Former big-leaguer Kirk Rueter joins McKendree baseball staff

Special to the News-DemocratFebruary 19, 2014 

— Former major-league pitcher Kirk Rueter, a native of Hoyleton, has joined the staff of McKendree University baseball coach Jim Boehne.

Rueter, 43, who was 130-92 with a 4.27 ERA in 13 seasons with the Montreal Expos and San Francisco Giants, will work with the McKendree pitching staff as the team enters its first full year as NCAA Division II members.

"I'm really thankful to Coach Boehne for asking me to be a part of the McKendree baseball program," Rueter said. "He has built a successful program over the years, and this team is set to do even bigger things at the Division II level.

"I'm a rookie when it comes to coaching, but I will do everything I can to help the Bearcats succeed in 2014. I've had some wonderful coaches across the game of baseball who have taught me so many things, and I want to be able to share that with these players. I can't wait to jump in and get started."

Rueter, a left-hander, broke in with the Expos in 1993 and spent parts of four seasons with the organization before being traded to the Giants during in mid-summer 1996.

During his 10 seasons with San Francisco, Rueter amassed 105 victories, a mark that makes him the all-time wins leader for a left-hander in Giants history.

Rueter appeared in the postseason three times with San Francisco and started Game 4 of the 2002 World Series.

"We are extremely excited that Kirk has agreed to join our baseball program," said Boehne. "He has been a friend of the program for years, so he has seen the growth of our team during our transition to Division II.

"Kirk has a wealth of knowledge about the art of pitching, and it will be great for him to share that knowledge with our players. From being around Kirk, you can tell that he still loves the game of baseball and our players can feel that energy. They respond to him, and can benefit greatly not only from his knowledge of the game, but the experiences he went through to get to the top of his profession."

Rueter reached double figures in wins seven consecutive years, which included a career-high 16 victories in 1998.

At McKendree, Rueter will get a chance to work with a staff that includes six lefties who are freshmen or sophomores. That group of left-handers includes sophomore Sam Lidisky, an Althoff High School graduate who led the staff with six victories in 2013, and sophomore Josh Tonozzi, who picked up a team-leading three saves in '13 and tied for second in wins with four.

McKendree was 23-23 last season, including 17-19 in its first year as Great Lakes Valley Conference members.

The Bearcats are scheduled to open their season at 2 p.m. Tuesday with a home game against Harris-Stowe State University.

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