Growing up in San Diego, Dave Roberts dreamed of being a big-league leadoff hitter and collected cards of his favorite Padres player and namesake Bip Roberts. The speedy center fielder reminisced about his card collecting days in a recent Q&A with MLBPLAYERS.com:
MLBPLAYERS.com: When did you first start collecting cards and who were your favorite players then?
Roberts: I probably started when I was 10, 11, 12. I collected a bunch of different cards, a lot of Padres, because I grew up in San Diego. But the only card I really cared about was Bip Roberts. We both were the same type of player -- smaller guys. We had the same last name and wore the same number, No. 10. I always was No. 10 through Little League and Pony ball.
As I got older, I kind of identified with him a lot more. I would trade a Jose Canseco or Rickey Henderson for a Bip Roberts card. He was my guy. They were probably getting the best of me. But I was a kid and that's all I wanted. I still have the Bip Roberts cards separately from my other cards. I did tell Bip I had them, and he got a big kick out of it. I should get them signed by him.
I also had guys like Kurt Bevacqua, Graig Nettles, guys like that. I had Dave Winfield and got to know him and befriend him. I have the Tony Gwynn rookie cards.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Did you have the big-demand rookie cards of the likes of Ken Griffey Jr.?
Roberts: I didn't have the big rookie card stars. I did it because my friends did it, a kind of fun thing to do on the side. A lot of my friends, though, had Griffey and Cal Ripken cards.(
MLBPLAYERS.com: Are you passing down your love of cards in your family?
Roberts: I'm trying to get my son, Cole, who is 6, into card collecting. He's looking at the back at the stats. It's pretty cool.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Where did you first appear on a card?
Roberts: It was in rookie ball, the Jamestown (N.Y.) Jammers in the Tigers' system. It was a pretty special moment to get my first baseball card and feel like a real professional baseball player. It wasn't a good pose. I was bent over in a fielding position, but the way they took it I look like a pitcher. It wasn't great.
MLBPLAYERS.com: What's your favorite Major-League card?
Roberts: Probably me scoring the tying run against the Yankees in Game 4 of the ALCS in 2004. I'm getting up from a slide at home plate and with the fist-pump going. That's pretty special to me.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.