Monday, April 2, 2012 | 2:26 a.m.
During four seasons in Las Vegas, Shane Mack built the foundation for what would be a solid if not spectacular career that sent him to five major league teams and three years in Japan.
Mack’s best years came with the Minnesota Twins. In 1991, he hit .310 and drove in 74 runs while playing all three outfield positions for the World Series Champions. He followed that up with a year that included 101 runs scored a league-leading 15 hit-by-pitches.
From 1994-97 he played out a three-year contract with Japan’s Yomiuri Giants before returning to the major leagues to play for Boston, Oakland and Kansas City. Over nine major-league seasons, Mack hit .299 in 923 games.
While in Las Vegas, Mack played parts of four seasons and for the most part dominated Pacific Coast League pitching. He hit .362-.336-.347 before struggling in his final desert stint. But that didn’t stop him from carving out a spot with the Twins for the next five seasons.
The San Diego Padres had drafted Mack with the 11th overall pick in 1984, but left him exposed in the 1989 Rule 5 draft. Minnesota picked him up and it couldn’t have worked out much better for both parties.
Mack’s years in Las Vegas helped make it all possible.