Pappas, Milt 1939-

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PAPPAS, Milt 1939-

PERSONAL:

Born May 11, 1939, in Detroit, MI; married; wife's name Carole (deceased); married Judi Bloome (a teacher); children: (first marriage) Michelle, Steve.

ADDRESSES:

Home—502 Highland Court, Beecher, IL 60401.

CAREER:

Professional baseball player and author. Member of major-league teams, including Baltimore Orioles, 1957-65, Cincinnati Reds, 1966-68, Atlanta Braves, 1968-70, and Chicago Cubs, 1970-73; worked as a building supplies salesman.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Voted Major League All-Star player, 1962 and 1965.

WRITINGS:

(With Wayne Mausser) Bringing the Heat: The Autobiography of Milt Pappas, Angel Press (Wautoma, WI), 1998.

(With Wayne Mausser and Larry Names) Out at Home: Triumph and Tragedy in the Life of Milt Pappas, LKP Group (Oshkosh, WI), 2000.

SIDELIGHTS:

Former major-league baseball star Milt Pappas is the author of two autobiographical works that not only concentrate on his athletic career, but also shed some light on the tragedies he experienced in his off-the-field life. Pappas, who was born in 1939, served as a right-handed starting pitcher for a number of major-league teams. He broke into the majors in 1957 and immediately made a name for himself as a brash rookie who challenged batters and often questioned the calls of umpires. Before retiring in 1973, Pappas compiled a number of impressive statistics, including 209 wins. He includes many stories from his playing days in both his autobiographical works, the first of which, Bringing the Heat: The Autobiography of Milt Pappas, he co-authored with Wayne Mausser. Mausser, along with fellow writer Larry Names, also co-authored Pappas's next work, Out at Home: Triumph and Tragedy in the Life of Milt Pappas. Literary critics took notice of the books, largely because they shed light on a time of important changes in baseball. The books, particularly Out at Home, also attracted interest because Pappas describes the tribulations he and his two children went through after his wife Carole mysteriously disappeared in 1982. Her disappearance, as well as the manhunt that followed, made national headlines. Her body was eventually found several years later at the bottom of a pond near the couple's Illinois home.

In Out at Home, Pappas explains how, on September 11, 1982, Carole left the Pappas home in Wheaton, Illinois, on her way to run a few errands, as was her habit. That day, however, she never returned. Pappas contacted the police, but neither Carole nor her car were found. The day marked the beginning of an agonizing period for the Pappas family. In an interview with Linda Witt for People nearly two years after his wife's disappearance, Pappas described the feelings of helplessness he and his children experienced. The conversation with Witt also provided insight into the lives of a professional athlete's family. "There were many times I cried," he told Witt. "You feel guilty. I thought about how tough an athlete's wife has it. Carole had to be both mother and father to the kids when I was on the road. It was rough, too, because I was traded three times. The kids had to be taken out of school, our life packed up and moved, and she had to do it." As the years passed without any resolution to Carole's disappearance, Pappas finally told his children to "get on with life." Ultimately, he did the same, meeting and marrying Judi Bloome, the daughter of a Chicago policeman.

While the tragedy surrounding his first wife's death represents a portion of Pappas's memoirs, both Bringing the Heat and Out at Home are primarily about baseball, and Pappas has many opinions on the subject. Though he had not been inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame by 2002, Pappas is still regarded as one of the top pitchers of his day. Between 1958 and 1972 he won at least ten games in each season except one, and was only one National League win shy of attaining at least 100 victories in each league. He had several excellent seasons and was elected an All-Star in 1962 and 1965. Pappas also threw one no-hitter during his career. However, his wins were often overshadowed by his brash attitude. He frequently questioned the calls of umpires, and tried to show them up by posturing on the mound. Pappas, who served as a players representative during his career, was also known for bickering with management. He was involved in several big trades during his career, though none were bigger than the one that sent him from Baltimore to Cincinnati in 1965 in exchange for superstar Frank Robinson, who helped the Orioles win the World Series the following year. Pappas ended his career with the Chicago Cubs from 1970 to 1973, which he counts among his favorite years as a ballplayer.

In Out at Home Pappas interjects many opinions about baseball, not only about his playing days, but also about the current state of the game. He is particularly critical of today's highly paid players, who he feels are ignorant of those players who in earlier decades fought the battles that have led to higher salaries in the modern game. Pappas also has some unkind words for those journalists who did not vote him into the Hall of Fame, maintaining that the reason he was not elected was because he refused to coddle the media. Out at Home, which contains over twenty photographs, did win a response from critics. Commenting on the author's claims and opinions expressed in the book, a contributor for Publishers Weekly wrote that Pappas remains "as brash as in his playing days." The same contributor decided that, although Out at Home does not "provide new revelations about the game," does "help document baseball's important changes in the late 20th century."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

The Ballplayers, William Morrow (New York, NY), 1990.

PERIODICALS

People, March 19, 1984, pp. 67-70.

Publishers Weekly, January 24, 2000, p. 307.

ONLINE

Baseball Library Online, http://www.pubdim.net/baseballlibrary/ (October 7, 2002), "Milt Pappas."*

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