At 37 years old, Dave Roberts, who is widely regarded as one of the nicest guys in baseball, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Now 38, after a difficult year of treatment, Roberts is cancer-free and preparing for spring training with the San Diego Padres, where he will, appropriately, coach first base.
“The thing that I probably gained the most is I never realized how many people — aside from the fact of being appreciative and when people say ’You don’t know what you have until it can potentially be taken from you’ — cared for me and loved me, from family to friends to fans,” Roberts told the AP. “The e-mails, the cards, all the well wishes, were amazing. I never really had anyone constantly praying for me and my well-being. To feel that wherever I went, from San Francisco to San Diego to Boston and to outside the country, was very humbling.”
Roberts spent just three months in a Red Sox uniform, but he made the most of his time in Boston. He stole second base against the Yankees in Game 4 of the ALCS, eventually scoring the tying run. He once again wreaked havoc on the base paths the following night, scoring the tying run for the second game in a row. The Red Sox won both games in extra innings, eventually becoming the first team in baseball history to come back from a 3-0 series deficit.
Roberts will visit Boston with the Padres on June 20, a trip he’s very much looking forward to.
“For me to make my way back to the field, obviously in a different capacity, I’m looking forward to going back to the cities I’ve played in — L.A., San Francisco, Boston, the Padres here — and seeing those fans and showing my face that I’m OK and I really appreciate their support,” Roberts said. “That’s where I am. I’m a baseball player, and for me to get this opportunity is just great.”