Edward W. Veil
Late in the afternoon of September 22, 1942, propelled by a Lew Riggs single, pinch runner Stan Rojek rounded third base and scored a ninthinning run that sent the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants into extra innings. A five-footten, 170-pound shortstop, appearing in his first Major League game, Rojek found himself in the midst of one of the all-time great pennant races. Three seasons would pass before Rojek got another taste of Major League baseball.
Stanley Andrew Rojek was born on April 21, 1919, in North Tonawanda, New York, located on the Niagara River between Buffalo and Niagara Falls. His parents were Andrzej (later anglicized to Andrew) and Apolonia Rojek. Andrew, a house carpenter, a building contractor, and lastly a dairy farmer, was born in Wylawa, Galicia (now part of Poland), and had immigrated in 1905. Stan was the second of three boys and had an older sister, Julia.
After graduating from North Tonawanda High School—where he also played basketball— Rojek played semipro baseball in western New York. He attracted the attention of Brooklyn scout Dick Fischer and subsequently signed with the Dodgers in 1939. Stan was assigned to the Class D PONY League in Olean, New York, just eightyfour miles south of his home. Rojek hit .320 in Olean, then worked his way through the Brooklyn farm system. He was with the Class C Dayton (Ohio) Wings in 1940 and the Class B Durham (North Carolina) Bulls in 1941. Promoted to Montreal, the Dodgers’ top farm team, in 1942, he hit .283 and was named to the International League All-Star team. He was a late September call-up to Brooklyn, but he got into just the one contest.
Stan Rojek was a valuable fill-in for Pee Wee Reese and
The next baseball game Stan Rojek played was a pick-up game in 1943 at the U.S. Army’s Keesler Field in Mississippi. Rojek, like many Major and Minor Leaguers, had been called to serve in World War II. Stan was prime material for the war effort, twenty-four-years-old, single, and in great physical condition.
By July 1945 Rojek was in the Pacific, at Isley