TITLE: The Passion of Baseball
RELEASE DATE: October 5, 2016
AUTHOR: Bob Wirz
Bob Wirz has lived out his childhood dream, growing up in a tiny Nebraska town and cherishing a lifetime working in major league baseball. Using humor and sentimentality plus rare photos, he relives many an exciting moment from an unlikely beginning to being involved with the sport’s greats in World Series, All-Star Game and Hall of Fame settings.
He was the Kansas City Royals’ first publicist and chief spokesman for more than a decade
for baseball commissioners Bowie Kuhn and Peter Ueberroth, then successfully ran his
own sports public relations and marketing company with clients such as Major League
Baseball, Little League, the Rolaids Relief Man, IBM, Just For Men haircolor and Baseball
America magazine. Wirz also shares the tear-jerking success and near-success stories he
has written for many years about players striving for the major leagues through the
wilderness of Independent leagues.
While best known as chief spokesman to two major league baseball commissioners for more than a decade and for running his own sports public relations and marketing company since 1985, Bob Wirz has been a professional in the sports world ever since graduating from the University of Nebraska in 1959.
A native of the Nebraska Sandhills village of Halsey, Bob wasted little time when he entered the university before he started broadcasting Huskers events for the campus radio station KNUS and writing stories for the student newspaper, The Daily Nebraskan. He later had eight years of newspaper, radio and television experience, which started during his senior year at the university as he prepared for work in the professional baseball industry. He had coveted such an opportunity since his youth. Wirz worked in the news and sports departments of The Lincoln Journal, largely covering local high school sports, and then spent a combined four years as sports director of KHAS Radio and KHAS-TV in Hastings, NE. During this time, he broadcast up to 80 American Legion baseball games a season, including serving as the radio voice of the 1960 American League World Series, plus 50 high school and college basketball games a season and 20-25 football games.
He also hosted weekly bowling, wrestling and sports talk shows on both radio and television. He
interviewed the likes of Cassius Clay (later Muhammad Ali) and golfing greats Arnold Palmer and Gary Player. One season, prior to much live coverage of games on television, he was the play-
by -play voice of University of Nebraska football games, which were shown in their entirety the day after they were played on KHAS-TV. He later became a member of the sports staff of both The Wichita Eagle and The Denver Post, covering professional, collegiate and high school events.
His first professional baseball position was as Public Relations Director of the Denver
Bears (Pacific Coast League) in 1967-68. He was the Kansas City Royals’ Publicity
Director for their first six seasons (1969-74), and then became Major League Baseball’s
Director of Information from 1974-85, serving first under Commissioner Bowie Kuhn and later under his successor, Peter Ueberroth.
It was during those years in the New York City offices when baseball started centralizing the organization of its major events, the All-Star Game and World Series, with Wirz coordinating with the host teams to accommodate the requirements of about 600 journalists who needed work space and access to the headline-makers. He formed Wirz & Associates, Inc. in the spring of 1985, and the client base eventually included such well-known accounts as IBM, Little League Baseball, USA Baseball, Major League Baseball and Baseball America magazine. Wirz and his staff handled publicity as well as many promotions for the highly-acclaimed Rolaids Relief Man program for 21 seasons, and ran national promotions for the hair-color giant Just For Men. He authored a year-round column (Independent Baseball Insider) for 12 years and has become a major voice nationally on Independent Professional Baseball.
Wirz and his wife, Maybeth, reside in Stratford, CT. They have four children and five grandchildren.