The Obit For Roger Hayward

Brother recalls Hayward as star

Thursday, December 11, 2008 6:17 AM EST
The Oakland Press

Although Larry Hayward was a pretty good basketball player himself, he marveled at how his younger brother Roger Hayward could play.

“Roger was probably one of the best athletes to come out of Oakland County in the mid 60s,” Hayward said. “He could do everything.”

Roger Hayward, a 1965 graduate of Pontiac Northern High School, died Nov. 29, a day after his birthday, according to Larry. He was 61 years old.

Hayward was one of 12 siblings of the late Orville and Beaulah Hayward, who is currently 98 years old.

Hayward was a sophomore on the 1962-63 Northern squad which beat Pontiac Central, the first time the Huskies beat the Chiefs since the school was opened.

“It was a big thing to beat Pontiac Central back then,” said Hayward, whose twin brother Gary also played for Northern. Roger Hayward, displaying a deft shooting touch, scored 19 points for the Huskies in that game.

“He had one of the best shots around and he had good size,” Larry said of Roger, who was 6-feet-5.

Roger was also a standout pitcher for Northern, often registering double-digit strikeouts in games. He signed a bonus contract worth $30,000 with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, right out of high school.

“A funny story about that is that he went and brought a brand new Corvette that he had always wanted,” Larry Hayward stated, “but then he had to go get a driver’s license so he could legally drive.”

A Pontiac Press story in 1968 stated: Pirates publicity director Jack Berger says “Hayward is considered one of the best pitching prospects in our minor league system. He’s young and he needs some rough edges smoothed out.”

Hayward said Roger sprained his ankle during his second season of spring training and tried to come back too early, hurting his arm and eventually ended his career.

“He played it all,” Hayward said. “Later on in life, he played a lot of tennis (and) he coached his sons. He did a lot of coaching, YMCA and stuff.”

Hayward is survived by his wife, Kathy, and sons Shaun and Chris.