Postgame: George Frazier
From the pitcher’s mound to the broadcast booth
George Frazier pitches for the Yankees in this photo from the early 1980s.
Not many baseball players can boast that they played in the major leagues, let alone in the World Series.
Oklahoma City native and current Tulsan George Frazier can. The former pitcher played for five Major League Baseball teams, including two that made it to the World Series.
After 10 years in the majors, he spun a new career, using his experience to enter the broadcast booth. He is beginning his 15th season as a television analyst for the Colorado Rockies.
Frazier also works with local high school and Oral Roberts University players. TulsaPeople visited with Frazier during a recent practice session.
You played in an outstanding high school program in Springfield, Mo., where you made your mark. How did you do?
I actually got cut three times from my high school baseball team (Hillcrest High School), but I pitched for our American Legion team in the summers. My senior year in high school, I went 7-0 with a 0.14 earned run average for Hillcrest. We had an outstanding high school baseball program. In my senior season, we had seven seniors on the team, five got drafted and three of us played in the big leagues. Plus, we had a (Baseball Coaches Association) Hall of Fame coach in Dick Birmingham.
Weren’t you also a highly recruited basketball player?
I had originally signed with Drury College (in Springfield) to play basketball after they had won the NAIA national championship two out of the three previous years. I had close to 100 offers to play college basketball. But ultimately I decided to go to OU and play baseball.
You made your major league debut with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1978 at age 23. What do you remember about it?
That was a really big thrill for me. Lou Brock, Ted Simmons, Keith Hernandez and all the others on that Cardinals team helped me discover what I needed to do as an athlete and helped me realize that the game requires a lot of dedication. Also, by playing in St. Louis, it allowed my dad to be able to drive just three hours and see me pitch.
You later played for the Yankees. What was it like playing in New York City?
It was the greatest place in America. I’ve played for some great teams in great cities with great traditions — the Cubs, the Cardinals and the Yankees. But there was nothing like playing in New York. In New York City, you are an entertainer, whether you are the 25th guy on the roster or Mickey Mantle. Even today, fans recognize me as a former Yankee when I’m in New York.
The Yankees’ owner, George Steinbrenner, was notorious for being a tough and ruthless owner. What were your impressions?
One of the most touching things that happened to me was what George did for me when my dad had a stroke in 1983. George came in and told me, “I have a limousine picking your wife and kids up at your house to take them to the airport. I have another limousine outside the stadium to take you to the airport to meet your family and where my plane is waiting.”
George flew my family back to Missouri so I could be with my dad. George paid for everything. He had the plane wait for us in Missouri for three days before returning us to New York. I missed three games and nothing was ever said. You will never find me saying a bad thing about the Steinbrenners.
You became acquainted with another famous Oklahoman, Mickey Mantle, while with the Yankees. How did you get to know him?
Mickey came up to me in the locker room when I was with the Yankees and said, “Hey, Oklahoma, how are you doing?” In the back of my mind, I wondered, “Mickey knows who I am?” We struck up a friendship and I would always play in his charity golf tournaments at Shangri-La.
Your son, Parker Frazier, is in the Rockies organization and will likely pitch in Tulsa for the Drillers this summer. I’m sure you’re looking forward to that.
He made 30 starts last summer in Class High A ball at Modesto and won 11 games, and his team went to the playoffs. I think he’s looking forward to coming home and pitching. I’ll work about 80 games for the Rockies this summer, so I hope to make it back and watch him as much as possible. I think he has a bright future.
- Born: Oklahoma City
- High school: Hillcrest High School, Springfield, Mo.
- College: The University of Oklahoma
- Sports played: Baseball, basketball
- School days honors: All-state high school baseball team, senior year; Member of OU’s College World Series teams, four consecutive trips
- Years played: 1978-1987
- Teams: St. Louis Cardinals, New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians, Chicago Cubs, Minnesota Twins
- Overall record: 35-43; pitched in 415 games with a 4.20 ERA and recorded 29 saves. Recognized as one of the game’s premier relief pitchers.
- MLB World Series: New York Yankees, 1981; Minnesota Twins, 1987, Twins take championship
- Broadcaster: 1988-present
- Present: Colorado Rockies television analyst
- Past: Prime Sports Network, Big Eight men’s and women’s basketball games; sideline reporting, The University of Tulsa football; Home Sports Entertainment; the Baseball Network; ESPN; Fox Sports and Minnesota Twins regional game telecasts