Dave Schenck loves his parents, the couple who raised him from infancy.
“They’re amazing people,” said Schenck, who is playing this week with the RusStar Baseball Club. “I couldn’t ask for better parents.”
His parents are Peter and Barbara Schenck. But from an early age it was clear to Schenck that he wasn’t their biological son. He has darker skin than they do.
Although he loves his parents there was a curiosity about where he came from.
Earlier this year at the age of 46 he learned that his biological father was Cesar Tovar, a man who played 12 years in the big leagues in the 1960s and 1970s.
Then it became clear. Baseball is literally in his blood.
“My parents confirmed it for me,” Schenck said. “I’ve been researching it with a friend of mine for about a year.”
It was a profound discovery.
“It means a lot,” Schenck said Sunday after a game at the PDC, where his RusStar team got the week going with a 7-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Wild. RusStar was 4-0 and atop overall pool going into Thursday’s fifth pool game.
Schenck has been playing with the Russian team for 4 years, having been hooked up with the team through a baseball friend in Iowa, where Schenck lives in Cedar Rapids. The Russian team is in its 26th year at Roy Hobbs, and each year fills out its roster with American free agents, many of whom continue year after year.
From boyhood Schenck was smitten with baseball.
“Loved the game,” Schenck said. “It was in my genes.”
Literally, in his case.
Tara Brokovich, a close family friend of Schenck’s, was at Sunday’s game and knows what the news meant.
“Dave has struggled with being adopted but not with his adoptive parents,” Brokovich said.
Baseball has been a staple of Schenck’s life since youth baseball.
“He passionately loves the game,” Brokovich said.
Once Schneck learned Tovar was his biological father he started researching the man. Tovar was from Venezuela and over a big-league career that spanned 1965 to 1976 he stole 278 bases.
Tovar also once played all nine positions in a big-league game, something only three other players have ever done.
“They say now if he was playing in today’s game he’d be one of the elite ballplayers,” Schenck said.
Schenck also found out about his biological mom, who lives in California. They’ve spoken.
“She didn’t say too much,” Schenck said. “She did tell me she knew one day I’d be calling.”
Tovar died of pancreatic cancer in 1991, at the age of 54.
“I’m only sad that he didn’t get to see me play,” Schenck said.
But Cesar Tovar did pass along his baseball genes to the son he never knew.