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Roiger’s passion for baseball will be missed

NEW ULM — Jess Roiger’s baseball resume in New Ulm will not have any on-field memories that will pop up for the average baseball fan.

He will never be remembered for being mobbed by teammates after a game-winning hit or after a game-ending strikeout.

He will not be remembered for what he did on either Johnson or Mueller Park fields.

But he will be remembered by New Ulm baseball fans for what he did in his 43 years as a member of the New Ulm Baseball Association.

Those 43 years are the longest ever for any New Ulm Baseball Association director.

Roiger, who was just one week past his 66th birthday, passed away Wednesday night in New Ulm.

Dedication and love for New Ulm baseball can best describe Roiger, who spent 43 of his 66 years on this earth — or 65 percent of his life — dedicated to New Ulm baseball.

Roiger started on the NUBA back in 1977 and four years later, he was pressed into duties as the operator for a new scoreboard at Johnson Park.

“We got the new scoreboard and someone asked me if I wanted ro run it,” he recalled in 2019. “I was not really sure I wanted to do it but once I got to the point were I was relaxed I really wanted to do it.”

And Roiger jumped into it with a comittment that is rare today.

Roiger continued to run the scoreboard at Johnson and then also at Mueller Parks with a dedication and passion that is rarely found today.

While board members and players for the Brewers and Kaiserhoff came and went over the years, Roiger remained.

A conservative estimate shows that Roiger was on the scoreboard for around 2,150 games in cold, snow, rain or heat.

High school, VFW, Legion, Junior Legion and amateur, Jess was on the scoreboard. He was always there and loving it.

A few years ago, health issues forced Roiger to limit his scoreboard operations to only games at Mueller Park. But it did not slow his dedication to his love.

“I called him the Chief of Scoreboard Operations,” Bob Reinhart said.

Reinhart did all of the announcing with Roiger riding shotgun with him on the scoreboard at Johnson and then later Mueller Park.

“He was dedicated to his job on the scoreboard and he took his job seriously as he did his directorship on the board.”

Back in 2019, I asked Roiger what memories does he want people to look back at and remember him for 50 years from now.

“I want them to realized that I did what I could do for amateur baseball here and if they do that I will be a happy guy.”

Rest in peace my friend. You will be missed but never forgotten.

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