Your Town Marshfield: Gary Varsho: A baseball life
MARSHFIELD, Wis. (WSAW) -Gary Varsho spent 15 years playing professional baseball, including eight in the major leagues before going on to have a long career as a coach and then a scout. Now, after almost 40 years of involvement in pro ball, he’s retired, but far from done with the game.
“Baseball’s been really good to me,” Varsho says. “I mean, it’s an old Chico Escuela line (a reference to a fictional character from ‘Saturday Night Live’), but it’s been really a fantastic run. It just gets to a point where it’s time.”
Varsho is ready for more time with his kids Andie, Taylor, and Daulton, and he just became a grandfather for the first time.
Plus, he has other obligations.
“My Little League here, this is something that I haven’t been able to do for 20-plus years,” says Varsho. “To be here every day, teach, talk to the kids, know the kids.”
Varsho created the league to give his kids a place to play growing up, but it also serves as an alternative to where youth baseball is right now.
The price of youth baseball has gone up, travel teams have become more exclusive, and training methods are becoming more extreme. All are trends that concern Varsho.
“Absolutely, it worries me a lot,” Varsho says. “Because kids are not getting the opportunity. If I’m not on a tournament that means I don’t get a chance to play, and it’s like I don’t understand that.
“And I’m hoping that’s the message that people understand. You don’t need to be a part of a club; you don’t need to have the special uniform and spend all the money. Just come out and learn how to play and have fun and enjoy it and be part of something special.”
It’s Varsho’s way of growing the game that gave so much to him.
“The love of the game is the greatest thing in the world,” Varsho says. “I don’t want kids to not love the game, and that’s the greatest gift I can give back.”
When asked if this chapter of his coaching career is as pure as it’s going to get, he ponders for a moment.
“Yeah, yeah, this is the simple way of caring for other kids, giving back.”
Luckily for Marshfield, now he can do all of that at home. He’s a baseball lifer that won’t stop his involvement in the game until the day he dies.
“No, I’ll be in it [baseball],” Varsho says. “I’ll be doing something always, always with baseball. Just got to convince Kay (his wife) to make sure that we stay sane.”
Right now, “Gary Varsho Baseball” runs for six weeks only in the spring, but Varsho says now that he’s home, the next step is to expand to some sort of summer program, something he says Marshfield lacks right now for non-travel ballplayers.
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