Steve Geltz.....Proving them wrong at every level....A MLB success story.
TORRINGTON: It’s funny but I never thought about how I would feel if somebody that lived with us made it to “The Show”.
On Saturday, August 11, Steve Geltz, a Torrington Twister from 2008 and a Gaffney Family house guest for a about three weeks that summer, got the call to go up to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
An unbelievable feeling of pride and pure happiness for a young man from the University of Buffalo who had put it all on the line trying to get to the place all Little Leaguers strive for the first time they take to the diamond.
The text came from former Twister general manager, Kurt Fredriksson at about 7:15 a.m.
An email went out from Steve’s dad, John, at about the same time.
My day, the last before going on a weeks vacation, was unbelievably made even though I was still pounding potato chips on my Frito Lay route.
I threw harder and better that day then ever.
It was a fast three weeks for us back in 2008 when we finally decided to take on a player as a Host Family, a critical part of any baseball career from the summer college leagues into the lower minors.
We had to wait you see because we had two girls in the house until the mid-90’s and there wasn’t a chance in hell that a 20-year old ballplayer from anywhere was going to be under the same roof with one of my girls.
From what I understand, it’s important to have both arms and each leg available when playing the game of baseball.
Hard to call Fredriksson or manager Gregg Hunt to tell him I was having trouble removing a baseball bat from his closer or clean-up hitters back side.
Just wouldn’t play out right, you know what I mean?
So after the girls were safely hidden somewhere other than here, we signed up and went to work preparing our house for our new guest.
Being a Host Family is not cheap.
It is a volunteer position that costs a pretty penny if you get a big eater who plays the infield or lord help you, catches.
We have a three-bedroom ranch with a large furnished downstairs that we turned inside out to make into a college dorm room.
There was a lot of painting and furniture buying and moving stuff with a fair amount of cursing sprinkled in.
About three days before the season started, Steve Geltz arrived from Buffalo and settled into a house that he didn’t know but fit right into in a hurry.
These kids that arrive in strange towns and cities across this great country are on what I have always called a “Million Dollar” job interview.
Their objective is to get themselves noticed by a scout or coach or friend of a guy who knows a guy.Whatever it takes.
All of 5’10” (Hunt always laughs and says if Geltz is 5’ 10”, he was 6’ 4”) and 170 pounds, Geltz did not look like a power pitcher, more like an infielder.
When he took the mound though, it was a different story.
The pop of the mitt was always the first thing that caught your attention.
Heads would turn as if to not believe that much speed was coming out of that small frame.
It was though and many a batter in the New England Collegiate Baseball League learned quickly not to judge a fastball by it’s cover.
It took only three NECBL games and an appearance against Team USA to get Geltz to June 20, 2008 when the Angels decided to give him a contract outside Fuessenich Park with scout Greg Morhardt on hand to sign him up.
In his three games with the team Geltz pitched four innings in total, allowing just a walk.
He hit a batter and struck out 10 in the four frames.
It was his appearance against Team USA that solidified his signing.
Against the best college players in the country in 2008, Geltz threw a perfect inning, striking out two.
Each of the three players he retired were certainly high quality prospects who were later drafted by MLB teams.
Tommy Medica (flied to right) is with San Diego in Class A Advanced while Brian Fletcher (strike out) plays for the AA Texas League affiliate of the KC Royals.
His third batter, Josh Phegley (strike out) is at the highest level of the trio with the Chicago White Sox AAA International League team.
All higher level prospects when they came to Torrington.
Only one is close to were Geltz is now.
In a nut shell, that has been the story of how Steve Geltz made it to the show.
At every stop there was a bigger, stronger faster pitcher that was supposed to make it to the show long before the kid from Buffalo.
Each time, Geltz would bide his time and do what he did best; strike people out and throw clean innings.
His four year minor league stats are impressive.
A 19-6 record with 8 saves and 331 strikeouts in just 246 innings pitched.
His ERA went from a 5.97 in 2008 to a tremendous 2.09 in 2012.
Patience, hard work and dedication to a goal.
Can’t say enough about those qualities and Mr. Geltz has shown them all.
So now, instead of looking at the Minor League Baseball web-sites for how he is doing, I now can check the MLB stats or look in the paper the next day.
Geltz is replacing one of the Angels injured relievers who may be back later this week so the visit may be the equivalent of a cup of coffee but a September call-up is certainly in his future.
Hoping he is still with the big club on August 22 when the Angels visit Boston and a road trip will be in order.
Who knows though.
Every time someone has said Steve Geltz can’t make it somewhere, he simply dominates.
Go get ‘em Steve.