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Saturday, March 19, 2022

Tim McKinley helped his pitchers in college and in the pros; Saw four pro seasons, made AA

Southern Illinois' assistant coach Kirk Champion credited his team catcher Tim McKinley with setting up the opposing hitters for outs, The Southern Illinoisan wrote in May 1986.

McKinley just credited his pitchers.

"Our pitching has just been incredible," McKinley told The Southern Illinoisan. "Everybody said it was a question mark at the beginning of the year. Look at it now."

McKinley's own work behind the plate eventually earned enough credit for him to turn pro the next year. He played four pro seasons. He made AA.

McKinley's career began in 1987, signed by the Pirates out of Southern Illinois University.

McKinley started with the Pirates at single-A Macon. He got into 61 games and hit .258.

He then moved to single-A Salem for 1988 and hit .181 over 64 games. He then made AA Harrisburg for 1989 and threw out a runner in an early season contest. 

That May at Harrisburg, McKinley's manager Dave Trembley praised him for his catching work with that night's pitcher, The York Dispatch wrote.

"McKinley did a real good job getting him through some tough spots, calling for some off-speed stuff," Trembley told The Dispatch.

McKinley saw 57 total games on the year and hit .163. He then moved to high-A Miami for 1990. He got into 26 games and hit .149 to end his career.

McKinley later settled in Arizona, where in December 1997, The Arizona Republic happened upon McKinley and his family at an outdoor ice skating rink. McKinley's son, then 5, had become a hockey fan, "much to the dismay" of McKinley, the paper wrote, noting McKinley's former minor league baseball career.

"I told him, 'C'mon, I can teach you baseball,'" McKinley recalled to The Republic. "'I can't teach you hockey.'"

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:3,864
Made the Majors:1,294-33.5%
Never Made Majors:2,570-66.5%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:528
10+ Seasons in the Minors:324

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