When we first met in July, Tim Beckham was a St. Paul Saints infielder on fire since he played his first game on June 1 after a couple of months on the injured list. He simply told us that as he was leading the minors in batting while his focus nonetheless remained on getting back to the majors.
Later last month, Beckham’s focus was rewarded as he was called up by the Minnesota Twins and played his first MLB game since 2019.
The 32-year-old infielder has previously played for three MLB clubs since his debut in 2013 with Tampa Bay, who drafted him first overall in 2008 and gave him a $6.15 million signing bonus. He signed a minor league contract with the Twins in February, went to spring training, and was assigned to St. Paul. Beckham missed two months of playing time due to a strained left quad.
“I’m happy to be here,” said Beckham as we stood in front of the Twins dugout after he finished his pregame workout. “Happy to be on a winning team and a team playing for the playoffs.”
It was the previous night, August 15, against Kansas City when Beckham made one of the team’s highlight plays of the season. As a defensive replacement at first base in the ninth inning, the 6-0 Beckham fielded a ground ball, threw to shortstop at second base, then caught the relay at first for a game-ending double play and sealed a win for the home team.
“You notice situations and you run it by your head,” Beckham explained. “When it happens, you’re not surprised. “The baseball found me and luckily I was prepared for it. You want to keep the game simple.”
Beckham as a youngster chose baseball over football and basketball growing up in Georgia: “Me and my brothers played a lot, a lot around the house,” said the youngest of three sons. “I actually quit baseball when I was 12 to 15. Then I started playing in 8th grade,” he recalled. “I was good at it.”
As an eighth grader, Beckham played on the local high school junior varsity baseball team as a shortstop. When a freshman he played on the varsity.
“Once I started back,” continued Beckham, “I got ranked in the state. I’m like, dang man, if I just applied myself and actually worked on this, then maybe I could be really good.”
Later, after his junior year, Beckham was rated the top prospect out of over 2,000 players after competing in a 17-under tournament in Cincinnati. Then he was rated the nation’s top high school prospect and committed to attend Southern California.
However, Beckham forewent college after he was drafted by Tampa Bay, who called him up five seasons later in September 2013. But he missed the entire 2014 season after he tore his ACL.
He returned to the Rays for the 2015 season and most of 2016 before he was demoted to Triple A. Tampa Bay traded Beckham to Baltimore in July 2017, and he signed with Seattle in 2019. After the Mariners didn’t tender his contract, he went unsigned for the 2020 season.
Beckham played again in Triple A last season in the Chicago White Sox organization. Now he’s back in the big leagues, and Beckham says he will do whatever it takes to stay there, whether in the dugout or on the field.
“I’m just trying to find ways to help.”