Catching up with '09 'pen arm Jack Taschner

October 21st, 2021

played only one season for the Phillies, 2009, but it sure was a memorable one.

Formerly a second-round Draft choice in 1999 by the Giants out of the University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh, he worked his way up through the Giants’ system and made his Major League debut in 2005. Taschner ended up spending parts of four seasons in San Francisco.

He was acquired by the Phillies in a late Spring Training trade with the Giants for non-roster catcher Ronny Paulino. Taschner, a lefty bullpen piece, reported to Clearwater with only a scant few days left in Spring Training camp. He recalls having only one mound appearance before the club broke camp and headed north to begin the regular season.

Taschner was a part of the Phillies’ 2009 National League pennant-winning bullpen, appearing in 24 games and compiling a 1-1 record and a 4.91 ERA. Unfortunately, tough decisions had to be made, and he was left off the postseason roster and did not appear in any postseason or World Series games that year.

Fans may remember that season featured a first reality tv show, The Pen, which chronicled the happenings of the members of the Phillies’ bullpen that summer. Taschner appeared in many scenes and joyfully recalled many of the episodes and the good times.

Following the season, he was outrighted off the 40-man roster and granted free agency. In 2010, his final season, he split time between the Pirates and the Dodgers.

In 2011, Taschner was contemplating an offer to pitch in Japan when a tragic earthquake and subsequent tsunami hit the country. The Japanese baseball season was put on hold, and he decided that maybe it was a sign to hang up the spikes.

Returning to his native Wisconsin, he joined the Appleton, Wis. police department. Taschner said that he always had interest in that type of work, as several members of his family had been police officers and firefighters.

One of the more enjoyable and interesting parts of his job with the Appleton PD was being a part of the police security detail at the hotel for the NFL teams that came in to play the Green Bay Packers. Most of the visiting teams stay at a hotel in Appleton and then make the roughly 50-mile trek to Lambeau Field on the day of the game. Taschner was able to experience the other side of that operation from what he saw as a player.

These days, he is known as Lieutenant Jack Taschner, in charge of school resources and sensitive crimes.

To keep his hand in the game, he started helping the Neenah high school varsity baseball team, first serving as an assistant before being named head coach three years ago. One of his current players is his son, Gradin, a senior who happens to be one of the state’s top pitchers and has committed to play baseball at Illinois State University.

Coach Taschner mentioned that he still keeps in touch with several of his Phillies teammates and singled out Chad Durbin as one of the guys that he reaches out to for advice when he wants to discuss pitching situations for his high school team.

He and his wife Miriam have three other children: Mirella, Reed and Teagan. Mirella was born in Voorhees, N.J. while the Taschners were with the Phillies in 2009. Clearly, her birth was the No. 1 highlight of their season.

Taschner fondly recalls his days with the Phillies, but indicated that he hated coming to Citizens Bank Park as a visiting player and facing the Phillies’ stacked lineup.

Biggest thrill? “Winning the NL East championship, and the champagne celebration that occurred afterwards,” he said, smiling. “Plus, the camaraderie of the bullpen guys was very special. After the clinching game, we made a private trip back out to the bullpen to celebrate a little as a group.”

He also made special mention of the Phillies organization and how well he and his family were treated, noting how everyone from top to bottom was in it together and how meaningful that was to his family.

That’s catching up with former Phillies reliever Jack Taschner, number 57 on your scorecard.