Cookie Rojas

From BR Bullpen


Octavio Victor Rojas Rivas

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 10", Weight 170 lb.

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Biographical Information[edit]

Cookie Rojas was a five-time All-Star during a sixteen-year major league career. After his playing days ended, he coached and managed in the majors, and then became a broadcaster.

Born in Cuba, Rojas signed with the Cincinnati Reds organization as a 17-year-old in 1956. He reached the majors in 1962 as the Reds' Opening Day starter at second base in the first game ever played at Dodger Stadium. A little over a week later, facing the Los Angeles Dodgers again, he got his first big league hit, a single off future Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax.

Following the 1962 campaign, Rojas was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for Jim Owens. By 1965, he became the club's regular second baseman, and he earned a spot on the National League All-Star team that year. A solid fielder, he led the NL in putouts in 1967 and NL second basemen in fielding percentage the following summer. Rojas appeared at all nine positions in the early years of his career. His one appearance as a pitcher, in the second game of a doubleheader on June 30, 1967, was a scoreless inning that ended with Rojas retiring Willie Mays on a fly ball.

After the 1969 season, Rojas was dealt to the St. Louis Cardinals in the trade that would precipitate Curt Flood's lawsuit against baseball. In June 1970, he was sent to the Kansas City Royals. He led American League second basemen in fielding in 1971 and 1974 and made the All-Star team four straight years, starting in 1971. He became the first player born outside the United States to hit a home run for the AL in the All-Star Game in 1972.

Following his playing days, Rojas was a Chicago Cubs coach from 1978 to 1981. He was briefly reactivated by the Cubs in 1978, but did not get to play in a game. He then joined the California Angels, and in addition to working in the club's front office and as a scout, he managed the team in 1988 following the resignation of Gene Mauch for health reasons during spring training. He was a Florida Marlins coach from 1993 to 1996, a member of the New York Mets staff from 1997 to 2000, and a Toronto Blue Jays coach in 2001 and 2002. In 2003, he became a Spanish language broadcaster for the Marlins.

One of his sons, Victor Rojas, is currently a broadcaster for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and another, Mike Rojas, is a former minor league player and manager.

His first baseball card appearance came in the 1963 Topps set.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 5-time All-Star (1965 & 1971-1974)

Preceded by
Gene Mauch
California Angels Manager
Succeeded by
Moose Stubing

Year-by-Year Managerial Record[edit]

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs Notes
1988 California Angels American League 75-79 4th California Angels replaced by Moose Stubing on September 23
1996 Florida Marlins National League 1-0 -- Florida Marlins interim between Rene Lachemann (39-47) and John Boles on July 7

Further Reading[edit]

  • Peter M. Gordon: "Cookie Rojas", in Mel Marmer and Bill Nowlin, eds.: The Year of Blue Snow: The 1964 Philadelphia Phillies, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2013, pp. 182-185. ISBN 978-1-933599-51-9
  • Cookie Rojas (as told to Tom Capezzuto): "The Game I'll Never Forget",Baseball Digest, November 1979, pp. 73-75 [1]

Related Sites[edit]