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Coluccio reflects on baseball career

Costa Mesa resident, now a realtor, looks back nostalgically on career in Major League Baseball.

August 13, 2013|By Barry Faulkner
(Courtesy of Bob…)

If you were a kid in the 1970s, chances are you got your baseball news through newspaper box scores, brief and sporadic radio and television reports, and perhaps on the backs of the baseball cards you collected without concern for their appreciable value.

Those lucky enough to live in major league cities had an opportunity to experience their diamond heroes by attending games, supplementing the weekly richness of the televised Game of the Week with first-hand observation that made those heroes come to life.

Less than a week after yet another brushback pitch to the sport — several players, including Alex Rodriguez, the most highly paid practitioner of the game, were suspended for using performance enhancing drugs — and more than 40 years since his major league debut in 1973, Bob Coluccio related enough memories to put a smile on even the most hardened baseball fan's face.

The longtime Costa Mesa resident and real estate agent, 61, who was drafted in the 17th round of the 1969 Major League Draft by his hometown Seattle Pilots, played five seasons for three teams. The Centralia, Wash. native debuted with the Milwaukee Brewers and also played with the Chicago White Sox and St. Louis Cardinals. In addition, he had a minor league stint with the Houston Astros organization and was traded to the New York Mets organization before instead electing to retire at age 28 after 370 big league games that included 1,095 at-bats, 241 hits (a .220 lifetime average), 26 home runs and 114 runs batted in.

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His best season was his 1973 rookie campaign in which he hit .224 in 438 at-bats with 15 homers, 58 RBIs, 44 extra-base hits and 13 stolen bases.

Coluccio, who married his wife, Terry at age 19, estimates the couple traveled to 42 states during his professional baseball odyssey, which he said he appreciates much more now than he did then.

"It was $500 a month [his first season in the minors] and they offered me $8,000 to go to college," said the 5-foot-11, 183-pound Coluccio, who remains as chiseled as he was in his playing days. "I went off to Billings, Montana to play in the Rookie Pioneer League."

After a three-year rise through the minors, Coluccio said he was invited to major league spring training with the Brewers in 1973 and made the team as an outfielder. But Coluccio said he was anything but awed by having made "The Show" at age 21.

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