You Know You’re From...Stevens Point: “Ma” Pesch

You Know You're from... Stevens Point
Published: Apr. 24, 2023 at 9:51 PM CDT
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STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAW) - “People will talk about him for a very long time.”

“He was straight up unselfish.”

“Every little leaguer wanted to be on ‘Ma’s’ team.”

A lifelong bachelor married to baseball, Robert Pesch built his reputation coaching little league.

“He totally considered his little league kids his kids and that’s why his kids used to call him ‘Ma,’” said Tim Sullivan.

‘Ma’ would treat his kids. Whether it be Taco Bell, or a trip to his favorite place.

“Field of Dreams in Iowa. Always on his own dime with the parents permission,” said Sullivan.

You Know You're From...Stevens Point

As he grew older, he transitioned to scorekeeper. On February 12, “Ma” recorded his final out in the game of life.

“We should try to do something to keep his legacy going.”

A legacy his friend of 50 years, Tim “Shoe” Sullivan, wants to honor while helping out the kids.

“I got on Facebook and I just said, ‘I don’t know if this will work but here’s what it is,’” Sullivan said.

Project Pesch took off quicker than a Hank Aaron home run.

“I thought I might get $500 or something like that. But these things, these are all things that were mailed to me.”

Scott Stankowski helped Project Pesch get off the bench with a golf outing.

“Just being a sports lover in general and being a good soul to begin with is a rarity,” Stankowski said.

Craig Wold brings “Ma” to life on T-shirts. Nick Moore designed the caricature. Craig added the Field of Dreams theme.

“I anticipate they’ll be doing this throughout the summer,” Wold said with a laugh. “Because a lot of people will probably want one once they start seeing them.”

“So many people are contributing to this thing,” said Sullivan.

Including sports broadcast hall of famer Bob Costas. Who established a unique relationship with “Ma.”

“So I had 4 bratwurst during game 4 of the ‘82 World Series between the Cardinals and the Brewers,” Costas recalled during an appearance on TBS’ show with Conan O’Brien. “Word about this got around. I receive a letter fro a guy in Stevens Point, Wis. named ‘Ma’ Pesch.”

“How many did he eat,” Sullivan recalled asking a friend. “He says 11. So ‘Ma’ ate 11 brats.”

“He wants to challenge me to a bratwurst eating contest,” Costas said.

“And he wrote back a card. He said that was the funniest baseball story he’s ever heard,” Sullivan said of the first interaction with Costas.

Costas spoke with “Ma” before he passed and later pitched in with a $1,000 donation. Right now, more than $10,000 has been raised.

“Why should I be floored? He knew so many people and so many people love that guy,” added Sullivan.

Part of that money will go to the Stevens Point Youth Baseball Association for batting cages, catchers gear and batting helmets. Possibly a memorial bench at Zenoff Park and a plaque for a score booth to remember the stamp he left on the game.

“You know, he’s looking down from above,” said Stankowski. “And we said ‘hey ‘Ma’ we made this. This is for you.’ He would have a smile on his face.”

“I’m going to still tip my hat up into the scorer (booth),” Wold said, recalling his tradition with “Ma” before his rec league games. “His energy is still going to be on some of those fields.”

“He lived and died kids and sports. He was a legend,” Sullivan said.

Last year, Sullivan had the opportunity to take “Ma” to meet Costas at an event in Appleton. “Ma” declined, saying he already had plans to go watch one of his former little leaguers play a football game in Wisconsin Rapids. Sullivan added, that’s just the type of guy “Ma” was.

To donate to Project Pesch, you can send cash or check to:

Tim Sullivan

1555 Water Street

Stevens Point, WI 54481