Mister-Baseball did a short interview with Markus Winkler of the Heidenheim Heidekoepfe. The 28-year-old is one of the best pitchers in the German Baseball-Bundesliga. With the Heidekoepfe he had twice settle for second place in the final standings, once at the European Champions Cup Final Four and once in the Baseball-Bundesliga. In Barcelona he probably had his best start of his career, when held Fortitudo Bologna to two unearned runs on four hits and three walks in 9 2/3 innings.
- Born on December 18, 1981 in Göppingen, Germany
- Right-handed pitcher
- Plays in Baseball-Bundesliga for Heidenheim Heidekoepfe
- Also has played for Bonn Capitals, Cologne Cardinals and in South Africa
- German Champion 2009 with Heidekoepfe
- German Senior National Team since 2003
- Won Bronze Medal with Germany at 2010 European Championship
Mister-Baseball: Could you give our readers a short summary of your career so far?
Markus Winkler: I started playing baseball when I was 14 years old, for the Göppingen Green Sox a town near Stuttgart. When I was 17 I got picked up by the Heidenheim Heideköpfe during the European Junior Championships in Mainz. I played there until 2002 when I had to go to the German sports army program, which at that time was stationed in Cologne so in 2003 I played for the Bonn Capitals and in 2004 I went to the Cologne Cardinals. After that I went back to Heidenheim and stayed there ever since.
MRBB: Looking back at the 2010 season, what would you consider to be the highlight? Are you satisfied with the results?
MW: At the end I would say yes and no, off course going to the final four in Barcelona and almost winning it all was outstanding, but on the other side I would`ve loved to win another German championship, where we lost the 5th game to Regensburg. And off course the bronze medal at the EM back in my home city of Stuttgart was just awesome.
MRBB: Even though you won, you didn’t pitch that well during the European Cup in Brno. But in the title game at the Final Four in Barcelona, you nearly beat Fortitudo Bologna. What was your game plan versus the Italian champion? Was it your best start in your career?
MW: Yes I don`t really know what happened to me in Brno I didn`t pitch that good, but at the final in Barcelona I was so pumped and ready to pitch against bologna the only team that beat us in Brno, we almost had them, almost!
MRBB: Did you always wannabe a pitcher? What pitches are you throwing and which are you using during the games? When you would have to give a scouting report about yourself, what would you say?
MW: I started as a catcher, playing third base and first base. I love pitching. It`s so much fun I can control the game, that`s what I like about pitching.
I throw a fastball, curveball, slider, change-up and a cutter. I try to come right at batters with either the fastball or the cutter as my first pitch, my strike-out pitch would be the slider and curveball. As I am not a big strikeout pitcher I try to throw low in the zone and get groundballs and try to mix it up all the time on good hitters, so that nobody gets comfortable up there.
MRBB: Did you had a chance to play college ball or professionally in the US?
MW: I went to the States in 2000 and got a chance to go to spring training with the Boston Red Sox. I also played in Cape Town for three seasons, winning the championship there in 2004.
MRBB: Besides two seasons with Bonn and Cologne, you’ve spent your whole career with the Heidekoepfe. Will you stay in Heidenheim or would you like to play for a different team or in another country in the future?
MW: I`ve drawn interest from some Italian Baseball Clubs, because of my performance in Barcelona, but I haven`t decided yet where I`m going to play next year. I still work in Stuttgart until January. We`ll see what happens.
Mister-Baseball thanks Markus Winkler for answering our questions.
Photo: © Walter Keller, www.catchthefever.de