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John Curtis

John Curtis

BY JOHN CURTIS                                                                                                

Almost 20 years after I threw my last pitch in the major leagues, I am back in baseball -- this time as a pitching coach.

I'm working with the Long Beach Breakers, and we play in the independent Western Baseball League. I have the opportunity to help some young pitchers and also give back to the game some of the great things it gave me. It's just a tremendous opportunity, and I'm thrilled and thankful to have it.

Getting back in uniform reminds me of how much I loved playing and how lucky I felt getting to pitch in the majors. All those years with the Red Sox, Cardinals, Giants, Padres, and Angels blend together now, and my whole career seems like a story that I know is true but still have trouble believing.

When I'm asked what I remember most, I say, "Just being there." For me, playing in the big leagues wasn't about one great game or a lucky streak or the best year of my career. It was about knowing I was playing against the best baseball players in the world, and that I was one of them. I tell people that growing up to play baseball for a living has to be the absolute best way to spend one's youth. I wouldn't trade that time of my life for anything.

Since retiring in '84, I have nurtured my interest in writing. I have worked as an editor and freelance writer, and my articles have appeared in the Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, and Sports Illustrated. I review books on baseball and other sports for the San Diego Union-Tribune.

One writing effort I'm really proud of, a 7500-word article on sports writer Ed Linn, will appear in Volume II of the "Dictionary of Literary Biography" this April.

Presently I am working on a book about baseball's perfect game. I am researching all the perfectos that have been pitched in the major leagues, and I'm also trying to find out from pitchers past and present just what they think a perfect game really is (or if they believe there's such a thing at all).

My wife Mary Ann (Petino) and I are now living in Long Beach, having moved up here last year from San Diego, where we'd lived since 1988.


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