At 6-foot-1, 175 pounds, Joe Nossek was called "coffee and juice" by teammates because he ate so little. Mainly an outfielder, the Twins tried him at third base during the 1964 Instructional League season and at second base after the '65 season. But his footwork never allowed him to become a true utility player.
He played third base 10 times in the big leagues, and nine of those came in '65. He never did play second in the majors.
Nossek was among the large group of Ohio-Pennsylvania members of
the '65 Twins. The others were Bernie Allen, Andy Kosco, Rich Rollins, Garry
Roggenburk, Pete Cimino and bullpen coach Hal Naragon.
Nossek was a player of modest ability - a good outfielder who said he never believed that the Twins had any confidence in his ability to hit. Yet he started the majority of the '65
World Series games in center field over All-Star Jimmie Hall - a move that would have created
considerable business for talk shows and Internet baseball boards had it
Nossek's real claim to fame came as a coach. A wise ballplayer, he spent 20
years in coaching, including two stints with the Chicago White Sox, and he was regarded as
one of the great sign-stealers in the game.
Nossek said it wasn't an art.
Nossek claimed if most anyone spent time at it, they could see how a manager
behaved in the dugout and how a third-base coach went about his business. Eventually, they would note when something
changed. He said maybe a person needed to have some special talent regarding
how to read mannerisms, but probably not.
If observing didn't work, Nossek also kept a high card up his sleeve. He
said if a player was traded from one team to another, he would often simply
call the player and ask for his old team's signs.
Nossek and fellow Cleveland coach Dave Duncan both ended up being very valuable coaches in the big leagues, and together they exited Cleveland after
the '81 season. The two coaches wanted $35,000 each for the '82 season and the
Indians offered only $32,000. Nossek then signed on as Kansas City's third base
Later in life, Nossek suffered considerable pain from a herniated disc in
his back, and from a knee replacement. Travel became increasingly difficult for him, forcing
retirement from the game.