Dan Schatzeder 1989 Fleer Update – Sully Baseball Card of the Day for July 11, 2017


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Click on this link from Waubonsie Valley High School in Aurora Illinois. It lists the people who are retiring from the school after 2015.

The names listed are Lorrie Whitaker, Dan Schatzeder, Tony Pelleiter, Teri Martinez, Karen Leonard, Chris Kromer, Mike Dwyer & Goldie Bock.

Did you catch that second one? That was the Phys Ed teacher, Mr. Schatzeder.

Now all I know about Aurora Illinois is that Wayne’s World took place there. I am guessing Wayne and Garth might have had Mr. Schatzeder for gym in that universe.

No no offense to Lorrie Whitaker, Tony Pelleiter, Teri Martinez, Karen Leonard, Chris Kromer, Mike Dwyer or Goldie Bock, but I think they buried the lead there!

The Phys Ed teacher from Waubonsie Valley put together a wild 15 year career in the major leagues where he pitched along side Hall of Famers, jumped from team to team and was credited with a win in a World Series game.

Schatzeder was born in Elmurst, Illinois and went to college at the University of Denver. The Expos drafted him in 1976 and by 1977, he was on the major league squad. He played along side stars like Steve Rogers and Ellis Valentine and had future Hall of Famers as teammates like Andre Dawson, Gary Carter and his manager Dick Williams.

In 1979, 24 year old Schatzeder pitched well as a spot starter and reliever for the Expos team that contended until the last weekend of the season. The highlight of his season was pitched the first 10 innings of a 2-1 walk off win against the Cardinals. He didn’t get the decision as it went 11, but his effort kept Montreal in the NL East race.

He was rewarded by being dealt to the Tigers before the 1980 season, Another Hall of Fame manager, Sparky Anderson, was his skipper and players like Lance Parrish, Jack Morris, Kirk Gibson, Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker were his teammates. So was Mark Fydrich for a few games. After a few years in Detroit, he found himself in San Francisco with another manager from Cooperstown, Frank Robinson and another Hall of Fame teammate, Joe Morgan.

Then he was back in Montreal from 1982 to 1986. Schatzeder was a pitcher who played before bullpen specialization. He was left handed so teams needed him, but his role fluctuated between starting, long relief and the occasional save.

In 1986 and 1987, he was in Philadelphia where Mike Schmidt was his latest future Hall of Fame teammate. Then came the move that at the time looked mundane but led to the apex of his career.

At the mid season mark, Schatzeder was traded to the Twins. They were contending that year in a laughably weak AL West. Whomever would win the West would no doubt be crushed by either Toronto or Detroit.

He threw 30 games for the Twins and didn’t exactly distinguish himself in the process. He posted a 6.39 ERA over 43 2/3 innings. But when the Twins finally clinched the AL West, Schatzeder was put on the playoff roster because they needed a lefty out of the pen.

One of the pitchers that Schatzeder beat out for that last bullpen spot? Future Hall of Famer Steve Carlton.

Kirby Puckett, who would eventually be enshrined, was on his team. Another future Hall of Famer, Bert Blyleven, was also his teammate. As were steady veterans like Frank Viola, Gary Gaetti, Tom Brunansky, Dan Gladden, Kent Hrbek and Greg Gagne. Also on the squad were a bunch of baseball lifers who joined the club relatively late hoping for their first ever World Series rings. Roy Smalley, Joe Niekro, Sal Butera and Don Baylor all met those criteria.

Schatzeder pitched well in the ALCS, giving the Twins 4 1/3 shutout innings out of the pen, striking out 5 Tigers along the way. The Twins stunned Detroit and suddenly Schatzeder and company were in the World Series.

He made a pair of mop up appearances in the World Series against St. Louis. The Twins bombed Cardinal pitching in the Metrodome but St. Louis stormed back and took a 3-2 series lead back to Minnesota.

The Twins had the series on the line in Game 6 and handed the ball to Les Straker, who pitched well in Game 3 but the bullpen lost the game for him. The Cardinals, led by John Tudor, were looking for the World Series clincher that they were denied in 1985. St. Louis took a 3-2 lead in the 4th and Twins manager Tom Kelly took out Straker.

In came Schatzeder to face first baseman Jim Lindeman with runners on the corners and 2 outs. Schatzeder got Lindeman to pop up. Jose Oquendo drove in the 4th run with a sacrifice fly but when he got Vince Coleman to fly out to end the inning, the damage was minimal.

In the 5th, Ozzie Smith walked and Willie McGee drove him in. Schatzeder struck out Pendleton to end the inning, but he left the mound with the Cardinals up 5-2 in the 5th. If Tudor and company could hold the Twins to just 2 runs the rest of the way, the championship would belong to St. Louis.

Then the Twins unloaded. Don Baylor hit a 2 run homer to tie the game and Steve Lombardozzi singled home Tom Brunansky later in the inning to give the Twins a 6-5 lead. A Hrbek grand slam would highlight the rest of the Twins scoring in the 11-5 final.

The pitcher of record? Dan Schatzeder. It wasn’t his best game and relief wins tell people next to nothing of the quality of the performance. But do you know what? If he pitched those 10 innings for Montreal and got a no decision, then I do not feel badly for him getting the win in Game 6 of the World Series.

The Twins would win the next day and Schatzeder would get his World Series ring.

After the 1987 World Series, Schatzeder spent his 30’s bouncing from team to team. Stops in Cleveland, Minnesota, Houston, the Mets and the Royals would clutter the back of his baseball card between 1988 and 1991. A few more future Hall of Famers, like Craig Biggio and George Brett, would call him their teammate.

Eventually his career wound down and he returned to Illinois to teach Phys Ed.

In 2015, he left that position, confident he had been a part of a lot of kids lives after playing along side Hall of Famers and winning a World Series game.

I wonder if the kids knew that. I wonder if the students there realized the second name on that bulletin had logged all of those games in the major leagues.

It would have captured MY attention.

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