Drafted in the fifth round in 2004, infielder Sean Kazmar Jr. made his last MLB appearance on Sept. 23, 2008, for the San Diego Padres. He played in 19 games that year and never made it back to the majors — until today.
Called up by the Atlanta Braves on Saturday, Kazmar Jr. entered the game against the Chicago Cubs in the fifth inning as a pinch hitter, grounding into a double play.
With his at-bat, the 12-year, 206-day gap between is the longest since Minnie Miñoso in 1976, per ESPN’s Jeff Passan and the Elias Sports Bureau.
What separates him from Miñoso is that Kazmar Jr. has been playing every year since the last time he saw MLB action. The 36-year-old has been in the farm systems of the Padres, Seattle Mariners, New York Mets and Braves since 2009.
Braves manager Brian Snitker, who was Kazmar Jr.’s manager for Atlanta’s Class AAA Gwinnett Braves from 2014-2016, said calling up the infielder was one of the greatest moments in his managerial career.
“I thought about this is whenever I got this job, I said one of the greatest things that could happen to me was have Kaz up here,” Snitker told reporters before Saturday’s game. “It’s a book or a movie waiting to happen.”
Snitker compared the “MVP of spring training for the third year in a row” to Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis in terms of stability, consistency and professionalism.
“This guy’s a baseball rat. I mean, it’s just every year when I had even AAA, there’d be about two or three days in July I’d have to sit him down because I was wearing him out. It was one of those, ‘Kaz you didn’t sign up here to play all this,’ but he ends up being one of the most reliable, consistent, better players on your team every year.”
Kazmar Jr. only saw MLB action in 2008 with the Padres. In 19 games, he hit .205 (8-for-39) with two RBI, five walks and 14 strikeouts.
In 16 minor league seasons, he’s hit .259 with a .313 OBP, 98 home runs and 682 RBI. In the past seven seasons with Gwinnett, he hit .268 with a .311 on-base percentage, 37 home runs and 270 RBI in 667 games. In 2019, he pitched in three games, went 1-0 with one strikeout and retired all nine batters faced.
Follow Jordan Mendoza on Twitter: @jord_mendoza.