The most random position player on the 2006 Philadelphia Phillies was outfielder Chris Roberson. He is the selection from that year’s club for this ongoing “Phillies 50” series on the most random players and pitchers from each team during the 1971-2019 seasons.
Roberson was the Phillies ninth round choice in the 2001 MLB Amateur Draft out of Feather River College in northern California, where he was born and raised.
Over the next five years he rose one level at a time each year through the farm system and was also given a chance to play in the Arizona Fall League following the 2004 season. For his strong performance in 2005 at Double-A Reading he was named as the Eastern League’s Rookie of the Year.
A solid start with Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre in 2006 put him on the doorstep to the big-leagues. His opportunity would come thanks to another player’s misfortune. After Phillies center fielder Aaron Rowand famously crashed into the then-unprotected center field wall at Citizens Bank Park on May 11 and had to be placed on the Disabled List, Roberson received the call.
Roberson would make his debut in Major League Baseball on May 12, 2006 when Phillies manager Charlie Manuel inserted him as a pinch-runner during an 8-4 victory over the host Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park.
With the club leading 4-2 in the top of the 9th, both Bobby Abreu and Pat Burrell started the inning by drawing walks. Roberson ran for Burrell. Following a wild pitch that scored Abreu, Roberson would come home on a two-run homer off the bat of Shane Victorino.
The following day on May 13, 2006 with the Phillies still in Cincinnati he was given his first start, playing the entire game in right field as the Phillies won 2-0 behind a Jon Lieber gem. In the top of the 8th inning, Roberson led off with a line single to left off David Williams for his first big-league hit.
Roberson would stay with the Phillies for nine games through late May. He would later receive a four-game promotion in June and a three-gamer in July. The Phillies dealt Abreu away at the trade deadline that summer and on August 1 they promoted Roberson again, this time for the balance of the season.
In all, Roberston appeared in 57 games during that 2006 season with the Phillies. However, he made just two starts, in his second and third games with the team. He slashed just .195/.214/.244 with just one extra-base hit, a triple on September 7 in Miami.
Roberson would also appear in 28 games and make three starts with the Phillies in 2007. His contract was then purchased by the Baltimore Orioles in January 2008 and he spent that season playing with the O’s Triple-A farm team at Norfolk. In February of 2009 he signed on with the Arizona Diamondbacks and spent that season with their Triple-A Reno club.
While Roberson would never get back to the big-leagues he continued to play right through his 30’s in Mexico during their regular season and in winter ball. While there he became married, had children, and became a Mexican citizen. That allowed him to play with the Mexican national team in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. He was signed to continue his career there this season at age 40 when the season was postponed by the pandemic.
Roberson certainly has much more experience than those normally chosen for this series. However, the 2006 Phillies were a talented ball club that stayed mostly healthy, especially where their position players were concerned. His minimal role with that team earns him this selection.