Kent Tekulve – The Closer

If you like baseball you’ll love this interview. If you like Pittsburgh sports, you’ll love this interview. Former Pittsburgh Pirate closer and World Series Champion Kent Tekulve joins Tim in this special extended episode. Kent talks baseball, Pittsburgh, how to teach kids about sports, and somewhat about life.

Kent Tekulve

This is an extended conversation where I promise you that after you listen to this, you’ll feel like you made a new best friend. With that in mind, we’re going to get right to our interview.

But before we do, I think I owe it to you to give you some of the basics.

Kent Tekulve is a former Major League Baseball pitcher. He was a tall, skinny reliever and a closer in his career, which included stops in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Cincinnati. You can learn a ton if all you do is search for his name online, and you’ll get all his stats.

Kent Tekulve pitched in more than 1,000 major league games during the 1970s and 80s. He recorded an unbelievable 184 saves. He was a closer, and if you know anything about baseball, closers are the coolest dudes on the roster. They come in when the pressure’s on and they close out the game.

He’s most known as a Pittsburgh Pirate, but not just any Pirate. Kent was the pitcher on the mound to get the last out of the seventh game in the 9th inning of the 1979 World Series. This was the last time the Pirates made it to the World Series, and the last time they won a World Series. Kent was on the mound in Baltimore for that feat.

He came up in the minors with the Pirates and played in his first major league game in 1974.

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About this Episode’s Guest Kent Tekulve

Kent Tekulve is best known as “Teke.” He’s  was a relief pitcher in Major League Baseball for 16 years, playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds. He was best known as a side-arm pitcher who threw the final pitch to help the Pittsburgh Pirates win the 1979 World Series.

Tekulve graduated from Marietta College in Ohio, and then signed as a free agent with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He played for them until 1985.  His most memorable seasons were 1978 and 1979 when he saved 31 games and posted ERAs of 2.33 (’78) and 2.75 (’79).

In 1979, he was key to the Pirates World Series season and in Game 7 of the World Series that year in Baltimore.

In 1985, the Pirates traded him to the Phillies. In 1989, he signed with the Cincinnati Reds, retiring from baseball at mid-season.

Tekulve led the National League in games pitched four times, appearing in 90 or more games three times.

He is one of two pitchers (also Mike Marshall) in baseball history to appear in 90 or more games more than once. They did it three times each.

Tekulve had three saves in the 1979 World Series, which tied the single-Series mark set by Pittsburgh Pirate Elroy Face in the 1960 World Series. That record would stand until 1996.

Tekulve holds the National League record for career innings pitched in relief (1,436+23). For a time, he held the major league record for career relief appearances – 1,050 career games, all in relief.

Tekulve holds career records for most appearances and innings pitched without making a single start.

He still resides in the Pittsburgh area.