Managed again by Ben Geraghty, whom he liked and respected, Mike hit .276 with 13 homers and 55 RBIs in 114 games.He also led Sally League catchers with 669 putouts.The Korean War was winding down by early 1953, and the draftee was sent to Salzburg, Austria.
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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.
Because Hartford didn’t have a roster spot, he was assigned to Evansville of the Class B Three-I League.
Roarke, however, had already been drafted, and after ten days, the Army transported him to basic training.
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.
The second of four children and the eldest of three sons, Mike grew up in an Irish Catholic family.
Like most boys his age, he loved every kind of game, but mainly he played baseball, football and basketball, excelling at all three sports at West Warwick High.
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.