Roberts was a first round draft pick (50th overall) in the 1999 draft and he signed with the Baltimore Orioles and was assigned to the Delmarva Shorebirds where he spent the entire '99 season. In 2000 he spent a short time playing for the Orioles rookie league team in the Gulf Coast League in Sarasota, Florida. I had initially met Roberts while he was still in college at the University of North Carolina, but I got to spend time with him while he was in Sarasota. We became friends and remained in touch until 2001 when he made the jump to AA, AAA and eventually to the major leagues. I followed his career closely and was thrilled when he made his first All Star team in 2005. During his 9-year major league career Roberts has twice been an All Star. He has also paced the American League in stolen bases and in doubles, twice. At 31 years old Roberts is already established as one of the most prolific doubles hitters in baseball history. Over the last 6 seasons he has averaged 46 doubles a year. He set his personal best last year with 56 which was the 3rd time he topped 50 doubles in a season. He is only the 4th player in baseball history to top 50 doubles in a season 3 times. The others are Stan Musial, Tris Speaker and Paul Waner. Pretty good company.
In 2007 he played in his second All Star Game and ended the season with 50 stolen bases. This put him in a tie for the American League lead in stolen bases with my other favorite player Carl Crawford. After the '07 season Roberts also confessed to having used anabolic steroids.
Last year I was able to see every game the Orioles played in Tampa Bay against the Rays. Of course I wanted the Rays to win, but I want Roberts to do well in a losing effort. On September 29th of last year Roberts hit his 56th double of the season against the Rays. He has hit quite a few doubles at the Trop, but none as significant as that one. Not only did his 56 doubles lead the majors, he set the record for most doubles in a single season by a switch hitter. Thanks in part to his record setting season, Roberts was awarded the trophy as Most Valuable Oriole for the 2009 season. Roberts also played in the 2009 World Baseball Classic for Team USA. He hit .438 with a homer, 2 RBI and a stolen base. The US fell to Japan in the semifinals.
Roberts has spent his entire career with Baltimore and he has signed a contract extension that will keep him there until 2014. At present his 318 career doubles places him 50th on the list of active players. His 256 steals is 20th among current players. Over the past 3 seasons he has scored over 100 runs. Baseball Reference shows his 162 game average as follows: .284 batting average, 182 hits, 45 doubles, 5 triples, 11 homers and 63 RBI. Add in 104 runs scored, 73 walks and 37 steals with a .356 on base % and a .421 slugging %. Pretty awesome numbers for a lead-off man. With the success of Aaron Hill, Robinson Cano, Ben Zobrist and Dustin Pedroia, there is a lot of competion for the top second baseman in the American League, but I think 2010 will belong to Brian Roberts. When he is at the Trop he is still the enemy, but I will be quietly pulling for him.
I am slowly trying to document a full list of all of the cards I own of Roberts. They are seperated year by year on the side bar. I have been lucky enough to interview Roberts several times over the years for several different websites and publications. If I can get permission I plan on reprinting them on this blog. I hope to have the chance to catch up with Roberts next month in spring training.Thanks to everyone for checking out this new venture. As I get more cards in my collection, I will update these pages and post the cards. I will occasionally post other Baltimore Orioles cards on this page, too. This page will not be updated as frequently as some of the other blogs in the Nitty Gritty blog family, but during the baseball season, I will update it with Roberts recaps.
Anyone with Brian Roberts cards up for trade can e-mail be at: bacontowne at yahoo dot com.
As I get my collection more organized I will have all of my dupes listed and made available for other fans. As is standard with the other blogs in the Nitty Gritty blog family there will be a contest upcoming that may or may not include a Brian Roberts autograph as a prize to celebrate gathering 25 followers. The blog roll for this one includes ONLY those bloggers who have sent me Brian Roberts cards. The blogroll on the Collective Troll has over 200 blogs on it. EVERY blog listed HERE is a safe, reliable, generous and recommended trader. I will ONLY list GOOD traders on this blog roll. Just saying. If I missed you, let me know. I haven't chosen an ending catch phrase yet, so I will end by saying I CAN'T WAIT FOR SPRING TRAINING!!!!