“One-Game Wonder” MLB Star Turned P.E. Teacher

John Paciorek didn’t always teach physical education. Once upon a time the promise of a major league baseball career loomed on the horizon for him.

Paciorek was born in Detroit, Michigan and had dreams of escaping the assembly lines of the Motor City and playing baseball. He loved sports and said nothing else mattered to him. His sports training took precedence in his life and he worked night and day to excel.

In 1963 he had his big shot. Eighteen-year-old Paciorek was called up to the big league to play for the Colt .45’s, known today as the Houston Astros. His debut was nothing short of sensational. He had five times at bat and made it to base every time driving in three runs and scoring four more. He was celebrated for having the best first game in the history of major league baseball. He was deemed the next Mickey Mantle.

Unfortunately, Paciorek had a chronic back condition that he had kept secret from his team. His condition worsened over the winter and by the following spring when training started his poor performance got him sent back to the minors. His major league career was over after just one game. But what a game it was.

Paciorek’s love of sports stayed with him though and he pursed a degree in physical education from the University of Houston. He then became a physical education teacher in San Gabriel, California at Clairbourn School.

His brother Tom went on to have a successful baseball career, but Tom says it is John who has touched lives through his teaching.

John Paciorek’s story, “Perfect: The Rise and Fall of John Paciorek, Baseballs’s Greatest One Game Wonder” was released in March, 2015. Written by Steven K. Wagner, it is story of Paciorek’s quick rise and fall in major league baseball history.


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