LCN Parent Reflects on Time in MLB


Photo credits: Priscilla Weideman

Mackenzie Roa, Guest Writer

At the age of six-years-old, former MLB player- Joe Roa already knew what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. The minute he picked up a baseball glove, he knew that was his passion. He would practice and practice everyday, and it eventually paid off.

1989 was a busy year for Roa. Right after he graduated from high school, he took off to Florida to make his debut as a starting pitcher in the minor leagues. He was an 18th round draft pick of the amateur draft. He started his minor league career on the Atlanta Braves, getting traded every couple of years. Following the Braves, he played on the New York Mets, Cleveland Indians, San Francisco Giants, Florida Marlins, Philadelphia Phillies, Milwaukee Brewers, and finally Pittsburgh Pirates. Here, he was given his nickname, “The Roa Constrictor.”

With a little more hard work and a 17-3 record, Roa was moved up to the major leagues in September, 1995 at the age of 23. He first played for the Cleveland Indians. Here, he went from a starting pitcher to a relief pitcher. After the Indians he moved to the San Francisco Giants, then the Philadelphia Phillies, Colorado Rockies, San Diego Padres, and ended with the Minnesota Twins. “My favorite team to play on was the Twins,” said Roa. He met some of his favorite players on the team.

Roa still remembers the first batter he ever got out was Frank Thomas and his first at-bat as a pitcher. “It was against the Cubs in 1997. I got a single,” reflected Roa.
After six years in the MLB, Roa ended his baseball career at 33-years-old. He was brought back down to the minors in 2005 for his last year. He stopped playing due to blowing out his back from pitching for so long. He loved the competition, the traveling, and meeting players. He will always remember his first MLB appearance in 1995, his first win, first hit, and getting a World Series ring with the Indians.

Roa was recently inducted into the Buffalo Hall of Fame as the 100th member for the Triple A Indians. “The big leagues and all of baseball was like a dream come true for me,” Roa stated. “There was nothing else I would have rather done.”