MINNEAPOLIS Mark Hamburger didn't have high expectations when he attended the Minnesota Twins' annual open tryout at the Metrodome in 2007.
The Mounds View High School graduate was pitching at Mesabi Range Community College in northern Minnesota and playing for a summer ball team, though he didn't exactly see baseball in his long-term plans. But he attended the tryout on a whim, just to get his name out there.
Hamburger did more than get his name out there he got a job as a professional baseball player. The Twins were impressed with what they saw from the right-hander on the first day of the tryout, when he consistently threw a 93 mph fastball. He was invited back the next day, pitched a few innings in a scrimmage and not long after was offered a contract.
"It was crazy, because I didn't even realize what was going on," Hamburger said.
He reported to the organization's rookie league team in the Gulf Coast League in Florida and started the 2008 season with Elizabethton of the ...