Joe Beimel was drafted as a college player by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1998 – before some of his current San Antonio Missions teammates were born.
The 6-foot-3 left-hander pitched 917 games over his career in the minors and majors that ended in 2016 – until this week. The San Diego Padres signed Beimel to a minor-league contract on June 13 and assigned him to the Missions on Monday.
Wednesday night in the eighth inning at Wolff Stadium, Beimel walked out to the mound as part of a major league organization for the first time in five years. The 44-year-old pitched a 1-2-3 inning with one strikeout in a Double-A game, a Missions loss to the Corpus Christi Hooks.
Wednesday’s game was a possible first step back to the majors.
Beimel orignally made his pro debut in the minor leagues in rookie league in 1998 and made his Major League debut with the Pirates in 2001.
Over the next 15 years, he pitched in 676 games in the majors, all but 23 of those in relief. He spent time with the Pirates, Twins, Rays, Dodgers, Rockies, Nationals, Pirates (again) and Mariners. Beimel has a 29-34 record with five saves and a 4.06 ERA for his career.
Beimel’s final season in the majors was 2015, when he pitched in 53 games in relief with the Mariners.
In 2016 he pitched in 12 games for Triple-A Omaha. And that is where his career statistics ended – until Wednesday night.