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Tony Solaita

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Tony Solaita

Tony Solaita
First baseman
Born: (1947-01-15)January 15, 1947
Nu'uuli, American Samoa
Died: February 10, 1990(1990-02-10) (aged 43)
Nu'uuli, American Samoa
Batted: Left Threw: Left
MLB debut
September 16, 1968 for the New York Yankees
Last MLB appearance
September 30, 1979 for the Toronto Blue Jays
Career statistics
Batting average .255
Home runs 50
Runs batted in 203
Teams

Tolia "Tony" Solaita (January 15, 1947 – February 10, 1990) was a Major League Baseball player for the New York Yankees, Kansas City Royals, California Angels, Toronto Blue Jays, and Montreal Expos between 1968 and 1979. He also played four seasons in Japan for the Nippon Ham Fighters from 1980 to 1983.

As of 2008, Solaita is the only Major League Baseball player to have hailed from American Samoa.[1] Pitcher Mike Fetters[2] and outfielder Benny Agbayani[3] are Hawaiian-born players of half-Samoan ancestry, while outfielder Chris Aguila is also partially Samoan[4] and was born in California.

Solaita had been a prolific home run hitter in the minor leagues, hitting 49 home runs in 1968 for High Point-Thomasville, but was mostly relegated to a backup position during his Major League playing days. In 1975, while playing for the Royals, he hit 16 home runs in 231 at-bats, second to only Dave Kingman in home run to at-bat ratio.

After becoming a free agent following the 1979 season, Solaita, opted for a four-year contract in the Japanese League, where he was designated hitter for the Nippon Ham Fighters and averaged nearly 40 home runs a year. Solaita retired after the 1983 season.

He was murdered in Tafuna, American Samoa on February 10, 1990. He was shot in a dispute over a land transaction.[5]

References

  1. ^ "The Baseball Cube". Baseball Players born in Samoa. Retrieved 7 July 2008. 
  2. ^ Al Chase (3 December 2003). "Fetters: Mulling his options: Arizona leaves Mike Fetters free to deal".  
  3. ^ "IMDb". Benny Agbayani - Biography. Retrieved 7 July 2008. 
  4. ^ "SNY.tv". Aguila works hard, waits for his chance. Retrieved 7 July 2008. 
  5. ^ "O Aiga Pesipolo". The Tony Solaita Story: Part VI. Retrieved 7 July 2008. 

External links

  • Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube
  • The Deadball Era
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