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Mark Prior Newsbeat

Thursday, May 05, 2022

Cubs prospect Mark Prior delivered one of the most memorable minor-league debuts 20 years ago

The buzz for Prior’s Triple-A debut was electric.

Fans, reporters and players understood how big of a name Prior was. An announced crowd of 8,243 fans packed into the park on a Tuesday night. It wasn’t a sellout, but was far from a typical Tuesday crowd.

Lantz estimates around 20 media members, some from Chicago, were credentialed. Mahoney says Prior’s teammates knew how big of a deal his debut was. They had heard stories about how dominant he was in college and how good he could be in the pros.

“He was a superstar coming out of college,” Mahoney said….

Iowa was playing the Tucson Sidewinders that night. The actual game didn’t matter. Most fans didn’t care about Tucson or the majority of the Cubs lineup, frankly. All they cared about was Prior and how he looked.

And he looked great.

“Don’t think we’ll get two starts out of him,” Cubs fan Dave Souders told Register sports columnist Sean Keeler that night.

It became apparent why right away. Prior, whose fastball sat in the mid-90s throughout the evening, controlled the game from start to finish. He struck out the side in the first inning and again in the third inning. He got standing ovations both times.

“He had really good carry on his fastball,” said Micah Franklin, who hit fifth for Tucson that night.

The most memorable parts of Prior’s debut actually happened at the plate. He smashed a home run in the fifth inning. Two innings later, he crushed another to dead centerfield. As Prior rounded the bases following the second shot, fans in the stands joked that after touching home, he’d head straight for Chicago.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 05, 2022 at 10:49 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, mark prior



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