No Term Limit, The Mayor, Mark Hamburger, Returns For Another Year With SaintsST. PAUL, MN April 17, 2017
He became the first pitcher in American Association history to start off a season 10-0. He’s been a fan favorite since his first stint with the Saints back in 2013. Last year it reached a frenzy each time he pitched. The man affectionately dubbed The Mayor, because of his popularity at CHS Field and in the community, Mark Hamburger will pitch for the St. Paul Saints in 2017.
The 30-year-old Hamburger had an incredible campaign in 2016 going 12-6 with a 3.29 ERA and seven complete games with one shutout in 21 games, 20 starts. In 158.2 innings he walked just 22, struck out 100 and opponents hit .266 against him. He helped the Saints to their second consecutive North Division title and hurled 8.0 shutout innings in Game 1 of the Division Series against the Winnipeg Goldeyes. He pitched well in the fifth and deciding game, allowing three runs (two earned) in 7.1 innings, but the Saints scored just one lone run and lost 3-1.
Hamburger led the American Association in innings pitched, complete games, tied for first in wins, tied for third in shutouts and seventh in ERA. He earned the start in the 2016 American Association All-Star Game at CHS Field and tossed a shutout first inning. Along with being among the league leaders in several categories he also broke the American Association record for complete games in a season and set the Saints franchise record for complete games in a season, which he previously held at five, by two, and a career (12). He is just three complete games shy of surpassing the league record of 14 set by Ben Moore of the Sioux Falls Canaries who pitched in 142 games, Hamburger has pitched in just 42.
Hamburger was a workhorse and tossed 7.0 innings or more in 17 of 20 starts. He was named the Pitcher of the Month for July going 4-1 with a 1.67 ERA and four complete games in five starts. Opponents hit .201 against him, and he issued just two walks while striking out 27 in 43.0 innings of work. He was also named Pitcher of the Week three times. Hamburger’s complete game shutout came on July 25 when he threw a 9.0 inning three-hit shutout while striking out four at home against the Sioux City Explorers. He threw back-to-back complete games on three separate occasions and his shortest stint of the year was 6.0 innings, which he did twice.
Hamburger was a stalwart at the top of the Saints rotation in his first season with the Saints in 2013. In 21 starts he was 6-8 with a 3.28 ERA. Hamburger struck out 120 while walking just 47 and held opposing hitters to a .275 batting average against him.
While finishing the year among the American Association’s leaders in ERA and strikeouts, Hamburger also made sure to leave his mark in the franchise’s record book. He finished 2013 as the single-season leader in strikeouts, and, at the time, innings pitched (149.0) and complete games (5), and tied Nick Barnese (2014), Anthony Claggett (2013) and Robert Coe (2012) for most starts made in a season with 21.
Hamburger’s incredible 2013 season got him signed by the team that took a chance on him out of a 2007 tryout camp, the Minnesota Twins. Hamburger spent 2014 and 2015 in the Twins system, spending all of 2015 at Triple-A Rochester.
He began 2015 as a starter, but after four starts he was moved to the bullpen for his final 41 appearances and was tremendous. As a reliever he went 3-1 with a 2.06 ERA and one save in 41 relief appearances. In 48.0 innings pitched he walked 10 and struck out 43 while opponents hit .246 against him. Overall, he was 4-2 with a 3.31 ERA and one save in 45 games (four starts). He didn’t allow a run in 36 of 41 relief appearances and allowed more than one run out of relief just once (allowing seven runs in 1.1 innings of relief on June 12). He allowed just one run over 20 relief appearances (21.0 IP) from June 16-August 8 and didn’t allow a run in 12 relief appearances (14.0 IP) from July 3-August 8. He closed out the season on an 11.0 inning scoreless streak.
In his first full season back in affiliated ball in 2014 Hamburger started at Double-A New Britain and spent eight games there. He was called-up to Triple-A Rochester and pitched in 14 games. Overall he was 4-5 with a 3.69 ERA with two saves in 22 games.
Hamburger has an incredible story going from an open tryout with the Minnesota Twins to the Major Leagues in the matter of just four years. After a dominating year in college, going 11-0 with a 0.83 ERA in 2007 at Mesabi Range Community & Technical College, he showed up at the Twins tryout camp and wowed scouts. He was signed to a minor league deal and sent to the Gulf Coast League.
In 2008 Hamburger was a Post-Season Appalachian League All-Star and went 1-2 with a 4.27 ERA and 13 saves with Elizabethton. In August of that season he was traded to the Texas Rangers in exchange for Eddie Guardado. He was sent to Single-A Clinton and between the two stops he went 1-2 with a 3.98 ERA and 16 saves.
In 2010 Hamburger was an MiLB Organizational All-Star after an incredible season between Single-A Bakersfield and Double-A Frisco where he went 4-2 with a 2.20 ERA and 21 saves in 50 relief appearances. In 65.1 innings pitched he struck out 69 while opponents hit .236 against him.
His big moment came in 2011. After going 1-0 with a 1.83 ERA and four saves in 11 relief appearances at Frisco, Hamburger was promoted to Triple-A Round Rock. He once again made the organization take notice going 7-4 with a 3.88 ERA in 31 games (four starts). On August 30 he was called up to the Major Leagues and made his debut on August 31 in Arlington against the Tampa Bay Rays. He pitched a perfect ninth inning of relief getting two ground outs and a fly out. Despite giving up three runs in 2.0 innings in his next outing at Fenway Park against the Boston Red Sox, he did strike out Adrian Gonzalez twice. Overall, Hamburger was 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA in five games. In 8.0 innings he struck out six while Major League hitters batted just .179 against him.
The Saints have signed 13 players this off-season, six position players and seven pitchers.
The 2017 season begins on Thursday, May 18 at CHS Field with a 7:05 p.m. game against the Gary SouthShore Railcats.