Dave Roberts Biography & Los Angeles Dodgers Career
Dave Roberts
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports

Dave Roberts was born on May 31, 1972, in Naha, Okinawa, Japan. He grew up in San Diego, Calif., starring as a multi-sport athlete for Rancho Buena Vista High School. Roberts played baseball, basketball and football.

He drew interest from schools for his football skills, but declined in favor of proceeding with a baseball career. Roberts ultimately enrolled at UCLA and earned a spot on the baseball team as a walk-on outfielder.

He impressed during his junior season, leading the Cleveland Indians to select him in the 47th round of the 1993 MLB Draft. Roberts opted against signing and returned to the Bruins for his senior season.

At the end of the year, he was selected by the Detroit Tigers in the 28th round of the 1994 MLB Draft.

Minor League career

Roberts began his professional career later that year with the Jamestown Jammers, the Tigers’ Low-A affiliate. In 54 games, he hit .292 with 12 stolen bases and drew more walks (29) than strikeouts (27).

Roberts progressed through Detroit’s farm system from 1995-98, splitting time with the organization’s High-A and Double-A affiliates. In 1998, he was traded to the Indians, along with Tim Worrell, for Geronimo Berroa.

Roberts spent all of 1998 in Double-A before receiving his first MLB promotion the following year.

Major League career

Roberts made his MLB debut on Aug. 7, 1999, against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, collecting three hits in five at-bats with a stolen base. He appeared in 41 games for the Indians that season, batting .238 with 11 stolen bases.

Roberts appeared in 34 combined games during the 2000-01 seasons, shifting back and forth from Triple-A to the Majors. In December 2001, he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a pair fo Minor Leaguers.

Roberts was the Dodgers’ primary center fielder in 2002, posting a .718 on-base plus slugging with 45 stolen bases across 127 games. His speed and ability to play all three outfield positions made him a valuable commodity. On July 31, 2004, he was traded to the Boston Red Sox.

Roberts appeared in 45 games for the Red Sox during the stretch run, batting .256 with five stolen bases. He was responsible for one of the organization’s most memorable postseason moments in Game 4 of the American League Championship, pinch-running and stealing a base against New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera.

Roberts scored on an RBI single by Bill Mueller, allowing the Red Sox to tie the game before eventually winning in 12 innings. It sparked one of the most unprecedented comebacks in professional sports, as Boston went on to win the next four games against their biggest rival and advanced to the World Series.

While Roberts didn’t appear in any Fall Classic games, the Red Sox swept the St. Louis Cardinals and ended an 86-year championship drought.

Roberts spent the next two seasons with the San Diego Padres before latching on with the San Francisco Giants for another two-year stint. In 10 big league seasons, he hit .266 with 243 stolen bases.

Managerial career

In 2011, Roberts was hired by the Padres to serve as their first base coach. He was eventually promoted to bench coach and held the position until departing the organization in 2015.

In November 2015, the Dodgers named Roberts the 32nd manager in franchise history. He led the franchise to a 91-71 record and National League West division title in 2016, earning BBWAA National League Manager of the Year honors. Roberts joined Tommy Lasorda (1977) as the only rookie managers in franchise history to guide the Dodgers to a division title.

The Dodgers improved in Roberts’ second season as manager, winning a then-franchise record 104 games during the 2017 season. L.A. advanced to its first World Series since 1988 but fell to the Houston Astros in seven games.

The Dodgers got off to a slow start in 2018, but still won 92 wins en route to a third consecutive NL West title under Roberts. L.A. made it back to the Fall Classic but this time was defeated by the Boston Red Sox in five games.

In 2019, Roberts led the Dodgers to a franchise-best 106 wins and fourth straight NL West title. He became the first manager in MLB history to lead his team to division titles in each of his first four full seasons at the helm.

Prior to 2015, the season before Roberts’ took over, the Dodgers had never won three straight division titles in franchise history. The following year they became the first team to win the NL West in four consecutive seasons since the Divisional Era began in 1969 — a record that’s now been extended to seven.