Dr. Schlotthauer, or Mr. Schlotthauer then, always told us about how he grew up poor in Colorado during the Depression and the 1940s. His father died fighting at Guadalcanal. He wasn’t seeking our sympathy or asking us to feel sorry for him. No, he wanted us to learn that through hard work and good citizenship -- and hustle -- we could make our way in this world and become successful, as he had. In 2007, Dr. Schlotthauer went to his high school reunion in Windsor, Colorado. Here's Windsor in the photo in 2017. The town is in northern Colorado, 59 miles north of Denver.
Windsor grad keeps good company, pals with Dodgers’ Lasorda
Windsor | June 28, 2007, Greeley, CO Tribune
Staff Writer [Not available]
Growing up in Windsor wasn’t easy for Jim Schlotthauer. He didn’t have electricity or running water and often had 50 cents or less in his pocket for three days worth of meals.
His grandmother, who raised him, gave him what she could, but money was tight with $46 a month between the two of them.
But Schlotthauer turned things around.
He’s earned success as a teacher, mentor, radio sports announcer, business owner and a Los Angeles Dodgers volunteer.
“He’s done really well for the meager beginning he had,” said Frances Sprecht, a friend from high school. “He’s given his life to helping people.”
In August, Schlotthauer, now 67, will have the chance to
catch up with Sprecht and other high school classmates to see what they’ve been up to for the past half century. It’s their 50th reunion.
“I’ve had such wonderful people help me,” he said. “My classmates were some of them. Some of my greatest friends are still my classmates. I couldn’t have done it without them.”
Schlotthauer who goes by the nickname Slotsy, a nickname given to him by for Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda taught seventh- and eighth-grade students for 43 years in Fullerton, Calif.
But what kept him on the road to success for so long is a memory from growing up in Weld County.
He was 19 at the time, helping his friend, Mike, stack hay one afternoon in Windsor. He had just dropped out of Colorado State College, now the University of Northern Colorado, after spending more time on the baseball field than on his studies. His dream was to play professional ball after college.
It was raining, so Slotsy and Mike crawled underneath the stacker to wait out the weather. Mike showed Slotsy his hands, which were cut up and beaten after years of hard labor in the fields.
“After I saw those hands, something hit me,” Slotsy said. “I didn’t want that kind of life. … I went back to school.”
Slotsy studied his way to a bachelors degree in history and speech, and he later earned a masters degree.
After graduating college, he was offered a sports job at KHOW with Bill Reed in sports. He was torn between becoming a teacher and continuing a career in sports broadcasting.
Before he took the job at KHOW, a teaching recruiter from California called. Slotsy said he gave probably one of the shortest interviews the recruiter ever had.
“The recruiter asked me why I wanted to be a teacher, and I told him because I like kids. That was it, we didn’t talk long, and he still wanted me,” Slotsy said.
Slotsy trekked to California to teach.
Even though he chose teaching, it wasn’t long before he was given another chance at sports.
One day, the name Laura Lasorda appeared on his class roster early in his teaching career.
“Your dad wouldn’t be the Tommy Lasorda who pitched for the Denver Bears, would he?” Slotsy asked Laura about her yet-to-be legendary father. She answered yes.
That was the beginning of more than 40 years of friendship with the now famous former manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Slotsy became a friend to the Dodgers. If you look at the Dodger dugout, its Slotsy who did all the woodwork. Some players lived with him, and some he taught in classes.
If you tell him its amazing how much he’s done in his life so far, Slotsy responds humbly.
“Well, I’ve been a few places,” he said. “Maybe it’s like that song, I've been everywhere.”
The Windsor High School Class of 1953 will celebrate its 50th anniversary Aug. 14-16.
Reunion participants will go to the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park for a stay and have a picnic in Windsors Main Park, among other activities.