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Businessman signs on as Flyer relief pitcher
By Rupa Shenoy | Daily Herald Staff

West Chicago business owner Randy Dunnett returned to pitching in the minor leagues this season after seven years away from the game.

 

Courtesy of Randy Dunnett

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Published: 9/24/2007 1:16 AM

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When West Chicago business owner Randy Dunnett left minor league baseball seven years ago, he expected his career in the sport to be over.

But this summer, at age 29, he stood on a dusty mound, pitching once again.

Dunnett, a Glenwood native and current Romeoville resident who co-owns Finish Strong sports complex, was signed as a relief pitcher by the Schaumburg Flyers, and has been offered another contract for the coming season.

"This was a fun chance without a lot of pressure, he said. "I jumped all over it."

After serving as a starting pitcher on his college baseball team, Dunnett signed with the Cook County Cheetahs, where he started and did relief work for three years. He retired in 2000 to make a steady living for his family.

Dunnett ended up doing a stint at the Chicago Board of Trade, coaching for the minor league Windy City Thunderbolts in Crestwood, and starting his own business.

But, whenever he watched baseball, he longed to play the game again.

"Inside my head I was always saying I could be doing this," Dunnett said. But, "in my mind, I wasn't going back to being a player again."

Then, early this summer, a longtime friend who works for the Schaumburg Flyers asked if Dunnett could come back. Dunnett laughed and said he'd be ready.

The call came Aug. 9. By the next evening, Dunnett was pitching in front of 7,000 people in Schaumburg.

He went on to pitch seven games, all in relief -- a total of 16 innings, with an earned run average of 7.

"That's not very good, but with a little work it would've been easy to get it lower," Dunnett said.

He's thinking about giving it another try next season. Dunnett said the Flyers can count him in for at least the short term.