Archived Story

Return to the mound: FF’s Kroog throws opening pitch at Twins game

Published 8:40am Monday, July 16, 2012

Toeing the rubber for the first time in many years, Fred Kroog got his sign, reeled back and fired a ball toward home plate.

Strike!

Kroog had the honor of throwing the ceremonial first pitch Sunday at Target Field as the Twins took on the Oakland Athletics.

Kroog, a member of the 1950 Fergus Falls Red Sox AA state amateur championship team, showed more poise on the mound then the Twins’ rotation have had most of the season.

Fred’s daughter, Rachel, was performing at an Alzheimer’s benefit at the Depot in downtown Minneapolis, when she heard something that perked up her ears.

A Twins package that contained four tickets and a certificate to throw out the first pitch.

After finding her bidding number, Rachel was able to put forth the winning bid.

“My niece, Sarah, and I looked at each other and she whispered grandpa,” Rachel said. “After we won the bid, we were jumping up and down, but we did not want to let the cat out of the bag and spoil the surprise.”

After telling her family, Rachel prepared for the special Father’s Day gift.

“Everyone wanted to be a part of the event. We had everyone there, either in person, on the phone or by Skype.”

On Father’s Day, Rachel and the rest of her family gathered around Fred for the big unveiling.

Handing him four presents, he began to open to discover a baseball, his baseball glove, the four tickets and the first pitch certificate.

“I have never seen him so happy. He just kept making jokes after every gift,” Rachel added.

The best one-liner came after opening the present that contained his glove. “Dad said ‘well it looks like it’s time for me to get back out on the mound’,” Rachel commented.

Practicing for the past few weeks with his son, David, Kroog seemed to still possess the ability that helped the Red Sox 60 years ago.

On Sunday, Kroog entered the stadium leading the parade for Alzheimer’s awareness.

Kroog’s name was announced as he made his way to the mound. He pitching was still deadly accurate as he hit TC the Bear’s glove at the plate.

The battery may have looked strange compared to the ones from the past, but Kroog enjoyed his time out on the big league mound.

He may not have had the same velocity that he did when he won the state championship, but Kroog’s throw was right down the pipe.

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