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Hey bartender! Tom Wilhelmsen’s long road back to organized baseball

Feb 18, 2011, 12:44 PM EDT

Cocktail

I’m always a sucker for “ballplayer gets lost in the wilderness for years but then comes back all the wiser for his experiences” stories.  Today Geoff Baker has a version of that one involving former Brewers’ prospect Tom Wilhelmsen, who is now a Mariners’ minor leaguer.

Wilhelmsen is no Josh Hamilton case, but he partied a bit too hard after he got his signing bonus back in 2002, got burnt out on baseball, wandered the Earth and then wound up tending bar in Tucson, Arizona. Including doing so this past offseason because, hey, even a ballplayer has to pay the bills.

Most guys who follow that path have several decades more of tending bar and telling the regulars about what pro ball was all about.  There are far worse fates than that — bartenders I know are a generally happy lot –and Wilhelmsen may still end up there, but for now he’s trying consolidate the gains he made after his improbably comeback win the Mariners’ system.

Neat read.

  1. heyblueyoustink - Feb 18, 2011 at 1:16 PM

    I have a bartender friend who swears he was the greatest 3rd baseman keg league softball ever saw……nice to see this guy is trading in his high ball and slurrball to follow his dreams

  2. Utley's Hair - Feb 18, 2011 at 1:31 PM

    “Hey, barkeep! Who’s that at the end of the bar?”
    “Miguel Cabrera.”

  3. spindervish - Feb 18, 2011 at 2:45 PM

    You know what’s not a neat read? That last full sentence there. Ouch.

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