Changes or additions to the site

  • Check how Twins minor league players are doing in Winter leagues by going to the “Offseason Leagues Stats” button on right-hand side of page. 1023/201
  • I finally broke down and joined Twitter a week or so ago. You can find me at @Stoke63538501
  • The Twins Minor League History Page has been updated. 10/14/2018
  • Updated Twins DL page to include 2018 stats. 10/13/2018.
  • Updated final 2018 Twins attendance on the “Attendance” page. 10/10/2018
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Twins Filling Coaching Ranks

The Twins announced four new coaches to manager Rocco Baldelli‘s staff yesterday, as they hired Wes Johnson (pitching coach), Jeremy Hefner (bullpen coach), Tony Diaz (third-base coach) and Tommy Watkins (first-base coach). The Twins had retained hitting coach James Rowson, assistant hitting coach Rudy Hernandez and bench coach Derek SheltonContinue reading

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Joe Mauer calls it a career and a fine one it was

I was watching the KARE 11 News the other day (November 9) when they announced the breaking news that Joe Mauer had announced his retirement. It caught me by surprise but yet I wasn’t surprised at all, it was still kind of shocking. Joe Mauer has been in the sports news in Minnesota since I first heard of him in the late 90’s when he played and starred in three sports at Cretin-Derham Hall High School.

Then Mauer was drafted number 1 overall by the Minnesota Twins in the 2001 June amateur free agent draft. He spent 2001 playing for Elizabethton in the Rookie League, in 2002 he was in Low A ball with Quad Cities in the Midwest League, and in 2003 he started the season with High A Ft. Myers before being bumped up to AA New Britain.

In 2004 the Baseball America number 1 overall rated prospect Joe Mauer made the Twins team in spring training bypassing AAA ball and was the Twins Opening Day catcher on April 5 at the Metrodome in front of 49,584 Twins fans as a 21 year-old. Mauer hit eighth in the line-up that day getting a walk, a strikeout, a walk, and then two singles in his five plate appearances against the Cleveland Indians. Indians starter CC Sabathia was sharp that night and limited the Twins to just two hits over seven innings and was pulled with a 4-0 lead after throwing 104 pitches. The Twins however came back with four runs in the bottom of the eighth sending the game into extra-innings. In the bottom of the eleventh inning Jacque Jones struck out, Matt LeCroy walked, Joe Mauer walked, Cristian Guzman struck out before Shannon Stewart hit a walk-off three-run home run off Chad Durbin for a Twins 7-4 win over the Indians. Joe’s big league career was underway.

Mauer’s second big league game was not on local TV thanks to Victory Sports and it ongoing negotiations with cable and satellite providers, what a game to miss. The Twins won 7-6 in the 15th inning on a bases loaded two out walk-off single by Jose Offerman off Indians reliever Jake Westbrook after five hours of baseball was played. Joe Mauer was the starting catcher and singled in the third inning but was pinch-run for at that point by Henry Blanco. Earlier in the inning Mauer had raced back for a foul ball pop-up and slid in front of the wall on the rubber warning track behind home plate and heard a “pop” in his left knee. By the time the game ended the home-town Twins had lost Mauer, Johan Santana, and Torii Hunter due to injuries. After the game it was thought that Mauer’s injury was just a mild sprain. However; the next day Mauer went on the DL, the first of ten times he will see his name on the DL during his 15 year big league career. A few days later, April 8th, Joe ends up having surgery to repair a medial meniscus tear in his left knee. Mauer returns to the line-up on June 2 but continues to have trouble off and on with the knee swelling and he plays in his final 2004 game on July 15 and his first season as a Twin ends after just 35 games but in that short period he showed all of us what kind of bat he had as he hit .308 in 107 at bats.

Mauer went on to become a six-time All-Star, win three batting titles, win 5 Silver Slugger awards, win three Gold Gloves, and won the 2009 AL MVP award. Mauer start playing first base periodically starting in 2011 and became a regular at first base in 2014 after concussion problems forced him to give up his catchers gear after the 2013 season. Joe made one more appearance as a catcher in a Twins uniform in his final game in 2018 albeit for just one pitch. Many wondered if it was his last game for the Minnesota Twins but Mauer stuck to his guns and said he would decide soon, on November 9 he did just that with a letter to the fans.

Joe Mauer is one of those players that comes along once in a generation but yet took more than his share of abuse from home-town fans in spite of his baseball skills primarily for two reasons, his $184 million eight-year deal he signed in 2010 and the fact that he didn’t play every day. Catchers don’t play every day but fans thought that if you make $23 million a year you best have your butt on the field day in and day out. To his credit Joe never complained.

As is true with may players, their star shines more brightly after they have retired. I remember Harmon Killebrew being criticised for striking out too often, being slow, and poor in the field. Rod Carew was said to be a terrible baserunner and had a surly attitude. We are talking Hall of Fame players here.

That brings up a good point, is Joe Mauer going into the MLB Hall of Fame? He is borderline and the fact that he had to leave his natural position as a catcher due to injury and become a light-hitting first baseman does not work in his favor. That said, his numbers, skills, and longevity are a plus. If I had to bet I would say that yes, Joe Mauer will be a Hall of Famer and here is why. It can be argued that Mauer was the best catcher in baseball when he was forced to change positions due to concussion issues. Concussions are a big deal in sports today and will be looked upon as valid issues in the future. Another reason and maybe even more important is Joe Mauer’s personality. Everybody loves the wholesome All-American boy who pushed milk in ads and that all of baseball respected. Heck, he was never even ejected from any of his 1,858 big league games. Mauer was alway Mr. Clean on and off the field, if he ever did anything bad, only he knows.

Good luck Joe Mauer as you move to another phase of your life, I sure hope we will be seeing a lot of you around Hammond Stadium and Target Field in the future.

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Who was this Twins player?

“The Golden Glove” sculpture sits outside Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins.  (Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)

What Twins player holds the Minnesota Twins record for committing the most errors in a single season? How many errors did he have and what year did this happen?

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Baseball lifer and former Twins pitcher Bill Fischer passes away at the age of 88

Bill Fischer – Royals senior pitching adviser with credit to John Sleezer

Bill Fischer was born in Wausau, Wisconsin on October 11, 1930 and passed away at his home in Council Bluffs, Iowa on October 30, 2018 at the age of 88. A baseball and basketball player at Marathon High School, Fischer was taken by his high school principal and baseball coach to a Chicago White Sox tryout camp and quickly signed the right-handed pitcher to a $150 a month contract to pitch in Class D Wisconsin Rapids in 1948. The 17-year-old Fischer won his first 10 starts, the first three being a two-hitter, a three-hit shutout, and a two-hit shutout. He had a streak of 26 scoreless innings and finished 14-3 with a 2.63 ERA. 

According to his SABR Bio written by Bob LeMoine –

Fischer was drafted into the US Marine Corps in 1951, at the height of the Korean War, and served as a drill sergeant. “I hated it, but I had a job to do,” he said. “I was in charge of a platoon of 75 men. When I wanted my boots shined, I hollered for my personal shoeshine boy to do it, on the double. Everything was on the double. … I had those platoons sick of looking at me, I guess.” Wryly, he recalled that “The only two-year contract I ever had in my life was when I was drafted into the Marines.” His baseball talents kept him in stateside while the war was waging. His San Diego team won the Marine Corps championship and played in Wichita, Kansas, at the National Baseball Congress Tournament.

According to Fischer, he never saw a big league ball game until he pitched in one during spring training. In 1956 Fischer was invited to spring training by the White Sox and pitched well enough to make the team.  In his major league debut against the Kansas City A’s on April 21, 1956 Fischer had the misfortune of being called in to relieve White Sox starter Sandy Consuegra in the second inning and promptly gave up a single, triple, single, single before being pulled himself before retiring a single Athletic in what turned out to be a 13 run inning for the home-town Kansas City ballclub. Fischer’s White Sox lost the game 15 to 1 when A’s starter Art Ditmar pitched a complete game with Earl Battey getting the only hit for the Mighty Whitey’s. 

Bill Fischer in 1958 with Washington Senators

In 1958 the White Sox traded Fischer to the Detroit Tigers where he struggled and was picked up on waivers by the Washington Senators late in the season. Fischer credited Senators pitching coach Walter “Boom-Boom” Beck and manager Cookie Lavagetto with helping him find rhythm and relax. “I learned more about pitching in three weeks with Washington than I had learned in all my other years in baseball,” In 1960 Fischer struggled and the Senators traded him to the Tigers who moved him to the KC A’s the following season (1961). 

In 1962 Bill Fischer set a record that stands to this day of pitching a record-breaking 84 1/3 consecutive innings without allowing a walk shattering Christy Mathewson’s record of 68 innings. His streak began on August 3rd when he walked Cleveland third baseman Bubba Phillips and ended on the last day of the season on September 30th when Fischer walked Detroit center fielder Bubba Morton, so the streak began and ended with two guys named Bubba.

Bill Fischer

In December of 1963 the #MNTwins selected Fischer who already had spent parts or all of 8 seasons in the major leagues in the Rule 5 Draft which operated differently than the Rule 5 Draft operates today. The move by Minnesota move reunited Fischer with manager Sam Mele, who was on the Washington coaching staff when Fischer was with the Washington Senators a few years earlier. Fischer struggled in nine appearances out of the Twins bullpen in 1964 and his final major league pitch was hit for a walk-off home run by Oriole catcher John Orsino in a 6-5 win over the Twins giving Fischer the loss in his only decision as a Minnesota Twin. Shortly there-after he was returned to Kansas City and then placed on the retirement list.

Fischer then hooked up with his original team, The Chicago White and pitched for their AAA teams through 1968 before retiring as an active player. He retired from playing in 1968 and moved into coaching with stops in Cincinnati, Boston, Tampa Bay, Atlanta and Kansas City, where he spent the past eight seasons as a senior adviser.

Fischer is survived by his wife, Val, and children, Mike and Melissa. Funeral arrangements are pending.

Thank you for the memories Bill Fischer.

Bill Fischer SABR Bio

Bill Fischer, Royals’ senior pitching adviser and former KC A’s pitcher, dies at 88

Former MLB player and Royals coach Bill Fischer of Council Bluffs dies at 88

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Rocco is the Man

Derek Falvey and Rocco Baldelli (credit MN Twins)

Everyone and their brother is reporting that the Minnesota Twins will introduce 37-year old Rocco Baldelli as their 14th manager in Twins history this afternoon at 3 pm at Target Field. Baldelli becomes the youngest manager in MLB.

Baldelli, a Rhode Island native has spent most of his baseball career (playing, front office ad coaching) with the Tampa Bay Rays organization but he did spend one season with the Boston Red Sox before returning to Tampa. Baldelli was the Tampa Bay Devil Rays first round selection (6th pick overall) in 2006. The Twins had the second overall pick that year and chose RHP Adam Johnson who pitched in a Twins uniform in just 9 games winning one and posing a 10.25 ERA. That turned out to be his total big league career.

When Rocco Baldelli emerged as a young star in the minor-league system of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, he drew comparisons to Joe DiMaggio. Baldelli hit .278/.323/.443 with 60 home runs over parts of seven seasons before retiring at age 29 after dealing with a muscle disorder that often left him fatigued.

Now that the Falvey and Levine administration has all their own pieces in place there are no more excuses. The Minnesota Twins going forward are their team. I am excited about having a manager names that comes from outside the Twins organization but I am not sure I am as excited about hiring a manager with no previous managing experience. It will be interesting to see what kind of a coaching staff he surrounds himself with. 

Bottom line; I am excited about this hire and am willing to see where the Woonsocket Rocket can take this Twins team. Welcome to Minnesota Rocco and good luck!

SABR Bio about Rocco Baldelli by Eric Frost

 

 

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Know your Twins numbers

0 – The lowest number worn by a Twins player or field staff is 0 (zero), worn by catcher Junior Ortiz back in 1990 and 1991.

3 – Worn only by Hall of Fame Twins player Harmon Killebrew and retired on May 4, 1975.

4 – Hall of Famer Paul Molitor wore the number 4 as a Twins player in 1996-1998 and as a coach in 2000, 2001, 2003, and 2014 and as a manager from 2015-2018. 

6 – Worn by four former Twins players, Billy Consolo, Ted Lepcio, Jim Snyder, and Vic Wertz before Tony Oliva. Tony-O had his number 6 retired on July 14, 1991.

10 – Nine different Twins players wore the number 10 before manager Tom Kelly strapped it on his back from 1987-2001 as the Twins skipper. The Twins retired TK’s number 10 on September 8, 2012.

13 – Ten different Twins players and field staff have worn unlucky number 13, the first player being Bill Tuttle back in 1961 and the last player being Jason Kubel in 2014.

14 – Worn by four players and a manager before Kent Hrbek took the number 14 to glory. Twins retired the number on August 13, 1995.

25 – Hall of Fame and one time Twins player Jim Thome wore the number 25 on his back in 2010-2011.

28 – Worn by 14 different players including Bert Blyleven. The first player to wear the number 28 was Pedro Ramos and the last was Jesse Crain 2004-2010. Bert’s number 28 was retired on July 16, 2011.

29 – The seventh and final player to wear the number 29 was Rod Carew. The Twins retired this number 29 on July 19, 1987.

32 – MLB Hall of Famer and one time Twins player Dave Winfield wore the number 32 in 1993-1994.

34 – Nine players wore the number 34 before Kirby Puckett put it on in 1984 and no one has worn the number since Kirby took it off for the last time in 1995. The number was retired on May 25, 1997.

38 – MLB Hall of Famer and one time Twins pitcher Steve Carlton wore the number 38 in 1987-1988.

42 – Only three Twins players (Gerry Arrigo, Jim Manning and Buzz Stephen) wore the number 42 before the number was retired across MLB in 1997.

47 – Hall of Fame pitcher and one time Twins pitcher Jack Morris wore the number 47 in 1991.

73 – The lowest number that has never been worn by a Twins player or field staff.

83 – In the Minnesota Twins 58 year history Twins players and field staff have worn 83 different numbers.

99 – The highest number worn by a Twins player was 99 and it was worn by Logan Morrison.

Three players were on the active roster for the Twins but never played in a game for the team: Chuck Schilling, who wore number 18, in 1966; Maurice Ogier, who wore number 17, in 1968; and Dave May, who wore number 20, in 1977. Ogier and May never played in the majors.

Information is courtesy of historian and Minnesota Twins official scorer Stew Thornley’s website

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Do You Remember the Twins First All-Star Third Baseman

 

 

I recently ran across a blog about former Twins third baseman Rich Rollins that you all might enjoy. Rollins played in 888 games for the Twins from 1961-1968 and hit 71 home runs and had 369 RBI with a .272 batting average. 

After appearing in  just 13 games in 1961 Rollins had a break-out rookie season in 1962, so good as a matter of fact that he was named at the starting third baseman and lead-off hitter for the American League in the first of two All-Star games played that season. In his first at bat at D.C. Stadium he faced future Hall of Fame pitcher Don Drysdale who welcomed him by hitting him with a pitch. Rollins played six innings going 1 for 2 with a hit off Bob Purkey and was replaced by Brooks Robinson. Catcher Earl Battey was also a starter in that game and pitcher Camilo Pascual took the loss with three innings in relief of Jim Bunning and allowed all three runs on four hits in a 3-1 loss to the National League.

In the second All-Star game in 1962 that was played at Wrigley Field, the American League prevailed 9-4. Rich Rollins and Earl Battey were again named starters and the AL lead-off hitter Rich Rollins singled in his first at bat off Johnny Podres. Camilo Pascual and Jim Kaat were also on that team but did not play in the game.

Rollins finished his 1962 rookie season with a .296 batting average, 16 home runs and 96 RBI but New York Yankee shortstop Tom Tresh received the AL ROY award that season. Rollins finished eighth in MVP voting that season with Mickey Mantle winning and Harmon Killebrew finishing third.

I never met Rich Rollins but was lucky enough to get a chance to do a phone interview with him back in July 2009 that is about an hour-long that you can listen to here. There are numerous other interviews with former Minnesota Twins that you can listen to on the Interview Archives page.

SABR Bio

 

 

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Molitor no longer the Minnesota Twins manager

 

Derek Falvey Executive Vice President, Chief Baseball Officer of the Minnesota Twins, speaks to reporters during a news conference announcing the firing of Twins manger Paul Molitor at Target Field in Minneapolis Oct 2, 2018. (Photo/Craig Lassig)

A lot of writers have written that they are surprised by the Minnesota Twins move yesterday to fire Paul Molitor as manager and offer him another position in the organization. To me this seemed obvious and surely would have happened at the end of the 2017 season had the Twins not been handed a wild card spot.

Paul Molitor

I am not a fan of Paul Molitor the manager but am a fan of Paul Molitor the player, two completely different things. This move was inevitable, you knew it was coming, just like you know the Sun will rise in the East every day. The only question was when and we got our answer yesterday.

No Head of Baseball Operations wants an inherited manager under his watch, his job depends on that manager. Baseball is like any other business, if the people under you fail then you will fail too. Derek Falvey like most everyone else in his position has a large ego and they want to be surrounded by people who agree with their style and their way of thinking. Falvey seems to have a very hands on managing style and working with a Hall of Famer probably made that more difficult and uncomfortable. Having a coaching staff that was split between loyalty to Molitor and himself compounded the problem. If you can solve that problem for a little over $3 million why not jump on it? Falvey can now feel comfortable being in the position knowing that if he fails now, he has only himself to blame.

I think Falvey and the new manager whomever they select will be in a good place with a young team that will bounce back next season and have a legitimate shot at contention in the weak AL Central Division. They desperately need Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton to succeed if they want to get better quicker. Having said that, remember that neither one of these players was brought into the organization by Falvey. He finds himself in a good spot with these two players because he can reap the rewards if they turn out to be the players that they are expected to be and if things don’t turn out well, he can always say I had no part in bringing them in. Life isn’t fair, get used to it.

It is going to be an interesting next few months for Twins fans. From here on in the ball is in Derek Falvey and Thad Levine’s court, I can’t wait to see if they are up to the challenge. The Twins have built a huge front-office under the Falvey regime and they have more analysts and bean-counters than they can count but in baseball when all is said and done all that really counts is wins, and you need good players on the field to get wins. It is not a game played on the computer with the team with the best analysts winning.

The Twins also let the following people go:

Perry Casstellano – Strength and Conditioning Coordinator
Erik Beiser – Strength and Conditioning Assistant
Alan Rail – Chattanooga Trainer
Chad Allen – AAA hitting coach
Ivan Arteaga – AA pitching coach
Henry Bonilla – Low A pitching coach
Asdrubal Estrada – Dominican Republic hitting coach
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Some good Twins articles

I am posting a copy of the Sunday, September 30 Minnesota Twins Daily Clips because there are a number of great Minnesota Twins articles here that many of you might not get a chance to read as this horrendous 2018 Minnesota Twins season comes to and end.

Today’s game could also be the end of the line for the Joe Mauer train as he approaches what might be his final stop. Joe Mauer eight-year $184 million deals ends today and the question remains, does Mauer’s career also end? We all have a perception of Joe Mauer but maybe one of the articles on this PDF will change that. The article was written by Dan Hayes for “The Athletic” (a pay site) and is well worth your read here. Who would have thought?

Joe Mauer – credit to Bruce Kluckhohn

I hope that Mauer keeps playing for the Twins, maybe not full-time and certainly not at the money he has made but he is a Minnesota Twins icon and there is no one on this team ready to fill those shoes as yet.

Twins Clips_9_30_2018

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Are we watching Paul Molitor’s final days at the Twins manager?

You can bet your bippy that we should be. There are just five days left in the 2018 season for the Minnesota Twins and they will play them all at home against the Tigers and the White Sox. The 72-84 Twins would have to lose all their remaining games to have a 90 loss season so that is unlikely to happen, it is just as unlikely that they will win all six and finish 78-84. Either way the season has been anywhere between disappointing and disastrous. I love to watch the Twins play ball but I am ready for this season to end and see what the Twins front office can do to make this team better.

Paul Molitor

The first order of business on Monday morning should be to announce that Manager Paul Molitor has decided to retire. I can’t see how Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have any choice but to dump Paul Molitor after resigning him to a new deal after last season. You can’t blame them for re-signing Molitor last season because they really had no choice with the love that owner Jim Pohlad has shown for Molitor and the fact that the Twins won 85 games in 2017 after winning just 59 games the year before.

Derek Falvey would be foolish if in his first opportunity to run an organization he kept a manager from the previous regime and didn’t put his own man in that job. Falvey and Levine came into an organization that had no place to go but up and so far they have managed to do nothing but keep it downtrodden. A second place finish in your division when the team is under .500 means nothing. 

Paul Molitor has been nothing but a puppet under Falvey, how many coaches did Molitor bring in, probably zippo. Since Falvey and Levine were forced to keep Molitor as manager when they came in they figured that they better fill the coaching staff with their types of coaches. How has that worked out for you?

Molitor has to go and Falvey has to finally show that he is really in charge of this organization. If not, Falvey and Levine should be updating their resumes next year. It is all about winning, if you don’t win you failed, simple as that. 

Today Twins fans are tired of being losers, they don’t want to accept the fact that they should be lucky to have a MLB team and accept whatever crumbs are thrown in their direction. Twins ownership can’t have it both ways, they can’t have fans that are passionate about their team and yet tell fans that it is all about what is coming in the future. Passionate Twins fans want a winner now and it is the Twins organizations responsibility to put a winning staff and team on the field.

Maybe I am getting old and cranky but I have followed and watched this team since they moved here in 1961 and the Twins have rewarded me with sub .500 baseball. When exactly is the future going to arrive? 

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