Baseball was the last thing on Corey Koskie’s list of sports but it turned out to be the best thing. Koskie was heading into his second year at the University of Manitoba when he had an epiphany, that moment when he could suddenly see his path before him. It was all crystal clear.
“Not exactly... it was more like a whim and a prayer,” Koskie, 39, said, laughing.
It was 1992. Koskie had committed to play volleyball for the U of M, he had been playing junior hockey for the Selkirk Steelers and had a decent summer with the Elmwood Giants baseball team having won the provincial junior championship.
“A coach from Boone, Iowa started calling me every day for about six-seven weeks,” Koskie said, referring to the Des Moines area community college.
“I remember getting down on my knees and praying, what do I do here? The smart thing was to go to the U of M, get my school paid for, get my education and play volleyball,” Koskie said. “But, I decided, late August, I’m going to go play baseball. I went and got a student loan and decided to go try this baseball thing. To this day, I still have no idea why I would do that. It was out of character for me, I like routine.”
Turned out to be pretty good, that baseball thing.
In one season at Boone, Iowa, Koskie was named a second team all-American. He went on to play for the Manitoba Baseball team at the 1993 Canada Summer Games, in Kamloops, BC. He addended theNational Baseball Institute in Surrey, B.C. in 1993-1994. In the spring of 1994, he was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 26th round.
After a couple of seasons in A and AA ball, Cordel Leonard Koskie, the son of Anola’s Leonard and Mary Ann Koskie, and the graduate of Springfield Collegiate in Oakbank, made it to the Majors.
His MLB debut was on Sept. 9, 1998 with the Minnesota Twins and he played 11 games that season. Koskie played the full 1999 season with the Twins and was the Topps Rookie All-Star at third base.
With the Twins in 1998-2004, Koskie’s best season was 2001 when he became the first third baseman in American League history to record 100 runs scored, 100+ RBI and 25+ home runs. He was the winner of the Tip O’Neill Award as the best baseball player in Canada, presented annually by the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. He hit .276 that season, and had 562 at-bats.
In 2005, Koskie did achieve his dream of playing for the Toronto Blue Jays appearing in 97 games and hiting .249 before he broke his thumb. He was eventually traded to the Milwaukee Brewers where his career ended when he suffered a concussion after 76 games. He played a total of 989 MLB games with a career batting average of .275.
Corey Koskie is also a member of the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame.
Koskie fought through a long and extremely difficult recovery from the effects of the concussion.
“I’m grateful for the great career I had and I’m honoured to be recognized for baseball at home in Manitoba,” Koskie said.