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Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Dan Furmanik turned pro as he remembered lost teammates; Played over four seasons, made high-A

Dan Furmanik pitched well enough for Palm Beach Junior College in 1988 to get drafted that June.

But his pitching - and selection - came out of tragedy, pressed into regular service on the mound after two Palm Beach teammates Greg Kennard and Randall "Rick" Rhoden were killed in a December 1987 car accident, The South Florida Sun Sentinel wrote.

"I was happy when I was selected. It was something I wanted for all my life," Furmanik told The Sun Sentinel. "But I'm constantly reminded of (Kennard and Rhoden) every time I go to the mound. No matter what happens, they'll always be on my mind."

Furmanik's pro career lasted through 1991. He saw two seasons in the Mets system, around a year away. He then played his final campaign at rookie independent Salt Lake City. He made high-A.

Furmanik's career began that year in 1988, taken by the Mets in the fourth round of the draft out of Palm Beach Junior College in Florida.

Before turning to pitching, Fermanik started as a shortstop. He also played on a series of title teams at varying levels, including at Jensen Beach Post 126 American Legion team, The Palm Beach Post wrote

"I think the main thing we learned (at Jensen Beach)," Furmanik told The Post in May 1987, "was that every game you play hard but it's just another game. There's a little more riding on it when it's in a tournament like this but you just go out and play. If you've worked hard, it'll show."

Furmanik started with the Mets in 1988 at rookie Kingsport. He went 9-1, with a 2.30 ERA over 13 outings 11 starts. 

The season helped promote Furmanik to be called one of the organization's better prospects. But shin splints ultimately led to the loss of his entire 1989 campaign, The Post wrote.

"He's a good-looking young pitcher," Mets minor league operations director Gerry Hunsicker told The Post in August 1989 of Furmanik's injury struggles. "We're as frustrated as he is."

Furmanik made it back to the field for 1990. He played between high-A St. Lucie and single-A Columbia. He went 9-9 between them, with a 3.47 ERA.

He then moved to independent Salt Lake City in 1991. He went 4-0 there, with a 4.29 ERA over 14 outings, one start. That season proved his last as a pro.

Furmanik appears to have gone on to take up a different sport, fishing, with his own online fishing show, Fishin' Affliction.

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:3,771
Made the Majors:1,275-33.8%
Never Made Majors:2,496-66.2%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:525
10+ Seasons in the Minors:313

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