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FFAS mourns loss of ASNOC Pres. Ben Solaita

“FFAS mourns the loss of Ben Solaita (61), a very important person in the development of sports in American Samoa and especially baseball,” wrote Iuli Alex Godinet in a letter to the American Samoa National Olympic Committee and Solaita’s family after his sudden passing on Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011.
“His leadership as president of ASNOC will be deeply missed. Our deepest condolences to his wife Lavasa, children and grandchildren.”
Solaita helped develop baseball in the territory, holding the presidency for the Little League Baseball Association, American Samoa Baseball Association and also the ASNOC.
He became president of ASNOC in 1997 and was the head of it up to his passing.
Solaita was also involved as captain of Nu’uuli’s Satani fautasi boat, guiding his village’s longboat to Flag Day Victory as recent as 2005 and has won several other times.
His late, older brother Tony Solaita, was a Major League Baseball player with several teams from 1968-1979. Tony Solaita is considered to be the only MLB player from American Samoa. There are a few players of Samoan descent in professional baseball but Ben Solaita’s brother Tony is the only one to come from the territory.
“He was a huge figure in terms of sports in American Samoa and he helped carry on his brother Tony’s baseball legacy after he passed away (in 1990),” Iuli pointed out. “The Solaita name was synonymous with baseball and a big part of that was because of his brother Tony and most especially Ben with his work in developing it in American Samoa.
“Again I and the soccer association offer our most heartfelt sympathies to his family, in particular his wife, children and grandchildren.

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