Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Rick Stelmaszek Saga-Part 1

Former catcher and current Minnesota Twins bullpen coach Rick Stelmaszek was born in Chicago. Stelmaszek was drafted by the Washington Senators in 1967 and made his major league debut with them in 1971. The team became the Texas Rangers the next year, but Stelmaszek did not play for the Rangers until 1973. Early in 1973, Stelmaszek was traded to the California Angels.
Things looked good in California. The 2 primary catchers, John Stephenson and Jeff Torborg were retiring. The other possibilities were journeymen Art Kusnyer and Charlie Sands.
Stelmaszek's wife Kathy was my 3rd grade teacher. After the 1973-74 school year, they decided to move to California.
Life takes some odd turns at times. One of those times was July 28, 1974, when Stelmaszek was traded to the Chicago Cubs! Having just relocated west, the Stelmaszeks found themselves coming home!
After finishing the year with the Cubs, Stelmaszek spent 1975 with the Wichita Aeros, the AAA team of the Cubs. Stelmaszek's homecoming was short-lived, as he was traded to the New York Yankees the next year.
Rick and Kathy Stelmaszek and me in Wichita, KS-Summer 1975.

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