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Baseball America first introduced Tim Teufel to readers when he appeared on the cover of the Aug. 1, 1983 issue. Teufel was late into an extraordinary season at Triple-A Toledo in the Twins organization.
Teufel earned International League player of the year honors that season when he batted .323/.437/.577 with 27 home runs and 100 RBIs. That performance merited a September callup, leading to an 11-year big league career that included a World Series championship with the 1986 Mets.
More than three decades later, Teufel has established himself as a baseball lifer. He has scouted, coached and managed. He currently serves as the Mets’ roving minor league infield instructor and club ambassador.
“It’s provided a good living,” Teufel said. “It’s provided an opportunity to provide for my family. It’s been a good venture.”
He and his wife of 36 years, Valerie, have four grown children and reside during the offseason in Florida. He said there was no way to envision a lifetime in baseball when he was coming out of Clemson as a second-round pick in 1980.
After three seasons with the Twins, Teufel was dealt to the Mets prior to the 1986 season. In New York he became part of a second base platoon with lefthanded-hitting Wally Backman. Teufel’s pinch-hit grand slam won a game during the regular season, and he homered in a Game Five loss to the Red Sox in the World Series.
Those Mets teams in the mid- to late 1980s were personified by a grittiness and hard-nosed style of baseball. No incident better represented how the Mets played than Teufel’s 1989 on-field scuffle with Reds flamethrowing reliever Rob Dibble. The normally mild-mannered Teufel charged the mound and landed a punch after being hit by a pitch, and the video of the incident is worth finding on YouTube.
Teufel spent his final three seasons in the big leagues with the Padres and concluded his career with a batting line of .254/.336/.404. Then he got out of baseball for five years to spend more time with his growing children. He also dabbled in venture capital financing.
The Mets first hired Teufel in 1998 as a scout.
“I knew that wasn’t the love I had for the game, sitting there watching games and writing down reports,” Teufel said of scouting. “That wasn’t really what I wanted to do. It wasn’t my passion. So I thought, ‘Let me try coaching,’ and coaching seemed to fit the bill.”
He first served as a roving instructor and later managed at every level in the Mets’ system before being named the big league club’s third-base coach in 2011. He returned to the World Series in 2015 in that capacity, though the Mets lost to the Royals.
“Those are two milestones,” Teufel said of both playing and coaching in the World Series. “Those are things you dream about doing. As a player, you want to play and win one, then as a coach you want to coach and win one. It’s one of those things, you enjoy trying to be the best at both.”
Spoken like a baseball lifer.