(Henny Ray Abrams/AP)

Stammen’s family owns North Star Hardware & Implement, selling and servicing farm equipment since the 1920s, and working for the company is a family tradition.

“I started working up there in the summers when I was 14 and did it every summer all the way through college. And then when I got drafted, I worked in the winters for three or four years,” he told me. “There was a point in the summer where I was getting up at 7 a.m. every morning, and I was like, ‘I don’t know if I can do this for the rest of my life.’ I asked my dad, ‘Dad, how do you this?’ You know, I was a kid in the summer and I was working every day.”

Being able to work with his cousin, who Stammen says is also his best friend, made the early morning wakeup calls bearable.

Dealing with farm equipment is a far cry from pitching in the Major Leagues, but Stammen says that the lessons he learned while working for the family business still apply.

“You always gotta remember where you came from, and I’m very proud of that business and I think my family is very proud of that business,” he said. “The blue-collar attitude always plays out in whatever I do every day.”

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