Cards That Never Were is a recurring series in which I create virtual sports trading cards for ones that were missed in the original sets. It is a concept I have borrowed from too many others to list, but I thank them all.
David Wayne Roberts was the third "Dave Roberts" to play in the majors. Since then, former player and new Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts became the fourth. Three of the four played for the San Diego Padres, including David Wayne Roberts, who was the second, missing pitcher David Arthur Roberts by one season. Confused? It gets more interesting, too.
In 1972, the Padres selected David Wayne Roberts as the number one draft choice in all of baseball. He became one of the few players to skip the minors when he joined the Padres as their third baseman,. The Padres were horrible back then and they needed the boost of a rising star.
Roberts had a decent rookie season, but dropped off in his second season. His third season produced a .167 batting average in 360 plate appearances. He spent most of his career bouncing between the majors and the minors, as well as bouncing around the field at several positions. In his career, he played every position, but pitcher.
Roberts had an interesting history of cards, too. His 1973 rookie card was an awesome action shot at Wrigley Field. This remains one of my all-time favorite cards. His 1974 card (like all of the Padres) was originally issued with "Washington Nat'l. Lea." Later on, after the Padres did not move, it was corrected and reissued.
His 1975 and 1976 cards were normal cards. Things got weird again in 1977.
Despite playing the entire 1976 season in the minors, Topps gave Roberts a card in the 1977 set. It was a card where he was airbrushed into a Blue Jays uniform because of an October trade to the expansion team. He never played for the Jays though, as he was traded back to the Padres in February. These such cards are sometimes called phantom cards, because the player never appeared for the team. OPC issued him with the Padres.
Despite appearing in 82 games in 1977, Topps did not issue a card for Roberts in the 1978 set. Topps gave cards to Gene Tenace and Bob Davis, the other Padres catchers. Roberts played more than Davis did. Catcher Rick Sweet was also featured on a multi-player "Rookie Catchers" card, despite not playing for them in 1977.
Roberts was one of ten Padres to play third base, although his seven innings were the second least. Third was his usual (and original) other position.
Prior to the 1979 season, Roberts was part of a trade to the Texas Rangers. Among those going to the Padres was catcher Bill Fahey (who was seen here last week in his own CTNW feature).
After two seasons with the Rangers, Roberts signed a (then) big free agent deal with the Houston Astros. After one season, he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies. One dismal season with the Phillies brought his retirement.
Roberts received cards for every season, except for the aforementioned 1978 card. He even got a card in the 1983 set,
As a big fan of Roberts, it is my job (or my obsession) to fix the omission. I now present my 1978 Topps Dave Roberts card. Despite most of his cards listing him as "C-3B," I just listed him as a catcher, since he only played 7 innings at third in 1977.