Saturday, December 18, 2010

1976 Topps #649 - Dave Roberts

  • Dave Roberts pitched in the majors from 1969-1981. I always got him mixed up with the other Dave Roberts who played third base for the Padres (and other teams) during this time.
  • After graduating from high school in 1963 Roberts signed with the Philadelphia Phillies. Dave was a minor leaguer in the Phillies organization (and later the KC A's and Pittsburgh Pirates organizations) before being selected by the San Diego Padres in the expansion draft after the 1968 season. Roberts was the pitcher of the Year in the International League in 1968.
  • Dave started the 1969 season in the minors and was brought up to the Padres in July. Roberts was 0-3 with a 4.81 ERA in 22 games (5 starts) in 1969.
  • In 1970 Roberts was mostly a reliever until mid-June when he joined the Padres' rotation. Dave was 8-14 with a 3.81 ERA in 43 games (21 starts) in 1970.
  • Roberts probably had his best year in 1971. He finished second in the NL in ERA (2.10) and finished 6th in NL Cy Young voting. Dave's record was still below .500 because the Padres were so bad -- he went 14-17 in 34 starts. Dave Roberts on the Road to Stardom - November 1971 Baseball Digest
  • After the 1971 season Roberts was traded to the Houston Astros for Bill Greif, Derrel Thomas, and Mark Schaeffer. Dave went 12-7 with a 4.50 ERA in 35 games (28 starts) for the Astros in 1972.
  • Roberts had another good year in 1973, going 17-11 with a 2.85 ERA in 36 starts. In 1974 he was 10-12 with a 3.40 ERA and in 1975 Roberts went 8-14 with a 4.27 ERA.
  • After the 1975 season Roberts was traded with Jim Crawford and Milt May to the Detroit Tigers for Terry Humphrey, Mark Lemongello, Gene Pentz, and Leon Roberts.
  • Dave was 16-17 with a 4.00 ERA in 36 starts in 1976. Roberts had the distinction of allowing Hank Aaron's final career hit and RBI on the last day of the 1976 season. 
  • After the 1976 season Roberts had surgery on an arthritic knee. Dave started slowly for Detroit in 1977 (4-10, 5.15 ERA in 22 starts) and was sold to the Chicago Cubs in July. On April 30 Rod Carew was ejected from a game for slugging Roberts after Roberts had hit him with a pitch. Dave went 1-1 with a 3.23 ERA in 16 games (7 starts) with the Cubs to finish the 1977 season.
  • Roberts was better with the bat than he was on the mound in 1978. Dave batted .327 with a .500 slugging percentage in 52 at bats but was only 6-8 with a 5.25 ERA. After the 1978 season Roberts became a free agent and signed with the San Francisco Giants.
  • Dave was used as a reliever by the Giants in 1979. He pitched in 26 games (1 start) and was 0-2 with a 2.57 ERA. In July Dave was traded (with Bill Madlock and Len Randle) to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Al Holland, Ed Whitson, and Fred Breining. Roberts pitched in 21 games (3 starts) for the Pirates and was 5-2 with a 3.26 ERA. Dave was able to enjoy a pennant race for the first (and only) time in his career. Dave appeared in one game in the 1979 NLCS and walked the only batter he faced. Roberts wasn't used in the World Series.
  • Roberts started the 1980 season with the Pirates (0-1, 3.86 ERA in two games) and was sold to the Seattle Mariners on April 24. Dave went 2-3 with a 4.37 ERA in 37 games (4 starts) for the Mariners in 1981.
  • Dave became a free agent again after the 1980 season and signed with the New York Mets. Roberts pitched in 7 games (4 starts) for the Mets and was 0-3 with a 9.39 ERA. The Mets cut Roberts on May 27 and he signed with the San Francisco Giants on June 15. Dave pitched in six games for the Giants' AAA Phoenix club and retired after the season.
  • Roberts died of lung cancer at the age of 64 on January 9, 2009. His family said that he developed the lung cancer from regularly inhaling asbestos as a young man in his offseason job as a boilermaker.
  • Liked to face: Graig Nettles (.000 in 19 AB); Tommy Helms (.050 in 20 AB); Mark Belanger (.071 in 14 AB
  • Hated to face:  Jim Beauchamp (.600 in 15 AB); Dan Driessen (.588 in 17 AB); Bobby Murcer (.538 in 13 AB); Hank Aaron (.288 with 6 HR in 63 AB)


1 comment:

  1. I am weirdly intrigued by the 1971 Padres. Enzo Hernandez is his 12 RBIs as the everyday shortstop, and the fact he led off with an OBP AND SLG of under .300 each.

    They had some decent offensive players - Colbert, Lee, Stahl, Brown, and later with Jestadt and Jeter. But the rest of the players were just awful and Preston Gomez just let guys like Hernandez, Mason and Gaston play and play...

    Roberts could have won 25 games with a good offense that year. He had 11 quality starts that ended in losses and had a 1.89 ERA in his no decisions.

    His career changes if his great 1971 wasn't on the Padres. Instead, he's shuffled here there and everywhere...