For the Love of Baseball

"Playing baseball was a great way for me to learn about overcoming adversity, and about how to give my best with what I had each day."  Matt Walbeck

 

Specializes in:

 

 Baseball- Batting, Throwing, Outfield, Infield, Pitching, Video Analysis, Glove Work, Catcher's Position.

 

 

From the time his grandmother first placed a baseball glove she’d bought at a yard sale in young Matthew Walbeck’s five-year-old hands, he knew he wanted to be a professional baseball player.

 

Matt asked his father about his favorite sport and though it was golf, he encouraged Matt to engage in team sports, and when Matt announced his goal to earn a spot in the major leagues, his dad replied, “Then we’d better start practicing.” Matt’s love of baseball quickly became a way-of-life with his end goal always in sight.

“I was always a big dreamer and visualized myself being in the major leagues before I ever got there. I felt it, and imagined being there, then one thing sort of led to another."


"With the support of my family, friends, coaches, and teammates, I was able to overcome many obstacles and adversities, and though I was never really the best player on the team, I knew if I did my best, made the routine play, hustled, was on time, and never gave up…I would get to where I was supposed to be.”

                                                                                                                      

Professional Career

After being awarded the Sacramento Bee High School Player of the Year in 1987, Matt was drafted by the Cubs in the eighth round taking him straight out of high school and into the minor leagues at the age of 17, coincidentally, the same number of years he would spend in professional baseball. At the age of 23, Walbeck achieved his childhood dream of making it into the majors. “I made it to the highest level as a player and stayed there for 11 years.”

 

A severe knee injury (torn left ACL and MCL) threatened Walbeck’s baseball career in 1989, but his determination and ability to turn any situation into a positive did not weaken his resolve. Matt dug deep and came back even stronger. In the time it took him to re-hab his knee (11 months) he taught himself to hit from the opposite side of plate, left handed, making him even more valuble than before the injury. If a lefty pitched he would hit right-handed and if a righty pitched he would turn around and bat left-handed. All pitches now started away and angled in making it easier for him to look out-over the plate and extend. An event that could have been crippling became a turning point in his life. Four years after the knee buckling collison at home plate that nearly ended his career Walbeck returned to baseball as a switch hitting catcher and ready to take on the major leagues.

 

Walbeck went on to play for the Cubs, Twins, Tigers, Angels, and Phillies. He caught former Minnesota Twins teammate Scott Erickson's no-hitter on April 27th 1994, hit 2 grand slams, and was one of the few catchers to ever steal home.

 

After 11 seasons as an MLB player, Walbeck went on to become the Third Base Coach/Catching Instructor/Spring Training Coordinator for the 2008 Texas Rangers.

 

Matt Walbeck is a 3 Time Championship Minor League Manager, and 4 Time Manager of the Year, including Baseball America’s -2007 Minor League Manager of the Year encompassing all minor league managers.

 


Family Life

Walbeck Family
Walbeck Family

Though focused early in life on his career aspirations, Walbeck reacquainted himself with a girl he’d once dated in high school. He and Stephenie shared a special bond that could endure the long separations that existed in his field of work.

 

They soon married and have enjoyed sixteen wonderful years together and three children—Luke 14, Olivia 11, and Tatum 5. They happily reside in Fair Oaks, CA.

Coach Walbeck

Comerica Park with daughter Olivia and son Luke, 2003
Comerica Park with daughter Olivia and son Luke, 2003

Returning to his roots when he was a wide-eyed child with high ambitions and major league dreams, Walbeck now inspires other MLB hopefuls from his unique perspective as a professional player, manager, 3rd base coach, catcher and switch hitter. His inimitable coaching style resonates with all ages and inspires ball players to become more focused, passionate, practiced, skilled and driven than ever before.

 

While Walbeck’s grandmother and father set him on his path to baseball, he also gleaned a lot from his mother, an educator for children with special needs. Matt observed his mother’s teaching style and believes to have acquired his patience, love of learning, and one-step-at-a-time modality through her influence.

 

Walbeck’s positive energy and way of viewing the world has helped him manifest his desires from a young age and he continues to strive for excellence, set and meet goals, and inspire others to achieve their own dreams—whatever they may be.

Matt Walbeck's Professional Career Defensive Stats

  

 

Year Team POS G PO A E DP FPCT
1993 CHC C 11 49 2 0 0 1.000
1994 MIN C 95 496 45 4 0 .993
1995 MIN C 113 604 35 6 3 .991
1996 MIN C 61 326 18 2 2 .994
1997 DET C 44 240 15 3 2 .988
1998 ANA C 104 682 46 7 3 .990
1999 ANA C 97 407 44 5 9 .989
2000 ANA C 44 200 16 2 0 .991
2000 ANA 1B 2 1 0 0 1 1.000
2000 Total   46 201 16 2 1 .991
2002 DET C 27 127 8 1 2 .993
2003 DET C 55 172 16 4 1 .979
  G PO A E DP FPCT
Major League Fielding Totals 653 3304 245 34 23 .991


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Thanks for the catching lesson yesterday. Jacob really enjoyed it, he learned more in 30 minutes then he has in 6 years of playing... We are going online and booking a package. See you soon!
Doris Elias
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WBA has been an amazing addition to my son's skill development, and even more so, his attitude and confidence.
Erin Healey Griffin
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I just wanted to let you know that I hit great in my tournament. I had a lot of fun and didn't think about a single thing. Thanks for making the game fun for me again. I'm looking forward to improving even more. I'll see you soon!
Scott Saylor
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Our family's experience with Coach Matt is one we are happy to share with others. We look forward to watching our sons continue to grow both in their baseball skills and in their appreciation and love for the game.
Mike & Darsy Arburn
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The first thing you said to Jordan was "How are your grades?" Tells me you are more than just about baseball. I don't know what you said to him about being tired, but yesterday was his best attitude I have seen.
David Yu
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I just wanted to thank you for helping my swing. 2 days ago I had my last regular season game. I used the pitch-hit method and I went 3-3 with a double and a RBI...thank you for fixing my swing mechanics, but not only that. You tried to find new approaches to my mental side.
Drew (student)
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I wanted to thank you for the few months I trained with you before my sophomore baseball season started. I have worked with many hitting coaches and what you taught me in a short time was amazing. I am really comfortable at the plate and have more power, balance and consistent contact with the ball than I ever had. I led the team in RBIs, HITS, DOUBLES, SLUGGING, OBP and HOME RUNS.
Jake Sola
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Thank you so much for everything you have done for me. You taught me much more than just how to catch. You taught me to catch correctly and how to overcome certain situations on and off the field.
Garrett Crook
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My 8 year old has been working with Coach Walbeck for several months; the results have been phenomenal! His hitting, fielding and throwing now seem so natural and effortless. He has improved more since we started than in the years before, which is a testament to Matt, whose knowledge is vast and his attitude and enthusiasm is infectious.
Michael Terry
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I just wanted to share with you that after we got home last night Miles plopped down on the couch and said, "I love my new swing!" He was so pumped saying how effortless it felt and how much fun he had. He was just so happy, and today after school he couldn't wait to get into the cage and practice his new stuff.
Cynthia Edwards
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Tiger Stadium, 1997


Matt Walbeck lives in Fair Oaks, California, with his beautiful wife, Stephenie, and their three wonderful children, Luke-14, Olivia-10, and Tatum-5.

 

“I learned how to become

an adult through baseball,

learning about people and different cultures.

It was a hard, but fulfilling way to grow.”


~Matt Walbeck


Matt and Stephenie Walbeck