Baseball legend Rod Carew shares heartwarming Ravens miracle that saved his life

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The Hall of Famer tells the story of late Baltimore tight end Konrad Reuland with Nestor on Radio Row in Minnesota at Super Bowl LII.


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Rod Carew, Mary Reuland, Nestor Aparicio

Nestor Aparicio  00:00

Welcome back wn st Towson, Baltimore and wn St. dotnet. We’re live on radio row. It’s all brought to you by Howard bank and our friends at Royal farms real fresh real fast. When I found out that Rod Carew would be doing my radio show on Radio row, I set aside everything owners press conferences and all that stuff. And Mary rowland’s here as well. I knew Konrad and I don’t want to retell your story. I think our audience knows parts of these stories. But first off, Rod welcome in this is a real homecoming for you, the Mall of America. I mean, I used to hit doubles into the gap over here by the roller coaster back in the day.

Rod Carew  00:40

Yeah, that was a long time ago.

Nestor Aparicio  00:44

But they still remember as you walk into the Mall of America, yeah.

Rod Carew  00:47

You know, I come back here a lot. You know, I work for the twin. So I’m, I’m in Minneapolis a lot. And it’s like being home. You know, my my second home? Well,

Nestor Aparicio  00:58

this is like coming back to the old parking lot here where you went to work every day for about 15 years.

Rod Carew  01:02

Right? Yeah, that’s true. You know, we didn’t draw a lot, but we had a lot of fun.

Nestor Aparicio  01:07

Well, I saw the killer seat up on the on the corner there. So I know things are great. You have led such an unbelievable Wi Fi. I consider myself a fan of yours because I had a wiffle ball bat back in the 70s. And I want to, you know, show

Rod Carew  01:21

using that funny, Stan,

Nestor Aparicio  01:23

very the Panamanian stance on that as well. And

Rod Carew  01:26

that’s Nolan Ryan stance. He’s the one that hit me hit and like,

Nestor Aparicio  01:30

leaned back get as much time Yeah, well, Luis is my cousin. So you played ball when we ran around out here with you as well. And the story I did not know you served in the military. Let’s start with that. You know that that’s a part of rod crew that I had to Wikipedia.

Rod Carew  01:45

Well, you know, I was in the Marine Corps for seven and a half years. During my baseball career, I would have to go to meetings on the weekends and also spend two summers two weeks during the summer active duty so it was something that kept me from going to Vietnam, but still serving the country and and doing what I could during that time.

Nestor Aparicio  02:10

Well, this story has a middle and I’ll bring my wife and leukemia in because you were incredible inspiration to us even though we didn’t know what was happening to you. My wife’s had her life saved on the on the bone marrow registry and leukemia. And here you’ve had this incredibly magnanimous thing happened to you and I guess Mary, this is when to bring you into the conversation. You know, I knew Conrad because he was an interesting looking fellow who had a tall and blonde and stood out from the crowd and a locker room and and we’re taught heaps old number so we would see that did you know about rod were you a baseline At what point did Rod Carew come into your life to know that he would be carrying the heart of your boy

Mary Reuland  02:49

with well I didn’t know he was gonna get my son’s heart but at the time, but I used to I grew up watching angels baseball. So Rod Carew was actually one of my favorites. My dad really liked him as well. Like my dad would take me to games and I grew up I always liked Rod Carew. I don’t know why maybe that’s one of those God winks. But Konrad and rods, kids went to the same elementary school so Conrad actually met rod when he was about 11 years old and Konrad had always wanted he didn’t start playing football till his sophomore year of high school. He only played basketball and soccer and different things but we wouldn’t let him play tackle football. But he came home one day and he says Mom, mommy I met Rod Carew today I met rod he was about 11 already beat you to stay at no it was at its school is Rod stepkids went to the same school as my kids and Rod son was on my middle son’s basketball team. So it was at a basketball game, and Kandra was watching his brother play and Rod was watching his son play. And he just met him briefly. And he came home and that’s all they talked about. He says, you know, he’s a pro athlete. And I said, Yeah, I know, I used to watch him play. And he goes, Well, you know, I want to be a pro athlete. You know, I’m gonna go, I know, Konrad. I know that. And he grew up pretty big and strong. Konrad was he was a big lad. He was like a dandelion in the grass. And he was about 662 170 pounds when he passed. So he was in top shape

Nestor Aparicio  04:12

your story about him passing and the time, your grief, that and the things that happened to save his life? What’s the timeframe we’re looking at? I mean, the man that saved my wife’s life was from Germany. The blood had to be over and 24 hours out of his body clean, cleared, flown across the Atlantic Ocean and put into her with couriers. I mean, I always say with her to miracles, I would be the most unbelievable documentary ever, of the nurses, doctors, pilots, couriers, all of that that happened, right. Give me a little, you know, where did Konrad pass? So Konrad,

Mary Reuland  04:47

it was two days after Thanksgiving of 2016. It was Saturday, he was going to come and hang with his brothers. He was in like I said, top shape. And he says, Mom, I need to do a workout before I come over. I’ve been eating Thanksgiving food. And I need to work out he was in very good shape. And during his workout, he felt a pop or when he called a click in his head and followed by an intense headache. So he called home my husband being a doctor. And he my husband says while you’re walking and talking, so it’s probably not an aneurysm but go in and get it checked out anyway. So it was the Saturday after Thanksgiving. And by the time we got to the hospital, 1015 minutes later, they had discovered an aneurysm and it was bad it was there was actually one of the worst you could get. So Konrad’s was with us for four days in the hospital, they transferred him to UCLA. And after four days in the hospital, his aneurysm burst. So every other treatment was off the table. He had to undergo a 17 hour surgery just to try to save his life. He never he made it through the surgery, and he lasted until the transplant he they declared him brain dead on December 12. So it was like 12 days in a coma. And they kept his body alive for rod to get his final gift, which was December 16.

Nestor Aparicio  06:09

Where were you Rod at this time?

Rod Carew  06:11

I was in the hospital, actually.

Nestor Aparicio  06:14

What are you thinking at this time? We? Well, I

Rod Carew  06:18

should say I was on my way back from an appointment with my heart doctor in San Diego. And just waiting, you know, we were just waiting to see if I was going to be on the list. And when I was going to get a heart.

Nestor Aparicio  06:36

So how does this happen? You check a little box right on your on your ID I mean a donor or not donor? My license says donor?

Mary Reuland  06:45

Well, Konrad it was it was I know exactly what day it is because I found the check. He wrote, I actually sent him his driver’s license renewal to Baltimore when he was with the Ravens sometime in February or whenever right before he came home from camp. I said, Konrad, send this in right away. Well, he got home, it was April 1, and he goes, Oh my gosh, His birthday was April 4, he says Mom, I forgot to send this in. I said, Konrad, sit down and do it. Now you’re gonna have an expired license for a couple of days, but get it done. So while he was filling it out, it was just he and I home. I was cooking dinner for him. And he gets to the page that says, Do you want to be an organ donor? And he looks up? He goes, Mom, should I be an organ donor? And I said, Konrad, I can’t make that decision for you. That’s that’s a personal decision. It’s got to come from your heart. And he says, Mom, are you and I said, Well, yes, I’ve always been an organ donor. I figured if I can’t use my hearts anymore, and it can save some

Nestor Aparicio  07:34

sort of medical family as well. An educated family that knows about these things.

Mary Reuland  07:38

Right. But I don’t I don’t think that had anything to do with it. It was more my parents were as well. And I told him, yes. And he said, I’m gonna do it. And that was April 1 and seven months later. I remember thinking I hope we never get to that. I hope it never comes to that. But it did.

Nestor Aparicio  07:56

When did you find that rock crew had Conrad’s heart? Pretty much

Mary Reuland  07:59

it was Conrad’s funeral. And people were coming up to us at the vigil and at his funeral and their mind you I was in Conrad’s hospital room for two weeks. I had no idea what was going on in the world and people were asking me Do you think it’s Rod Carew? Do you think it’s rod Corona? Like what are you talking about? I had no idea. Why is Rod Carew coming up at my son’s funeral? I don’t know what this is about. So it was I went home on Christmas morning because Conrad’s funeral is December 23. I finally got up the courage to Google Rod Carew, and I saw heart of 29 I went, what the hell? How do they already know that rod has mice and then I read on it was rods number, but that’s how old Conrad was was 29. So all of these coincidence, it just started him. I almost fainted. And I said it has to be it can This is because it said your son. They told us your son God gave His heart and left kidney to a man in his 70s in LA. Well, Conrad was in UCLA and Rod got the news that he got a heart and left kidney from a 29 year old young man from UCLA. And that’s what it was the same night.

Nestor Aparicio  09:01

What do you think of that?

Rod Carew  09:02

Well, you know, I was hoping I would get it. Because I wanted I thought, well, if I do get a young heart, maybe I can come back and make a comeback. And teach these guys how to hit or burn.

Nestor Aparicio  09:15

I think he could still hit you 90.

Mary Reuland  09:17

He’s got to put the pads on. I said he’s got to put the pads on. You guys

Nestor Aparicio  09:21

spend a lot of time I mean, I’ve I’ve seen you twice you’ve been together how much of this you do and and I I want to get all the information out here. The Go Red and the red message you had tell everybody what you’re doing because I think that’s the most important thing, because much like losing your daughter to leukemia helped save my wife’s life through information. You’re gonna save more lives. There’s no doubt about that.

Mary Reuland  09:42

I hope so. I’m hoping to keep Konrad’s memory his legacy alive. This is what he did. This was his last gift. And we’re trying to make the most of the last his final gift and keep him his legacy alive. He would be I know he’d be up there going, mom. Yes, I didn’t need those anymore. Good. I’m glad this is going on. In this way, I’m glad they went to Ron, I’m sure he’s, he’s got a front row seat to all of this and I’m sure that he would just be just thrilled. I actually think that when I found this out I said somehow Konrad find a way found a way for this to go to Rod I really felt that in you know, an up in heaven, a lot

Nestor Aparicio  10:16

of miracles in your life Rod Carew, you want you know, I It’s incredible,

Rod Carew  10:19

you know, I’m happy, I’m happy that the family and my family are very close because we, we know what we have to do. We were trying to save lives and Konrad’s right there with me all the way. And he’s pushing me and I’m so happy that I’m still here to be able to share what God gave us and, and try and help other people

Nestor Aparicio  10:44

American Heart Association Go Red For Women nationally sponsored by Macy’s and CVS Health, that’s where my wife gets her drugs as well. Take an action for women’s heart health, you can learn more there, Go Red for Women, you can get the hashtag out on the web, I just want to say this, you lost your daughter to leukemia. Back in 20 years ago, I almost lost my wife and I didn’t know the full story of your daughter, your daughter did not have a match. And in the 90s There weren’t matches for people of ethnicity that is changing now. And I have a two time miracle right here that all of the work you did for 20 years for leukemia contribute to saving my wife’s life. Well, that’s,

Rod Carew  11:22

that’s a promise that I made to my daughter. I said, as long as I’m alive, I’m going to do my best to help other people out there that need to find a match. And we’ve we’ve been fortunate to gone we’ve gone from 50% to about 90% now of saving a lot like her, you know, and it’s it’s fun when someone comes up and say, you know, thanks to Michelle, I said, Well, you know, I didn’t lose a daughter. I’ve gained so many children in my life that that was safe. So I’m happy about that.

Nestor Aparicio  11:58

My wife there you can cheat. You can make her stepdaughter it’s fine.

Rod Carew  12:03

She’s got a great smile. So yeah, thank you.

Nestor Aparicio  12:05

Well, I mean, we did a baseball tour after her first battle. I did 30 ballparks in 30 days for the bone marrow registry. There’s a statue of your daughter out at the big A and then here in Minnesota was the end of my tour actually came through the mall and did the killer and all that and and your statue here so I knew there weren’t a lot of baseball leukemia stories. Yours was one of them and I sought to meet you and I didn’t know you were struggling two and a half years ago. So here we are Minnesota Mets stadium no us home. This is not even a statue of you. It’s like the real you. Thank you Mary. You know knew my heart to you. My heart to you and we got a lot of heart around here today. Thank you American Heart Association Go Red For Women. Conrad rule ons heart is here. Rod Carew is here. His mom is here. We’re all here at the former Mets stadium now the Mall of America it’s all brought to you by Howard bank and rural farms. We are wn St. dotnet am 1570 wn st Towson Baltimore. And we never stop talking. Baltimore sports

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