Where Are They Now?: Kevin Maas
Back in 1986, college education expenses were not universally written into baseball contract, so the Yankees included an extra $5,000 a year in their initial $60,000 bonus offer to 22nd-round pick Kevin Maas.
At the time, Maas was three semesters shy of a mechanical engineering degree from California. The vibes he sent out to scouts coming out of high school—when he wasn’t drafted—and then again following his junior year at Berkeley were clear: education trumped baseball.
Maas figured that a fall semester of study following each of his first three minor league seasons would secure that much-coveted degree. The Yankees had other plans and invited the lefthanded-hitting first baseman to instructional league each September.
Maas immediately set into motion another plan. His mother Donna would attend his upper-level engineering classes—for three consecutive years—at Berkeley. She tape-recorded the lectures, took notes from the professor’s chalkboard and sent her work via FedEx that night to her son in Fort Lauderdale. Maas completed his work and sent his efforts back home.
Using this system, with his older brother Jason occasionally filling in for mom, Maas earned his degree in 1989. The degree later helped bridge Maas’ entry into the workforce after a 12-year professional baseball career. Maas has been part of a private wealth management team with Charles Schwab over the past 12 years in the San Francisco Bay area.
“It’s very different than baseball,” Maas said. “There is no sort of euphoria from getting a double in the gap, knocking in a couple of runs or hitting a three-run jack in a major league stadium. You just find out you can’t repeat that in the workforce.
“What does translate is work ethic, discipline, integrity, going the extra mile, arriving early and staying late.”
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Maas first learned of his 1990 callup to the Yankees around midnight at the team hotel in Richmond, while playing for Triple-A Columbus. When manager Rick Down delivered the news, Maas sprinted down the hallway to share it with a couple teammates. One was his brother Jason and the other was Andy Stankiewicz.
“All three of us were just jumping on the beds like little 8-year-olds would do, bouncing off the ceilings,” Maas said. “Those were good times.”
The good times continued for Maas, however short-lived. He blasted 21 home runs in 1990 after his July callup. Then he hit another 23 home runs the following season when he and Don Mattingly became known as the Yankees’ second coming of the “M&M Boys” after Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris.
The big league highlights—and asides—for Maas included his childhood idol George Brett calling Maas his favorite lefthanded hitter; his first home run against the Royals’ Bret Saberhagen on the Fourth of July; two home runs against Nolan Ryan; a year of play in Japan; and those young women in Yankee Stadium who bared their breasts with every Maas home run to the right-field bleachers.
Then it was quickly over. Maas played 406 major league games, hit 65 home runs with a .230/.329/.422 batting line. After that, he was off to the business world, his Cal mechanical engineering degree in hand.