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Overall, Roarke spent a lifetime in baseball, dating from his first few games behind the plate with Evansville of the Class B Three-I League in 1952, through his four years with Detroit in the early 1960s, and, after serving as a major league bullpen and pitching coach for many years, he coached one final summer with the Boston Red Sox in the strike-shortened 1994 season.A dedicated man for all seasons, Mike and his wife Merry Sue enjoyed their baseball odyssey as Mike spent more than 40 years as a player, coach, and minor league manager.2 Roarke was born at the beginning of the Great Depression, on November 8, 1930, to Walter and Mary (Riley) Roarke.Following spring camp, the Braves assigned Roarke to Jacksonville, Florida (the team was moved from Hartford), of the Class A South Atlantic (Sally) League.In the Florida heat, Mike enjoyed his best minor league season, hitting .295 with five home runs and 28 RBIs for the first-place Braves.
Soft-spoken, quiet, and pleasant off the diamond, Roarke was an intense, hard-working, confident competitor on the field, but not a great hitter.
The Korean War was winding down by early 1953, and the draftee was sent to Salzburg, Austria.
Mike finished his tour of duty in February 1954, and the Army shipped him home and mustered him out just before baseball’s spring training began.
Freshmen didn’t play varsity ball in those years, but Mike starred for three seasons of football and baseball starting in the fall of 1950.
He was a fine all-around athlete, and he was chosen to captain both teams as a senior.