Former Stomper California dreaming
Former St. Catharines Stompers trainer Mike Frostad is the Director of Sport Medicine and Head Athletic Trainer with the Los Angeles Angels. Photo by: BILL POTRECZ.
Mike Frostad had no idea what he was getting himself into when he accepted a job to be the trainer for the St. Catharines Stompers in 1996.
The Mayland Heights, Alta., native was working with the football team at the University of Calgary when he made some connections with the Toronto Blue Jays while working at the Vanier Cup in Toronto.
Before he knew it, Frostad was offered the job in St. Catharines, his first foray into pro sports.
“It was interesting because I was new to baseball,” he said. “I had just finished at the University of Calgary. It was my first job out of school and I didn’t have the broadest baseball knowledge.”
Frostad was quickly showed the ropes by Stompers manager Rocket Wheeler and pitching coach Neil Allen.
“That was the extent of it and that was our travelling party,” Frostad said. “You’re the clubhouse guy, you’re doing the laundry, travelling secretary. You’re taking care of all of it.
“Definitely very interesting and it laid the groundwork for my career.”
Frostad spent just one season in purple and green, but what a summer it was.
The Stompers won the Stedler Division title and came within a win of a New-York Penn League championship when they dropped two games in Vermont in the best-of-three final.
“I still remember playing in that field where the sun would go down right into the first baseman’s eyes,” Frostad recalled. “You had to skip the ball to him so he could catch it. It was one of those plays where Luis Lopez couldn’t come up with one play and I think that was the deciding factor in the game.”
Frostad said he still keeps in touch with some of the players on the team which included former major leaguers Lopez, Abraham Nunez, Joe Lawrence, Jimmy Mann and John Bale.
Frostad worked his way through the Toronto organization, but enjoyed himself in St. Catharines enough that he made a special trip to see the former Community Park a few years ago when he was in the area.
“I was out this way. I drove through St. Catharines and looked for the old ball park and was amazed how we could play there as a professional field,” Frostad said. “Looking at the lights and how low they were and the field. I couldn’t believe we played here.”
Frostad was correct — the Stompers were gone by 1999, sold and moved when the field was no longer deemed suitable for a pro team.
After 22 years with the Blue Jays organization Frostad’s contract wasn’t renewed but it didn’t take him long to land in Atlanta as the assistant athletic trainer where former Jays general manager Alex Anthopolous was in charge.
Frostad has a World Series ring from Atlanta’s 2021 championship.
“That was unbelievable. That’s the cherry on the top. Going through that and nobody expected us to win,” he said. “Winning a World Series with Atlanta was a really great feeling.”
The cheers had barely died down from the championship last fall when Frostad took a call from Perry Minasian of the Los Angeles Angels, a former Braves employee who offered him the position of Director of Sport Medicine and Head Athletic Trainer in Anaheim.
“It was bitter-sweet leaving but this opportunity came up and it’s something where you never know when these positions come available and I had to jump at it,” he said.
Frostad is enjoying his new role.
“This is fantastic,” he said. “This is what everyone who gets into baseball wants to be, the head athletic trainer from a medical standpoint. To have this opportunity now, it’s great. It’s a great organization and I love being here. Everything is kind of working out.”
He and his wife live about 20 minutes from Anaheim. He also has a home in Medicine Hat.
“California is expensive, it’s busy. We bought a home to have somewhere for family to come down a hang out, close to all the attractions — Disney, the beach.”
Dear reader. If you liked this story or one of the 4,300 other stories found on our website, please consider hitting the Support Us button on the right-hand side of our home page and making a PayPal contribution to our website. Your support would be much appreciated. If you are a business owner, please consider advertising on our site. Our rates are reasonable and we provide plenty of exposure for your business. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.