One of the good practices we get to learn from athletes is their undeniable dedication in a particular field.
Speaking of which, let me present old and respectable former pitcher Kent Tekulve, who served one and a half-decade in the field.
During his career, Tekulve devoted 16 seasons to Major League Baseball (MLB).
To elaborate, he was playing most of the years with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and apart from it, he also featured in the Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds.
He was best known for his unusual submarine delivery along his path, where he also holds several records.
As of the start, Tekulve owns the career records for most appearances and innings pitched without making a single start.
Later, after his retirement, he starred as a broadcaster and passed on his knowledge in the very sports to others.
|Full Name||Kenton Charles “Teke” Tekulve|
|Date of Birth||March 5, 1947|
|Birth Place||Cincinnati, Ohio|
|Nick Name||Kent, Teke|
|Age||75 Years Old|
|Height||6 feet 4 inches|
|Father’s Name||Henry Tekulve|
|Mother’s Name||Edna Tekulve|
|Siblings||A younger brother, Jerry Tekulve|
|Wife||Linda Taylor (m. 1976)|
|Kids||A daughter, Taylor Tekulve, and a son Chris Tekulve|
|Affiliations||Pittsburgh Pirates |
|Net Worth||Estimated $9 million|
|Merch||Sign Jersey, Autographed Pirates Photo, Autographed Baseball Card|
|Last Update||September, 2022|
Kent Tekulve | Early Life
Tekulve (fully named Kenton Charles “Teke” Tekulve) was born on March 5, 1947, under Pisces’ sun sign. Apparently, he was born to parents, Edna Tekulve and Henry Tekulve, in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Back then, they lived in the suburb of Cincinnati, Fairfield, where his mother was a purchasing agent for Mercy Hospital in Hamilton, Ohio. Likewise, his father used to drive a truck for the Kroger grocery store chain.
Within a few years of his birth, he became an elder brother for Jerry Tekulve. Altogether, it was a happy family of four.
Also, Kent was named after a car dealer. Apart from being a driver, his father, Henry, was also an avid lover of sports. In fact, he was a pitcher in semipro leagues in Ohio.
Having their father in sports helped the boys to develop an early habit in sports. Thus, by the age of nine, Kent had already started pitching while his younger brother started at eleven.
Overall, his father used to be their coach, and soon they were featured in the Little League.
After elementary school, Kent attended Hamilton Catholic High school, where he appeared on the baseball team.
During his tenure, he also played in the Babe Ruth League. Additionally, he was always the pitcher and only batted nine and got his varsity letter in his junior and senior years.
After high school graduation, Tukulve enrolled in Marietta College in 1966, located in Ohio. He stayed for three years until his graduation in 1969.
During these tenures, he developed his side-arm style into the roundhouse delivery.
Overall, he maintained a 0.94 ERA during his senior year. Not only this but he was also named to the All-Ohio Athletic Conference second team.
Kent Tekulve | Early Career
Right after his graduation, Kent wasn’t included in any teams to play with. However, he did get himself involved in events.
Initially, he was invited as a free agent by the Philadelphia Pirates, where he was asked to try at Forbes Field in July 1969.
However, he didn’t get the chance to try his pitching during the game due to his inability to run. Having said it, later, after the match, Dick Coury, a Pirates scout, signed him right then.
Following it, he got a chance to play in the Geneva Pirates of the New York-Penn League. Advancing, he also got a chance at Salem, Virginia, of the Carolina League.
After two seasons, each in both leagues, he played in Sherbrooke of the Double-A Eastern League, where he spent two seasons.
After a few seasons in the leagues, he had gathered 12 games of victory in his last season with the Sherbrooke.
After almost five years of relationship with the Pirates, Kent made his major league debut in 1974. His foremost game came against the Montreal Expos on May 20, 1974, where he pitched one inning with a hit and no runs.
Although he didn’t have the debut win, his foremost victory only came along on May 27 against the Padres.
During the match, he ended up giving a tie-breaking homer to John Grubb. Afterward, he was again assigned to the Charleston.
Until the June of 1975, Kent was still with the Charleston as he only returned after it. He had featured in 34 games for that season and only had his first major-league hit on September 5 off Dale Murray of Montreal.
Additionally, he also appeared in the 1975 National League Championship Series against the Reds.
After these seasons came his break point as he stood as one of the top men in the Pirates bullpen.
Apparently, he had posted a 1.64 ERA in 14 games. However, if we look in total, he had recorded a 2.45 ERA and nine saves in 64 games.
Moreover, after the Pirates changed their manager, Kent worked under the new manager, Chuck Tanner.
Things got challenging for Tekulve as he was always called late when the game is on the line. After a season, Tekulve gained his closer role and pitched for 91 games, and had 31 saves.
After closing the Pirates and Phillies’ gap, Kent had stood second to Rollie Fingers as the Rolaids Fireman of the Year. Then, the 1979 season came as the season for Kent as the Pirates closer, known as Tekulve Time.
Finally, with three seasons behind the Phillies, the Pirates won the NL’s Eastern Division title in 1979.
As for the contribution, Kent had pitched in a league-leading 94 games. Likewise, in the World Series at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, the Pirates won the second game, and Kent had a scoreless ninth.
Overall, Kent bagged the World Series alongside the Pirates and was named to the All-Star in 1980. Right after it, Tekulve had a hard time gaining his posture as he went on with 10 games losing streak.
All in all, he broke the streak in 1981 against Chicago. He wasn’t a dominant closer but played a four-year deal with the Pirates in 1983.
Before starting the 1984 season, Tekulve became a free agent, which also proved to be his last season with the Pirates.
On April 20, 1985, Kent was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for reliever Al Holland and a minor leaguer.
As for his foremost win, he gained it for the team on April 29 over Montreal. As a closer, he spent three seasons with the Phillies.
He also became the oldest pitcher (aged forty) to lead the league in appearances. By the end of his tenure with the team, Kent had 90 appearances.
After the 1988 season, the Phillies didn’t offer Kent Tekulve a new contract; thus, he left the team.
Among all those teams showing interest in Kent, he chose to play for the Cincinnati Reds in the spring training as a nonroster player.
Therefore, he signed a year contract with the team who had planned to keep him as the setup man for John Franco.
However, Kent only featured in 37 games for the team until finally retiring on July 17, 1989.
“After all those years of being in the middle of things, I wasn’t enjoying being on the fringe.”
Kent Tekulve | Retirement and Onwards
The retirement announcement of Kent Tekulve was an abrupt decision that shocked many. Back then, he had pitched 1,050 as a relief and quitted midway in the season with the Reds.
“The time is right for this to happen. I’ve enjoyed the game my whole career, and now I’m not enjoying it anymore. I’m not able to do physically what I’ve been to do for the last 15 years.”
However, it wasn’t an easy one for the athlete, as his immense love for sports was undeniable.
Therefore, even if he didn’t return to the field, he stood in the same line as a broadcaster. Before his broadcasting carer, he also had an appearance in the 1983 episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood to explain how people play baseball.
In 1991, Tekulve commenced his new journey as a broadcaster through the Philadelphia Phillies television broadcast team.
Altogether, he spent six years till 1997 with the Phillies covering their pre-season games and real matches.
Following it, he made his move towards the Washington Wild Things of the independent Frontier League. During his tenure, he starred as the advance scout for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Apart from these, he started working as an analyst in 2008 for AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh. From 2008 to 2017, Tekulve remained devoted to the field, covering all the historical moments, even a regular season.
Nearing the end of the 2017 season, on September 5. Tekulve announced his own retirement from broadcasting. After it, he also stood close to the team as the guest instructor in Spring Training.
“I could have never imagined when as a 9-year-old I received my first baseball uniform and fell in love with the game of baseball that 61 years later I would still have the opportunity to be involved with it on a daily basis.”
Kent Tekulve | Playing style and Achievements
We all know the different submarine pitches of Kent Tekulve, an extraordinary closer who caused batters nightmares.
Apparently, he converted his sidearm pitch to a submarine, which is more of a leveraged delivery than a strong pitch. His submarine pitch is a golfer’s swing, which has a downward spin as of a sinkerball.
As one of the greatest submarine pitchers, Tekulve has managed to hit many records on his name.
First, alongside Mike Marshall, he is the only pitcher in history to have appeared in 90 or more games, that too more than in one feat.
Secondly, he is the oldest pitcher ever to appear in 90 games at the age of 40. Following it, he has the record for career innings pitched in relief (1,436 2⁄3).
Not only this, he stands second after Hoyt Wilhelm to have 1,050 career games, all in relief.
Additionally, Kentis also the one to have most appearances without making a single start in the league. Apparently, he also has nine consecutive days of pitching record.
At the same time, he is also the one to have most career losses without any earned runs.
Furthermore, Kent Tekulve was honored by the Pirates in 1988 at Three Rivers Stadium. Back then, he had received an oil painting of himself, a golf cart, a crystal bowl, and a lifetime pass to Pirates games.
Even his wife, Linda, was honored with a gold necklace with 27 diamonds similar to that of Tekulve’s uniform.
If we look back on his time as a broadcaster, he also gained the honor to make a ceremonial first pitch at the National League Wild Card Game.
On October 1, 2014, the event was held between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the San Francisco Giants.
Although the exact details of Tekulve’s net worth are not given, we are estimating him to have over $9 million and more. During his career, Tekulve earned $900,000 annually as a salary.
Kent Tekulve | Personal Life
There is life behind the on-field appearances of every single athlete. However, to date, Kent hasn’t indulged in any scandals or controversies.
Tekulve had a weak heart and had been relying on the machine since 2013. It was back on Christmas Eve when Dr. Stephen Bailey gave him a left ventricular assist device after a massive heart attack.
In fact, he was on the transplant waiting list for a log due to his failing heart. He has no idea whose heart beats inside him; however, the external pump aids his heart function and blood flow.
To illustrate, he had the transplant in a transplant at Allegheny General Hospital.
Wife and Kids
Kent Tekulve is also a husband and a loving father. He married Linda Taylor on 30 October 1976, and now the duo shares two children and a family of four.
They have been together ever since, and the children are a daughter, Taylor Tekulve, and a son Chris Tekulve.
Currently, his son is married to Joanna, who had The Fan Morning Show to promote the March of Dimes’ “March For Babies.”
Apart from his family, Tekulve doesn’t use any social media. However, you can go through his hashtags pages.
Kent Tekulve | FAQs
What was the jersey number of Kent Tekulve?
Kent Tekulve used to feature in jersey number 27, which is also the Tribune-Review’s choice for the city’s best athlete to wear jersey No. 27.
What are the awards of Kent Tekulve?
Kent Tekulve had two awards: an All-star in 1980, and the other was the World Series Championship in 1979.