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Where have you gone, Steve Buechele?
05/04/2002 5:56 PM ET
ARLINGTON, Tex. -- Steve Buechele is probably the only former Texas Rangers player in franchise history to get booed by the home crowd every time he stepped into the batter's box.

Well, he wasn't so much as getting "booed" as he was affectionately getting "Buuuuuuue'd."

"Playing for the Rangers and living in Arlington was such a great time for me," Buechele, 40, said. " I liked it so much, we stayed and we are raising our family here."

Steven Bernard Buechele was born in Lancaster, Calif. and made his Major League debut with the Rangers at the age of 24 in 1985. He went on to play 11 seasons with three different teams before retiring in 1995.

In 1,334 games, the third baseman hit 137 home runs with 547 RBIs and 1,046 hits. He retired with a .245 batting average, 183 doubles and 501 runs scored. The fact that the Rangers never made the playoffs during his eight seasons with the team is one of the few things that bothers him about his playing days. But overall, Buechele feels very content about his time in the big leagues.

"I have very fond memories of my days with the Rangers," Buechele said. "I can still remember Nolan Ryan's two no-hitters. Nolan's 300th win and being there for his 5,000th strikeout. I had fun playing with the Rangers."

These days, "Bue" and his wife Nancy manage their real estate development company in Arlington and care for their five children, ages 4 to 12. He said he feels extremely fortunate to be able to spend most of his time with his children. Instead of driving baseballs out of the ballpark, he drives his children to baseball practice, softball practice, gymnastics, hockey practice ... you get the picture. He also has free time to play one of his favorite sports -- golf.

But things were a lot different when he was a Major Leaguer.

"Being away all of the time, I really started to miss my family," Buechele said. "There were a lot of other factors that went into my retirement, but I didn't get to spend as much time with my two oldest children as I would have liked. In 1994, we had a strike and I spent a lot of time at home with my wife and kids and that was nice. In '95, I was back in the game and away again. It was hard at times."

Plagued by Achilles injuries in both feet, Buechele said the decision to step away from the game was an easy one. After all, the former Stanford baseball star who once roomed with former Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway in college knew it was time for a change.

"I wanted to be an everyday player and when I couldn't, I knew it was time," he said. "There are some things I miss about the game -- meaning playing the game itself -- but I don't miss waiting at the park for three hours before the game. I don't miss traveling and being away from home or getting to the park early.

I do miss some friends, but we keep in touch. I guess I start missing the game a little when the playoffs come, but I'm very happy to be where I am now."

Buechele's happy-go-lucky demeanor and infectious charm is part of the reason he is revered by his teammates and coaches alike. Rangers television broadcaster and former Texas GM Tom Grieve said Buechele was and is a delight to be around.

"I've never met anyone who didn't like Steve. Actually, if you ever meet somebody who doesn't like Steve, you need to check that guy out and not worry about what he thinks of Steve," Grieve said. "Steve is just that kind of likable family man that people enjoy being around."

That's huge praise.

Now if that doesn't deserve a "Beuuuuuu," nothing does.

Jesse Sanchez covers the Texas Rangers for MLB.com. He can be contacted via email at jsanchez@texasrangers.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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