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Justin Huber

Justin Huber - LF/1B
Hometown: Melbourne, VIC
Debut: 21 June 2005
Final Game: 11 September 2009
Teams played for: New York Mets, Kansas City Royals, San Diego Padres, Minnesota Twins

Two weeks after Glenn Williams made his MLB debut, Victorian Justin Huber took the field for the Kansas City Royals. The son of a Swiss father and Australian mother, Huber was introduced to baseball at a shopping mall in Melbourne when he and his family received an informational pamphlet about t-ball from a local club. He fell in love with the sport and signed with the New York Mets as an 18-year-old amateur free agent in 2000.

Huber began his career as a catcher and quickly established himself as one of the organisation's top prospects, spending his first professional season at three different Minor League levels. He was hitting .313 at Triple-A Norfolk in 2004 when the Mets traded him to the Kansas City Royals. That season, Huber also made a permanent position switch from catcher to utility after having surgery to repair torn cartilage in one of his knees.

Huber made his MLB debut for the Royals on 21 June 2005, and picked up his first big league hit on 24 June, when he doubled and drove in a run in a pinch-hit appearance. The Royals sent Huber back down to the Minors at the end of June but recalled him when rosters expanded that September. He finished the 2005 season with a .326 batting average in the Minors and a .218 batting average in the Majors.

Huber played mostly for the Royals' Triple-A team for the next two seasons, earning the occasional callup to the Majors. He joined the San Diego Padres in 2008, spending the first half of the season with the big league club before being sent to the Minors. He hit .246 with two home runs and eight RBIs in 61 at bats for the Padres in 2008, and signed with the Minnesota Twins for 2009, though he had just two at-bats with Minnesota.

Huber played for Japan's Hiroshima Toyo Carp in 2010 and made his last professional season in the US in 2011, when he hit .259 with eight home runs and 42 RBIs in 100 games for the Somerset Patriots of the independent Atlantic League.

In addition to his professional dreams abroad, Huber continued to support the growth of baseball back home, serving as an instructor at the MLB Australian Academy and as a longtime member of the Australian national team. He played for Team Australia in the 2006, 2009, and 2013 World Baseball Classics, and contributed to the Aussies' upset victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks in the Team Australia Challenge during the 2014 Opening Series in Sydney.

When the new ABL rebooted in 2010 Huber joined his hometown Melbourne Aces and remains a mainstay utility player on the team.

View Justin Huber's career statistics from Baseball Reference

(Photo at right: Huber at bat for the Aces during the 2013/14 ABL season. Credit: SMP Images/ABL Media)