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Saturday, November 12, 2022

Rich Polak adjusted to pros and new pitching role; Saw six seasons, made AA

Hurler Rich Polak's work as a starter in college got him to the pros. In the pros, though, he settled in in mid-relief, a role he wouldn't have chosen but he came to accept, he told his college's Central Florida Future newspaper.

He responded by setting new goals for himself, rather than simple wins and losses, he told the paper in June 1990.

"If I come in with another runner on base and (don't) let (him) score, I feel I did my job," Polak told the paper.

Polak eventually did his job over six pro seasons. He topped out at AA.

Polak's career began in 1989, taken by the Yankees in the 20th round of the draft out of the University of Central Florida.

At Central Florida, Polak gave up three first-inning runs in a March 1989 game against South Florida, then shut them down the rest of the way for the complete-game win, The Tampa Tribune wrote.

"He was very effective to say the least," South Florida coach Eddie Cardineri told The Tribune of Polak. "The bottom line is that he was one of the best pitchers we've seen this year, maybe the best."

Polak started with the Yankees in the rookie Gulf Coast League and at single-A Prince William. He went 4-2 between them in 15 outings, seven starts, with a 3.66 ERA.

He returned to Prince William at high-A in 1990 and saw 43 relief outings, one start. He ended with a 2.69 ERA, one save and three wins.

Polak saw high-A again over the next two seasons, at Fort Lauderdale and Prince William again. Then, in 1993, he made AA at Albany-Colonie. He saw 21 relief outings and had a 4.55 ERA.

Polak saw one more season, four outings between high-A Tampa and the GCL to end his career

Polak has gone on to be an instructor and a coach in high school and college, including as an assistant softball coach at Culver-Stockton College

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,070
Made the Majors:1,349-33.2%
Never Made Majors:2,721-66.8%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:549
10+ Seasons in the Minors:333

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