Tauer's retirement signals the end of an eraWhether it was the late Dewey Tauer or sons Jay, John and Corey, the Tauer name has been a staple in Red Wing baseball since the 1970s. When the snow melts and the grass turns green at the Red Wing Athletic Field this spring, the Tauer name will be absent from the Red Wing Aces' roster for the first time in 22 years.
By: Eric Lear, The Republican Eagle
Baltimore had the Ripkens and Red Wing had the Tauers.
Whether it was the late Dewey Tauer or sons Jay, John and Corey, the Tauer name has been a staple in Red Wing baseball since the 1970s. When the snow melts and the grass turns green at the Red Wing Athletic Field this spring, the Tauer name will be absent from the Red Wing Aces' roster for the first time in 22 years.
Over the past few seasons, Corey Tauer contemplated retiring as the player/manager of the Aces. He informed his team Tuesday that his career was done.
Family is a big reason why Corey had such a long and successful career with the Aces and, ironically, family is a big reason why he decided to retire. He hasn't missed any of 11-year-old son Teddy's baseball games, but he said he'd like to be more involved.
The time commitments also weighed on Corey. He works in Eagan, Minn., and he has to leave the office no later than 4:30 p.m. every day during the season to make it to Aces batting practice or to Teddy's games. Sometimes his work and baseball schedules conflicted. He recalled running from one of Teddy's games to an Aces game this past year arriving with just 10 minutes to spare.
"I realized I can't continue to do this the way I want to do it," Corey said.
He has only missed three Aces games since becoming the manager eight years ago. All three occurred during the past two seasons.
"He gave so much of his life," said Andy Gibart, who has played on the Aces for 11 years. "He gave his summers up to play the game. Corey really was Aces baseball these last few years. He's going to be dearly missed when we take the field for our first game next year."
Corey retires as one of the most successful players in the history of the Aces.
"When I first started he was the best player in the Classic Cannon Valley League," Gibart said. "He was that feared hitter. From the left side of the plate there haven't been many players that could do what he could do."
Corey's career numbers are in the top three in hits, home runs and runs batted in.
"I've coached some great players for the Aces, nobody every competed harder than Tauer did," Red Wing Amateur Baseball Association President Dan Plein said. "No one wanted to win more than he did. In my mind he's in the top handful of players that have ever played for the Aces."
Corey isn't the only one who is calling it quits. Plein, who is Teddy's godfather, announced he will not return next season as the bench coach of the Aces. Corey isn't sold.
"I wouldn't count him out of being in the dugout next year," Corey said with a laugh.
Though he has notched 1,069 hits in his 20-year Aces career -- second most all-time -- Corey will live in Aces lore for one of them.
In 1993, Corey had the hit that clinched the state championship. His brother Jay was the winning run.
"When he stepped up to the plate everybody was pretty confident he was going to come through -- like he did for most of his career," said Eric Chandler, who played with Corey from 1992-2004. "Red Wing baseball will surely miss him."
After reminiscing about the state championship, Corey recalled another moment early in his career he won't soon forget.
While playing for the Scarlets, a second amateur baseball team in Red Wing that joined with the Aces in 1990, a 16-year-old Corey helped turn a very unique double play. He was playing shortstop, Jay was playing second base and John was playing first base.
"It was Tauer to Tauer to Tauer," Corey said. "I still have the ball."
After all, for the Tauers baseball is a family game.