Every once in awhile, the Red Sox pick up a veteran player for a year, or just the stretch run that was a star at one point that I become fascinated with. It's a player that is basically only a role player at that point in their career, but may show flashes of their old brilliance. It's so unusual to see them as a member of the Red Sox, that I try to find as many of their cards as possible. This series will be about some of those players.
It was such a minor thing. But it led to something huge. Big things sometimes have small beginnings. I am of course referring to the stolen base that led to the Red Sox coming all the way back from being down three games to none in the ALCS to go to the World Series in 2004.
Roberts entered the game as a pinch runner after Kevin Millar worked a walk off of Mariano Rivera with the Red Sox down by a run. He stole second base even though everyone in the park knew it was coming. He then scored on a base hit from Bill Mueller to tie the game. And it all built from there.
Roberts was picked up from the Dodgers at the trading deadline for Henri Stanley. He was acquired to do one thing. And he did it at the biggest possible moment. He did not play a lot down the stretch, making it into 45 games but with only 101 plate appearances. He hit .256/.330/.442 with two home runs. He stole five bases. He was used exclusively as a pinch hitter in the postseason, scoring twice and stealing just the one base. He did not play in the World Series.
Roberts was traded after the season to the Padres for Ramon Vazquez, Jay Payton, and David Pauley. Despite such a short stint, he remains a big hero. And it is all due to such a small event. Which led to big things.