Happy 54th birthday to Bip Roberts.
Roberts was drafted 13th overall in 1982 by the Pittsburgh Pirates. However, in 1985, the Padres picked him up via the Rule 5 draft. That was a great pick-up for the squad a year removed from a World Series appearance.
He then played his first five years in the big leagues with San Diego. He had a vast skillset that involved lots of speed. He was one of the fastest, if not the fastest player the Padres have ever had.
In his rookie season of 1986, he played in 101 games and hit .253 with 14 stolen bases. He played mostly second base. Then in 1987 he battled injuries and spent the season in the minors. He made a comeback in 1989 with San Diego, playing in 117 games while batting .301 and posting a solid .391 on-base percentage. He also stole 21 bases.
His best season in San Diego came that next year. He collected a career-high 104 hits with a .309 batting average. He set a career-high in steals as well with 46. Power also showed up a bit more as he hit nine homers, the most he would ever hit. By then, he was mostly an outfielder and played some third base. The Padres used his athleticism everywhere.
At the end of the 1991 season, he was traded to the Reds. And, as most Padres players do when they leave, he became an All-Star in 1992 when he batted .323 with 45 steals.
Injuries took a toll on Roberts and he was released after the 1993 season. San Diego once again picked him up. He battled more injuries through the 1994 and 1995 season with San Diego, but still hit above .300 when he was healthy.
For a second time he was traded by the Padres, this time to the Kansas City Royals, which sent Wally Joyner to the Friars. He then went on to the Cleveland Indians during their run at the A.L. Pennant in 1997. He finished with the Tigers and finally the Oakland A’s, last playing in a game in 1998.
Roberts finished with 12 years as a big leaguer, with seven total in San Diego. He collected 1,220 hits over his career with a solid .294 lifetime average and 264 stolen bases.
Where is Roberts now? You can find him on Oakland A’s pregame shows for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. He also has done a lot for his hometown Oakland, CA community.