Specializes in: Baseball- Batting, Throwing Mechanics, Pitching, 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.
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.
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 twenty one wonderful years together and three children—Luke 18, Olivia 15, and Tatum 9. They happily reside in Fair Oaks, CA.
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 Career Major League Defensive Stats