Mark Hamburger: The Most Interesting Man In Baseball


ONE OF THE BEST PITCHERS IN MINNESOTA, AND DOESN’T PLAY FOR THE TWINS, BUT, RATHER, THE ST. PAUL SAINTS. THE GUY WITH THE FUNNY NAME AND THE ALMOST MYTHICAL RIDES. LOCAL KID FROM MOUNDS VIEW HIGH WOWATHIZE SCOUTS AT OPEN TRY OUT, SIGN AS PRO-DEAL, MAKES MANLER LEAGUES– MAJOR LEAGUESER LEAGUE, LOSES IT ALL AND FINDS HIMSELF. MIGHT MAKE MARK HAMBURGER THE MOST INTERESTING MAN IN BASEBALL. TOTAL REBUILD, PRETTY MUCH? COMPLETE. ONLY THING WE ARE DOING IS JUST LEAVING THE EXTERIOR, I LIKE THE GRAY. Reporter: IT MIGHT NOT LOOK LIKE MUCH NOW, BUT THIS IS WHERE MARK HAMBURGER WILL BE LIVING IN THE NEAR FUTURE, CURRENTLY RESTORING THE 1969 CAMPER WITH HIS BROTHER, WHO IS A CARPENTER. CUSTOMIZE YOUR OWN HOUSE. Reporter: WHEN FINISHED, IT WILL BE HIS HOME, SO THAT THE BEST PITCHER IN THE LEAGUE, FORMER BIG LEAGUE AROUND WORLD SERIES TEAM, CAN PRACTICE TINY LIVING IN MINIMALISM. TAKING UNDER BODY. Reporter: HE NAMED IT. GOING THROUGH YOUR STUFF AND SEEING WHAT YOU NEED AND DON’T NEED, APPEALED TO ME. THIS, FITS MY LIFESTYLE. Reporter: IN THE MEANTIME, THE 30-YEAR-OLD HAMBURGER LIVES IN HIS PARENTS’ BASEMENT, DRIVES A 1989 WOOD PANELED STATION WAGON. HERE WE HAVE HAZEL. Reporter: HAZEL. 1989, CUSTOM CRUISER. AKA, WOODY WAG. Reporter: FREQUENTLY SKATE BOARDS HIS COMMUTE TO THE BALL PARK. LETS GO FOR A RIDE. HEAR A KITTEN PURR. OH YEAH. Reporter: HERE WE GO. QUITE A LIFESTYLE, IT IS. IF PEOPLE LOOK AT ME AND SAY THAT I AM OUT THERE, I MEAN, I GUESS IT IS TRUE FOR THE JOB THAT I AM IN. DAILY DRIVE. Reporter: HE QUOTES PLATO FREM MEMORY, PREFERS NOT TO SCARY A CELL PHONE, AND LETS NOT FORGET, HIS APPEARANCE, A PERSONAL STYLE, PERHAPS, BEST DESCRIBED AS HACKIE SACK ENTHUSIAST. IN A SPORT THAT VALUES CONFORMITY LIKE FEW OTHERS, HAMBURGER IS AS UNCONVENTIONAL AS THEY COME, A SQUARE PEG IN A GAME OF ROUND CIRCLES. I DON’T TRY TO PUSH MYSELF ON ANYBODY OR BE ALL CRAZY GOOFY BUT I AM FREE, I AM FREE TO BE WHO I AM AND I DON’T HOLD MYSELF TO LIKE RULES OF THE CLUBHOUSE. I DON’T CLOSE MY BATHROOM DOOR, I HAVE MY PLAYERS WALK IN WHILE I AM USING THE RESTROOM. AND THEY ARE LIKE, WHAT THE HECK? I AM LIKE, HEY, HOW YOU DOING? BECAUSE I LIKE TO JUST ENJOY, I AM NOT EMBARRASSED OF ANYTHING, JUST HAVING FUN. Reporter: HAMBURGER BOUGHT THE CAR 2 YEARS AGO OFF CRAIGSLIST. IF YOU FIND A WOOGY WAGON IN– WOODY WAGON IN CONDITION LIKE THAT, PROBABLY BUY IT. Reporter: IT FITS HIS GENERAL EETHOSE, I MEAN, YOU DIDN’T PICTURE HIM DRIVING A CAMERA, DID YOU? BUT WHAT MAY SEEM LIKE THE FREE SPIRITED EXENT ISTRIES OF BONIFIED MODERN HIPPY IS A MAN WHO THINKS THROUGH EVERY AREA OF HIS LIFE AND LIVEWISE GREAT INTENTIONALITY AND MINDFULNESS, LIKE THE SKATE BOARDING. PUSHING FROM MY RIGHT LEG– PUSHING FROM MY RIGHT LEG, WHEN PLAYING BASEBALL, PUSHING OFF RIGHT LEG, ENDURANCE, I WAS TOLD IN MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL YOU CAN’T DO THAT. AND I WAS LIKE, BUT IT IS GOOD FOR ME. YOU KNOW, I AM SAFE, AND GUYS BUY CARS THAT GO 160 AND YOU ARE TELLING ME I CAN’T GO 12? DOESN’T MAKE SENSE. ONCE I STARTED PRACTICING BEING MINDFUL, THEN MINDFULNESS STARTED COMING INTO MY LIFE. I COULDN’T JUST– IT IS NOT SOMETHING YOU ARE LIKE, I AM SUPER MINDFUL, IT IS LIKE EVERY MORNING I AM WAKING UP GOING OKAY, WHAT SHOULD I BE MINDFUL FOR? Reporter: TO HAMBURGER THERE IS A DIRECT CORRELATION BETWEEN THE WAY HE LIVES AND THE WAY HE PITCHES. AND HE PITCHES REALLY, REALLY WELL. THE BEST IN THE LEAGUE. SO WELL, YOU WONDER WHY IN THE WORLD HE IS STILL HERE IN THE LOWEST LEVEL OF MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL, RATHER THAN BACK IN A BIG LEAGUE SYSTEM. WHEN DID ALL THE MINDFULNESS BEGIN? I MEAN, I WOULD PROBABLY HAVE TO SAY THE BIGGEST, ONE OF THE BIGGEST SHIFTS OF MY LIFE WAS WHEN I, UM, I FAILED MY DRUG TEST, BECAUSE MY WHOLE JOB AND CAREER ENDED, MY WHOLE LIFE IN GENERAL OF WHAT I KNEW CAME TO A COMPLETE HALT. Reporter: HAMBURGER WAS ON TOP OF THE WORLD IN 2011, IN THE BIG LEAGUES, AS A ROOKIE RELIEVER ON THE TEXAS RANGERS TEAM THAT WENT TO THE WORLD SERIES. BUT HE WAS LEFT OFF THE POST SEASON ROSTER AND DISAPPOINTED AGAIN SHORTLY AFTER. END OF THE WORLD SERIES, THEY GIVE OFF A PLAYOFF BONUS OR SHARE, I HAD EXPECTATION THAT MY DREAMS WOULD BE FULFILLED, AND I WAS GIVEN A VERY, VERY MINIMAL AMOUNT AND I TOOK THAT PERSONALLY AND I WAS SO ANGRY. THAT IS WHAT STARTED MY DOWN FALL. Reporter: AS HIS ANGER BURNED, HE SMOKED, LOTS AND LOTS OF MARIJUANA TO SOOTHE THE FRUSTRATION. HIS PERFORMANCE REFLECTED IT, AS HE BOUNCED AROUND THE MINORS, RELEASED BY THREE DIFFERENT TEAMS. IN EARLY 2013, HE FAILED TWO DRUG TESTS WITHIN TWO MONTHS, WHICH CAME WITH A 50-GAME SUSPENSION, ESSENTIALLY KILLING HIS BASEBALL CAREER. THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT I NEEDED, I WAS LIKE, I ALWAYS SAID WHEN I WAS YOUNGER, SMOKING, DRINKING, ALL THESE THINGS, PARTYING, I WOULD GET CAUGHT BUT NEVER FOR THE BIG THING,IA NEVER GET CAUGHT—- YOU NEVER GET CAUGHTS, IT IS ALWAYS LIKE TAPS, WAKE UP, DUDE, WAKE UP, UNTIL FINALLY I HAVE SUCH A THICK HEAD THAT IT JUST– BROUGHT THE GAVAL DOWN AND THAT IS WHEN MY LIFE OF MINDFULNESS STARTED. Reporter: HE PUT HIM INTO REHAB AND CHANGED HIS OUTLOOK. THE ANGER I WAS HOLDING ON TO WAS POINLESS, IT IS JUST WEIGHING ME DOWN Y LET IT GO. ONCE I LET IT GO, IT WAS LIKE I FELT LIKE A FEATHER, MAN. I FELT LIKE AFTER CRYING, LETTING GO OF ALL OF THAT– AND IT WAS GOOD TO CRY, SCREW THE MANLY STUFF, IT WAS LIKE LETTING, PURGING THAT OUT OF ME. MY WHOLE LIFE IS DIFFERENT NOW BECAUSE MY PAST DOESN’T HAUNT ME ANYMORE. I AM NOT LETTING MY PAST ATTACH ITSELF TO ME ANYMORE. I AM LIVING PRESENTLY, AND MINDFULLY. Reporter: HE JOINED THE SAINTS AFTER REHAB AND PITCHED WELL ENOUGH IN 2013 TO GET SIGNED BY THE TWINS INTO THE MINOR LEAGUE SYSTEM. BUT IT WAS HIS RELEASE TWO YEARS LATER THAT SHOWED TRULY HOW FAR HE HAD COME. I COULDN’T GET OVER WHAT HAPPENED TO ME IN 2011, OR BEING RELEASED IN 2012, I COULDN’T GET OVER IT FOR A COUPLE OF YEARS. I GOT OVER THIS WITHIN A DAY. Reporter: AND REJOINED THE SAINTS, WITH WHOM FOR THE LAST TWO SEASONS, HE IS PITCHING BETTER THAN HE EVER HAS. AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, IN HIS MIND, LIVING BETTER THAN HE EVER HAS. DO YOU STILL HAVE AMBITIONS OF BEING BACK IN THE BIG LEAGUES? OR ARE YOU HAPPY HERE? LEVEL WISE, I WOULD LOVE TO PLAY THERE. Reporter: BUT HE TURN ED DOWN MULTIPLE CHANCES TO PUT HIMSELF BACK ON THE PATH, PART DESIRE TO REMAIN A STARTER, NOT ROLE-PLAYING RELIEVER, PART LOYALTY TO THE SAINTS, PART HESITANCY ABOUT NOT WANTING TO CHANGE ANYTHING ABOUT WHAT IS NOW A REALLY HAPPY LIFE. Reporter: DO YOU WORRY THE WAY THAT YOU LOOK, OR THE WAY THAT YOU LIVE, BEING DIFFERENT FROM MOST OTHER BALL PLAYERS WOULD BE A DETERRENT? YEAH, I MEAN, I SEE IT. I KNOW I GET JUDGED. I KNOW THAT TEAMS ARE LIKE, HAMBURGER IS PROBABLY STILL SMOKING, PROBABLY DOING THIS. Reporter: WHY NOT CHANGE YOU TO MAKE YOURSELF MORE APPEALING? I THOUGHT ABOUT THAT, WHAT IF I CUT MY HAIR? CREW CUTED IT OUT, WORE BUTTON UPS, LOOKED FRESH– I WOULD HATE MYSELF AT NIGHTTIME, I WOULD LOOK IN THE MIRROR AND I LOVE MY CURLS RIGHT NOW, MAN. I NEVER HAD THIS BEFORE. YOU KNOW, PEOPLE SAY I GOT A RECEDING HAIRLINE, I MIGHT ONLY HAVE TWO HAIRCUTS LEFT. SO WHERE AM NOT GOING TO CUT MY HAIR BECAUSE I LIKE IT. HI. THEY RECOGNIZE THE CAR? YEAH. I FEEL SO GOOD RIGHT NOW, SO GOOD IN MY OWN SKIN, AND MY OWN HAIR AND MY OWN CLOTHING, I COULDN’T DO IT. I AM VERY PASSIONATE ABOUT GETTING BETTER AND BETTER AND BETTER AND MAYBE SOME DAY BEING SEEN BY THE RIGHT PERSON WHO WANTS TO GIVE ME THE OPPORTUNITY, BUT I ALSO– UM, AM VERY CONTENT. KNOWING THAT I PLAY BASEBALL FOR A LIVING AND I SUSTAIN MYSELF. I MAKE A SMALL AMOUNT A MONTH BUT ENOUGH TO LIVE A VERY, VERY HAPPY LIFE. HAMBURGER IS AN AMERICAN

4 thoughts on “Mark Hamburger: The Most Interesting Man In Baseball

  1. He's having a midlife crisis and enjoys pretending to be a rockstar. His ego is huge and he justifies being poor by saying "he is living minimal and mindful(I don't think he knows what that means".

  2. I totally get ya Mark Hamburger! I discovered him in the ABL. what cool guy and he may not have a last name like Clemens or Rivera or Guerrero but I think he realizes something about life that very few hall of famers would understand! Respect

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