August 7, 2005


A stolen moment of fame (Bob Ryan, August 7, 2005, Boston Globe)

As long as baseball is played in Boston, Dave Roberts will be remembered.

"It has truly impacted my life," he says. "People are often remembered for one thing in their career, whether it's good or bad. Fortunately for me, that stolen base is embedded in people's minds."

On the basis of a three-second dash to second base, Roberts made himself into a Red Sox folk hero. For "that stolen base" is the most celebrated pilfered sack in Red Sox history, perhaps even in the annals of baseball.

What baseball fan doesn't recall the entire scene in the ninth inning of Game 4 of the 2004 American League Championship Series? The inning- opening base on balls to Kevin Millar. Pinch runner Roberts trotting to the bag. The throws over from Mariano Rivera. The takeoff on the first pitch to Bill Mueller. The head-. rst slide. The Jorge Posada throw just inches to the shortstop side of the bag. The artful swipe tag by Derek Jeter. And, most important, the "safe" sign executed by umpire Joe West.

Three people were involved in the manufacture of the run that saved the Red Sox' season and set the forces in motion for the greatest postseason comeback march in American sports history. Millar had to draw that walk from Rivera, Roberts had to steal that base. And Mueller had to bring him home with a single to center. But it is Roberts, the journeyman outfielder, whose star shines a bit brighter in the storytelling than the other two. For, in theory, any position player on the roster could have done what Millar and Mueller did. But no one else on the roster could have done what Roberts did, and everyone knows it.

''When I was with the Dodgers," Roberts reflects, ''Maury Wills once told me that there will come a point in my career when everyone in the ballpark will know that I have to steal a base, and I will steal that base. When I got out there, I knew that was what Maury Wills was talking about."

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 7, 2005 6:00 AM

He was out.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at August 9, 2005 6:01 PM