Longtime Tigers outfield instructor retires

Gene Roof was a Triple-A outfielder in his late 20s in 1986 when new Tigers player development director Joe McDonald approached him with an offer. His playing days were numbered, but McDonald was interested in making Roof a coach for their Triple-A club in Toledo. One problem: Longtime Tigers general

Gene Roof was a Triple-A outfielder in his late 20s in 1986 when new Tigers player development director Joe McDonald approached him with an offer. His playing days were numbered, but McDonald was interested in making Roof a coach for their Triple-A club in Toledo.

One problem: Longtime Tigers general manager Jim Campbell wouldn’t approve money for another Minor League coach. So McDonald proposed signing Roof as a player.

The 29-year-old Roof had five at-bats over five games in his final season as a player. He never imagined that would be the springboard for 33 more years in the Tigers’ organization.

“If it weren’t for Joe McDonald, I wouldn’t have a job,” Roof said Friday.

That tenure ended this fall with Roof’s retirement.

“We’ve been fortunate to have had Gene Roof with our organization for close to over three decades, and personally, I’ve appreciated and enjoyed working with him for 19 years,” Tigers general manager Al Avila said in a statement. “Gene comes from a wonderful baseball family who have dedicated their lives to coaching and teaching players. Gene’s commitment at both the Major and Minor League level is a…

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