Dating back to 1932, the Dodgers organization, including time in Brooklyn and Los Angeles, has employed 18 different managers.
However, up until this year, the franchise that broke the color barrier by signing Jackie Robinson had yet to be led by a minority manager.
That changed on Nov. 23 when the Dodgers hired Dave Roberts to fill the vacancy after the club part with Don Mattingly.
Roberts is half African-American and half Japanese-American. A landmark hire, the 43-year-old Roberts said he wasn’t aware of becoming the Dodgers’ first minority manager.
“I look at my father here, my mother here and this opportunity presented itself, and I was so focused on talking through things with baseball ops and Josh [Byrnes, senior vice president of baseball operations] and Andrew [Friedman, president of baseball operations] and Farhan [Zaidi, general manager] and ownership, trying to talk about the job that honestly I didn’t realize the magnitude of this in the sense of being the first minority manager of the Dodgers,” Roberts said.
Along with being the Dodgers’ first minority manager, Roberts and Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker are the lone minority skippers currently in Major League Baseball. Roberts doesn’t allow for that to define him.
“I really kind of look at myself as the son of Waymon and Eiko Roberts, the husband of Tricia Roberts and I have two beautiful kids. I am who I am. I’m transparent. I am who I am. But I think that to [not] step back and realize it’s much, much bigger than me, this situation, would be completely irresponsible of me,” he said.
“I think there were a lot of people who paved the way for me to ultimately have this opportunity. … It goes not just to the opportunity. It goes to the responsibility I feel as the first minority manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers. That isn’t taken lightly. It’s something I’m going to carry with me forever.”