7-foot-1 pitcher Loek Van Mil wants to be known for more than his size

By Jessica Kleinschmidt

Loek Van Mil recently spoke to Bleacher Report and claims he has “heard it all” in regards to his height. He’s been called “Lurch” and said his teammates have poked fun at him.

“I hope this piece isn’t just about me being 7-foot,” he says. “It’s not like I was a token 7-footer.”

After spending a decade in the minor leagues, there are other things the Dutch closer has on his mind. The main one being his chance to sport a major league uniform.

After playing overseas in Japan and the Australian Baseball League, the 32-year-old has made his way up to Triple-A with the Minnesota Twins organization who re-signed him in 2014. He was drafted by the same organization in 2005 and had some stints with the Angels and Cincinnati farm teams.

“My second year I had one bad game, and one of my coaches said, ‘You’re not going to last long like this. You’re 7’1″, you need to throw hard,'” Van Mil said in an interview with Bleacher Report.

Van Mil said the journey from playing next to farmland in Oss, Netherlands to playing in front of thousands of people in Japan was “pretty amazing” now that he’s playing for the team in the World Baseball Classic.

With experience in the minors and can play with the professionals his resume isn’t exactly bare. But he’s aware there is still work that needs to be done.

His stands at a career 3.48 ERA in the minors with a 12-27 record in 10 seasons.

“I understand the game. You have to put up numbers,” Van Mil says. “I’m not 22 anymore. You have to perform.

“I’m not bitter,” he says. “I knew the business, I knew what I was in for when I signed up. It just didn’t go my way. It is what it is. It’s been a great experience, a great ride so far. I’ve seen half the world because of baseball. I’ve got no complaints, no regrets. And I don’t think my baseball chapter is over yet. I’m still writing.”

The Netherlands play Korea Wednesday in Seoul at 4:30 AM eastern time.