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Shane Mack

1982 Alaska Goldpanners
Roster Statistics Results Schedule

1983 Alaska Goldpanners
Roster Statistics Results Schedule NBC

Position Outfielder
83 Class Sophomore
Out of Arizona State
H/W ; B/T 182 cm/86 kg R/R
Birthday 12/4/63

Top 40 Minnesota Twins: #24 Shane Mack

By Aaron Gleeman

When asked about a freshman named Shane Mack by a Los Angeles Times reporter in 1982, UCLA coach Gary Adams looked right into his crystal ball and didn't pull any punches:
I really believe that Shane Mack is going to be one of the greatest UCLA players of all time. He reminds me so much of Jackie Robinson, but his fire is inside, not outside like Jackie. He's not flashy like Jackie was. He just does the job and produces.

I've never had such a quick learner. He realize his shortcomings and that's why they don't last very long. You make the most of what you have, and he does. He has everything, all the tools. I'll tell you something, Shane isn't going to be just a major leaguer, but a super major leaguer.
Adams was right. After hitting .306 as a freshman Mack emerged as one of the elite players in college baseball, hitting a conference-best .419 as a sophomore and .352 as a junior. Mack was a first-team All-American in both seasons, and leading up to the 1984 draft there was heavy debate over whether Mack or USC slugger Mark McGwire should be the first player chosen.

Under the headline "Mack or McGwire Could Be Chosen No. 1" in a June 4, 1984 Los Angeles Times article, Dodgers scouting director Ben Wade said, "You've got two of the best in the country over at USC and UCLA." The next day the newspaper described Mack as "the finest all-around player in college baseball" and "at or near the top of virtually every major-league club's scouting list."

The Mets surprised everyone by taking high-school outfielder Shawn Abner with the first selection, which turned out horribly. McGwire dropped to the A's with the 10th pick, while the Padres were thrilled when Mack fell into their laps 11th overall. After playing for the United States' silver medal-winning team in the 1984 summer Olympics, Mack bypassed his final year of eligibility and began his pro career in 1985.

Mack spent the bulk of his first two years at Double-A, hitting .260/.325/.370 in 1985 and .281/.318/.451 while repeating the level in 1986. He moved up to Triple-A to finish the 1986 season, hitting .362 in 19 games at hitter-friendly Las Vegas. Mack stayed there in 1987 and hit .333 with five homers while going 13-for-13 stealing bases in 39 games. When a torn biceps tendon forced Steve Garvey to the disabled list in late May, San Diego called Mack up.

Debuting on May 25, 1987, Mack went 0-for-2 with two walks starting in right field. He stayed with San Diego all season and saw regular playing time against left-handed pitching, hitting .239/.299/.361 in 105 games. Interestingly, after debuting in right field Mack played almost exclusively center field, as it quickly became apparent that he was a better defender there than incumbent Stan Jefferson.

Mack began the 1988 season back at Triple-A and spent the year shuttling between San Diego and Las Vegas. He hit just .244/.336/.269 in 56 games with the Padres, but once again tore up the Pacific Coast League with a .347 batting average and 10 homers in 55 games. Mack was back at Triple-A once again in 1989 when an elbow injury cut his season short after just 24 games.

That offseason the Padres left the 26-year-old Mack off their 40-man roster and the Twins snatched him up in the Rule 5 draft. Mack made the Opening Day roster, but played sparingly early on, getting just 18 at-bats in April, 33 in May, and 39 in June. In mid-July, with Mack hitting over .300 and the Twins playing under .500, manager Tom Kelly finally gave him a shot as an everyday player.

Splitting time between all three outfield spots, Mack responded by hitting .306 in July before slumping in August, and then finished the year by batting .432 (38-for-88) with 17 RBIs and six steals between September and October. Overall he hit .326/.392/.460 with eight homers, 44 RBIs, and 50 runs scored in 353 plate appearances after entering the season as a career .241/.312/.331 hitter.

Kelly was still somewhat hesitant to make Mack an everyday player in 1991, but he started 61 times alongside Kirby Puckett in right field while also getting 16 starts subbing for Puckett in center field and 38 starts playing left field in place of Dan Gladden. Mack had a huge year, hitting .310/.363/.529 with 18 homers in 143 games to rank among the league's top 10 in slugging percentage and OPS.

Thanks in large part to Mack the Twins went from worst to first, winning the AL West with a league-best 95-67 record after finishing dead last at 74-88 the previous season. Mack hit .333 with three RBIs and four runs scored in the five-game ALCS win over Toronto, but then went 0-for-15 with seven strikeouts in the first four games of the World Series against Atlanta.

After pulling Mack in a Game 3 double-switch--leading to closer Rick Aguilera pinch-hitting in the 12th inning--Kelly gave designated hitter Chili Davis the Game 5 start in right field despite Davis seeing a total of three innings defensively during the season. Back at home and playing under AL rules, Mack returned to the lineup for Game 6 and went 2-for-4 with a first-inning RBI single. He went 1-for-4 in the Twins' dramatic Game 7 win.

For the first time in his career Mack was given a chance to be a true everyday player in 1992. Starting 150 games and playing primarily left field, Mack hit .315/.394/.467 with 16 homers and 26 steals to rank among the AL's top 10 in batting average, on-base percentage, and runs. He fell to .276/.335/.412 in 1993 and missed the first month of the 1994 season with shoulder problems, but bounced back to hit .333/.402/.564 to rank among the league leaders in batting average and slugging percentage.

A pending free agent when the players' strike ended the 1994 season early and canceled the World Series, Mack decided to take a guaranteed payday in Japan once the work stoppage dragged on well into the offseason. In January of 1995 he signed what was then "the biggest contract in the history of Japanese baseball," agreeing to a two-year deal with the Yomiuri Giants worth $8.1 million.

In retrospect it's easy to question his decision, but Mack was already 31 years old when he became a free agent for the first time, the strike continued into the 1995 season, and that was incredible money for a non-superstar back then. Only eight AL players made over $5 million in 1994 and the highest-paid player in all of baseball was Bobby Bonilla at $6.3 million.

Mack hit .284/.356/.463 during two seasons in Japan, and then returned to MLB with the Red Sox in 1997. After hitting .313/.368/.438 in 60 games for Boston, Mack signed with Oakland for 1998. Mack played just three games for the A's before being traded to the Royals in April for Mike Macfarlane, and then hit .280/.345/.449 in 66 games with Kansas City in what was his final season.

It's easy for Mack to get lost in the long shadows of stars like Puckett, Aguilera, Kent Hrbek, Jack Morris, Chuck Knoblauch, and the rest of the 1991 championship team, but for five years he was one of the best, most underrated players in baseball. A tremendous athlete who covered tons of ground defensively wherever the Twins put him in the outfield, Mack hit for huge batting averages with great speed and had overlooked power.

Among hitters with at least 500 games in a Twins uniform only three have topped Mack's 130 adjusted OPS+, and he also ranks among the team's all-time leaders in Runs Created Above Average:
                    OPS+                             RCAA
Harmon Killebrew    145          Harmon Killebrew     471
Rod Carew           138          Rod Carew            393
Tony Oliva          131          Tony Oliva           280
SHANE MACK          130          Kent Hrbek           262
Kent Hrbek          127          Kirby Puckett        254
Bob Allison         127          Bob Allison          185
Larry Hisle         127          Chuck Knoblauch      152
Kirby Puckett       124          SHANE MACK           103
That's what I'd call good company.
TOP 25 ALL-TIME MINNESOTA TWINS RANKS:
 
OPS            .854         2nd
AVG            .309         5th
SLG            .479         5th
OBP            .375         6th
Steals           71        15th
Triples          24        17th
XBH             210        22nd
Runs            351        23rd
Total Bases    1036        25th


Mark Davis, Oddibe McDowell, Shane Mack
"Million Dollar Outfield"

2627590-R1-E003.jpg (144208 bytes) 1983 Goldpanners 2627590-R1-E006.jpg (142314 bytes) 2627590-R1-E005.jpg (147286 bytes)
 

Nippon Professional Baseball League - Signed by the Yomiuri Giants in 1995 outside the draft

 
Salary Info
1996 3.8-oku
[1-man = 10,000.]
[1-oku = 10,000-man = 100,000,000.]
["man" yen and "oku" yen are units
used for discussing salaries.]

Batting

Year Team Games PA AB Runs Hits 2B 3B HR TB RBIs SB CS SacH SacF BB (IBB) HBP K DP LOB Avg Slg OBP Err
1995 YG 120 540 477 79 131 18 0 20 209 52 12 9 0 1 52 (4) 10 78 9 - .275 .438 .357 3
1996 YG 127 534 484 71 142 28 0 22 236 75 12 1 0 3 41 (1) 6 83 17 116 .293 .488 .354 2
Totals: 247 1074 961 150 273 46 0 42 445 127 24 10 0 4 93 (5) 16 161 26 116 .284 .463 .356 5

Fielding - Outfielder

Year Team Games Put Outs Assists Errors DPs Field%
1995 YG 120 277 8 3 3 .990
1996 YG 127 268 5 2 0 .993
Totals: 247 545 13 5 3 .991

 

 

 

 

    

Position Name Year AVG G AB R H RBI 2B 3B HR BB SO SB S
OF Shane Mack 1982 .287 46 167 30 48 32 11 1 6 12 30 17 0
OF Shane Mack 1983 .347 42 150 46 52 37 6 5 10 20 19 25 3
OF Shane Mack Career .315 88 317 76 100 69 17 6 16 32 49 42 3