Former Great Falls Baseball Player Works with Professional Catch - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Former Great Falls Baseball Player Works with Professional Catchers

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"I love doing what I do. It's not a job. Once it becomes work, I quit," said Bill Lachemann.

Bill Lachemann has been in professional baseball for 50 years. And at 81 years old, he's still in the game, working eight months out of the year as a special instructor for the Los Angeles Angels.

"I work with catchers, basically. I travel quite a bit. I don't go for lengthy periods of time. During the season I maybe go for 15 days out of the month. About 191 catchers I've worked through my career I think 89 went to the big leagues," said Lachemann.

Lachemann is no stranger to the bigs and neither is his family. His brother Rene was a big league skipper for the Mariners, Brewers, Marlins and Cubs, and his other brother Marcel managed the Angels in the mid 90s. So Bill should have managed too, right?

"No. I was in the big leagues in '95 and '96 but no that's too big of a headache. They turn gray within one season and there's a lot of pressure that's put on them," said Lachemann.

Lachemann would rather work behind the scenes and help young players achieve their dreams of playing big league baseball.

"I enjoy what I do. I love working with young players and watching them advance. One time I was watching TV a few years back and watching 3 or 4 different games and 4 of those games were guys I had worked with one time in the big leagues. They weren't with the Angels but they were with different clubs so I got them where they had to be," said Lachemann.

The expansive list includes players like Benji Molina who was behind the plate for the Angels' 2002 championship team, his brother Jose, Mike Napoli, Jeff Mathis, Chris Ianetta. All of whom have had what Lachemann says it takes to make it in the big leagues.

"The thing I look for in catchers nowadays is their mental makeup and what they have here inside. You can have the best athlete in the world but if he doesn't have it inside here, he's not going to make it," he said.

And that's coming from a guy who does have it inside. At age 81, Bill Lachemann brings the same passion to work every day. But for him, it's not work - it's baseball.

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