The 20-year old Jorge Polanco‘s stay in the big leagues with the Twins is expected to end today when the Twins are expected to send him back to the minor leagues. Polanco was called up from the Ft. Myers Miracle of the High A ball Florida State league on June 26th making Polanco the fifth Twins player to make the mammoth leap to the big leagues from class A ball.
The first player in this exclusive group was 18-year old right-handed pitcher Jim Manning who was called up very early in 1962 from the class A Charlotte Hornets in the Sally League. Manning was only in his second year of pro ball after having signed with Minnesota as a free agent in 1961 and pitching in just 12 games for the Wytheville Twins in the Appalachian League in 1961. Manning became the youngest Minnesota Twins player to appear in a big league game when he debuted in relief on April 15, 1962 at the age of 18 years and 268 days against the Los Angeles Angels at Met Stadium in a 6-3 Twins loss. Manning appeared in four more games for the Twins before being sent down to the minors and to never again put on a big league uniform.
The second Twins player to make the jump from class A to the majors was catcher Butch Wynegar. Wynegar was a Twins second round pick in 1974. Harold Wynegar, better known as Butch spent the 1975 season playing for the class A Reno Silver Sox and made the 1976 Twins team out of spring training and was a major leaguer from the day he made his big league debut on April 9, 1976 at Arlington Stadium at the age of 20 years and 26 days.
Player number three was non other than Twins Hall of Fame and Minnesota native first baseman Kent Hrbek. Hrbek, a 17th round pick in the 1978 draft for the Twins was playing in his third season of pro ball for the class A Visalia Oaks after stops in Elizabethton in 1979 and Wisconsin Rapids in 1980 when the Twins called him up in August 1981 and he made his debut at Yankee Stadium at the age of 21 year and 95 days on August 24, 1981. Hrbek never returned to the minors again. SABR Bio on Hrbek.
Player number four was another Minnesota native, outfielder Jim Eisenreich who was drafted by the Twins as a 16th rounder in 1980. Eisenreich spent time in Elizabethton and Wisconsin Rapids in 1980 and 1981 before coming north with the Minnesota Twins after making the club in spring training in 1982. Jim debuted at the Metrodome on April 6, 1982 at the age of 22 years and 353 days. Eisenreich was diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome and chose to retire causing him to miss all of the 1984 and 1985 seasons before making a comeback with the Kansas City Royals and going on to enjoy a very productive 15 year career with five major league teams although only 48 of his 1,422 big league games were spent in a Twins uniform. Eisenreich SABR Bio.
But getting back to Mr. Polanco, though he never had a chance to play in Target Field in front of home town fans during this call-up the switch-hitting shortstop garnered a loyal following among Twins fans that are looking to see him in the big leagues once again. Polanco appeared in four games getting seven plate appearances that included getting two walks and two hits and three RBI’s. His hits were a double and a triple. MLB ProspectWatch did a little blog on Polanco that you might want to check out. I think the most interesting part of the blog was the Baseball Prospectus scouting report on Polanco.