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Taubensee Praised for Tire Change

July 29, 1998

CINCINNATI (AP) _ Eddie Taubensee didn’t expect any praise for changing a woman’s tire on his way home from a Cincinnati Reds game earlier this season.

The catcher finally got some Wednesday in a prominent forum _ a letter to the editor.

A couple wrote to The Cincinnati Enquirer thanking Taubensee for helping their daughter last month. The letter, published Wednesday, said Taubensee helped Jennifer Koutnik when she was stranded by a flat tire in a parking lot of a restaurant.

``Of course when you do things like that, you don’t expect anything in return,″ Taubensee said Wednesday. ``It’s nice that they thought it was a good deed. I guess just because I’m an athlete, it seems to be a little bit of a bigger deal. But I don’t think it’s a big deal at all. It happens every day.″

The letter to the editor was reminiscent of the praise given to Cleveland shortstop Omar Vizquel, who gave up his seat in first class so a 15-year-old girl with a knee injury could be more comfortable on a flight to Denver before the All-Star game.

Taubensee and his family went to a restaurant after a night game, found it closed and learned that Koutnik and another student at Xavier University were having car problems in the parking lot.

Taubensee called for help and stayed with the women, then decided to change the tire himself when a storm began moving in. He said they didn’t know his identity until he told them.

``After we started talking, I asked them what they did,″ he said. ``They went to college. They asked me what I did so I told them. They had no clue who I was.″

The woman’s parents appreciated the gesture.

``This man went above and beyond what may be perceived as `not the norm’ for a professional athlete,″ Judy Koutnik wrote.

``That’s what you’re supposed to be, what they say in the Bible: be a good Samaritan,″ Taubensee said. ``That’s what I’m trying to do.″

When a reporter mentioned problems he’s had with flat tires this year, Taubensee said, ``Give me a call.″

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