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Sunday, April 23, 2023

Pat Tilmon continued playing for his love of game; Saw 11 seasons, briefly made AAA, coached

Pat Tilmon 1990 Durham Bulls card, Tilmon shown up close

A decade past his pro career start, Pat Tilmon continued playing in 1996, with independent Thunder Bay.

He'd only briefly seen AAA in affiliated ball. He told his hometown Richmond Times-Dispatch that July what kept him going.

"I'm mainly still playing because I still love the game," Tilmon told The Times-Dispatch, "and I'm still having fun."

Tilmon continued to have fun for three seasons beyond that, all in independent ball. He didn't return to affiliated ball.

Tilmon's career began in 1987, taken by the Braves in the 26th round of the draft out of the University of South Carolina Upstate.

Tilmon started with the Braves at rookie Pulaski. He went 8-1, with a 1.56 ERA in 15 outings, 10 starts.

He then moved to single-A Burlington and single-A Durham for 1988. He went 9-8 overall, with 3.84 ERA.

Moved to Durham, Tilman started 1-3, with a 5.03 ERA, but his manager Grady Little praised his performance to The Times-Dispatch.

"He's been throwing so much better than his record represents," Little told The Times-Dispatch. "It's been a little bit back luck and a lot of his team not hitting in the games he's pitched."

Tilmon returned to Durham for 1989 and 1990. He saw 33 games in 1989, mostly as a starter, and 38 in 1990, largely in relief. His 1990 campaign proved his last with the Braves.

He's not recorded as playing in 1991 or 1992, but returned in 1993 at independent Thunder Bay. He pitched for Thunder Bay over six seasons. He also saw a four-game return to affiliated ball in 1995 at AAA Syracuse with the Blue Jays.

Tilmon's final playing time came in 1999 at independent Sioux City. He's also later credited as coaching at independent Lincoln in 2003, after serving in the same capacity with Sioux City.

Pat Tilmon 1990 Durham Bulls card, Tilmon shown up close

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,156
Made the Majors:1,372-33.0%
Never Made Majors:2,784-67.0%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:557
10+ Seasons in the Minors:339-X

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