|Born:December 23, 1928|
New Orleans, Louisiana
|Died: October 20, 2010 81) (aged|
Liberty Lake, Washington
|September 13, 1953, for the Washington Senators|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 26, 1956, for the Washington Senators|
|Runs batted in||11|
Anton Ambrose Roig (December 23, 1928 – October 20, 2010) was a utility infielder who played in Major League Baseball between the 1953 and 1956 seasons. Listed at 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m), 180 lb, he batted and threw right-handed.
A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, Roig spent more than a half-century in professional baseball, which included a prominent role with the Spokane Indians of the Pacific Coast League.
Basically a shortstop, Roig was able to play at both second and third base during 21 seasons, including parts of three years for the original Washington Senators of the American League, three years with Spokane, and six in Nippon Professional Baseball.
The versatile Roig later managed in the Minor leagues and spent nearly 30 years as a scout for the Milwaukee Brewers, California Angels and Philadelphia Phillies systems, where he also served as their hitting instructor.
Roig signed his first professional contract as a 19-year-old pitcher with the Phillies organization in 1948. Two years later, he was sent by Philadelphia to Washington, where he played in the middle infield and outfield while hitting .327 in 129 games for Class-D Rome Red Sox, then finished the year with Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts.
After two years in the United States Army during Korean War, Roig spent most of 1953 at Chattanooga, where he batted .303 and earned a call-up to the Senators in late September.
He divided the next four years between Washington, Chattanooga, Class-A Charlotte Hornets and Triple-A Louisville Colonels.
Shuffled back to Chattanooga for 1957, he hit .300, though an injury limited him to 73 games. At the end of the season, Washington sold Roig to the Los Angeles Dodgers, who assigned him to the Spokane Indians of the Pacific League.
Roig played for Spokane from 1958 to 1960. He batted .282 in 1958 as the regular second baseman, .281 as their third baseman in 1959, and hit .278 with 16 home runs and 90 runs batted in as the primary first baseman for the 1960 PCL champions.
Although the hard-hitting 1960 Spokane produced big-league standouts as Willie Davis and Ron Fairly, fanatics selected Roig as the team's Most Valuable Player. On September 8, 1960, he set a team record in having played every position in a single game.
While on road trips, Roig and fellow players Jim Gentile (1B), Dick Scott (P), and the brother battery of Norman (RHP) and Larry Sherry (C), entertained their teammates as a back-of-the-bus singing group.
In 1961 Roig was drafted by the Chicago White Sox, but came down with pneumonia during Spring Training, and that season played minor league ball with Triple-A San Diego Padres.
The next year he played for Triple-A Indianapolis Indians and the Industriales de Valencia of the Venezuelan Winter League.
Roig later played in Japan, where he met the long-ball expectations for American ballplayers by hitting 126 home runs from 1963 to 1968 with the Nishitetsu Lions and Kintetsu Buffaloes of the Pacific League.
Jim Albright, a writer who bills himself as The Japanese Insider, named Roig to the starting lineup of his all-time team of foreign-born baseball players.
In a three-season majors career, Roig was a .212 hitter (39-for-184) in 76 games, driving in 11 runs and scoring 11 times, while collecting seven doubles, two triples, and two stolen bases without a home run, and also hit for a .278 average with 326 homers in 1234 minor league games.
Besides playing, Roig began his scouting career with the Brewers in 1973. He also managed the Newark Co-Pilots from 1975 to 1976, leading his team to the New York–Penn League championship in 1975. He later scouted for the Angels, before beginning a two-decade association with the Phillies as a scout and minor-league hitting instructor in 1981.
In 2008, Roig threw out the ceremonial first pitch when the Spokane Indians celebrated 50 years in Avista Stadium, the ballpark built as the home of Pacific Coast League play.
Additionally, he was widely respected as a talent evaluator and was followed by author and professor Kevin Kerrane in his book about scouting, Dollar Sign on the Muscle.
Tony Roig died at his home in Liberty Lake, Washington, at the age of 82.
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