Baseball

Steve Vucinich of the Oakland A’s Is the Clubhouse Man Who Has Seen It All

He grew to become a salaried worker in 1974 when he was named visiting clubhouse supervisor, a promotion that impressed him to drop out of faculty. “It acquired me contained in the gates,” Vucinich mentioned. “Plus, it was a full-time gig with respectable cash.”

To explain the cash as respectable concerned some hustle. Vucinich’s wage as a clubhouse supervisor, or clubbie — $300 per thirty days — was decidedly not respectable. However like all clubbies, he made loads of additional money by means of gamers who paid for providers like meals and laundry (in 1974 it was $5 per head, per day). Vucinich acquired to maintain no matter remained after bills. These earnings, plus suggestions for private errands, may greater than double his paycheck.

Particular requests from gamers are an infinite supply of Vucinich’s tales. He discovered an after-hours birthday cake for Roger Clemens and as soon as crammed a steamer trunk with Coors for Carl Yastrzemski and Dwight Evans after they had been unable to supply the beer east of Kansas. (Trendy variations of the identical story contain procuring gamers wine from Napa and the occasional In-N-Out burger run.)

“It’s the hardest job in baseball, taking good care of a bunch of prima donnas, every of whom has a special want and thinks he’s the very best man and expects you to maintain him proper now,” mentioned Sal Bando, captain of the three-peat championship A’s groups from 1972 to 1974. “The way in which Vuc has dealt with all of it these years, it’s superb.”

Today, the parameters of Vucinich’s place are extra profound than ever. He arrives on the ballpark at about 10 a.m. for evening video games, and stays till issues wrap up. He packs the workforce — communal gear and particular person gear alike — for each highway journey. Whereas uniform orders as soon as consisted of jerseys, pants and cotton undershirts, right this moment they embody throwback and alternate choices, plus a broad array of efficiency gear. Then once more, Vucinich now not has to inventory or clear ashtrays.

“The whole lot’s altering,” he mentioned, “so that you’d higher get on board otherwise you’re going to trip that pony out of the car parking zone and never come again.”

Final season was significantly making an attempt, with inflexible coronavirus protocols affecting each stage of clubhouse interplay. The M.L.B. process doc Vucinich needed to implement was 107 pages and lined the whole lot from particular person toiletries to pitchers maintaining their very own baseballs for bullpen use. Vucinich eliminated clubhouse furnishings and transitioned the workforce’s eating facility outside, making do with a workers at two-thirds capability given the strict limits on clubhouse personnel.

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