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A Fu Manchu mustache, long brown hair, Hungarian
nationality and an angry display of stomping to the
pitcher’s mound characterized baseball player Al
Hrabosky at the peak of his
career in the 1970s. He was
one of the most effective relief
pitchers, with 97 saves and his
infamous blazing fastball.
Today, the long brown hair is
shorter and white, and instead
of being in the forefront of the
action, he is now behind the
scenes as a broadcaster for Fox
Sports Midwest.
“The Mad Hungarian” came to
William Woods Jan. 25 to speak
about his personal experiences
with fame, a career, and to offer
words of advice to students.
Charlie James, a member of
the WWU Board of Trustees, introduced Hrabosky.
James was a Cardinals outfielder from 1960 to 1964
and was on the 1964 Cardinals’ World Series
Championship team.
Hrabosky didn’t play baseball until his senior year
when his high school got a new coach and needed a
pitcher. He went on to play major league baseball for 15
years and is now entering his 27th year of
color commentating.
He spent time with the Kansas City Royals, Atlanta
Braves and Chicago White Sox before retiring at 33.
After being drafted by the Cardinals in 1969 as their
number one pick, Hrabosky said he pushed himself
to be the best player he could be. He described the
difference between himself and other baseball players,
saying “they were content to be a professional baseball
player and I wanted to be a major league player.”
Hrabosky throws zinger at Cubs fans
By Danielle Propst
Hrabosky shared words of inspiration with WWU
students and the community, emphasizing the
importance of an education. Hrabosky feels he cheated
himself by not pursuing an education beyond high
school and having to learn
things the hard way, but said
he doesn’t regret it.
“The most important
thing in my mind was I
had an opportunity and I
wasn’t going to waste that
opportunity,” he said.
He encouraged students
who have leadership qualities
to take advantage of those
characteristics and lead,
especially by example. The
greatest leaders, according to
Hrabosky, are those who lead
not with words, but examples.
He also stressed the
significance of working hard, saying that if something
comes easy, it has little value. Hard work and exposure
are important factors in obtaining accomplishments.
“Direct yourself in one way but never limit yourself to
one path. Expose yourself to everything,” Hrabosky said.
On a humorous note, he spoke about the Cardinals’
arch rivals, the Chicago Cubs. Emphasizing the fact that
the Cubs have not won a World Series in more than 100
years, he showed off his World Series ring and said with
a laugh, “If there are any Cubs fans out there, I can show
you something you’ve never seen before.”
Hrabosky offered a night full of advice, stories and
laughs. One question remained, however. What career
path will he pursue after broadcasting is over? Without
a moment of hesitation, Hrabosky responded, “Mike,
Shannon’s going to die in the booth and, hopefully,
I’ll follow.”
Former Cardinals players Charlie James (left)
and Al Hrabrosky share the stage.