Melvin Earl Roach
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 1", Weight 190 lb.
- School University of Virginia
- High School John Marshall High School (Richmond)
- Debut July 31, 1953
- Final Game September 28, 1962
- Born January 25, 1933 in Richmond, VA USA
Mel Roach signed a $45,000 bonus contract with the Milwaukee Braves, in 1953, following two years at the University of Virginia, where he was a quarterback on the football team. Mel also had to remain on the big league roster for two years because of the bonus rule. Primarily a second baseman who was also used at first and third base and in the outfield, Roach would hit .238 in his eight major league seasons.
Mel was hitless in six at-bats playing in only eight games his first two years before entering the United States Navy for two years (1955-1956) during the Korean War. On his return in 1957, he was sent to the minor leagues with the Jacksonville Braves of the class A South Atlantic League and also spent time with the Atlanta Crackers of the AA Southern Association. Mel had a combined batting average of .304 with 7 homers in 401 at-bats. Mel also appeared in 7 games with the big league Braves, the year they won the World Series, beating the New York Yankees 4 games to 3.
Roach was with the Wichita Braves in 1958 and appeared in 20 contests, hitting .263 before being recalled to Milwaukee where he hit .344 in 44 games. His career was then set back by a knee injury suffered with Milwaukee on August 3rd when Daryl Spencer of the San Francisco Giants slid hard into him at second base. He made it into only 19 games in 1959 as the Braves went threw a slew of second basemen without being able to find a regular, likely costing them another pennant. He jumped back to an even .300 in 48 contests in 1960 but his days as a top prospect were over. The Braves traded Mel to the Chicago Cubs in 1961 where he fell to a .147 average in 36 games and finished up his major league career with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1962, appearing in 65 games and hitting at a .190 average.
Mel was 30 years old in 1963, and did not want to go back to the minor leagues, where he had spent a decent two years, hitting at a .298 average in 127 games. Roach thus left baseball after 1962 and become a bank vice president in his hometown of Richmond, VA.
- David L. Fleitz: "Mel Roach", in Gregory H. Wolf, ed.: Thar's Joy in Braveland: The 1957 Milwaukee Braves, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2014, pp. 169-172. ISBN 978-1933599717