Concordia-St. Paul Baseball Team Pays Tribute after 2 Big Losses

Jim Wiesner (left) and Jed Kosmoski (right) Photo: Courtesy Concordia-St. Paul Athletic Department
Jim Wiesner (left) and Jed Kosmoski (right)

August 10, 2017 03:55 PM

It's been a tough year for Concordia-St. Paul baseball coach and athletic director Mark "Lunch" McKenzie.

It started in May when his longtime assistant Jimmy "Wiesy" Wiesner died, a year after suffering a serious stroke.

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"He sort of went downhill from there," McKenzie said. "He fought it for a year, but he was never really able to recover."

Then, this past weekend, Jed "Kos" Kosmoski died at the age of 44. It was a sudden passing.

Kosmoski, who had special needs but was able to serve as the special assistant to the head coach at C-SP, in addition to working with the Hamline hockey team, had gone to Seattle in July to visit family and ended up in the hospital with pancreatitis.

"He went out there a couple of times a year and he was excited he was going to watch the Mariners play the Red Sox," said McKenzie, who had known Kosmoski for well over 20 years.

"I got a call on, I think, July 23. He said he was in the hospital. I asked him what for, and he said he didn't know. But I heard someone else in the room say pancreatitis. He just wanted to tell me that he was going to be late getting in that Tuesday."

He added, "That was really Kos. He was on his deathbed. But he called to say he was going to be late Tuesday. He was so dedicated."

The loss of both men wasn't just a blow to the Golden Bears program but to McKenzie personally.

"It's been rough," he said, "and sandwiched in between, I lost my 66-year-old sister-in-law. I'm pretty tired of it. That's for sure."

But McKenzie and others at the school have figured out a way to pay tribute to both Wiesner and Kosmoski. They are raising money to gain naming rights for an area designated to be home to two batting cages in the school's new athletics performance center - due to be finished in August.

If their efforts can secure $10,000, the cages will be named the Jimmy Wiesner and Jed Kosmoski Batting Cages Area.

"Wiesy loved hanging out by the batting cages," said McKenzie of Wiesner, who joined the staff at CSP after retiring from his position as the equipment manager for the Minnesota Twins.

He spent 21 years as the visiting clubhouse manager for the Vikings, and 36 years with the Twins.

"And Kos would always go down there and open it up for him. Those two lived near each other and they were really tight. After Jimmy had his stroke, Kos would check up on him and see what he could do to help," McKenzie said. "So we're going to get this done. We want to see both their names on there together."

And McKenzie said support has been rolling in. Donations are being accepted by mail (Mark McKenzie, Director of Athletics, 1282 Concordia Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55104) and online.

"I've gotten calls from people like Tom Kelly and Kent Hrbek," McKenzie said. "Everybody has been calling up. From the president of the university to Twins' Hall of Famers to our team bus driver. Everybody wants to pay tribute to those guys."

Credits

Frank Rajkowski

Copyright 2017 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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