Friday, May 23, 2014

Forgotten Twins? Mark Funderburk

My memories of Mark Funderburk

Um, none.  I honestly do not remember this man at all.  I wanted to write about someone from the mid-80s because I'm more of a 90s guy and I wanted to expand my horizons.  So, I did a little search-a-rooni and settled on Big Mark.  Funderburk is a fantastic name too.  Anyway, I have no memories of this person/player.  I look forward to a lot of learning over the next few paragraphs.

Baseball Reference

Funderburk debuted before I was born, so I guess it's fair that I don't remember him.  He played eight games with the Twins in 1981 at age 24.  He didn't play another MLB game until 1985.  He played just 23 games with the Twins that season.  He hit .314/.351/.529 in those 23 games, which is more than solid.  But, he never played another MLB game after 1985. 

Of course, his journey wasn't just Minors to MN back to Minors back to MN.  The Twins released him in 1982, shortly after I was born.  Likely to celebrate.  The Royals scooped him up in 1983 but released him just a few months later.  He ended up in the Mexican Leagues after that.  He doesn't have any stats in 1984 but signed with the Twins after the 1984 season.  He crushed 34 home runs for AA Orlando in 1985 and got a promotion.  He obviously hit well in Minnesota, but the Twins hated him so they released him.  Or at least that's how a four-year-old might perceive it.  But I was three, so I couldn't think like that. 


Obviously, the Twins were ahead of the curve back in 1985 because they didn't buy into his .345 BABIP.  He did have a 132 wRC+, so that's nice!  He posted a 0.3 WAR in 23 games, so he'd have roughly posted a 2.4 WAR if he had played the whole season.  That's just solid mental math though and I'm just showing off right now.  He also had a -0.11 Clutch rating, but I have no idea what that means.  I just know it means he's #notclutch.


Mark Clifford Funderburk was born in Charlotte, North Carolina on May 16, 1957.  The only way to enhance a great last name like Funderburk is to slap a great middle name like Clifford in front of it.  In fact, I am making a vow right now.  If I have an 11th son, I will name him Mark Clifford Funderburk Dozier Swanson.  Book it!  Funderburk was in professional baseball for 12 years, which I imagine was a lot of fun.  That's not in his Wikipedia entry, it's just a guess. 


If you search for "Mark Thunderburk" you get results for "Mark Funderburk."  Unfortunately, it's not because that was his nickname.  It's pretty perfect though.  He's big, he's powerful, he brought the thunder.  He hit 214 Minor League home runs.  Why wasn't he Thunderburk?  Who missed that one?  I know Gardy would call him "Burky" or something, but weren't we more creative in the 80s? 

I did find an article about Funderburk that tells of his life in baseball and life after baseball.  It's from 1997, but it's pretty cool.  Take a look.

Switching to Google Images led me here.  If you go to Model Mayhem, you can read all about this Mark Funderburk.  He's also from North Carolina, but he's a little scrawny.  The Mark Funderburk had two MLB stints by 28, so point, Thunderburk.  


Only 20 results?  Here'sa listing for a game-used bat signed by Funderburk.  It's just 15 bucks.  I'm pretty sure that's cheaper than a new wood bat, so if you need something for BP, you could disgrace a former MLB player at the same time.  Here's 16Funderburk cards, with 3 different cards!  If you need 11 of the same Mark Funderburk card, this is the perfect lot for you. 

Ok, I don't get this one.  It's a 1986 Sportflics card and there are like eight players on it.  I remember these cards.  You moved them one way and you saw one player then you moved them the other way and saw someone else.  It was pretty stupid.  This one might be a magical card though.  Did we have the technology for quadruple sportflics in the 80s?  The eBay user who listed it is Red Voodoo Cafe.  Just sayin'. 

Ok, I think I have an idea for the 11 Funderburk cards.  11 cards would be roughly the size of a computer screen.  Find the person in your life who is least likely to know who Funderburk is and attach the cards to their screen.  That person will be confused.  They might ask who did it.  Never own up to it.  Never let on.  Then, 40 years later, you make the reveal.  It will be chilling, but a very real moment.

Or, don't by them.  That's much easier.  

Only 14 likes?  You should be ashamed of yourself. 


Thunderburk (I'm just going to call him that now) isn't on Twitter.  Or, if he is, he has a silly or obscure username.  I did find some tweets related to him:
Shout out to John Sickels, who provides great Minor League coverage at SBNation.  Also, this is a true fact that you learned earlier.
This is misleading.  It's actually a different Funderburk, not a Mark at all, no mention of whether or not he brings the thunder.  If you live in this district, please vote for Funderburk.  If you care about local government, please let me know because you'll be the first person I know who does. 
This is also not Thunderburk, but I do endorse buying a Nissan.  I've owned a 2006 Nissan Sentra for eight years and I've never had a major issue with it.  It has 125K miles on it and it runs great.  If you're looking for a great automobile, why not check out the good folks at Leith Nissan in Cary, North Carolina?  Tell them Thunderburk sent you and watch to see how confused they look. 

Side question - why do all the Funderburks live in North Carolina?  Someone do the research.


Mark Funderburk is not represented on YouTube.  What a disgrace.  First off, does everyone understand how much harder this is for me?  Honestly, has anyone thought of me for even a second?  If you have a Thunderburk video, put it up!

Anyway, there are three users named Mark Funderburk on YouTube.  One has 45 subscribers, more than Thunderburk has likes on Facebook.  It appears that he is a musician, and I watched his cover of Neil Young's "Old Man" and I have to say, I enjoyed it.  Since Thunderburk isn't on YouTube, this is a pretty decent consolation prize.

Random Person

My Dad got me into the Twins and he was a fan in the 80s, so this seems like a logical fit.  He claims that he remembers him, but he wasn't able to provide any details.  I think he probably just remembers his name but is too proud to admit that he doesn't remember the man.  That's ok, he helped give me life, so I forgive him. 

Verdict:  Not sufficiently remembered!

This man is not remembered.  He's barely present on the internet, although I didn't check the dark internet or whatever.  In a lot of ways, Funderburk is the original El Pupo Bernardo Brito.  Tons of power, lots of MiLB success and little opportunity in the Majors.  Both guys have great nicknames, even if I only made up one today.  Plus, both guys are not remembered as they should be.

Even though I didn't know Thunderburk a week ago, I am glad I found this card and looked him up:

Even if I do hate those cards. 

Brad Swanson is the author of the thing you just skimmed.  He has one dog.  You can meet Brad in person if you know where he lives and/or work or if you buy a brand new Nissan from Leith Nissan.  

If you're interested, I have a whole mess of Forgotten Twins in a sweet archive that you can find right here.  


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks! And thanks for keeping my love of writing bylines alive!

  2. Well I never thought googling my name would lead me to this gem, but I am the Mark Funderburk you found on YouTube.

    Unfortunately that is not me in the video, that is a friend that I recorded and published the video for.

    There are not many videos of myself on the channel I think the only one that shows my face at all are

    which are not good examples of myself but the best you will find on YouTube anyways.

    I am flattered that you think our last name sounds so cool, and it may not surprise you but about 75% of people think my last name is Thunderburk the first few times they hear it. So I would imagine Mark Clifford Funderburk was called that many times as well.

    BTW I was born in Charlotte NC too.

    PS: my friends like to call me Thunderdick haha

  3. In 1984 Mark Funderburk played for Rimini, Italy. He hit .347 with 38 homeruns and 91 RBIs in 61 games and 239 at bats. He led the league in homeruns that season and he still holds the record for most homeruns in a single season in the Italian league.