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Joe Nossek

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At 6-foot-1, 175 pounds, Joe Nossek was called "coffee and juice" by teammates because he ate so little. Mainly an outfielder, the Twins tried him at third base during the 1964 Instructional League season and at second base after the '65 season. But his footwork never allowed him to become a true utility player.

He played third base 10 times in the big leagues, and nine of those came in '65. He never did play second in the majors.

Nossek was among the large group of Ohio-Pennsylvania members of the '65 Twins. The others were Bernie Allen, Andy Kosco, Rich Rollins, Garry Roggenburk, Pete Cimino and bullpen coach Hal Naragon.

Nossek was a player of modest ability - a good outfielder who said he never believed that the Twins had any confidence in his ability to hit. Yet he started the majority of the '65 World Series games in center field over All-Star Jimmie Hall - a move that would have created considerable business for talk shows and Internet baseball boards had it happened today.

Stealing signs

Nossek's real claim to fame came as a coach. A wise ballplayer, he spent 20 years in coaching, including two stints with the Chicago White Sox, and he was regarded as one of the great sign-stealers in the game.

Nossek said it wasn't an art.

Nossek claimed if most anyone spent time at it, they could see how a manager behaved in the dugout and how a third-base coach went about his business. Eventually, they would note when something changed. He said maybe a person needed to have some special talent regarding how to read mannerisms, but probably not.

If observing didn't work, Nossek also kept a high card up his sleeve. He said if a player was traded from one team to another, he would often simply call the player and ask for his old team's signs.

Nossek and fellow Cleveland coach Dave Duncan both ended up being very valuable coaches in the big leagues, and together they exited Cleveland after the '81 season. The two coaches wanted $35,000 each for the '82 season and the Indians offered only $32,000. Nossek then signed on as Kansas City's third base coach.

Later in life, Nossek suffered considerable pain from a herniated disc in his back, and from a knee replacement. Travel became increasingly difficult for him, forcing retirement from the game.


Where are the 1965 Minnesota Twins?


Joe Nossek was born in 1940 in Cleveland, Ohio.


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