Born: May 12, 1942
Town: Highland Park
Theodore Rodger Kubiak was born May 12, 1942 in New Brunswick and grew up across the Raritan River in Highland Park. He grew up a Yankees fan an idolized Mickey Mantle. One of Ted's great thrills was getting to play against Mantle before the Mick retired. Ted played baseball and was a sure-handed fielder and good left-handed hitter. He played shortstop for the Owls varsity, but missed much of his junior season due to injury. He was named team MVP as a senior and earned a tryout invitation from the Kansas City A’s. Ted had never considered playing baseball for money—he was a gifted student who had already been accepted to the architecture program at Pratt Institute.
Ted signed for a small bonus and worked his way slowly through the A’s minor-league system. Like many young hitters, he had trouble against the curve. He countered this by learning to switch-hit. In 1966, he had a good year with the bat and glove at Triple-A, and made the A’s out of spring training in 1967. He backed up Sal Bando, Bert Campaneris and John Donaldson as a utility infielder. Ted continued in that role until the A’s traded him to the expansion Seattle Pilots in 1969. The Pilots moved to Milwaukee shortly thereafter and became the Brewers.
Ted was the everyday second baseman for the Brewers in 1970. That season he had a career day in Fenway Park against the Red Sox, he hit a ninth-inning grand slam to help Milwaukee win 10–5. He had driven in three runs earlier, giving him 7 for the day. Heading into 2014, no Brewer had ever topped that mark. Ted was traded to the Cardinals for outfielder Jose Cardenal during the 1971 season. In 1972, he was traded to the Texas Rangers, who turned around and traded him back to the A’s in July.
Although many of his old teammates were still on the roster, the A’s were a very different team. They played with grit and confidence, and won the AL West. Ted got two hits the ALCS against the Tigers and one against the Reds in the World Series, which Oakland won 4 games to 3. The A’s won the pennant again in 1973, and Ted saw action in the ALCS and World Series. In Game 3 against the Mets, he drew a walk in the11th inning and scored the winning run on a single by Campaneris. Ted earned a third World Series ring when the A’s beat the Dodgers in 1974.
Early in the 1975 season, Ted was traded to the San Diego Padres. He played third base for the team, fielded his position well, and hit his usual .230 or so for two seasons. In the spring of 1977, the Padres gave Ted a contract with the maximum allowed pay cut. He decided to retire at age 34 rather than take the cut, and went into the real estate business in California. Ted came back to baseball as a coach and manager in the 1990s, first in the Oakland organization and then with the Indians. With the Cleveland organization, he developed a defensive training program that he later turned into a book.