Wednesday, March 16, 2011

On the Beat with Steve Mapel-Part 2

This is part 2 of my Q&A with Steve Mapel, a former pitcher in the Minnesota Twins organization.  I first met Mapel on a family trip to see the Wisconsin Rapids Twins, mainly because they were managed by our neighbor Rick Stelmaszek.

Q-What part of your career gets you as excited as playing?
SM-What part of my career now gets me as excited as playing?  Nothing.  I can't compare the two.  There was nothing that compared to playing professional baseball, something you LOVED to do, and was getting paid to do it, the traveling, the experience of meeting people, and playing with, and against some players that you grew up idolizing.  For a short time, I was one of them.......for a short time.   Even though I enjoy what I am doing now, it's not really comparable.  I am coaching baseball now for my 15 year old son's team.  I still love baseball, it's still a passion of mine.  Trying to pass on what I've learned over the years.

Q-Have you kept in contact with any former teammates?
SM-Over the years, I've played with and against a lot of stars.  I have kept in contact with some.  My first roommate in my first year was Tarry Boelter.  He was a second baseman for Minnesota, playing with Paul Molitor as his shortstop. We talk on the phone a couple of times a year, and we try and get together every couple of years.  I have met Molitor, and we followed his career in the bigs, when ours was done in the minors.   I played high school baseball with Jim Wright, the bullpen coach for the Rockies.  We just saw him last year.  Scott Ulger, the 3rd base coach for the Twins, I still get out to the Royals games and talk to him.  Ron Washington, the manager for the Rangers, was my AAA team's 3rd baseman.  I missed seeing him the last time.  But, I played against Wade Boggs, Cal Ripken Jr.  Billy Ripken, Bye Bye Steve Balboni to name a few.
I'm getting too old now, everybody I played with are just about retired as coaches now. Gaetti, I played with in College at Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville MO.  We also played on the AA team together where we won the AA Southern League Championship in 1981 in Orlando, FL.  Tim Laudner, Scott Ulger, Randy Bush were part of that team.  I still wear the ring today.

Q-Do you follow the Twins now?
SM-I still follow the Twins today.  Our family took a vacation two years ago and went to the Twins game in Minnesota.  It was great.  It was inside the dome.  I try a get out to the games when they are here in Kansas City.  But I'll watch all the teams, it doesn't really matter who's playing.
My favorite vacation destination has to be Florida.  It's warm there.  Arizona is nice, and Colorado is beautiful.   I like Colorado in the summer more than the winter.

I had a pretty good career over all.  I played for 5 years, had an overall record of 60-39  if you count instructional ball, winter ball and the Mexican league.
I made the A Allstar team in 1979, AA Allstar team in 1980 and 1981.  I played Instructional ball in 1979.  I played in Venezuela with Davey Concepcion in 1980 and the Mexican League in 1982.  I was not drafted, so I was not in their plans in the big leagues from the start.  But I was able to hold on for 5 years.  My only regret, to this day, was not getting a chance to play in the big leagues.  But that's water under the bridge.

I really appreciate Mapel's time and cooperation.  Thirty years ago, I was an excited teen meeting ball players.  Now I am happy to be able to hear more about their careers and life after baseball.


Anonymous said...

Great post. Mapel sounds like a great guy.

Ellie said...

Awesome update on Mapel. I love reading the stories of players like him. Great stuff. Sounds like a down-to-earth guy.

TerriE said...

It's nice to read about Steve Mapel after all these years of not knowing what happened to him. I knew Steve back when he played ball for the Twins' farm team here in Melbourne, Florida. If anyone sees this that can get a message to him, tell him Terri from ABC says, hello.