Rafael Radames Robles Natera
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 0", Weight 170 lb.
- Debut April 8, 1969
- Final Game June 10, 1972
- Born October 20, 1947 in San Pedro de Macoris, San Pedro de Macoris, D.R.
- Died August 13, 1998 in New York, NY USA
Rafael Robles is most famous as the very first player to ever bat for the San Diego Padres. He was one of the earliest major leaguers from San Pedro de Macoris in the Dominican Republic. He came to the majors at age 21 in 1969, and also played some games in 1970 and 1972 with the Padres. He played seven years in the minors.
Robles was in the minors with the San Francisco Giants organization in 1967 and 1968, but was drafted away in the expansion draft in 1968. He appeared in the first six games of the Padres' first season, and led off the lineup in the first game. He was exclusively a shortstop in those six games. Then he spent the rest of the season with the Elmira Pioneers.
The next year he spent with the Salt Lake City Bees, coming back to the Padres to play extensively in September, getting into 23 games (97 plate appearances) at the end of the season. Tommy Dean had been the Padres' regular shortstop, and Rafael hit almost as well as Dean did. Neither would be the regular shortstop in 1971, however, as Enzo Hernandez got the job, hitting about as well as Dean and Robles had hit in 1970. Robles, for his part, played the season in Hawaii with the Hawaii Islanders.
He made the Padres' team in 1972, appearing in 18 games during the first half of the season before getting traded to the St. Louis Cardinals, who put him with the Tulsa Oilers, for whom he played in 44 games. The following year he closed out his minor league career, appearing in 17 games with the Charleston Charlies of the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.