Joseph Gerard Mikulik
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 11", Weight 180 lb.
- School San Jacinto Junior College
Joe Mikulik was drafted in the ninth round of the 1984 amateur draft by the Houston Astros and hit .247 for the Auburn Astros that season. The next year, outfielder Mikulik moved up to the Asheville Tourists and hit .267/~.314/.459 with 18 steals and 23 homers (third in the South Atlantic League). In 1986, Joe was already up to AA with the Columbus Astros and had another good year at .311/~.344/.440. His 11 triples were second in the Southern League behind Nelson Liriano and he was 11th in batting average.
Joe surprisingly returned to Columbus in 1987 and only managed a .242/~.294/.387 line. In his third season there, Mikulik hit .275/~.335/.407 in 48 games and played for the Tucson Toros as well in 1988, though his line there was just .222/~.263/.318. Joe only played eight games for Tucson in '89, going 5 for 17 with no walks, extra-base hits or steals. Instead, Mikulik spent most of the year in the Mexican League. Playing for the Monclova Steelers, Joe hit .318/~.387/.556, stole 15 bases (caught 11 times though), was third in the loop with 12 triples, homered 24 times and led the Liga with 112 strikeouts.
Mikulik visited familiar haunts in 1990 with stops in Columbus (.258/~.346/.416) and Tucson (.331/~.381/.434). In '91, he was 2 for 4 for Tucson but mainly was in his 4th AA season with the Jackson Generals and batting .293/~.347/.435 with 20 steals, 94 RBI and 15 homers. Joe hit .262/~.291/.381 for the 1992 Generals and .248/~.280/.366 with the Toros. In 1993, he played his sixth season in Tucson and the 29-year-old minor league veteran had a .301/~.332/.436 year for the pennant-winning club. It also marked the first time in six years he spent the entire season with the same team.
In 1995, Mikulik was hired as a coach for the Canton-Akron Indians and in August 1997 became manager of the Burlington Indians, after spending the beginning of the year on the team's coaching staff. In 1998 he led the club to a 31-36 finish in his only full season at the helm.
In 2000, he became the manager of the Asheville Tourists and the Colorado Rockies farm club went 66-69. Mikulik's men were 68-71 in his second year at the reigns before falling to 64-74 in 2002. Asheville improved to 74-65 in 2003 as they mustered the league's most potent offense.
One of Mikulik's players in 2004 was Ian Stewart, who married Joe's daughter Susan two years later to become his son-in-law.
Mikulik's fifth year running the team resulted in a 64-75 campaign and the next year they rose to 71-67. On June 25, 2006, the Asheville skipper received national attention after an outburst during a game. To protest the work of umpire Andy Russell, Mikulik threw the rosin bag into the bullpen, kicked dirt, emptied a water bottle on home plate, threw the water bottle, tossed some bats from the dugout onto the field, then went into the clubhouse and pushed aside some water coolers. He was fined $1,000 and suspended for seven days for his actions. A fellow minor league manager drew similar notice the next year when Phillip Wellman threw a tirade against an umpire.
Sources: Pat Doyle's Professional Baseball Player Datanbase, 1986-1987 Baseball America Statistics Reports, 1989, 1991 and 1995 Baseball Guides, 1988-1995 and 1999-2006 Baseball Almanacs, The Mexican League: Comprehensive Player Statistics by Pedro Treto Cisneros