A puzzled Roberts ponders what to do next.
Why we like him: When you talk about the best speedy hitters of the 1990s, you'll hear names like Kenny Lofton, Tony Womack, and Eric Young. You probably never mention Bip Roberts. Leon Joseph Roberts put together a 12-year career with stops in San Diego, Cincinnati, Oakland, Cleveland, Detroit, and Kansas City, and is the proud owner of a fairly impressive .294 career batting average and 264 stolen bases in 1,202 games. He made a single All Star appearance, playing for the NL in 1992 enroute to a .323 season and 8th place finish in the MVP race.
The switch-hitting Roberts was a pesky batter that always seemed to find a way to get to first base. Usually, he earned his way on base by utilizing his blazing speed coupled with supreme baserunning prowess. He was always one of those guys who was a threat to show bunt at any given time, and if he got a pitch to hit, he'd slap at it, put it on the ground and put pressure on the defense to make a play to get him out. Guys like that don't even exist anymore in today's game.
Though he only really played as an everyday second basemen for two seasons, Roberts made the most of any opportunity he was given whether as a spot starter or a platoon player. In addition to his excellent 1992 campaign, he regularly flirted with the .300 mark throughout his career. Despite very low power numbers, Roberts could also work pitch counts as well, as evidenced by his .358 career on-base percentage. When the Bipster did get on base, he was always looking to swipe the next bag, and he was excellent at it. Roberts was caught stealing just 95 times throughout his career, a success rate of 74 percent.
Roberts got the nickname "Bip" because of a tendency to mispronounce words as a child, and when he would ask his mother for more food at dinner time, he would always ask for just a little "bip" more. Obviously the name stuck. Honestly, I'm glad it did because it made him that much more memorable for a young kid like myself back in those days.
Ladies and gentlemen, Bip Roberts, Ballplayer.