Saturday, March 06, 2021

Happy # 82 Octavio “Cookie” Rojas


Octavio Victor (Rivas) Rojas was born on March 6, 1939, in Havana, Cuba.  According to The Society of Baseball Research, his mother gave him the Spanish nickname “Cuqui”, meaning charming or adorable, when he was young.   Eventually “Cuqui” became “Cookie” when he got to major league baseball.   
Rojas played 4 seasons in the Cuban winter league.  He won the last batting title (.322) of the Cuban winter league, 1960-61.
Rojas broke with the Reds in 1962 but was traded to the Phillies.   In 1964, Rojas was at shortstop when Jim Bunning pitched a perfect game on Father’s Day.    In 1965, Rojas made the NL All Star team, hit .303 and got many votes for the NL MVP award that year.   He spent the rest of the 1960’s with Philadelphia.
In 1970, Rojas got a second chance with the expansion Kansas City Royals.   He became a team leader and one of the most popular Royals ever.  He represented the Royals in the AL All-Star Game four consecutive years, 1971-74.
He retired as a Royal in 1977 with a .263 career batting average, 1,660 hits and a reputation for being a great influence with young players in the clubhouse.
In the 1980’s, Rojas was named the 29th most popular Royal ever.
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