Sunday, November 02, 2014

Former Brooklyn Dodger and Expos Broadcaster Jean-Pierre Roy has Died

The list of former Brooklyn Dodger players still with us is now one less.  Jean-Pierre Roy, who pitched in three games for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1946, passed away yesterday.  He was 94 years old.

Via the Montreal Gazette:
Jean-Pierre Roy, who pitched in professional and minor-league baseball for a decade before becoming a play-by-play broadcaster and analyst for Montreal Expos games, has died. He was 94.

La Presse reported Saturday that Roy had prostate cancer, but died from reasons related to high blood pressure and his advanced age, according to his wife. He was living in Florida for about 20 years.
Known as Pete to non-French Canadian fans, Roy was originally from Montreal, Canada and started playing professional Baseball in 1940 in the Provincial League of Québec.  By 1942 he was dealt to the St. Louis Cardinals for $1,500.00 and rose through their system.  Due to a dispute with his manager in Rochester he left the club, was subsequently suspended and then sold to the Montreal Royals in 1944 - a Dodger farmclub.  It was here that he pitched some of his best ball.

In his first season with the Royals he went 11-11, with a 3.86 ERA and threw 12 complete games in 22 starts.  Then in 1945 he really brought notice to himself by going 25-11 with a 3.72 ERA; leading the league in wins and strike outs.  As you can imagine, the Dodgers came calling.

To begin the 1946 season he was a Brooklyn Dodger, but mostly rode the pine.  In over a month as a MLB'er he pitched in just three games.  Then, something unusual happened.  Having become disenchanted with his lack of play he jumped ship for the burgeoning Mexican League.  As you may know, the infamous Pasquel Brothers tried to raid MLB rosters with promises of higher pay in Mexico.

Per a SABR Biography by Rory Costello:
The Sporting News wrote, "What 'soured him up' on the club was the wearisome hours of riding the bench and pitching batting practice. Three times, he said, he asked to be returned to the Montréal Royals, but on each occasion the request was turned down by Rickey. Finally in desperation, he telephoned Bernardo Pasquel and asked him if the offer was still open. 'Remember,' Roy insisted, 'I went to them this time, they didn't come to me.'"
A couple weeks after leaving the Dodgers for Mexico he was back in Montreal - having realized that the Mexican League was a farce.  He spent the rest of the 1946 season with the Royals and built a lifelong friendship with Jackie and Rachel Robinson.

For the remainder of his playing career he bounced around from the Cuban League, the Provincial League in Canada, Cuba's Liga Nacional (for players banned due to their connection to the Mexican League), in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, in Mexico, the Texas League and the Pacific Coast League.

(pic via crzblue at Blue Dodger World)
As a 48 year old in 1968 he began his second career in professional Baseball as one of the original broadcasters for the expansion Montreal Expos.  He worked as the French-speaking play-by-play broadcaster on radio until 1973 and as an analyst for Radio-Canada television til 1983.  He retired as a public relations representative of the Expos.

Jean-Pierre Roy has been inducted into the Expos Hall of Fame, the Québec Sports Pantheon and the Québec Baseball Hall of Fame.  Be sure to check out his SABR Biography by Rory Costello, here. It's a fantastic read.  Here's a fun story from his broadcasting days from the SABR Biography:
"One story I really remember about Jean-Pierre, though, is when Bill Stoneman threw his second no-hitter in 1972. It's the only time we didn't see eye to eye -- Jean-Pierre was adamant that we could not mention it on the air while it was in progress! Claude Raymond was driving to Drummondville for a conference, and he missed the end of it. That was the first game of a doubleheader, and Carl Morton got off to a good start in the next game. I said, 'Maybe we'll see another no-hitter,' and Claude shouted in his car, 'Another one?!' When Claude became my radio partner, I said, 'Now can we talk about no-hitters?'
Below are his career statistics, via Baseball-Reference:

The pic above is a 1943-1947 Parade Sportive Premium Photo

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