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Roger Jongewaard

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Roger Eugene Jongewaard

BR minors page

[edit] Biographical Information

Roger Jongewaard was a minor league catcher (reaching AAA) and long-time scout.

He was signed out of high school in 1954 by the Milwaukee Braves. He hit .333/.475/.413 with 53 walks in 61 games in his pro debut with the Boise Pilots. His .990 fielding percentage was second among Pioneer League backstops. The next year, he produced at a .301/.384/.422 rate with 83 RBI in 84 games for the Eau Claire Braves. He tied Andre Rodgers for the Northern League lead with 9 sacrifice flies. He was also second to Rene Friol with 15 passed balls. Moving up to the Evansville Braves, he hit .276/?/.418 with a career-high 7 home runs in 1956. He began the next year with the Jacksonville Braves, going 6 for 33 with a double and a homer. The Brooklyn Dodgers then bought him but he was only 2 for 18 with a home run in 12 games for the '57 Victoria Rosebuds. After his release in August 1957, he missed the 1958 season before latching on with the 1959 Seattle Rainiers. He only played four games with Seattle (going 0 for 7) before ending his playing career. He had hit .289 with 16 home runs in 269 minor league games. After the 1959 season, Jongewaard was the catcher on the television program Home Run Derby.

After running restaurants in Southern California, Jongewaard joined the California Angels as a scout in 1969. In the seventies he worked for the Angels, Texas Rangers (1973-75) and New York Mets (1976-82). While with the Mets, he scouted both Southern California standouts Darryl Strawberry, Kevin Mitchell, and Lenny Dykstra. His brother, Dean, assisted Roger with the Mets. Dean replaced Roger as a full-time scout when Roger joined the Detroit Tigers as an assistant to Bill Lajoie in 1982. Roger's nephew Steve (Dean's son) also was a scout.

Jongewaard's lasting impact was with the Seattle Mariners. He joined the club in 1986 as scouting director. In 1987, he convinced owner George Argyros to select Ken Griffey, Jr. as the #1 overall pick over Mike Harkey. Griffey would hit 630 home runs, 417 with the Mariners. Harkey, on the other hand, won 36 games and was out of baseball by 1997. In 1994, the M's drafted Alex Rodriguez with the first overall pick. Jongewaard also scouted Ichiro Suzuki for the Mariners. Under Jongewaard's direction, Mariners' first round picks made the majors for twelve consecutive years.

Jongewaard retired from the Mariners in 2004. He then became a part time scout for the Florida Marlins. Jongewaard died of a heart attack in 2012.

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