Kenneth Marvin Schrom was born in Grangeville, Indiana on November 23, 1954 and attended Grangeville High School where he earned 11 athletic letters and all-state honors in baseball, basketball and all-american honors in football. The Minnesota Twins drafted Schrom in 1973 in the 10th round but Ken passed on the offer and instead accepted a scholarship from the University of Idaho to play football and baseball. Schrom was a two-year letter winner in both football and baseball for the Idaho Vandals from 1973-76. Schrom had dreams of playing QB in the NFL one day but a couple of injuries on the football field caused him to pass on football and focus on his baseball career.
The California Angels drafted Schrom in 1976 in the 17th round and after signing his first pro contract Ken began his climb to the major leagues. Schrom worked his way through the minors quickly and by 1979 was already pitching in AAA Salt Lake City. Schrom was again in Salt Lake City when the 1980 season opened and he was hoping for a call from the Angels but when that call came on June 10, 1980 he found out that the Angels had dealt him to the Toronto Blue Jays as the PTBNL from an earlier Angels-Blue Jays deal.
It wasn’t long before the Blue Jays called Schrom up to the big leagues and on August 8th, 1980 Ken appeared in his first big league game against the Kansas City Royals at Exhibition Stadium in the second game of a double-header as a reliever pitching the final 2/3 of an inning in a 7-4 losing cause to the Royals. Schrom spent the rest of 1980 with Toronto pitching in relief but the following season he found himself in AAA Syracuse. Schrom started 1982 in Syracuse again but in August the Blue Jays recalled Schrom and he appeared in 6 games before Toronto released him. Schrom signed with the Minnesota Twins as a free agent in December 1982.
In 1983 the Twins turned Schrom into a starter and after a quick 3-1 start in Toledo the Twins called Schrom to the majors. Schrom who threw the fastball, curve, slider and change-up seemed better suited to be a starter than a reliever and the Twins put Schrom in the starting rotation on May 20th and he rewarded them with a 15-8 record earning the Twins Pitcher of the Year award on a team that won only 70 games. Schrom posted a 5-11 record the following season primarily because he pitched most of the season with a strained rotator cuff. Schrom struggled again in 1985 going 9-12 and in January of 1986 the Twins traded pitchers Ken Schrom and Bryan Oelkers to the Cleveland Indians for pitchers Roy Smith and Ramon Romero.
Cleveland turned out to be a great fit for Schrom and in his first season there in 1986 he got off to a 10-2 start and was named to the 1986 American League All-Star team. Ken finished the season with a 14-7 record and a 4.54 ERA. The injury bugaboo struck Schrom again in 1987 when he went 6-13 with a 6.50 ERA but it was determined that he was pitching with a tear in his labrum that ended up needing surgery. Schrom sat out 1988 recovering from the surgery. Schrom appeared briefly for El Paso as part of the Milwaukee organization but after just a handful of games ended up getting released and at the age of 34 his playing career was over. You will have to listen to the interview to have Ken tell you himself why his release from El Paso was unique to say the least.
Though his active playing career was over, Ken Schrom was certainly not done with baseball. Schrom spent the next 16 seasons working in a variety of roles in the front office of the El Paso Diablos. The El Paso Diablos under the ownership of Jim Paul were named the Minor League Franchise of the Decade in the 1980’s by Baseball America.
In 2003 Schrom left El Paso and joined the Corpus Christi Hooks, a “AA” team for the Houston Astros that was owned by Nolan Ryan at the time but was sold this past Fall to the Houston Astros as the club’s GM. In 2005 Ken Schrom was named the 2005 Texas League Executive of the Year. In May of 2009 Schrom was named President of the Hooks and in 2014 Ken enters his sixth season as club president and 11th full year with the franchise. In September of 2007, the University of Idaho Vandals honored Ken with induction into their Athletics Hall of Fame. Others in his inaugural induction class included Jerry Kramer, a guard for the Green Bay Packers during their 1960s glory years, and Gus Johnson, a five-time All-Star during his 11-year NBA career. To this day Ken Schrom is a loyal Green Bay Packers fan.
With the Astros now being part of the AL Central, I think Ken will be making his way to Minnesota this summer and will get his first peek at Target Field and maybe get in a little fishing with long-time friend Kent Hrbek along the way. In his down time, Schrom loves a good game of golf and can be found playing chasing that little white ball around the course several times a week and when he is not golfing you might find a rod and reel in his hand. Ken and his wife Cindy, an interior designer, now live in Portland, Texas. They have two adult children, Kayla and Jared.
The interview with Ken took place on January 21, 2014 and is 1 hour and 8 minutes in length.