Roberts named NL Manager of the Year

November 15th, 2016

LOS ANGELES -- The Dave Roberts resume was already notable as a Major League player, coach and division-winning manager in his rookie season.

On Tuesday, the Baseball Writers Association of America polished that last entry, naming Roberts the National League Manager of the Year.

:: NL Manager of the Year voting totals ::

Roberts, whose upbeat nature and steady hand guided the Dodgers through injuries and back from an eight-game deficit to within two wins of the World Series, outpolled Joe Maddon of the Cubs and Dusty Baker of the Nationals. Roberts received 16 of 30 first-place votes and was the only candidate named on all ballots.

All-Time NL Manager of the Year winners

 "I'm completely humbled, I'm speechless, I really am," Roberts told MLB Network. "This is just a team award, an organization award, ownership, front office, scouting and development and the coaches and players."

Roberts, 44, already had been named The Sporting News' National League Manager of the Year. The last Dodger to win the BBWAA Manager of the Year award was Hall of Famer Tom Lasorda, who did it in 1983 and 1988. Roberts also is the first rookie Dodgers manager to win a division title since Lasorda in 1977.

"With the number of injuries the team faced last season, Dave showed he could handle adversity and he motivated his players and kept them together for the ultimate goal -- a championship," said Lasorda.

Complete 2016 Awards coverage

Injuries, especially to the starting rotation, forced Roberts into a constant fire drill just to make out the lineup card and manage the game. He tied franchise records using 55 players, 31 of them pitchers. The club put 28 players on the disabled list, including ace , the most in at least the last 30 years. He led the National League with 606 pitching changes. The 30 victories by rookies were the most for the club since 1952.

"We just prepared every day to get better and our guys just bought into it," said Roberts. "With the injuries and the days that compiled, eliminating that noise and being accountable actually was sort of easy. If we had stepped back and looked at it, it might have been kind of daunting. I'm proud of the way we persevered every day."

Roberts, a cancer survivor, is known for a perpetual positive attitude and determination that rubbed off in the clubhouse.

"Doc has a great baseball mind, is a great communicator, possesses endless energy and is relentlessly optimistic," said Andrew Friedman, president of baseball operations. "He has been remarkably consistent since the first day of Spring Training which is extremely difficult to do in the roller-coaster ride that is a Major League season. He was able to maintain that through our low points as well as our high points." 

Roberts said the support he received from the front office, and the buy-in from the players, made his first season "easier than I anticipated." That coming from a manager who removed from a no-hitter and from a perfect game, decisions he said he would do again despite the scrutiny he endured.

Roberts was hired last Nov. 23, the 10th Dodgers manager since they moved to Los Angeles. Roberts, whose father is an African-American former Marine and mother is a Japanese-American, is the first minority manager of the franchise that had the first African-American player, Jackie Robinson. Roberts was born in Okinawa, Japan, where his father was stationed.

He etched his name into Red Sox Nation lore in 2004 with The Steal. Entering Game 4 of the American League Championship Series with his club on the verge of elimination, Roberts pinch-ran for Kevin Millar, stole second base off Mariano Rivera and scored the tying run on Bill Mueller's single. The Red Sox won the game in the 12th inning, beat the Yankees and went on to win their first World Series since 1918.

A graduate of UCLA and a disciple of Dodgers base-stealing legend Maury Wills, Roberts said his lengthy Minor League apprenticeship and varying roles with five Major League clubs helped establish his "authenticity" in the clubhouse.

Following his playing career, Roberts served as an analyst for the New England Sports Network (NESN) in 2009 before joining the Padres front office in 2010 and then the coaching staff.