RIP: Ted Uhlaender

uhlaender I know it’s been a while, it happened on Valentine’s Day, but I wanted to say Goodbye to Ted Uhlaender. When I started following baseball way back in 1968, Uhlaender was the fleet footed centerfielder of the Minnesota Twins. Without looking, I could still remember Ted’s middle name being Otto, sometimes I have to look to remember my middle name being Herbert. Maybe Uhlaender resonated with me because we shared first names, always thought his first name was Ted, but the back of his baseball card shows it as Theodore.

Despite the 1968 campaign being totally dominated by pitchers, he managed to finish fifth in batting in the American League with a .283 average. He followed that up with his most productive season, establishing career highs with 152 games played, 93 runs scored, 151 hits and 62 runs batted in (RBI). His first playoff experience was in the 1969 American League Championship Series, with one hit in six at-bats. He was traded along with Graig Nettles, Dean Chance and Bob Miller to the Indians for Luis Tiant and Stan Williams on December 10, 1969. He started in center in 1970, before being shifted to left field the next season.

Uhlaender died after a heart attack, the San Francisco Giants said. He had worked as a scout for the team since 2002, and was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer last year. He spoke with his daughter, Katie Uhlaender, by phone in the morning of his death, shortly before she ended the World Cup skeleton sliding season with a silver medal in Park City, Utah.

I’ll be pulling for Katie, if she has her father’s competitive spirit, she ought to do alright. Ted Uhlaender was 68 years old.

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