Playing with Yankees, Fremd High grad is making MLB memories
Before making a name for himself as a baseball player, Mike Tauchman played a football game that won't soon be forgotten.
A two-way standout at Fremd High School, Tauchman and the Vikings beat Jimmy Garoppolo and the Rolling Meadows Mustangs 14-7 in a Mid-Suburban League crossover game on Sept. 18, 2008.
Playing quarterback for Fremd, Tauchman threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Andrew Corso with 5:55 left in the game to seal the outcome.
Also playing defensive back for the Vikings, Tauchman set up the winning drive with an interception against Garoppolo, who now plays quarterback in the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers.
Standing in front of his locker in the New York Yankees' clubhouse at Guaranteed Rate Field a week ago, Tauchman had mixed emotions about the memorable prep football game.
"It's a cool story, but it's kind of weird to talk about it," Tauchman said. "I don't want to sound like the guy at the bar that struck out Bryce Harper when he was nine years old.
"Jimmy's really, really good now. I think we both chose the right sports."
Garoppolo went on to play college football at Eastern Illinois before moving up to the NFL.
Tauchman chose a different path after being a four-year starter on Fremd's baseball team.
"I wasn't fast enough for football, to be honest," Tauchman said with a laugh. "Football was really fun and at the time the Fremd program was really strong, I really enjoyed it. But I always wanted to be a baseball player."
After graduating from Fremd in 2009, Tauchman went on to be a four-year starter at Bradley. The outfielder was voted Missouri Valley Conference player of the year in 2013.
Playing so well for the Braves got Tauchman looking ahead to professional baseball.
"I was always pretty good but I think when I went to Bradley and got to play as a freshman, looking back, that was a really good experience," he said. "Playing all four years there, I got a lot better. I just tried to get better every year, It takes a lot of work and you put the work in."
Tauchman was drafted by the Rockies on the 10th round in 2013, and he made his major-league debut in '17, batting .222 with 2 RBI in 31 games.
The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder played in 21 games for Colorado last year, and he was preparing for another season with the organization this past spring when he was called to the GM's office at the end of training camp.
"When they told me I got traded I was like, 'OK, to who?'" Tauchman said. "When they said the Yankees it was like, 'Oh.' I really didn't know they had all the injuries, what the situation was. I kind of quickly found out I was starting the season in the big leagues.
"It was exciting to be traded here. I was on the Opening Day roster … experiencing Opening Day at Yankee Stadium was incredible. I mean, what more could you want? I'm just going to try to do my best to contribute to a team that has World Series aspirations."
With a rash of injuries in the outfield and at designated hitter, the Yankees acquired Tauchman in a March 23 trade from the Rockies to add needed depth.
The left-handed power hitter has been a nice addition for New York. In an 8-0 win over the rival Red Sox, Tauchman hit an RBI double off Chris Sale and followed with his first major-league home run -- a 3-run shot off Boston reliever Erasmo Ramirez.
Two days after the Yankees and White Sox split a four-game series at Guaranteed Rate Field, New York activated star slugger Giancarlo Stanton off the injured list and optioned Tauchman to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Tauchman, who is batting .212 with 4 homers and 14 RBI in 37 games with N.Y., is going to keep working on his game and he looks forward to playing in Chicago again.
"Last year with the Rockies I just missed going to Wrigley, so this is my first time ever playing at home," Tauchman said last weekend. "It's awesome to play in front of people you know and who helped you get to where you wanted to be. It's definitely a weekend I'll never forget."