Dave Roberts has been officially hired as manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the club announced on Monday.
The 43-year-old Roberts will be introduced at a news conference next week. He becomes the first minority manager of the franchise that had the first African-American player in Jackie Robinson.
“It’s hard for me to put into words what it means to be named manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers,” Roberts said in a statement. “This is truly the opportunity of a lifetime. The Dodgers are the ground-breaking franchise of Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Sandy Koufax, Maury Wills, Fernando Valenzuela and Hideo Nomo.
“When I put on this uniform as a player, I understood the special responsibility to honor those that played before me as well as the amazing bond between the Dodgers and their fans. I feel that I have now come full circle in my career and there is plenty of unfinished business left in L.A.”
Roberts reportedly received a three-year contract with an option for a fourth season.
Roberts is Los Angeles’ eighth manager in the past 17 years, following 42 seasons of stability with Hall of Famers Walter Alston and Tommy Lasorda in the dugout. The Dodgers and Don Mattingly parted ways after the 2015 season after Mattingly served five years as manager.
Roberts has never previously been a full-time manager. He served in the interim role for one day with the San Diego Padres in 2015 after that franchise fired Bud Black. The club lost 9-1 and Pat Murphy took over as manager the following day.
Roberts spent the past five seasons on the Padres’ staff and was the bench coach each of the last two seasons.
In 2010, Roberts survived a battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
“We’re extremely excited to bring Dave Roberts on board as the next manager of the Dodgers,” Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said in a statement. “We could not have been more impressed with him through this process. His energy is infectious and he has the rare ability to make a genuine connection with every person he comes across.”
Roberts played for the Dodgers from 2002-04. He also played for the Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox, Padres and San Francisco Giants before concluding his journeyman career in 2008. He also spent four seasons with the Buffalo Bisons, and was inducted into the Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame in 2013.
Overall, he hit .266 with 243 steals – the most well-known theft occurred in the 2004 American League Championship Series while with Boston against the New York Yankees. Roberts pinch-ran in the ninth inning of Game 4 and scored the tying run.
His play sparked the Red Sox to an extra-inning win, and Boston rallied to become the first team in major league history to overcome a 3-0 deficit to win a postseason series.
Carew needs transplant
Hall of Famer Rod Carew is striving to qualify for a heart transplant after surviving a massive heart attack in September.
The renowned singles hitter told Sports Illustrated that he suffered the heart attack while golfing in Corona, Calif. Carew, 70, told the magazine that he was brought back to life by doctors. He said he underwent six hours of open-heart surgery and had a device installed to pump blood.
Carew had 3,053 career hits during a 19-year career with the Twins and Angels that ended in 1985.