John Pregenzer

John Pregenzer was born Aug. 2, 1932 in Burlington, Wisc., and he spent much of his professional baseball and post-baseball career in the South Puget Sound region.

Pregenzer attended Illinois Wesleyan University and signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates before being picked up by the San Francisco Giants as a minor leaguer during the 1960-61 offseason in exchange for a $100 waiver fee. He made the Giants' roster in 1963, and that brought him to the attention of San Francisco Chronicle journalist Novella O’Hara, who organized the "John Pregenzer Fan Club." The basis of the club was the premise that the Giants could acquire a pitcher for such a low fee, prompting O'Hara to wonder if she could buy one, too. The club grew to 3,000 members and led to Pregenzer receiving a baked pheasant testimonial dinner, a transistor radio and a scroll naming him honorary mayor of Fresno.

Pregenzer pitched in 19 games for the Giants over the 1963-64 seasons, while spending parts of those seasons and 1965 with the Tacoma Giants minor league team. He finished his major league career with a 2-0 record and closed out his minor league career with a 66-49 record and 3.67 earned run average over eight seasons.

Pregenzer's best minor league season came in 1965, when he set the Pacific Coast League record with 28 saves. Meanwhile a career highlight came with Tacoma in June 1963, when the 6-foot-5-inch, 220-pound right-handed pitcher hit a game-winning home run one night and followed it up with a game-winning squeeze bunt the next night. He was named to Tacoma’s PCL All-Time All-Star team in 1984.

Following his playing career, Pregenzer spent two years as the radio analyst with Don Hill for Tacoma Giants games. He went on to coach baseball at Orting High School (1968-69), Franklin Pierce High School (1974-76) and Washington High School (1985-91). He played for Clover Leaf Tavern and Bull Horn Tavern recreational softball teams from 1966-85 and helped the Mullen’s Auto Body squad win the 1967 state basketball championship, led by former Gonzaga University star, Frank Burgess, who led the nation in scoring his senior year.. He compiled a 49-5-2 record as a junior high football coach and won seven championships in 15 years as a junior high basketball coach.