2005 Mounds View High School graduate and Mesabi Range Community and Technical College alumnus Mark Hamburger was born in St. Paul on February 5, 1987.
Hamburger was signed by the Twins as an amateur free agent on June 19, 2007, and was traded to Texas for “Everyday” Eddie Guardado on August 25, 2008. Guardado had previously pitched for the Twins from 1993 to 2003. Including the nine games in 2008, Guardado pitched in 648 games for the Twins, the most in team history by a mile. Rick Aguilera is next on the list, 158 games back. Guardado loves to say that he was “traded for Hamburger.”
Hamburger made his major league debut on August 31, 2011 at age 24, pitching a perfect ninth inning in a 4-1 loss vs. Tampa Bay. Overall, Hamburger pitched eight innings over five appearances with the Rangers, giving up four runs on five hits and three walks while striking out six.
He earned his only major league win in his final game, on September 26, 2011. Leading the Angels 1-0 in Los Angeles, Hamburger replaced C.J. Wilson to start the bottom of the third. After three scoreless innings, he gave up a one-out double to Torii Hunter in the sixth. After getting Vernon Wells to pop out for the second out, Hamburger was replaced by Darren Oliver. Mike Trout singled home Hunter, and Oliver walked Bobby Abreu with the bases loaded before getting out of the inning, with the Rangers still clinging to a 3-2 lead and Hamburger in line for the win. The Rangers went on to win 4-3 with Neftali Feliz earning the save.
After struggling at triple-A Round Rock in 2012, the Rangers put Hamburger on waivers. He was claimed by the Padres on June 25, 2012, but didn’t fare much better at triple-A Tucson, so was put on waivers again and claimed by the Astros on July 21. He was released by Houston the following winter.
Hamburger pitched for the St. Paul Saints in 2013, starting 21 games, going 6-8 with a 3.26 ERA and 1.403 WHIP. He averaged seven innings per start. The Twins signed him on September 4, 2013.
The Twins had previously signed Saints pitcher Caleb Thielbar following the 2011 season. The Twins probably felt particularly good about signing a Saints pitcher in September 2013, as Thielbar had been sensational for them that season, not allowing a run in his first 17 major league appearances, ultimately going 3-2 over 48 appearances (46 innings pitched), with a 1.76 ERA and 0.826 WHIP.
After two seasons at triple-A Rochester, however, the Twins granted Hamburger free agency on November 6, 2015.
Hamburger returned to the Saints, where he went 12-6 in 2016, and 13-6 in 2017. He is expected to pitch for the Saints again in 2018.
He also pitched for the Melbourne Aces in the Australian Baseball League during the winter of 2016-’17, and 2017-’18. He has previously pitched in the Puerto Rican, Venezuelan, and Mexican Pacific Winter Leagues.