Yesterday, I featured most of a Q&A session I had with George Dierberger. Today, I am writng about just one question from the session. First a bit of background though.
Dierberger played for three seasons (1977-1979) with the Wisconsin Rapids Twins. He caught 28, 43 and 121 games during the three seasons. The second season, Rick Stelmaszek joined the club as the manager and actually caught 23 games.
Stelmaszek might have talked about this back then, but I was young and don't remember. I have been left to wonder why he would be appearing in games, despite being at the end of his playing career. It would seem more important to have the young catchers (like Dierberger) play. I asked Dierberger about this and here was his response.
GD-Stelly was a peach. About 1/2 way through the year I was hurt in a freak accident. The other catcher was hurt and Stelly had to fill in. It was very painful for him because he was a triple a/big league catcher. The farm director, George Brophy made him catch at the "A" level. He handled it as well as can be expected but he had nothing to prove and everything to lose.
Of course, that makes total sense. Stelmaszek was three years removed from his last big league appearance. It didn't make sense that he would take away games from younger catchers trying to make their way. This is an interesting story and a new info nugget in the Rick Stelmaszek saga.
I really appreciate George Dierberger for humoring me and answering my questions. I also appreciate him being nice to me as a teenager who was excited to meet ballplayers.