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Diamond In The Rough

As a kid he would rather spend his time on a ball field instead of at the mall.  You can’t read a book and learn how to play a sport.  He believed you needed to play the game and watch the game being played.  You should be able to walk into any park with the scoreboard covered up and know which team is winning by watching how they are playing.  I can’t imagine how many games this fellow has seen.  As he grew older, he became a symbol of what’s good about the game of baseball, and he would rather play catch than sleep.  As a former American League All-Star pitcher, this guy could bury his pitches in the bottom of the box.  He had four right-handed pitches that could embarrass you.  With a fastball, curve, slider and changeup, he had many ways to sit you back down.  At times he pitched like home plate had eight corners.  He just lived at their knees.  Now he spends his time here with us.  You could say he’s our “diamond in the rough.”  
Corpus Christi Hooks’ President, Ken Schrom, is one of a kind.  If he had never played ball, if you had never heard his name and you passed him on the sidewalk one day, you would turn around and look.  I’ve known Ken Schrom for over 20 years and I’ve never heard a bad word spoken about him.  Ken loves hearing the vendors hawking peanuts, beer and popcorn at Whataburger Field.  He loves the sound of the ball popping the catcher’s mitt.  He loves the fairness of the game, the colors, the smells, and the feel of the ball in his hand.  He loves that he never grows old at the ballpark.  He also loves how the ballpark gets quiet when the game is on the line.  You will find Ken at game time standing on the concourse greeting folks, shaking hands and watching baseball.  
Kenneth Marvin “Ken” Schrom was born on November 23, 1954, in Grangeville, Idaho.  Ken Schrom was a heck of a high school athlete.  He was selected All-State in baseball and basketball and All-American in football at quarterback.  All total, Ken earned 11 athletic letters.  In 1973, after high school, Ken was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in tenth round, but decided to attend the University of Idaho on a football and baseball scholarship.  Schrom dreamed of becoming an NFL quarterback.  In fact his favorite player of all time is Bart Starr.  “I got in trouble more times than you can imagine because I wrote the #15 on everything I had, including new school clothes,” laughed Schrom.  Injuries steered him toward baseball.  Ken was later chosen and signed by the California Angels as a pitcher, in the 1976 amateur draft.  
Ken was traded in 1980 to the Toronto Blue Jays and debuted against the Kansas City Royals as a reliever, on August 8, 1980.  Ken would again be traded and become a starter and spend 1983-1985 with the Twins.  In 1983, Ken recorded a 15-8 win-loss record and was selected the Twins’ Pitcher of the Year.  On June 26, 1985, Ken threw a one-hit game for the Twins against the Royals.  It was the first one-hitter ever thrown in the Metrodome in Minnesota.   Schrom and his Twins got the win, 2-1.   
In 1986, Ken would find himself in Cleveland with the Indians.  He started off his season with a 10-2 record and was selected to the American League All-Star team which beat the National League 3-2, at the Astrodome in Houston, Texas.  His 1986 All-Star jersey is one of his most prized possessions.  Ken would finish the year 14-7.  In 1987, Ken tore his shoulder labrum which required surgery.  His last game occurred on October 3, 1987.  Ken pitched over 900 innings in seven years in the Major Leagues, for three teams (Twins, Indians, and Blue Jays), and won 51 games while losing the same number.  He struck-out 372 batters and hit 25 while earning a 4.81 ERA.  
Schrom spent the next 16 years in the front office of the El Paso Diablos of the Milwaukee Brewers’ organization.  El Paso is where I initially met the Diablos’ owner, Jim Paul, and Ken Schrom.  Ken, his wife Cindy and the kids left El Paso and joined the Hooks in 2003.  Ken was selected the Texas League Executive of the Year in 2005.  He became the President of the club in 2009.  He was inducted into the University of Idaho Sports Athletic Hall of Fame in 2007.  Ken is a fine man, a good friend and a heck of a baseball guy.  He was also kind enough to write part of the foreword of my newest book.  In his spare time, you can find him winning money from his friends on the golf course, or fishing somewhere quiet.

Did you know that in the past ten years, 56 of our very own Hooks’ players have joined the Houston Astros?  Ken Schrom just announced that on April 2, 2015, the Astros will make their third trip to our fair city to take on their Double-A club known as the Corpus Christi Hooks.  This is to be a homecoming for some, as there are 17 former Hooks’ players on the current Astros 40-man roster.  The game will be played at Whataburger Field with a 6:05 PM start.  Ken Schrom and I hope to see you there.

3 Comments to Diamond In The Rough:

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