IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa baseball program is “Catching Up” with former Hawkeyes. In the latest segment, the program reconnects with two-time All-America shortstop and big leaguer Tim Costo.
Costo, who played for the Hawkeyes from 1988-90, was a third-team All-American by Collegiate Baseball as a sophomore in 1989 after hitting 21 home runs and driving in 77 runs. The following season Costo earned first-team All-America honors by Baseball America and The Sporting News after hitting 16 home runs and driving in 64 runs for a team that won 22 Big Ten games en route to the Big Ten regular season title and NCAA Tournament appearance.
Costo finished his career ranking third all-time in home runs (41) and he was selected in the first round of the 1990 MLB Draft, being selected eighth overall by the Cleveland Indians.
Get us up to speed. What are you doing these days and are you still involved with the game of baseball?
“I am the head baseball coach of the McCallie School in Chattanooga. I am not a full-time faculty member, just a coach. Doing this for eight seasons has confirmed what I’ve known all along… baseball is my true calling. I love everything about it, well except for the occasional email from mom or dad complaining about playing time. HAHA Thankfully those don’t come too often.”
How has COVID-19 effected your daily life, and what are you doing to keep busy/productive?
“My “real” job is in the concrete construction industry and being considered an “essential” business, we haven’t slowed down one bit. I am fortunate to be able to work quite a bit from home, but when it is necessary to physically go to a jobsite, everyone maintains their distance. I have shorter work days, so with more time at home, I find myself doing handyman work and trying to take a walk around the neighborhood every evening.”
What was your favorite baseball memory as a Hawkeye?
“This is easy. I’ve told my boys countless times throughout their lives that we as a team were the most tight-knit group of guys that I ever had the privilege to play with. There was a true brotherhood on that team and whatever went on in the clubhouse, stayed in the clubhouse. On an individual note, one of the best memories was hitting a walk off grand slam to beat Wisconsin at home, 8-7.”
What was your favorite non-baseball memory during your time at the University of Iowa?
“The social life…the Sports Column. Does it still exist? I just have such fond memories of my time there on campus.”
What was so special about that 1990 team, which is the last Hawkeye team to win a Big Ten regular season title?
“Not only were we talented, but it was the fact that we always had each other’s back. We were a great team in all facets of the game, but especially at the plate.”
You parlayed your three years as a Hawkeye into being a top-10 pick in the MLB Draft. Can you reflect on your pro career and what was it like when you made your MLB debut in 1992?
“I was fortunate to have been able to play pro ball for 10 years, with a year and a half of that time being in the big leagues. Getting drafted was a big deal, but playing in the big leagues is something you dream about as a boy. I was playing Triple-A in Indianapolis and when I got the call to head to Cincinnati. I was pumped and ready to go and then the nerves set in. I remember trying to eat a sandwich and finally having to spit it out as it had turned to a big dough ball in my mouth in lieu of going down. The team embraced me and I will never forget the feeling of stepping out onto the field. My nerves disappeared and I went 1-for-4 with a double.”
What did it mean to be inducted into the Iowa Athletics Hall of Fame in 2007?
“It was an incredible honor and experience. I think about it often and am so grateful and proud to have been included among such talented athletes. Having my wife and boys with me made it unforgettable even though they were a little young to understand how big of an honor it is to be inducted. I would love to visit the Hall of Fame again and catch a football game.”