Born: August 8, 1963
Ronald Joseph Karkovice was born August 8, 1963 in Union Township. Ron’s father worked in the airline industry and was transferred to Florida in 1973. Solidly built with strong arms and shoulders, he gravitated toward baseball as a boy, eventually settling in at catcher. Ron also played football. He starred in both sports for Boone High in Orlando and had some memorable games against archrival Edgewater High. One of Ron’s teammates on the Braves was Joe Oliver. Like Ron, he would make it to the majors as a backstop.
Ron’s trip to the big leagues began in 1982, when he was taken by the Chicago White Sox with the 14th pick in the draft. It was the same draft that featured high school stars Dwight Gooden and Shawon Dunston. Ron was the first prep catcher taken in the opening round. As a minor leaguer, Ron hit for power but not for average, however he proved to be a first-rate defensive player.
The White Sox promoted Ron to the big club in 1986. He served as a backup and platoon player for six seasons. In 1989 and 1990, he had the best percentage of runners caught stealing in the American League. Also in 1990, he became one of the few catchers in modern times to hit an inside-the-park grand slam.
Ron finally won the starting job in 1991. Over the next five years he clubbed 67 homers and led the league in caught stealing percentage again in 1993 with a career-high mark of 53.8%. That season, the White Sox captured the AL West title but lost to the Blue Jays in the ALCS in six games. Ron was a disaster at the plate in the series, going 0-for-15 with 7 strikeouts.
Ron retired at age 33 after the 1997 season. He got into coaching and earned his first managerial job with the Royals’ Rookie-level club in 2000. In 2009, Ron returned to the Garden State with the Newark Bears as a hitting coach and director of player personnel. In 2013, he was named manager of the Camden Riversharks.