The Obit For Ted Uhlaender

Former player, coach Uhlaender touched many

By Tracy Ringolsby, Rocky Mountain News
Published February 12, 2009 at 9:01 p.m.

Ted Uhlaender died.

Put Alex Rodriguez and his lies and performance-enhancing drugs on hold for a moment. Ignore the accusations of a former female acquaintance about Roberto Alomar and AIDS. Forget, temporarily, about the dog-and-pony show that Roger Clemens has become.

The fact that those athletes ruined the dreams of many by proving athletic superstars are prone to the same stupid actions as the average Joe is a subject for another day.

Uhlaender was a superstar, too, but his stardom transcended a solid, albeit far-from-spectacular eight-year big-league career that was followed by a stint in coaching and scouting during the 50 years that he made a living in the game.

Uhlaender's notoriety came from his baseball career, which included time with the minor league Denver Bears in 1962 and again in 1965, when he led the Pacific Coast League by hitting .340. But it was in life that he excelled.

He was a friend, in the true sense, to those whose lives he touched.

The father of five, including a daughter Katie, who is an Olympic skeleton racer, Uhlaender was born in Chicago, raised in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas and graduated from Baylor University.

In recent years, when he wasn't on the road scouting for the San Francisco Giants, he split time between a home outside Dillon, where his wife teaches skiing, and a ranch in western Kansas, where he raised Tennessee Walkers and cattle.

The impressive residence he built on the Kansas plains had a picture gallery that included a photo of Kaiser Wilhelm, standing next to his chief aide, who Uhlaender explained was his grandfather.

Uhlaender was a throwback, in baseball and in life.

His word was good. His work ethic was even better.

In the last year, he had been slowed. When he developed some vision problems last spring, he decided to visit a doctor, who discovered the 68-year-old Uhlaender was suffering from multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer that requires stem cell transplants for treatment and can be put in remission but can never be cured.

On Wednesday, Uhlaender received a checkup at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and was told the cancer seemed under control. Uhlaender was encouraged enough that the Giants were actually making plans for him to get back out and do some scouting, as much for his mental therapy as anything.

Uhlaender, however, never received a scouting assignment. Shortly before noon Thursday, he died of a heart attack.

Uhlaender, Big-League Outfielder and Scout, Dies

The Denver Post ~February 13, 2009
By Irv Moss

On any other day, Karen Uhlaender would have
been overjoyed to meet daughter Katie, who had just finished second in a World Cup skeleton race at Park City, Utah.

But Thursday she carried a message that their
husband and father, Ted Uhlaender, had died
suddenly at the family ranch near Atwood, Kansas. He was 68.

"She (Katie) finished the race without knowing
what had happened," Karen Uhlaender said
Thursday in a telephone interview.

Karen Uhlaender said she knew only that Ted
collapsed while talking with their son Will at the ranch, and Will had picked up his father and rushed him to a hospital after learning the 911 response would take 15 minutes to reach the house.

Ted Uhlaender, who played for the Triple-A
Denver Bears in 1962 and 1965 and led the
Pacific Coast League in hitting (.340) in '65,
made a career in baseball. The outfielder played in the major leagues for eight seasons, dividing his time with the Minnesota Twins, Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds. He played in the 1972 World Series for the Reds.

After his playing days, Uhlaender turned to
scouting and worked for the San Francisco
Giants. A year ago, Uhlaender became ill while
at spring training at the Giants' complex in
Scottsdale, Ariz.

His ailment was diagnosed to be multiple myeloma - bone marrow cancer.

"I went to spring training and was working the first part of the season, but I couldn't stay out of the hospital," Uhlaender said at the time. "I've been doing this for 50 years and plan to continue."

During a hospital stay in Denver last fall, Uhlaender said: "It's not a curable disease. I'll have it the rest of my life, but they say I can live with it if we can get it in remission. I'll keep fighting it until they tell me there's no chance.

"They take the stem cells out of your body and
freeze them. Then there's chemotherapy before they put the stem cells back in. It takes time to build back your strength."

Arrangements and services are pending.