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Once in a lifetime: New Huskies manager relishing watching brother in World Series

New Duluth Huskies manager Tyger Pederson sat behind home plate last week during Game 2 of the World Series at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, soaking it in surrounded by family.

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New Duluth Huskies manager Tyger Pederson (right) is relishing the chance to watch his brother, Joc Pederson, play in the World Series with the Los Angeles Dodgers. (Submitted photo)

New Duluth Huskies manager Tyger Pederson sat behind home plate last week during Game 2 of the World Series at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, soaking it in surrounded by family.

Moments like this don't come around often, and it was even more rare when his younger brother, Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson, launched a solo home run in the fifth inning against the Houston Astros.

"It was pretty surreal," Tyger Pederson said Monday in a phone interview. "Being able to share that experience with him, and our whole family, is kind of what it's all about."

Tyger Pederson, 28, is an assistant baseball coach for Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, Calif. He grew up 200 miles north in Palo Alto, Calif. Pederson missed the World Series games in Houston due to his college obligations, but he said the Pederson family - father, Stu; mother, Shelly; older brother, Champ; and younger sister, Jacey - will be in attendance for Game 6 tonight at Dodger Stadium.

"The whole Pederson posse will be there supporting him," Tyger said.

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The Astros lead the best-of-seven series 3-2. The Dodgers have shown a penchant for comebacks, so this one is far from over.

"They have a lot of fight and grit," Tyger Pederson said. "They're very fun to watch."

Tyger Pederson was drafted as a second baseman by the Dodgers in the 33rd round of the 2013 Major League Baseball draft. He played four years of professional baseball before going into coaching. He started his coaching career in 2016 in Taiwan.

Pederson said coaching next summer with the Huskies was a natural fit. He was announced as manager in September.

"I think Duluth is a great city," Tyger Pederson said. "I've heard a lot of good things from past players and coaches who have been there, and I know there is a strong fan base and community pulling for the team to put on a good show and product. We'll play the game the right way."

Pederson hails from an athletic family. Besides his brother, his father was a Class AAA Hall of Famer who played in the big leagues with the Dodgers, and his sister plays soccer at UCLA.

"I always knew coaching would be a much higher ceiling for me," Tyger said. "Coaching has always run in our family, and I've always known that you can't play forever. It'll be a fun summer, and I'm looking forward to it."

Joc Pederson, 25, was Baseball America's Class AAA Player of the Year in 2014 and the following year began the season as the Dodgers' centerfielder, the third-youngest player in the National League at the time. He was chosen to start in left field for the NL in the 2015 MLB All-Star Game. He also made the final round of the Home Run Derby. He finished the season with 26 home runs and 54 RBIs before having 25 home runs and 68 RBIs in 2016 and 11 and 35 this season.

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Joc Pederson suffered a concussion early this season and only played in 102 games. His home run in Game 2 was Pederson's first since July 26, but he is having a great World Series, batting .364 (4-for-11) with two home runs and four RBIs in four games.

"Joc is gifted with a lot of great tools," Tyger Pederson said. "He has a knack for the game. Growing up, we would hit in the batting cages together every day. During lunch my dad would come and throw, and we were very fortunate to be coached up by a big leaguer."

And that's what made Joc Pederson's World Series home run at Dodger Stadium so meaningful. He didn't just touch a ball, he touched a family.

"Our family was always based around baseball," Tyger Pederson said. "Watching my dad play, being in the dugout, batboy, whatever, helping the teams he coached, then being coached by him, that's what everything revolved around. We're a pretty tight, close family, so to be able to share that experience with Joc was pretty special. It was a dream come true not only for him, but for the whole family."

Jon Nowacki joined the News Tribune in August 1998 as a sports reporter. He grew up in Stephen, Minnesota, in the northwest corner of the state, where he was actively involved in school and sports and was a proud member of the Tigers’ 1992 state championship nine-man football team.

After graduating in 1993, Nowacki majored in print journalism at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, serving as editor of the college paper, “The Aquin,” and graduating with honors in December 1997. He worked with the Associated Press during the “tobacco trial” of 1998, leading to the industry’s historic $206 billion settlement, before moving to Duluth.

Nowacki started as a prep reporter for the News Tribune before moving onto the college ranks, with an emphasis on Minnesota Duluth football, including coverage of the Bulldogs’ NCAA Division II championships in 2008 and 2010.

Nowacki continues to focus on college sports while filling in as a backup on preps, especially at tournament time. He covers the Duluth Huskies baseball team and auto racing in the summer. When time allows, he also writes an offbeat and lighthearted food column entitled “The Taco Stand,” a reference to the “Taco Jon” nickname given to him by his older brother when he was a teenager that stuck with him through college. He has a teenage daughter, Emma.

Nowacki can be reached at jnowacki@duluthnews.com or (218) 380-7027. Follow him on Twitter @TacoJon1.
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