Chattanooga Lookouts lose pressure-loving pitcher Duke von Schamann

Chattanooga Lookouts lose pressure-loving pitcher Duke von Schamann

April 9th, 2014 by David Paschall in Sports - Professional

Lookouts pitcher Duke Von Schamann plays in a game against the Jackson Generals at AT&T Field.

Photo by Angela Lewis /Times Free Press.

The most impressive performance during the opening homestand for the Chattanooga Lookouts was provided by pitcher Duke von Schamann, who allowed two hits in seven scoreless innings in Friday night's win.

Now he's gone.

The 6-foot-5, 220-pound son of former Oklahoma and Miami Dolphins kicker Uwe von Schamann was traded Sunday from the Los Angeles Dodgers to the Cleveland Indians. He left Chattanooga on Monday, so the Lookouts will move on without the promising 22-year-old when they begin a five-game road series tonight against the Tennessee Smokies.

"We're in it for the kids as managers and coaches," Lookouts manager Razor Shines said. "This is a great opportunity for him, so we're all excited for him."

Selected by the Dodgers out of Texas Tech in the 15th round of the 2012 draft, von Schamann made one start late that season for the Lookouts. In a triumph that clinched Chattanooga's most recent trip to the Southern League playoffs, he worked five innings and allowed just one run.

Last season, he split time between high Single-A Rancho Cucamonga and the Lookouts, making a combined 23 starts and posting a combined 11-7 record.

"Duke was really good for us the other night," Shines said. "When you throw the ball the way he did, showing that command in and out of the strike zone, you're going to be effective. If it wasn't so early in the season, he would have gone back out there."

Said von Schamann: "I didn't have to shake [catcher] J.C. [Boscan] one time. He's played in the big leagues, and I was just following his lead. I got in a zone, and luckily they were swinging early so I could keep my pitch count down."

With a father who played six NFL seasons and set a league record that lasted until 2007 with 66 extra points in 1984, von Schamann grew up playing several sports and ultimately picked pitching over quarterbacking. He not only inherited a love of sports and competition from his father but appreciates as much as anything the ability to perform under pressure.

"The most famous thing my dad was known for was being cool under pressure, and I think he has passed that down to me," von Scahamann said. "I don't really remember myself getting nervous ever out there. I'm always excited, and when the pressure is on, I feel like I play the best.

"I don't know if it's what he taught me as much as just watching him go about his business. I truly believe the von Schamanns just stay cool under pressure."

Many athletes tend to block out pressure, but Uwe von Scahamann had a way of embracing it. When No. 3 Oklahoma visited No. 4 Ohio State early in the 1977 season, von Schamann faced a 41-yard field-goal attempt with six seconds remaining and his Sooners trailing 28-26.

Ohio State coach Woody Hayes called a timeout to ice the kicker, and Buckeyes fans started chanting, "Block that kick!" Turning to the crowd, von Schamann raised his arms and directed the chant before drilling the field goal to propel Oklahoma to a 29-28 win.

"If you take it in, it almost makes you better sometimes," Duke von Schamann said. "When they were chanting, 'Block that kick,' he took it in and used it to his advantage as far as pumping himself up. Obviously I wasn't alive back then, but I can't tell you how many times we've been walking around in Oklahoma when somebody will come up to him and say they can remember exactly where they were when he made that kick."

The Dodgers have had multiple athletic legacies come through Chattanooga in recent seasons -- most notably Dee Gordon and Scott Van Slyke -- and Shines said those players do have advantages.

"What you see in dealing with those cases are kids who understand the game," Shines said. "Duke understands, and obviously he's been schooled in doing things right. He's going to have the opportunity to do things at a high level because of his background, and I think he's going to have a special year."

Just not with Chattanooga.

Contact David Paschall at or 423-757-6524.