Tom Wilhelmsen was a baseball player, and then he wasn’t. But for the past few years he has been back in the game as a reliever for the Seattle Mariners and, following a November trade, the Texas Rangers.
During his time away from baseball, he earned his keep as a bartender in Tucson, Ariz. Though the second largest city in the state, Tucson is a college town as home to the University of Arizona.
The spot where Wilhelmsen worked was on Fourth Avenue — or simply The Avenue to locals. It was a live music venue, so nothing like Cheers.
There were some Norms and Cliffs, but they were usually outnumbered by college students.
“You do get to meet a lot of people, and then you get the college scene and it’s just awful,” the right-hander said.
Wilhelmsen said that his specialty drink was pouring a draft beer. He said that he never made a Manhattan or an Old Fashioned or other drinks fancied by a haughtier crowd.
College kids drink beer and take shots.
It’s been six years since Wilhelmsen tended bar. He prefers his current line of work.
“Big time,” he said.