Changes or additions to the site

  • 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
  • I changed the name of the page I used to call “Linksville” to “Story Time” because the page was just not getting the number of reads that it should be getting in my opinion. There are many great articles and stories out there for you to check out about former Minnesota Twins players, coaches, managers, ballparks, etc. Stop by “Story Time” and I am sure you will find something that you have not seen before. Thank you!
  • This Day in Twins History was off-line for some time as I worked to revamp it. I have been busy making changes and it is far from complete. I hope that I will be able to keep it current going forward. You can get to the new This Day in Twins History pages by clicking the red “This day in Twins History” button in the upper right-hand corner of the home page. 04/16/2018
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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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Former Minnesota Twins pitcher Lee Stange gone at 81

Lee Stange – (courtesy of Minnesota Twins)

Albert Lee (Stinger) Stange, born on October 27, 1936 in Chicago, Illinois, passed away at the age of 81 in Melbourne, Florida after losing his battle with cancer. Stange was a great athlete in high school playing baseball, basketball, and football (with Ray Nitschke) and winning all-state honors in the latter two sports. After graduating from high school Stange went to Drake University on a football scholarship but a knee injury his freshman season ended his football career, but it did not end his dream of being a professional athlete.

“Two years later, I called a scout (Washington Senators scout Ossie Bluege) who saw me play baseball in high school, and I said I wanted to play ball. He sent me a contract for $200 a month (to play) in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.”

Lee Stange

Lee signed as a free agent with the Washington Senators in 1957. Stange spent 1957 and 1958 in class “D” ball at Fort Walton Beach before moving up to class “B” in 1959. In 1960 while still in class “B”, Stange won 20 games while losing 13 when he threw for 251 innings and finished the season with a 3.59 ERA. The following spring, 1961, in the Minnesota Twins initial spring training, Lee made the big league club, pitching in a couple of games before getting sent down and spending most of the season in AAA Syracuse before he was recalled to Minnesota in September. Stange spent the entire 1962 season with the Twins, starting 6 games but pitching primarily in relief. In 1963 Stange again started the season with Minnesota but in early May was again sent down to AAA where he ripped off a string of victories that forced the Twins hand and he was once again in the majors. After being recalled, Stange pitched primarily as a starter and won 12 games including two shutouts  while losing just 5 and putting up an exceptional 2.62 ERA in 164+ innings. During his Twins career between 1961-1964 Stange appeared in 97 games, starting 37 times and posting a 20-14 record with a 3.61 ERA. Stange was more of a throw to contact pitcher then a power pitcher but his pitching skills served him well. Stange had 10 complete games, two shutouts and 3 saves on his resume at Minnesota. Stange was an excellent bowler, so good in fact that the Brunswick bowling company signed Stange to tour Minnesota, Iowa, and the Dakotas during the winter on exhibition tours. One year, Stange said, he was offered a sponsorship to go on the pro tour, but he declined.

In June of 1964 Lee Stange and George Banks were traded to the Cleveland Indians for Jim Grant. That September the Stinger struck out four Washington Senator batters in one inning. After pitching for the Indians for a couple of seasons Stange was once again traded, this time to the Red Sox in 1966.

Stange pitched very well for the 1967 Red Sox and was involved in one of the greatest pennant races the American league history. Even though he finished with an 8-10 record, he led the Red Sox pitching staff with an ERA of just 2.77. The race was so tight that it was thought that a playoff game might be necessary to determine a pennant winner and Red Sox manager Dick Williams saved Stange to pitch that game. It turned out that an extra game was not needed and the Red Sox won the pennant and got the right to play the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. Losing to Bob Gibson three times, the Red Sox went on to lose the World Series to the Cardinals 4 games to 3. Stange pitched for the Red Sox until June of 1970 when he was sold to the White Sox. After the 1970 season Stange’s body told him that enough was enough and Lee retired as an active player and went on to coaching and managing in the minors as well as serving as a pitching coach in the major leagues for the Minnesota Twins, the Oakland A’s, and the Boston Red Sox on two separate occasions.

Stange was twice the pitching coach of the Red Sox, from 1972-74 and again from 1981-84. He then became a minor league pitching instructor for the Sox from 1985-94. Stange also had coaching stints with the Twins (1975) and Athletics (1977-79). In all he spent 40 years in professional baseball, 23 of them with the Boston Red Sox. Stange spent nine years as the pitching coach for Division 2 Florida Tech before retiring from baseball at age 78. Lee Stange participated in Minnesota Twins and Boston  Red Sox fantasy baseball camps for many years and was always a fan favorite.

Survivors include his wife, Barbara and three children, Tim, Jim and Jana. Stange also had two stepchildren, former Sox infielder Jody Reed and Paul Reed.

RIP Lee Stange and thank you for all the wonderful memories. Stange is the 25th member of the 1961 Minnesota Twins team to pass away. There were 42 players that played for the Minnesota Twins in 1961.

 

Boston Globe Bio

The SABR Baseball Biography Project write-up on Lee can be found here.

Back in November 2009 I did an interview with Lee Stange that is 58 minutes in length.

 Lee Stange interview

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Astudillo is already a legend

Willians Astudillo – credit Jeff Johnson

Emma Baccellieri did a nice story about Twins rookie Willians Astudillo in the September 18 issue of Sports Illustrated called “Meet Your New Favorite Player: Twins Utilityman Willians ‘El Tortuga’ Astudillo.” 

It is a fun, enjoyable feel good story about an exciting and unique ballplayer with the Minnesota Twins in a season where Minnesota Twins fans have had very little to cheer about. Check it out, it will be worth your time.

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Baltimore Orioles crack marketing staff at work

Dylan Bundy

The Baltimore Orioles became the first American pro team to wear Braille-lettered jerseys yesterday, which was National Federation of the Blind Night at Oriole Park.

What a shameful marketing ploy! Can anyone tell me what possible benefit putting Braille on a baseball uniform has? I am all ears.

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Ft. Myers Miracle win FSL Championship

2018 Florida State League Champions

The Twins A+ Ft. Myers Miracle beat the Daytona Tortugas by a score of 8-5 on September 10th in Game 4 of the Florida State League Championship to clinch the series 3-1. The Miracle scored five runs in the third inning and took a 5-3 lead thanks to a three-run home run by Ryan Costello. Edwar Colina was the starter and winner for Ft. Myers, allowing three runs (none earned) on three hits and four walks with six strikeouts over 6.2 innings. In the four game series, Travis Blankenhorn hit .538 (7-for-13) with a double, four RBI and five runs scored while Royce Lewis hit .294 (5-for-17) with five RBI and five runs scored.

This marks the Ft. Myers Miracle first FSL Championship since 2014. The Miracle are the second Twins affiliate to win a championship this year, the first being Rookie League  Elizabethton Twins, who won the Appalachian League title on September 5.

Box Score

Miracle run: After clinching late berth, Fort Myers rolls to Florida State League crown

 

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Elizabethton Twins win it all, again!

Yes, the Elizabethton Twins have won the championship again, their 12th Appalachian League title and ninth under current manager Ray Smith.

 

The Final Out of Elizabethton’s Championship Season

The E-Twins 2018 story (about 7 1/2 minutes long)

 

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