Pete Vuckovich won a Cy Young Award and pitched in the World Series, but a large number of sports fans in this country know him much more for something completely different.
The Johnstown native, who was honored by the Curve on Friday, played gruff New York Yankees jerseys first baseman Clu Haywood in the classic film League. The Haywood character has several funny scenes and was a central part of some of the most important baseball action, so Vuckovich role was very important in the 1989 movie.
younger people, they know me more for that than my playing days, Vuckovich told the crowd at Peoples Natural Gas Field on a night when the Curve handed out bobbleheads in his likeness.
For those wondering how Vuckovich, a pitcher, was able to land the role of a slugger, he shed some light on it during the Curve pregame interview on the field.
was supposed to transpire, the director and producer, they wanted me to come down to the stadium they told me for one day to check out guys who looked like extras and help them determine the extras, Vuckovich said. I went down there and there were 1,200 guys. And I said, thought you said this would take one day. They said, not. I said, could take a week, and I don have the time. See you later. I left, and that was that. And within three days they kept calling me and calling me trying to get me into the movie. After about a week and a half, I acquiesced and I became part of the movie. League is widely considered one of the best baseball movies ever, and it still shown frequently on TV, so Vuckovich remains somewhat of a well known figure.
was a unique experience, a nice experience, he said. I never do it again. went 93 69 with a 3.66 ERA in 11 big league seasons, winning the Cy Young in 1982 for the Milwaukee Brewers jerseys after going 18 6 with a 3.34 ERA. He spent a number of years working for the Pirates jerseys organization, including as pitching coach for the major league team from 1997 2000, and currently is a special assistant to the general manager with the Seattle Mariners jerseys.
Vuckovich told a fascinating mlb jerseys from china story about actually not wanting to go to the major leagues for the first time in 1975. Chuck Tanner was manager of the Chicago White Sox jerseys and wanted to bring him up from Triple A.
turned them down, I told them I didn want to go, Vuckovich said. was a story in itself. Chuck thought I was crazy. I wanted to stay with the Triple A team and pitch in the playoffs and try to win another championship.
said, about if I bring you to the big leagues right now it was Aug. 1 you pitch games, and whenever the playoffs begin I send you back down and you can pitch in the playoffs? I said, great, let do that. He said, the first ballplayer I ever had who doesn want to come to the major leagues.’ has been to Altoona many times over the years scouting Curve games, and this time it was as a special guest as the club gave away a bobblehead of him wearing a Clarion uniform. He spoke highly of Clarion and how the school helped prepare him for a life in minor league baseball, which he doesn think he would have been prepared for coming out of high school.
Vuckovich also had very nice words about the Curve and Altoona.
like to say one thing about how fortunate the people are here in Altoona, Blair County and close to State College and Johnstown and Somerset, he said. really, really fortunate to have a facility like this and have a minor league baseball team like this.
are many, many teams around the country that would love to have them, and I think Rob (Egan, the GM) and (owner) Bob Lozinak do a great job here. I hope Altoona and Pittsburgh stick together for the next 50 years.