Taft High School graduate Jack Suwinski makes Major League debut with Pittsburgh Pirates
by BRIAN NADIG
Taft High School graduate Jack Suwinski made his Major League debut this week with the Pittsburgh Pirates, recording two hits and batting in a run in his first three games.
The 23-year-old Suwinski, a lefty, grew up in the Norwood Park area and was drafted in 2016 in the 15th round by the San Diego Padres and received a reported $500,000 signing bonus.
Suwinski played multiple positions, including pitcher and right field, for longtime Taft baseball coach Rich Pildes, and pro scouts and college recruiters were often at his games. “They’d fly in, watch the game and fly out the same night,” Taft assistant principal Ryan Glowacz said of some scouts. Glowacz was Taft’s athletic director at the time.
Glowacz recalled how Suwinski’s father, Tim, told him that sometimes Jack would have a baseball game at the same time his older sister Heidi had a softball game and that he would sit in a location where he could watch both games.
Occasionally each got a hit at same time, and Tim said that he’d hear the sound of the ball coming off two bats and “knew it was a good day for the the Suwinski” family, according to Glowacz.
In an interview, Tim said that his son was planning to play baseball at Indiana University but that a couple days before he was going to leave for college in the summer of 2016, the offer came from the Padres, and his son asked, “What do I do?”
Tim said he responded, “I’m 58 and could go to college, but I can’t step on the field unless I’m the groundskeeper. This is an opportunity of a lifetime.”
The offer included funds for college if Jack were to leave baseball.
Jack has wanted to be a baseball player since he was seven years old when he started playing tee-ball at Norwood Park, and while Suwinski has been busy following his lifelong dream, he has not forgotten the community where he grew up.
While a student at Taft he would volunteer selling concessions at basketball games, and a few years after he graduated, he was at a game doing just that, Glowacz said. “Definitely a good guy,” Glowacz said.
“He’s a humble kid,” his father said.