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 Tolia “Tony” Solaita

Tolia “Tony” Solaita

Birth
American Samoa
Death 10 Feb 1990 (aged 43)
American Samoa
Burial Nu`uuli, Eastern, American Samoa
Plot Buried on family land next to his mom and brother Ben.
Memorial ID 7089140 · View Source
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Tony was my father in law's brother. He was 21 years old when he broke into the big leagues on September 16, 1968, with the New York Yankees. He 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, Tony is the only Major League Baseball player to have hailed from American Samoa. Pitcher Mike Fetters and outfielder Benny Agbayani are Hawaiian-born players of half-Samoan ancestry, while outfielder Chris Aguila is also partially Samoan and was born in California.

Tony 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.

He left behind his wife, and 5 children.


Family Members

Siblings

  • Created by: Nique
  • Added: 16 Jan 2003
  • Find A Grave Memorial 7089140
  • Nique
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Tolia “Tony” Solaita (15 Jan 1947–10 Feb 1990), Find A Grave Memorial no. 7089140, citing Nu`uuli Cemetery, Nu`uuli, Eastern, American Samoa ; Maintained by Nique (contributor 33452683) .