Joe Nossek spent 43 years in professional baseball, 37 of them in a major league uniform. No native Clevelander had ever matched those numbers when he hung up his Chicago White Sox uniform for the final time in the spring of 2004 to retire with his wife, Jean, to their home in Amherst. His lengthy list of baseball honors began accumulating early. He earned first team All-Ohio laurels as a senior at Euclid High in 1958, after which he was signed from Ohio University as an amateur free agent by the Minnesota Twins in 1961 after winning first team All-American and All-Mid-American Conference recognition. He joined the Twins as an outfielder in 1964, beginning a six-year career which included stops at Kansas City/Oakland and St. Louis, including the realization of the dream of every player when he appeared in six games of the 1965 World Series with the Twins. When his playing days ended, he spent two years as a minor league coach and manager, then joined the Milwaukee Brewers as their third base coach in 1972, launching the long final phase of his career in which he established himself as one of the most astute coaches in the game and perhaps baseball’s finest sign stealer. His tour on the coaching sidelines included five years back home as the Indians’ third base coach and culminated with a 20-year stint from 1983 through 2003 in Chicago, the last 13 as the White Sox bench coach.
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