ARIZONA — Kenneth Leo Retzer (The Big Leaguer), age 86, passed away Sunday, May 17, 2020 at his home in Sun City, Arizona.
He was born April 30, 1934 in Wood River, Illlinois, to Joseph Felix and Lena Augusta (Fields) Retzer.
The youngest of seven, he is survived by his sister, Shirley Spann, of Roxana. Illinois. Also surviving are his wife, Janet (Clark/Lewis) Retzer of Sun City; his daughter, Merry Lena ("D.J.") Board and their daughter Jessica Lena of Lakeside, Califonia; his son, Steven (Janessa) Retzer of Scottsdale, Arizona; and step-son, Brian (Lisa) Lewis of Godfrey, Illinois; along with numerous nieces and nephews.
Ken was a proud former major league baseball player for the Washington Senators, following several years in the minor leagues. One of his biggest honors was catching the opening day pitch from President John F. Kennedy back in 1963. He never met a stranger that he didn't ask, "Where are you from initially?" Whatever the answer, it almost always led into a baseball memory for all to share.
He worked several jobs over the years, including owning his own restaurant "Retzer's Home Plate" in San Diego, California, a racquetball instructor at Alton Nautilus, and eventually retiring as a juvenile transportation driver in Edwardsville, Illinois.
He kept busy in retirement corresponding with baseball fans across the country.
Per his request, no memorial services are planned.