Earlier this week the Twins called up infielder James Beresford from triple-A Rochester. If you’re not familiar with the name, don’t fret—Beresford has been a career minor leaguer, playing in the Twins’s farm system since 2007. He’s never really been considered for a call-up until now. "Once in a while someone needs to be rewarded for everything they've done,” Paul Molitor explained to reporters Tuesday. And heck, with expanded rosters, why not?
So who is James? First of all, put another shrimp on the barbie, because he’s Australian! Born in Mount Waverly, Australia, Beresford played with the Waverly Baseball Club (where he was MVP) before signing with the Twins in 2005. James tore his labrum sometime after that, which is why he didn’t start playing in the Twins’s system until 2007.
And play in the system he did. Beresford has logged 1070 minor league games for the Twins, which is a lot. Only two other active players have more games played in the minors without a major league appearance (Christian Marrero and Juan Ciriaco). After playing in his 1000th career minor-league game earlier this season, Beresford’s teammates commemorated the accomplishment by making him special T-shirts that said “Mr. 1000”, complete with a small Kangaroo waving a flag that read “4” (he was four career home runs). Beresford was reportedly unsure whether the T-Shirts were supposed to be a compliment.
At many stages in the minors, Beresford was actually roommates with Brian Dozier. Dozier remarked to Seth Stohs of Twins Daily:
To be honest, I kinda got a little emotional when hearing that he is coming up because of how hard he has worked over the years and the dedication he has had in order to fulfill this dream. I called him yesterday morning after he was told he was coming up and through the phone it was awesome to hear the excitement in his voice. I know he's been waiting for this moment his whole life and I couldn't be happier for him.
Even Royals pitcher Peter Moylan, a fellow Australian, was super pumped about the call-up. He went to Party City before Tuesday’s game and got a bunch of balloons to fill James’s locker for when he arrived at Target Field. “I wanted to do something that drew attention to the fact that this is a really big deal,” Moylan told Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press.
After a decade in minors, James Beresford makes his MLB debut w/ @Twins. His locker was appropriately decorated. pic.twitter.com/epkQxXA2Lq— Chris Long (@ChrisLongKSTP) September 6, 2016
How is that for a big league welcome?!
“He’s just an unbelievable guy to have in the clubhouse,” John Ryan Murphy—who came up with the Kangaroo waving the “4” flag thing—said. “Everybody loves being around him. He’s a guy who always brings a positive attitude. Just a great teammate.”
So if you’re still wondering about the “why” here, that’s basically why.
Assuming James actually gets some action while up here, he’ll be the 30th Australian-born major leaguer, joining other former Twins Grant Balfour, Glenn Williams, Justin Huber, Luke Hughes, Brad Thomas, and Liam Hendriks.