A baseball career can be a long and winding road. It can be as frustrating to navigate as driving on some Minneapolis streets with potholes. Or it can be rewarding at a pace that can seem either meteoric or snail-like.
Curtis Terry is in his first season with the St. Paul Saints, the Minnesota Twins’ Triple-A club. The majors are just over the bridge, but essentially can also be worlds away. We recently sat in the team dugout before a game last week and talked about Terry’s baseball travels. He quickly noted that he nearly left his baseball dreams behind as frustrations over not moving forward seemed to possess him.
“I didn’t know, I was probably depressed,” recalled Terry, “went through some depression.” He is now in his third full season in the minors.
Drafted by Texas in 2015, Terry signed with the Rangers for a $100,000 signing bonus after being a 13th round pick. He began his pro career in the rookie Arizona League. The following season, 2016, he split time between two Class A clubs. Another two seasons (2017 and 2018) he spent in Spokane, where he also played in 2016 and was later named the 2018 Northwest League MVP.
Another split season came in 2019 where Terry had his best season to date (25 HRs and 80 RBI) and was named the Rangers’ 2019 minor league player of the year. Then COVID hit and canceled the 2020 minor league season.
After being assigned to Triple A, Terry finally got his first call up with the big club in July, 2021 and was the designated hitter against Houston in his first night in the majors. He got his first MLB hit nearly a month later after 20 hitless at-bats. The first baseman finished last season with over 48 plate appearances for Texas, hitting under .100 and one RBI, and got released after the season.
Looking back at his short time in the bigs, “It was a cool experience,” said the 6-0 Terry. “I think I played 13 games, and I struggled. I was young.” He told himself, “I really think I can play up here and be a consistent player. I got to see it last year.”
Last November, Terry signed a minor league contract with the Twins and has been in St. Paul all summer. He’s having fun now but easily remember when it wasn’t.
“I talked to my parents,” said the Georgia native on what ultimately helped him get through it. They told him, “‘No matter what happens, just go out there and have fun. Have as much [fun] as you can playing baseball.’ That helped me with my career.”
Terry’s aspirations remain on track despite all the unexpected obstacles. “My ultimate goal is to get to the majors, trying to stay up there and be more consistent.”
Charles Hallman is a contributing reporter and award-winning sports columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.