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A major dream come true

Even as a fifth-grader in Stillwater Area High School baseball coach Ricky Michel's day ball program, Glen Perkins was head and shoulders above everyone else as far as his abilities.

Over the years, the 2001 Stillwater graduate developed into one of the best high school pitchers in the state of Minnesota. Three years later, he became one of the top collegiate pitchers in the country.

With a phone call from the Minnesota Twins on draft day, Perkins was given the opportunity to take the next step in his baseball progression in the same neck of the woods he took his first step.

"It's amazing to have the chance to play in Minnesota," Perkins said. "Obviously, growing up here, playing for the Gophers and now getting a chance to someday play with the Twins is everything I've dreamed of."

After being recruited by the University of Minnesota out of high school, the left-handed pitcher redshirted so he could concentrate on getting on track academically. It also gave him a year to hone his skills and develop a third pitch to go along with his fastball and curveball.

Perkins may have rewritten the Ponies baseball record books in high school, but even those watching his development first-hand couldn't imagine how dominating he'd become as a member of the Gophers.

"When he went to the U, we thought he could have a nice career there, and be an impact player as far as the starting rotation goes," Michel said. "But to predict he'd be the Big Ten Pitcher of the Year, and the Big Ten Rookie of the Year? No, I don't think we could have predicted that."

In a whirlwind two-year period, Perkins never lost a regular season Big Ten Conference game, going 15-0. It wasn't long before Major League scouts were flocking to see him pitch and clock his 90-plus mile per hour fastball.

That was also the time Perkins began to realize he may have a career past college baseball.

"After last year, I got some national attention, and started talking to scouts and got some invites to different things. I think I realized it then," Perkins said. "This fall, they were at my practices and talking to me every day. Getting calls from agents and financial planner made me realize it was all starting to come together."

After the Twins called to tell Perkins they'd drafted him with the 22nd selection in the first round of the draft, friend and current Twins rookie, Joe Mauer, called to welcome Perkins to the family. The two met in high school and roomed together at an all-star tournament.

Mauer, who graduated from Cretin Derham-Hall in St. Paul in 2001, has fell into the roll of hometown boy in his rookie season with the Twins. Mauer and Perkins, both 21-years old, may soon share that title.

"It's nice to bring recognition to especially the east side of the (Twin) Cities. It's a smaller community, so it's fun to come out of here and hopefully put Stillwater on the map," Perkins said. "I've always had a good following, even when I was in high school here. I always run into people from Stillwater at different things and they say congratulations and keep it up.

"They tell me it's nice to see a Stillwater kid succeeding."