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Dodgers hire Dave Roberts, former outfielder, UCLA great

First minority to to manage the team

City News Service | 12/3/2015, midnight | Updated on 12/3/2015, midnight
Dave Roberts, a former Dodger centerfielder and UCLA standout who spent the past five years

Dave Roberts, a former Dodger centerfielder and UCLA standout who spent the past five years as a San Diego Padres coach, was formally introduced Tuesday as the 10th manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Roberts' hiring was announced last week.

“It's hard for me to put into words what it means to be named manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers,” Roberts, 43, said last week. “This is truly the opportunity of a lifetime. The Dodgers are the groundbreaking franchise of Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Sandy Koufax, Maury Wills, Fernando Valenzuela and Hideo Nomo. When I put on this uniform as a player, I understood the special responsibility to honor those that played before me as well as the amazing bond between the Dodgers and their fans. I feel that I have now come full circle in my career, and there is plenty of unfinished business left in L.A.”

Andrew Friedman, Dodger president of baseball operations, called Roberts a “baseball man” and a “people person,” who will help the team achieve its ultimate goal—bringing a world championship back to the city of Los Angeles.

“We could not have been more impressed with him through this process,” Friedman said. “His energy is infectious, and he has the rare ability to make a genuine connection with every person he comes across. He has developed strong leadership qualities and accumulated a breadth of baseball experience over his career as both a player and a coach.”

As a player, Roberts was acquired by the Dodgers in December 2001, and he played for the team for 2 1/2 years. But he is perhaps best known for a stolen base while playing for Boston in Game 4 of the 2004 American League Championship Series. The steal sparked a historic comeback for the Red Sox against the New York Yankees and led to the franchise's first World Series championship in 86 years. Roberts, who has a Black father and Japanese mother, is the first minority to serve as the Dodgers' manager. He will be one of only three minorities to manage in the major leagues; the others are former Dodger Dusty Baker, who was hired by the Washington Nationals this month, and Fredi Gonzalez of the Atlanta Braves.

Don Mattingly, who managed the Dodgers for the last five seasons but parted ways with the team at the end of this season, has been hired as manager of the Miami Marlins. Roberts has no previous major league managerial experience.