Growing up on the south side of Chicago, Tim Pyznarski made a name for himself as a star high school baseball player, getting drafted by the Oakland As in 1981 and being named The Sporting News minor league player of the year and the Pacific Coast League MVP in 1986. He was traded to San Diego and played in just 15 games with the Padres, then spent time in the Milwaukee, Baltimore and Kansas City farm systems before retiring due to injuries. He now owns Metal Finishing Solutions in Chicago, serving as a sales rep for numerous shops in the Midwest.
How often do customers and business associates recognize you as a former baseball standout in the Chicago area?
TP: There are, on occasion, customers and associates who recognize my name. Most of them are die-hard baseball fans. I actually run into a few in Wisconsin since I was on the Brewers 40-man roster and with the organization for two years. It’s always a pleasure talking baseball with them. I am amazed at how knowledgeable they are about the game.
So many athletes fail just shy of reaching the “show.” Can you describe the experience and emotion of playing in an MLB stadium and uniform for the first time, and what you recall about that night?
TP: I remember the Sunday day game at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego. I happened to be facing that year’s Cy Young Award winner, Mike Scott. Knowing I’m facing the best pitcher in the league in my first big league at bat, I couldn’t help but think that I had finally made it. The image of my parents also came to mind because they were so instrumental in my life and so happy to see me in a big-league uniform. There is no way to accurately describe my emotions at that time, but I know I will always cherish it and thank God for allowing me to experience it.
What was it like playing in Las Vegas (in the minor leagues), where there tends to be some distractions?
TP: Las Vegas was a great place to play baseball, and I enjoyed it very much. One important lesson I learned there was how to be disciplined. Edwin Rodriguez, who was the first Puerto Rican manager in the majors for Miami a few years ago, and I developed a workout routine which helped us stay focus on our goals. My oldest daughter, Jill, was a baby then and kept me busy and out of the casinos. I lived away from the strip, which helped normalize my life style.
How did you get into the surface finishing industry?
TP: I knew someone who was a head hunter and notified me that there was an opening at a metal finishing company. The owner was an avid golfer and nice person, and I thought at the time it would be a nice fit. I was out of baseball a few years and someone once told me they thought I might be able to excel at sales. Eighteen years later I am still enjoying the industry.
What do you like best about being an owner in the plating industry?
TP: I am an independent rep for a few different finishing companies in the Chicago area. My company, Metal Finishing Solutions, represents Micron Metal Finishing, Progressive Coatings, Gatto Platers, Tru-tone Finishing, Freedom Finishing and Reliable Plating in Wisconsin. I love the flexibility it allows me and the excitement of new jobs that come along. The owners of the vendors I work for are people of character, and I very much value the relationships I have with my customers.
Family: His wife, Kim, is an estimator at Dudek-Bock. They have three daughters: Jenna, Amanda and Jill, who is married to Brendan Nestor and has a son, Caden. Another son was due in December.
Favorite hobby: Golf and grandson Caden
Favorite movie: Apollo 13
Favorite book: The Bible
Best advice you were given: “Focus every pitch of every at bat, and your stats at the end of the year will be good. Translating that into the real-world life: work hard on trying to achieve excellence every day, and you will meet or exceed your long-term goals.”
What’s playing in your car CD/radio: Boston, Journey, Styx. Good classic rock.