Sox went on to win in twelve innings and begin their run of eight straight wins, culminating in Boston's first World Series title since 1918. Roberts' ninth-inning steal is often referred to as "The Steal of the Century", "The Steal Heard Round the World", or simply "The Steal." "Dave Roberts, who helped force extra innings in Game 4 with a ninth-inning stolen base, attained folk hero status in Boston by the length of a finger. Roberts later came to realize the impact of his steal when he attended a football game at his alma mater, UCLA, and a Red Sox fan approached him in the stadium restroom to thank him for his contribution."

  • The following night, in Game 5, Roberts ran for Millar again in the eighth inning after Millar walked. The Red Sox were again trailing 4-3 and Tom Gordon was on the mound for the Yankees. Although Roberts never stole second, his presence on first base split Gordon's attention; Gordon seemed to focus more on keeping Roberts from stealing than on pitching to Trot Nixon at the plate. Nixon singled to center and Roberts advanced to third base; he then scored the tying run on a Jason Varitek sacrifice fly. The Red Sox won the game in the 14th inning on a David Ortiz single.

  • Roberts' ninth-inning steal in Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS earned him a place in Red Sox history. In 2006, the event was recognized as a Memorable Moment in Red Sox history by the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame.

  • Roberts wanted to play every day for the Red Sox. The Red Sox organization was pleased with Roberts's performance but couldn't offer him full-time work in 2005. Making every effort to accommodate him, the Red Sox arranged for a trade with the San Diego Padres; Roberts was exchanged for Jay Payton.

  • On June 15, 2007, Roberts, as a member of the San Francisco Giants, returned to Fenway Park for the first time as a player since 2004, when the Giants faced the Red Sox during an interleague series. He received a standing ovation every time he came up to bat.

See also


  1. Dave Roberts Statistics - The Baseball Cube
  2. Fortner, Mitch. "Dave Roberts, OF, San Francisco Giants." December 17, 2006.
  3. Schulman, Henry. "Third choice, top dollar: Giants sign Roberts for three years, $18 million." The San Francisco Chronicle. Sunday, December 3, 2006. Accessed on August 17, 2007.
  4. Schulman, Henry. "Roberts' return could provide spark." The San Francisco Chronicle. Monday, June 4, 2007. Accessed on August 17, 2007.
  6. ESPN - Pedroia, Drew combine for eight RBIs to beat Giants - MLB

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