American Association Daily provides insights and features on the American Association of Professional Baseball League, as well as player and coaching profiles and transactions going on with teams around the league. In today’s edition, St. Paul Saints star right-hander Mark Hamburger is traded to the New Britain Bees in the Atlantic League.
Mark Hamburger a Saint No More
In the American Association, quite possibly no player has endeared himself more to fans than Mark Hamburger has to that of those who attend St. Paul Saints games. The right-hander has become so popular with fans that, over the last two seasons, front office staff frequently joked that the most often asked question they received was “Is Mark Hamburger pitching tonight?”
Now, if fans want to know if he is pitching, they will have to contact the New Britain Bees after the righty was dealt by the St. Paul Saints to the Atlantic League team on Friday. The move was to allow Hamburger to pursue personal and professional opportunities.
A Legend On, Off the Field
Mark Hamburger spent six seasons playing in affiliate ball, reaching the Majors with the Texas Rangers in 2011, before joining the St. Paul Saints in 2013. He delivered an outstanding season that year, going 6-8 with a 3.26 ERA in 21 starts. That earned the righty a return to affiliate ball, as he joined his hometown Minnesota Twins in 2014, splitting time between AA-New Britain and AAA-Rochester. He spent all of 2015 in AAA before opting not to return to the Twins organization
In 2016, Hamburger returned to the Saints where he became an instant hit. The right-hander started the season 10-0, earning the nod as the starter in the American Association All-Star game, which was in CHS Field that year, home of the Saints. Hamburger finished 12-6 with a 3.29 ERA and 7 complete games, which led the league.
Last season, Hamburger followed that up with another outstanding performance. The right-hander was 13-6, which led the American Association in wins. He made 22 starts, and set a league record with 172.0 innings pitched, while finishing with a 3.56 ERA.
While his performance on the field was outstanding, it was his off-field antics that made him legendary. Hamburger appeared in many of the team’s promotional events and videos, and was frequently seen after games signing autographs for fans.
A Tough Decision That Had to Be Made
While the St. Paul Saints hated to lose their all-star pitcher, they felt that they had to do what was in the best interests of Mark Hamburger.
“You hate to lose a guy who means so much to this community as Mark has,” explained Saints Manager George Tsamis. “However, we want to do what is best for the player. We wish Mark the best and know he will do well there.”
Hamburger was traded for a player to be named later.
Featured Image Courtesy of Betsy Bissen/St. Paul Saints
American Association Daily Notes
The Kansas City T-Bones added RHPs Pasquale Mazzoccoli and Julio Eusebio. Eusebio was recently released from the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. He spent four seasons with the Pirates, splitting time between three levels last season, reaching High-A Bradenton. The right-hander was a combined 1-1 with 8 saves and a miniscule 0.84 ERA in 23 appearances, making his release quite surprising. Mazzoccoli was also with the Pirates and a teammate of Eusebio at Mid-A West Virginia in 2017. The right-hander split time between two levels and had a 3-1 record with a 1.75 ERA in 14 appearances…The Lincoln Saltdogs added RHP Josh Roeder. Roeder pitched the last three seasons for the New York Yankees organization. He split time at three different levels last season, including High-A Tampa. Combined, the righty posted a 3.06 ERA with 3 saves in 19 appearances…The Wichita Wingnuts signed RHP Mark Haynes. Haynes has spent his entire career in independent ball, and has spent time with the Laredo Lemurs, Kansas City T-Bones, and Amarillo Sox in the American Association. Last season, he pitched with Sugar Land (Atlantic League), where he was 2-5 with a 4.11 ERA in 55 appearances. He struck out 57 in 50.1 innings pitched.
By Robert Pannier
Member of the IBWAA