A life of baseball
Dave Langrock stepped up to the plate during his first home game playing for the Cubs minor league team in Caldwell, Idaho. It was the mid-1960s, and Dave was just out of Wartburg College.
He was the pitcher that game, and pitchers usually aren’t hitters. But there was a competition that game – the first player to hit a homerun won a new pair of shoes from one of the town’s shoe stores.
Guess who hit that homerun.
And guess who still has the brown wingtip shoes that he picked out after the game – 50 years later.
Baseball, Dave said, is sometimes misunderstood to be a simple, or maybe even boring game.
It’s the complexity of it that puts a gleam in Dave’s eye.
“If you get into the game of baseball, the bunting, stealing, positioning of players, it’s an incredible game,” he said.
Dave grew up in St. Ansgar, Iowa. He played basketball, and held his school’s career points record for 28 years. A left-hander, his baseball career in high school was impressive, too – and it was baseball that he played at Wartburg.
Four-year letter winner. Iowa Conference Champs for three years. NAIA All-American first baseman. NAIA All-Tournament team. The team finished third in the national tournament.
The Cubs signed Dave after his senior year. The signing made the St. Ansgar Enterprise.
“Langrock, 21, a left-handed pitcher who was 8-2 this year for the Knights, received a small bonus with his contract plus a no-cut clause until after spring training next year. The bonus is to cover the second semester of his teaching salary, which he will have to forego in order to report on time in the spring.”
Dave went on to pitch three seasons – in Caldwell, Idaho; Quincy, Illinois; and Duluth, Minnesota. Injured in the third season, he then coached for the Duluth-Superior Dukes.
After his time playing and coaching in the minor leagues, Dave taught and coached in Wisconsin before coming to Augustana College to do the same.
Langrock, now 74, is the owner of Langrock Promotions, a specialty advertising company. He plays and coaches on two senior slow-pitch softball teams, logging more than 100 games a year.
“The reason I coach is that I get to play,” said Dave, who smiles as he notes it’s the coach who comes up with the game roster. “It’s pretty competitive – people over 70 can hit really well. But we really do play for fun.”