Some sobering news out of San Diego today as Dave Roberts, the Bisons' modern-era stolen base leader and the man whose theft of second base in 2004 changed the course of Red Sox history, has been undergoing treatment for lymphoma.
According to the Associated Press story linked above, Roberts was diagnosed in mid-March and has a good prognosis after two rounds of chemotherpay. He is currently working for the Padres as a special assistant after spending last season in the Red Sox broadcast booth.
Roberts never needs a reservation in any Boston restaurant after stealing second in the bottom of the ninth off Mariano Rivera and scoring the tying run in Game Four of the 2004 ALCS. That allowed the Red Sox to stave off elimination and eventually win that game in extra innings -- starting an eight-game winning streak that culminated in Boston's first World Series title in 86 years.
Roberts was called up to the Bisons late in the 1998 season and played parts of four years with the Herd. He had back-to-back 39-steal seasons for Buffalo in 1999 and 2000, and batted .303 for the Bisons in 2001. He has 97 stolen bases for the Bisons -- 30 more than any player.
Roberts is one of the great guys in the game. It was great to see him get all the accolades he got in '04 and he handled the attention with the same kind of grace he showed when he worked in relative anonymity in Buffalo.
UPDATE: In a conference call this evening with San Diego and Boston reporters, Roberts said "My spirits continue to be high and I expect to beat this fully."
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