Brian Michael Roberts (born October 9, 1977 in Durham, North Carolina) is a switch hitting second baseman who plays for the Baltimore Orioles in the MLB. He has spent his entire professional career with the Orioles organization and made his major league debut in 2001.
Roberts had an outstanding freshman year in 1997 at the University of North Carolina (UNC), setting school records with a .427 batting average, 102 hits, 24 doubles and 47 stolen bases. He was named the national freshman of the year. Although his batting average dropped to .353 in 1998, he added 13 home runs and 49 RBI to his resume. He also stole 63 bases, more than any player in college baseball that year. He became the first Tar Heel to be named ACC player of the year, and was a first team All-American.
Mike Roberts, Brian's father and head coach at UNC, was relieved of his coaching duties after the 1998 season, and Brian transferred to play for coach Ray Tanner at the University of South Carolina. Roberts started at shortstop for the Gamecocks and was named the best defensive college player by Baseball America. Playing in the Southeastern Conference (SEC), he batted .353, hit 12 home runs, and collected 36 RBI. He still owns the school and SEC record for stolen bases in a season with 67. He again was named an All-American and was a member of the All-SEC team.
In 2002 he played 78 games with the Orioles and batted .227. He stole 22 bases on 26 attempts. He also played 38 games in Rochester.
In 2003 he started for AAA Ottawa, playing 44 games and hitting .315. In late May he was called up for injured second baseman Jerry Hairston, Jr. He hit his first major league grand slam in his second game, in the 9th inning against the Anaheim Angels to win that game. He finished with a .270 average in 112 games, stole 23 bases on 29 attempts (tied for eighth in American League).
The Orioles started spring training in 2004 with both Hairston and Roberts on the roster. Hairston fractured his finger in the first game, however; and Roberts became the opening day starter. After Hairston returned from the disabled list, he was moved to right field, leaving Roberts at second base. Since this put their competition on hold Roberts became more confident and improved dramatically over the following months. In August he batted .347 with ten doubles in 107 at-bats. During the second week of August, Roberts was named the American League Player of the Week for hitting .531 over a span of six games. He finished 2004 with a .273 average, collecting 175 hits in 159 games. He also hit 50 doubles, which led the American League and was third-best in the majors. His 50 doubles also broke the Orioles single-season record for doubles(originally set by Cal Ripken) and the single-season AL record for doubles by a switch hitters.
Prior to the 2005 season, Jerry Hairston Jr. was traded to the Chicago Cubs (along with Oriole prospects Mike Fontenot and David Crouthers) for Sammy Sosa, thereby cementing Roberts' position as the Orioles' starting second baseman.
In 2005, Roberts rewarded Orioles management for their faith in him by begining the season red-hot, leading the AL in batting average for the first several months of the season. In addition, he showed an incredible increase in power; prior to the 2005 season, he had only 12 career home runs, but by late June, he had already outmatched that total. Fans awarded Roberts explosive offensive first half by voting him the starting second baseman in the 2005 All-Star game. It was Roberts' first appearance in the All-Star game. As the season wore on Roberts slumped heavily and the Orioles were no longer as dominant.
Brian Roberts' at-bat music is The Notorious BIG's "Hypnotize."
On September 20, 2005, Roberts dislocated his elbow in a game against the New York Yankees. The injury occurred in a collision with New York's Bubba Crosby at first base in the bottom of the second inning. The injury prevented Roberts from playing the rest of the season.