Former Joliet JackHammer Tim Byrdak appeared in the 6th inning for the in a game I attended with my son. (I remembered my camera but forgot the SD card). He gave up two doubles and a walk, 2 runs and was taken out without retiring a batter. While the Cubs managed to lose and spoil an otherwise very nice evening it is always interesting to see former Norther League players in action on the big stage.
Until this year I have not been a real close follower of former players from the JackHammers or Northern League. The Joliet Herald News has updates on MLB players with local connections every Sunday. Having former players in the big leagues adds a bit of legitimacy to the league. But when teams like the JackHammers do little to promote their players when they are on the team they aren’t going to get much mileage out of promoting former players when the reach the majors. It is probably my imagination but I really think other teams in the Northern League do a much better job of it.
The Below is from Wikipedia about Mr. Byrdak
Timothy Christopher Byrdak (born October 31, 1973 in Oak Lawn, Illinois) is a Major League Baseball relief pitcher for the Houston Astros. His previous major league experience came from 1998 to 2000, when Byrdak played for the Kansas City Royals, an injury-plagued stint with the Baltimore Orioles, and one year with the Detroit Tigers.
After playing for the Orioles from 2005–2006, Byrdak was designated for assignment on August 30, 2006. On November 17, 2006, the Tigers signed him to a minor league deal. On March 26, 2008, Byrdak was released after posting a 13.50 ERA during spring trainingand later signed with the Houston Astros.
Prior to the 2007season, Byrdak developed a forkball, a type of pitch that he had previously not thrown. This enabled him to throw 3 pitches (along with a fastball and curveball), and as a result he began to post the best numbers of his career. In his Detroit debut, Byrdak struck out 5 of 6 batters in the heart of the powerful Boston Red Sox lineup, including an inning-ending curve to which David Ortizstruck out looking. Aside from major league baseball Tim works at the Diamond Sports Academy and gives pitching lessons alongside many former major leagers including former Rockies ace, Marvin Freeman. Tim is married to Heather and has two children, daughter Briana and son Christopher. He and his family reside in Lockport, IL during the off-season.