Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Today we'll take a closer look at card #537 from the 1977 set: Dave Roberts.
So much to talk about here, both the card and the player, where do I begin?
Let's start off with the fact that even though Roberts is shown as an original member of the Toronto Blue Jays, he never actually suited up for them. Ever.
Funny story with that actually.
Roberts, who was the #1 overall draft pick by the San Diego Padres in 1972 out of the University of Oregon, never really panned out as the star infielder San Diego was hoping for.
In all fairness, that 1972 draft wasn't exactly teeming with stars. You have to go all the way to the third round to find a legitimate "star", those being Dennis Eckersley and Gary Carter. But you DID have Chet Lemon go late in the first round. Oh well...
Regardless, Roberts did manage to stick around with the Padres on the Major League level for four years, but in 1976 he spent the entire year in the minors, not really showing enough to promoted before the year was up.
In October of 1976 San Diego sold Roberts, along with Dave Hilton and John Scott to the Toronto Blue Jays, seemingly giving up on their failed future star.
With that, Topps went ahead and airbrushed Roberts (along with Hilton, who I profiled earlier on this blog) in a Blue Jays uniform in anticipation of his new team for the upcoming season.
Only problem is Toronto then managed to turn right around and trade Roberts BACK to San Diego for pitcher Jerry Johnson in February of 1977, immediately making this an outdated card before it even came out!
Damned if you do, damned if you don't. Topps must have been scratching their heads with this one.
Check out the airbrushed Blue Jay logo on Roberts' cap...a bit on the small side don't you think?

Not so fast Topps! He's back with San Diego...

Well, Roberts carved out another six years as a Major League player, albeit in a part time, off-the-bench role, calling it quits after the 1982 season where he played for the Philadelphia Phillies as a catcher/infielder of all things.
When you look at the sheer ineptitude of San Diego's draft picks in the 1970's, it's mind-boggling. Let's look at the picks, along with the Padres position in the first round of the draft each year:

1970: 1st pick overall: Mike Ivie
1971: 2nd pick overall: Jay Franklin
1972: 1st pick overall: Dave Roberts
1973: 4th pick overall: Dave Winfield
1974: 1st pick overall: Billy Almon
1975: 2nd pick overall: Mike Lentz
1976: 5th pick overall: Bob Owchinko
1977: 8th pick overall: Brian Greer
1978: 5th pick overall: Andy Hawkins
1979: 14th pick overall: Joe Lansford

Wow. Eight top five positions in the decade, nine top tens, and the only pick that yielded a bona fide star was Winfield in 1973!
THREE #1 overall picks in the decade and the best they did with that was who, Mike Ivie?!
Just amazing. Go Padres!

1 comment:

  1. I've always thought that the 1970s Padres really messed up their best prospects and Roberts is among them. The worst of them was the heartbreaking story of Jay Franklin, who ended up homeless for awhile.



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