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The end of the road for Glen Perkins

A home town hero and three time All Star may have just had a tear-filled finale at Target Field.

MLB: Minnesota Twins-Media Day
One of us.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

I sort of knew this was coming. By Saturday, I felt it even more. Sunday’s forecast was due to be rainy (maybe even a rain-out?), so I knew Paul Molitor would try to get Glen Perkins in during Saturday night’s game. I was standing in center field during the 9th inning, near one of the gates as I was getting ready to dart out and try to beat traffic, when I heard Johnny Cash over the stadium speakers.

That’s Glen Perkins’s music.

Young John Curtiss had been pitching for the previous 1.2 innings, but Twins manager Paul Molitor pulled him with one out left—in a close, 3-2 game in which the Twins were trailing—to put in Perkins.

Perkins got the final out in the top of the 9th, and called for the ball from first baseman Kennys Vargas as he walked off the field. He got it, went into the dugout for the bottom of the 9th, and bawled his eyes out.

Perkins—who struggled to come back from a torn labrum, made it back, but still struggled after being back—looks as if he’s going to call it a career. He had already hinted about retirement, for reasons not even relating to his pretty significant injury. The Twins are highly unlikely to exercise his $6.5 million option for 2018, and by all accounts, it looks like this is it.

Born March 2nd, 1983, in St. Paul, Minnesota, Glen Perkins has played all 12 years of his major league career with the Minnesota Twins. He grew up in the Twin Cities metro area, attending Stillwater High School and pitching for their baseball team. He went on to attend the University of Minnesota, where he played for the Golden Gophers baseball team in 2003 and 2004. His hometown Minnesota Twins drafted him in the first round of the 2004 MLB draft, 22nd overall. I mean, it’s almost like Joe Mauer—who he was even friends with way back when.

To begin his professional career, Perkins was a starting pitcher. In fact, he started 26 games in 2008, the year the Twins just missed the playoffs after losing Game 163 to the White Sox. He started 17 games the next year, but soon after that he fell into a relief pitcher role—and lucky for the Twins that he did.

Perkins saved 120 games for the Twins over five seasons, making the All-Star Game three times—including in 2014, the year the All-Star Game was in his home town, his college town, and was hosted by the team he had played for his entire career and cheered for his entire life. I was fortunate enough to be at the 2014 All-Star Game in-person, and hands down the highlight of the night was Glen Perkins running out of the bullpen in the 9th inning and taking the mound to absolutely the loudest crowd I have ever heard (outside of the Metrodome [duh]).

I will never forget that moment, and I don’t think Perkins will either.

Perkins spoke tearfully to reporters in the clubhouse after Saturday night’s game:

No one knows if this is truly the end for Glen Perkins. But if it is? Damn, Perk, you were a fine pitcher and person.

I’m sure we’ll see you around.