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Folsom Police Officer Recalls Pitching For Detroit Tigers

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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A local police officer has quite the connection to the World Series. He used to pitch for the Detroit Tigers, but is a giants fan at heart.

Officer Kurt Knudsen is now fighting crime on the Folsom streets. But before that he was striking out some big names in the big leagues.

“I wanted to do a fist pump after I struck him out but I decided I shouldn’t do that, lots of friends still give me grief about that,” said Knudsen about striking out Mark McGwire.

Officer Knudsen grew up in Carmichael wanting to be a police officer, but loving playing baseball.

“Growing up in Sacramento, it’s a great baseball town. I played little league and threw a perfect game when I was 12 years old.”

A career as a pitcher in the big leagues followed. A lifelong Giants and A’s fan, Knudsen was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in 1988 and found himself on the mound playing against his childhood heroes.

“Just playing against the legends, Wade Boggs, George Brett, Robin Yount and Cal Ripken Jr. Not always having great success against them, but having the opportunity, was fun,” said Knudsen.

Knudson eventually hurt his back and his baseball career came to an end, forcing him to hang up his cleats earlier than expected.

“Fortunately I got my mobility back, but I never got my fast ball back after that,” said Knudsen.

His father and brother were both in law enforcement so Knudsen traded his mitt for cuffs and joined the Folsom Police Department.

“There’s a lot more on the line here than giving up a 500-foot bomb to someone,” he said.

And even though he sometimes misses it, Knudsen says being with the department is a lot like being part of a team. But hopefully his new team won’t be too heartbroken; he’s not rooting for the Giants in the World Series.

“I gotta say the Tigers,” said Knudsen

Even 20 years after he retired, Knudsen says he still gets fan mail on a daily basis. Knudsen was 6-5 with seven saves during his three years playing with the Tigers.

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