ST. MARYS — A local baseball legend and OSU football standout regaled members of a local service club with tales from the diamond and field on Wednesday.
Galen Cisco was on hand to give out the award that bears his name to the outstanding Little League player as well as answer questions about anything having to do with his long career as a player and pitching coach during the St. Marys Rotary Club’s weekly meeting. Cisco, who pitched for Red Sox, Mets and Royals, had a long career as a pitching coach when we retired — including a pair of World Series rings with the Toronto Blue Jays in the early 1990s.
“When we started this, my goal was to maybe do this 50 times,” Cisco said of handing out the award. “And we are getting close — if we can hold up for three more years for 50 presentations ... Hopefully we can hand out a lot more.”
As a pitcher, Cisco appeared on the staff of one of baseball’s worst teams — the 1962 New York Mets. As an expansion team that year, the Mets lost a then-record 120 games, which put them 60 1/2 games out of first place. However, Cisco said the team allowed him to continue his career.
“New teams came along around that time, in the middle of my career,” Cisco said. “I was able to stick around for a few more years because of the expansion teams.”
Cisco talked about his time with the Mets under legendary manager Casey Stengel.
“It prolonged my pitching career,” Cisco said. “Oddly enough, there were six guys off that team that were Major League pitching coaches and one was a manager for several years. We had some talent on that club, but it was an expansion club.”
Specialized roles and bigger, stronger athletes are the biggest changes from when Cisco played to today’s Major League players.
“You can’t believe, when you get down on the field next to these guys — especially the pitchers — how much bigger they are,” Cisco said. “They are a lot bigger than they look on TV and in the stands. It’s amazing to me the difference from back then to now. It’s a big change.”
Cisco also talked about the habits of some of baseball’s brightest stars. Curt Schilling, he noted, was a student of the game while he coached him in Philadelphia.
“Curt Schilling even went to the trouble (he had) every hitter in the league that he pitched against for as long as he was pitching, he had each hitter on a separate tape,” Cisco said.
“If he was pitching against the Yankees, he would pull out the Yankees tape where he pitched against all these guys and watched the pitches when he got them out and watched the pitches they hit. He had in his mind how he was going to pitch to these guys before the game started.”
Cisco also witnessed two of baseball’s greatest moments — Roger Maris’ 61st home run in 1961 and Pete Rose’s hit to break Ty Cobb’s career hits mark.
“I was in the bullpen in Yankee Stadium,” Cisco said. “Pete broke the record in Cincinnati and I was a pitching coach with San Diego ... It was a fabulous moment.”
Cisco revealed he was contacted last week from an official with Ohio State University regarding a possible statue for Woody Hayes. Hayes’ 100th birthday would have been on Feb. 14, 2013.
“Woody was quite a guy,” Cisco said.
Cisco then presented the award to this year’s winner — Drew Jacobs. Jacobs, a seventh-grade student, is the son of Kevin and Kris Jacobs.
“I just want to thanks the Eagles and the Rotary for having lunch here,” Jacobs said. “And Mr. Galen Cisco for presenting me with such a nice award.”