EFFINGHAM — Growing up, Dave Pruemer had a dream similar to most young boys. He wanted to play Major League Baseball.
“It’s every kid’s dream to make it to the big leagues,” he said. “I realized early on that I wasn’t going to make it by playing, so I had to adjust my path a bit.”
Now the head athletic trainer for the Minnesota Twins, Pruemer is living the big league dream.
After eight years as an assistant trainer with the club, Pruemer has been promoted to the top training job in the organization.
“It’s an honor,” he said of the promotion.
Pruemer’s path to the big leagues was similar to the path a player would take. After graduating from Teutopolis High School and Southern Illinois University, Pruemer worked with Northwestern University and the Pittsburgh Pirates before finding his way to the Twins organization in 1995.
There, he started working for the rookie-level team in Elizabethton, Tenn. The following year, he was promoted to the single-A team in Fort Myers, Fla.
After two years in Fort Myers, he spent four years with the double-A team in New Britain, Conn. From there, he moved on to the triple-A team in Rochester, N.Y.
After being named International League Trainer of the Year in 2004, Pruemer finally got the call to the majors, where he became an assistant trainer in 2005.
Now, Pruemer gets to prowl the dugout along with baseball stars like Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau, attempting to keep them healthy — something easier said than done.
Pruemer said he enjoys working with the big-name stars, who are not that different from everyday people.
“You realize when you get here that they’re normal people too,” he said. “They just happen to be able to hit a round ball with a round bat better than everyone else.”
Pruemer said he appreciates everything the Twins organization has done for him and his family and wants to stay with the team for a long time.
But, he acknowledged that all the travel associated with Major League Baseball causes him to have to spend long periods of time away from his family.
“I enjoy what I do,” he said. “But it’s tough to be away from your family for a long period of time. But, I’ll keep doing it as long as my family sees fit.”
So, for the foreseeable future, Pruemer will be alongside Mauer, Morneau and the rest of the Twins, where he’ll continue to enjoy all the perks of being a Major League trainer, like having a front row seat for such memorable games as the one-game playoff between the Twins and the Detroit Tigers at the end of the 2009 season. The Twins won 6-5 on a dramatic walk-off single by Alexi Casilla.
“It was 12 innings of back and forth, nip and tuck,” Pruemer said of the game, one of the best he’d ever seen.
He hopes to see many more games like that in his new role with the team.