By his own admission, Steve Comer was not an overpowering, flame-throwing pitcher. Even so, he certainly experienced plenty of success as a four-year starter for the University of Minnesota and during a six-year, 44-win career in Major League Baseball (MLB).
"I've always been thankful for the years I had as a pitcher," he says, "and that's because I felt like I overachieved."
Overachiever or not, Comer certainly made the most of his talents in becoming the Gophers all-time wins leader, with 30, and in putting together three fine seasons with the Texas Rangers, including a 17-12 record in 1979.
What he lacked in overwhelming speed, Comer made up for with a well-controlled fastball in the upper 80s mph, tricky stuff, a solid change-up, and a strong work ethic.
"A lot people say that in addition to talent, you need lots of luck to make it the big leagues," says Comer, who was also a star basketball player at Minnetonka. "
And while that is true, my dad, Ken, always taught me and my brothers the message of preparation, anticipation and execution." In other words, be ready to seize any and all opportunities.
A prime example was when Comer, fresh out of MHS, tried out for a college-age summer team run by the U of M's Dick Seibert. Realizing that his chances were slim to make it as a shortstop – his usual position – Comer quickly opted to try out as a pitcher.
"I didn't do anything fancy – just threw strikes," he recalls. Not only did he make the team but, after pitching well that summer, was recruited by the Gophers.
Even though he went unclaimed in the pro baseball draft, Comer was picked up by the Rangers. Making the most of an opportunity once again, he pitched so well in the minor leagues that he made the big league within a couple of seasons.
Injuries led to Comer's eventual retirement, even though he did give minor league coaching a try. He was a pitching coach with the Minnesota Twins AA team when he and his wife, Kathy, decided to give up the life of a nomadic baseball family and move back to the Minnetonka District.
Not long after, Comer found himself in the Skippers baseball program once again. During a five-year stint in which he was an assistant to head coach and buddy Mark McKenzie, the Skippers made four state tournament appearances. "I would say going back to coach at Minnetonka was as satisfying as my years in the majors," Comer says.