- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 3", Weight 188 lb.
- School Elon University
- Debut April 10, 1999
- Final Game June 9, 2006
- Born September 14, 1973 in Buffalo, NY USA
Pitcher Joe Winkelsas made his big league debut in 1999 with the Atlanta Braves but waited more than seven years to play a second game in the majors. In the minors, Joe has pitched since 1996, and in 2007 played for Mississippi in Double A and Richmond in Triple A in the Braves organization. It was his 12th minor league season, and he has pitched for only three different organizations in all that time.
In the minors, he has been solely a reliever, appearing in nearly 300 games through the end of July 2007.
He made his major league debut with the Braves, giving up two runs, four hits, and a walk, before being returned to the minors, where he battled not only on the field but off, including time in rehab for his marijuana habit. After being let go by the Braves in 2003, he spent some time in the Chicago White Sox organization before they eventually cut him as well. He was signed by the Milwaukee Brewers as a minor league free agent on January 28, 2006 and returned to the big leagues on May 23, 2006. Winkelsas appeared in 7 games for the Brewers, posting a 7.71 ERA. In June he was sent back to the minors, but after just five games there, he retired.
His return to the major leagues after seven years away signalled a remarkable comeback. He had worked for a while in the sanitation department of the City of Tonawonda, NY, and as a volunteer coach at Niagara University before being convinced to give baseball another shot.
Ironically, despite giving up 6 earned runs in 7 innings with the Brewers, his performance with the club brought his career ERA down from 54.00 to a much lower 9.82.
Following the 2006 season, Winkelsas returned to baseball again, signing with the Braves organization.