Zagunis called up by Cubs, will make MLB debut with start tonight

BLACKSBURG – On Thursday, June 22, the Chicago Cubs officially announced the promotion of former Virginia Tech catcher/outfielder Mark Zagunis to the Major League level. Zagunis becomes the 20th Hokie to reach the highest level of professional baseball and is scheduled to start tonight in right field against the Marlins in Miami.

With Zagunis’ call up, it gives the Hokies three former players currently in the MLB, as he joins Oakland’s Chad Pinder and Jesse Hahn. It’s only the eighth time in the history of the MLB that three former Tech players are in the league during the same season.

Zagunis is the third Hokie to play for the Chicago Cubs and the second to make his debut with them. The first was Toby Atwell, who made his debut back on April 15, 1952 and played two of his five-year major-league career with the Cubs. Atwell was named an All-Star during that 1952 season – one of just three Hokies to ever earn the distinction.

Leo Burke played the final three seasons of his seven-year career with the Cubs, from 1963-65. He ended his professional career with the organization, last playing on May 26, 1965 – meaning it’s been more than 52 years since a Hokie played for the Cubs.

Within the last calendar year, the Hokies have seen three former players make their MLB debuts, with Chad Pinder starting his first game on August 20, 2016 with the Athletics and Joe Mantiply making a relief appearance in his first game with the Detroit Tigers on September 3, 2016.

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