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Saturday, April 3, 2021

Kevin Tolar got his pitches over for a decade plus, then made the majors; Saw time in three ML campaigns

South Bend starter Kevin Tolar took the win in this April 1991 game, but he quickly pointed to his fielders for making it possible, according to The South Bend Tribune.

"I had some great defense behind me," Tolar told The Tribune after his six-inning effort. "I didn't have a great fastball, but I was able to get most of my pitches over and made them put the ball in play."

Tolar went on to get his pitches over enough to get him to the majors, but it took him a while to get there.

That season in 1991 marked his third as a pro. His major league call didn't come for another nine years, with the Tigers in September 2000.

Tolar's career began in 1989, taken by the White Sox in the ninth round of the draft out of Mosley High School in Panama City, Fl.

He followed his father, former minor leaguer Bill Tolar, into the pros. Bill Tolar played six seasons and made AAA before injury.

Tolar started with the White Sox in the rookie Gulf Coast League. He went 6-2 over 13 outings, with a 1.65 ERA. He moved to short-season Utica for 1990, then single-A South Bend for 1991. 

He first made AA in 1995, after moving to the Pirates system. He first made AAA in 1998, with both the Pirates and the Reds.

He arrived in the Tigers system for 2000, signing there as a free agent. He played at both AA Jacksonville and at AAA Toledo. He got into 33 relief outings at Toledo. He picked up four wins, two saves and a 3.30 ERA.

Then, that September, he got his first call to the majors. After he arrived, Tolar recalled to The Detroit Free Press that he almost didn't know what to say.

"When they called me into the office yesterday and told me I was going  to the major leagues, I was speechless," Tolar told The Free Press then. "Finally, all I could get out was 'thanks for everything.'"

Tolar got into five games for the Tigers. He gave up one earned in three total innings of work. 

Tolar then returned for nine more games with the Tigers for 2001, where he gave up eight earned in 10.2 innings of work.

After a season back with the Pirates, and back in the minors, he joined the Red Sox for 2003. He made Boston over six outings. He gave up four earned in four innings of work.

Of his work in the minors and wait to get to the bigs, Tolar accepted it, he told The Sarasota Herald-Tribune. He spoke to the paper as he tried to catch on with the Twins for 2004.

"It's part of the game," Tolar told The Herald-Tribune. "You try to put yourself in the best situation with the best fit. Sometimes your best fit is to go elsewhere."

Tolar didn't make the Twins that year and he didn't get back to the majors. He continued on at AAA, in Mexico and in independent ball through 2007. He last played for independent Long Island and in Venezuela, with Aragua.

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:3,616
Made the Majors:1,248-34.5%
Never Made Majors:2,368-65.5%
5+ Seasons in the Majors:520
10+ Seasons in the Minors:307-X

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