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Born This Day: The Second Dave Roberts

Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE

Happy birthday to Dave Roberts!

No, not that one.

Not that one either.

The Dave Roberts blowing out candles today is the second of the three Dave Robertses who played for the Padres. He was drafted number one overall in 1972, six months after the first Dave Roberts was traded to Houston, and exactly a week after the third Dave Roberts was born.

After being selected with the first pick in the draft on June 6, 1972, Roberts signed the next day and made his major league debut later that night. He was the team's primary starter at 3B the rest of the year, filling in at 2B occasionally. As would be expected, he struggled to adjust in his rookie season. However, he had a breakout sophomore year, hitting .286 with 21 homers despite spending time in the minors for the first time.

Unfortunately, 1973 would be a high water mark for him. He scuffled the next few seasons, batting .167 in 1974, and spending most of 1975 and all of 1976 in AAA. Roberts was purchased by the expansion Toronto Blue Jays after the '76 season but was traded back to San Diego before the start of the next season. Used as a backup catcher by this point, he continued to get worse with the bat until the Padres finally cut him loose after the 1978 season, sending him and Oscar Gamble to Texas along with a fistful of dollars in exchange for Mike Hargrove, Bill Fahey, and the legendary Kurt Bevacqua.

Roberts made the most out of his versatility while with the Rangers, starting games at every position except pitcher during his two years there. From there it was on to Houston for one uneventful season before his 1982 swan song for the Phillies. He was used mostly for late-inning defense, as evidenced by the fact that his final hit was on August 21 and his final game was September 18.

He may not have had the career that many expected of him, but Dave Roberts worked hard and stuck around to make a name for himself. Well, maybe not all to his self, but still.