Stu Pederson has been many things in baseball — prospect, pro, minor league superstar, coach, dad, trainer.
Next up: head coach of the Niagara Power.
The Power announced Pederson, who played 12 years of mostly minor league professional ball and is the father of current MLB all star Joc, as their new coach on Tuesday.
"He's got the credentials," Executive Director Patrick Tutka said. "He's coached in all the right leagues ... has a long history of success in baseball himself and is the father of a major leaguer, which only adds to his credibility as a manager and a developer of players."
Stu Pederson was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the ninth round of the 1981 MLB Draft after a college career that wrapped up at USC. He played eight games with the Dodgers in 1985.
He joined the Toronto Blue Jays ahead of the '88 season and closed his career playing five seasons for their Triple-A club, the Syracuse Chiefs (now Mets). There, he became a minor league superstar, Syracuse's version of Jeff Manto. The Chiefs held "Stu Pederson Night" during the '91 season and he was inducted onto their wall of fame in 2012.
Pederson's professional career ended in '92, the same year Joc was born. He returned to California to raise his family — sons Champ, Joc and Tyger and daughter Jacey. Joc and Tyger were both drafted by the Dodgers, and Jacey just finished her career playing soccer for UCLA. Champ, the oldest, was born with Down syndrome and has found success as a motivational speaker and advocate for the disabled.
Stu coached Joc and Tyger in Little League and Palo Alto High School and lent his services wherever they were playing in college. When both were finally in the pros in 2013, Stu decided to retire from full-time coaching, moving into the collegiate summer league ranks. Since then, he's coached in Alaska, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Massachusetts.
"I really enjoy baseball," he said during a late Monday phone call. "I really enjoy teaching it. That's what I'm here for.
"I've had opportunities to coach college or in the pros, but I don't want to coach eight to 10 months out of the year. I can come in, coach two to three months, recruit the kids. ... It's something that I really enjoy."
Pederson replaces Arthur "Ted" Stenberg, who led the Power to their first New York Collegiate Baseball League championship last season.
The 2019 NYCBL Coach of the Year and the Power mutually decided to part ways, Tutka said. Stenberg landed as the new head man with the New Market Rebels in Virginia.
Now, Pederson will be tasked with the first league championship defense in franchise history, among other things.
"He's a man of integrity," said Power general manager Jeff Ziemecki. "I think he's in it for the right reasons. He's looking to make these kids better and make them better not only for the next level of their baseball careers, but he's big on after college. These kids have to have a life after college. Baseball's not the end goal here."
The Power open their season June 2.