Gary Roenicke in 2008
|Born: December 5, 1954|
|June 8, 1976, for the Montreal Expos|
|Last MLB appearance|
|July 24, 1988, for the Atlanta Braves|
|Runs batted in||410|
|Career highlights and awards|
Gary Steven Roenicke (born December 5, 1954 in Covina, California) is a former Major League Baseball outfielder for the Montreal Expos (1976), Baltimore Orioles (1978–85), New York Yankees (1986) and Atlanta Braves (1987–88).
He was originally drafted by the Montreal Expos as the eighth pick of the first round of the 1973 amateur draft. He earned the MVP Award in the Eastern League (U.S. baseball) in 1975. A year later, he made his major league debut for the Montreal Expos, hitting .222 in 29 games with two home runs and five runs batted in.
Roenicke appeared in 27 games in his first season with the Orioles in 1978. A year later, in his first full season, he had perhaps the best season of his career, appearing in 133 games and hitting .261 with 25 home runs and 64 runs batted in. He even made the top ten in at-bats per home run, with one home run every 15.0 AB. The next year, he hit .239 with 10 home runs, 28 runs batted in. In 1981 he hit .269, but his power numbers were still significantly down, slugging only .384, whereas he had slugged .508 in his rookie season. In 1982, he hit .270 with a slugging percentage of .499 in 137 games, platooning with John Lowenstein and Benny Ayala. In 1984, he hit a grand slam during the Home Run Derby jackpot inning of a locally televised game against the Yankees, which resulted in a $1 million jackpot award to a Maryland viewer.
Roenicke never established numbers like the 1982 season or rookie season. A year later, both his average and slugging were down and after two more years, the Orioles traded him to the New York Yankees for Rex Hudler. On the Yankees, his role was limited to a bench player and his power was down, with three home runs. He signed as a free agent in 1986 by the Atlanta Braves for less than half the amount of money he had been making ($380,000). He continued his career on the bench, this year doing better in the power department, hitting nine home runs. The next year, he hit .228 with a .298 slugging percentage, the worst of his career. He was released by the Braves on July 26, 1988 and retired.
Roenicke resides in Rough and Ready, California, and is currently an adviser for the Western Canadian Baseball League, as well as a scout for the Orioles. His brother, Ron, had an eight-year career as an outfielder in the 1980s while his son Josh was a member of both the UCLA football and baseball teams as a wide receiver and outfielder. On the UCLA Bruins, Josh had the second-highest on-base percentage, third-highest batting average and compiled a perfect fielding percentage. Josh was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds, made his major-league baseball debut with the Reds as a pitcher on September 13, 2008, and on July 31, 2009 was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays.
- Steve Wulf (July 12, 1982). "The Orioles' three-player platoon in leftfield has been a - 07.12.82 - SI Vault". Si.com. Retrieved February 3, 2014.
- Marcia A. Slacum & Marie B. Morris (June 18, 1984). "Home Run Scores $1 Million". washingtonpost.com. Retrieved July 12, 2017.
- Gary Roenicke (statistics & history) – Baseball-Reference.com.
- Gary Roenicke (minor league statistics & history) – Baseball-Reference.com.
- Gary Roenicke – BaseballLibrary.com.
- Wulf, Steve. "It's The Right Idea For Left," Sports Illustrated, July 12, 1982.
- Klingaman, Mike. "Catching Up With...former Oriole Gary Roenicke," The Toy Department (The Baltimore Sun sports blog), Tuesday, July 7, 2009.