1995 Hill-Murray graduate and 3x Gophers MVP Robb Quinlan was born in St. Paul on March 17, 1977.
As a junior in high school, Quinlan set a state record by reaching base in 86 consecutive plate appearances, attracting national media attention.
Quinlan attended the University of Minnesota where he hit .325 as a freshman, .363 as a sophomore, .408 as a junior, and .413 as a senior. He earned first-team All-Big Ten honors and was named the Gophers’ Richard “Chief” Siebert Most Valuable Player in 1997, ’98, and ’99. His 92 total bases in 1998 is still a Big Ten record. He was the Big Ten player of the year as a senior in 1999, graduating as the conference’s career hits leader. As of last check (March 2018), he was still the Gophers’ career leader in at-bats, hits, home runs, doubles, triples (tied), total bases, RBI, and runs scored.
The summer after his junior year, Quinlan played for the St. Cloud River Bats of the Northwoods League, hitting .353 with 11 home runs and 47 RBI en route to being named the league’s Most Valuable Player.
Quinlan was drafted by Angels in 10th round in 1999. He was a stud in 2002, his fourth professional season, being named the Angels’ Minor League Player of the Year after hitting .333 with 31 doubles, 13 triples, 20 home runs, and a league-leading 112 RBI for Triple-A Salt Lake. From May 29 to June 20 he went on a 21-game hitting streak during which he hit .440. On May 12, 2002 he went 5-for-5 with two home runs and eight RBI vs. Edmonton. On July 28 he went 5-for-6, hitting for the cycle with two home runs and eight RBI vs. Colorado Springs. The Angels won the World Series in 2002. Quinlan, however, would not make his major league debut until July 25, 2003 at age 26.
He played in 458 major league games over eight seasons (2003-2010), all with the Angels. Despite being a career .276 hitter, he never played in more than 86 games in a single season.
He went 9-for-41 (.220) with two walks in 20 career games versus the Twins. He hit his 25th and final major league home run off Francisco Liriano in a 6-3 Angels win in Anaheim on July 24, 2009.
Robb’s older brother Tom Quinlan was drafted by the Blue Jays in the 27th round out of Hill-Murray in 1986 (he was also drafted by the Calgary Flames in the fourth round). He went 9-for-58 (.155) with five walks and 26 strikeouts in 42 major league games spread out over a seven-year period with the Blue Jays (1990 and ’92), Phillies (1994), and Twins (four games in 1996).
Joel Rippel wrote a great essay on Robb Quinlan for the SABR BioProject (click here).
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21-game hitting streak between July 20 and August 10, 2004 during which he hit .434. Longest rookie hitting streak in team history. Hit .344 in 56 games on the season, with last game on August 15. Must have been injured. Hit .407 in July and was named AL Rookie of the Month.
Correction: Started July 7. Entered as defensive replacement on 10th and 18th and did not get an at-bat. Pinch hit on 19th, was hit-by-pitch and scored. Batting average over streak was .442 (34-for-77) according to Baseball Reference. Reported as .425 (34-for-80) in SABR bio.