Sticky: Changes or additions to the site

Added a new link to “Offseason Leagues Stats” on the right-hand side of the home page. See where players from the Minnesota Twins organization are playing this off-season and how they are performing. 10/20/2014

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A vote for Torey Lovullo

Voted

Terry Ryan (courtesy of SI.com)

Terry Ryan (courtesy of SI.com)

Terry Ryan continues in his quest to find just the right man to become the Minnesota Twins thirteenth manager. Ryan has not had to perform this task since late in 2001 and this will only be his second hire of a Twins manager so he doesn’t have a lot of experience with the process but that is a good thing I think.

According to recent reports the list of potential candidates has been reduced to the final three, Paul Molitor, Doug Mientkiewicz, and Torey Lovullo. But who knows, the Twins keep their cards close to their vest so there is no way to know how accurate these reports are. If these indeed are the finalists I am fine with it.

Who would I hire if I was in Terry Ryan’s shoes? For me it would be between Mientkiewicz and Lovullo. I would eliminate Molitor because of the baggage he brings and the fact that he has been part of the Twins organization off and on for a number of years. My perception is that I don’t see Molitor as really wanting the job, I see him as thinking he is entitled to the job because he is a Hall of Fame player and that in his mind he is the most qualified. I don’t see him as having earned a big league managers job and I don’t see any passion from him for getting the job. I don’t see him as the “guy” that will lead the Twins back to respectability, I see him as the old guy that will bring more of the same.

I like Doug Mientkiewicz very much and think that down the line he will be a wonderful manager either here in Minnesota or somewhere else but right now I have to pass. I love his passion for the game and the fact that he is managing in the minor leagues, earning his stripes so to speak. But in the end it is his inexperience and the fact that he is part of the Twins organization right now that works against him.

I think it is great that the Twins have always rewarded loyalty but every now and then you have to bring in new blood to make your herd that much stronger and to look at things from a different perspective. Think about it, in each of our lives we have taken a new job at some point in time where we first felt that maybe we were not qualified, then over time we became more comfortable in the job as we learned the tricks of the trade. As we were learning we were open to suggestions on how to do the job but as time went along and as we gained confidence in our roles we tended to start to ignore or blow off suggestions because we have been doing this job for some time and no one knows how to do this job better than I, just ask me. Things get done the same way because that way has worked for me in the past and besides, it has always been done that way.

Change is difficult but life and baseball are all about change, once you quit changing you die and the Twins organization is on life support. It is easy to be comfortable because you have no assurance that the new will be better than the old, why go out on that scary limb when you can stay in your safe place? But staying in your safe place does not make you a leader or a winner, it keep you average at best. When change is instituted it will either make the situation better or worse, it will work or it won’t. There is a 50% chance that it will make things better. The Twins have lost 90 or more games for four consecutive seasons, how much worse can it get?

Torey  Lovullo

Torey Lovullo

Bringing in Torey Lovullo as the Twins new manager along with a brand new coaching staff will bring new thinking into the organization and give the team a chance to break free of the bonds that have held them going down the same path for years. Why wouldn’t you bring in someone new, why should Twins fans have to continue to endure the same old boring brand of bad baseball the Twins have shown us since 2011? Give us a break, show us you are at least willing to try a new approach.

I know that hiring from the outside will have consequences, Molitor will probably leave the Twins organization and that Tom Kelly‘s may also cut back on his active role with the team as the new regime takes over. But is that all bad? Sometimes the best addition is through subtraction.

Terry Ryan and the Twins are at the fork in the road, will they take the same old path home they always do or will they try that other path that they have not traveled for a long time? The last time the team tried a new path they ended up in Ray Miller land and that was not fun. The newer path probably has some bumps and unexpected surprizes but who knows what they may find, maybe it is a shortcut to the promised land of playoffs and a World Series. I for one can’t wait to see what the Twins choice will be.

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Keeping up with the latest Twins news and notes

GM Terry Ryan

GM Terry Ryan

On one hand the Minnesota Twins front office keep saying that they have no idea on how long the process will take to hire a new Twins manager but they have to make sure that they pick the right person for the job. Apparently GM Terry Ryan isn’t keeping the organization appraised of progress because in today’s edition of the Star Tribune Phil Miller has a quote from Ryan where he states ” I wouldn’t pretend to tell you that we’re done” with the search for the new manager, said Terry Ryan. “We still have a ways to go yet before we get there. But I would say we’re right on schedule.” According to various reports the Twins have interviewed internal candidates Paul Molitor, Doug Mientkiewicz, Gene Glynn, and Terry Steinbach. They have also reportedly talked with Torey Lovullo, Sandy Alomar Jr., Joe McEwing, Chip Hale (who just took the Arizona managers job), and maybe looking to talk with DeMarlo Hale.

Twins president Dave St. Peter

Twins president Dave St. Peter

The Twins payroll for 2015 has been getting some play in various Twins blogs and news reports. According to Twins prez Dave St. Peter “We haven’t finalized a 2015 budget, but I can assure you, we don’t see it going down significantly.” Going down? Why should it go down? The Twins have stated numerous times that they try to keep player payroll at about 50% of revenue. With the Twins having terrible seasons on the field from 2011-2014, fan attendance at Target Field has fallen each season so everyone assumes that revenue is down. Why is everyone making that assumption and playing right into the Twins hands? According to Forbes Magazine who publishes annual MLB team valuations the Twins revenue in 2010 was $162 million, in 2011 and 2012 it was $213 million, in 2013 it was $214 million, in 2014 it was $221 million. Why doesn’t anyone call the Twins on this? What am I missing here?

Jake Reed

Jake Reed

Twins pitching prospect Jake Reed who was drafted out of Oregon in round five this past summer is making the pick look really good. Reed pitched for Elizabethton and Cedar Rapids this summer  and the 6-foot-2, 190-pound Reed was 3-0 with a 0.29 ERA in a combined 20 games, had eight saves and 39 strikeouts and only three walks in 31 innings. Now in his first week of Arizona Fall League play he has earned AFL Pitcher of the Week honors.

Curious how your favorite Twins and Twins minor leaguers are doing as they play in off-season leagues? You can see their stats here.

Luke Hughes (courtesy of MLB Photos)

Luke Hughes (courtesy of MLB Photos)

The Perth Heat of the Australian Baseball League have announced that former Minnesota Twins infielder Luke Hughes will be their new player/coach during the 2014/2014 season.

Last but certainly not least we have the following announcement. What is the world coming to? YIKES! Starting with the 2015 season, the American Association (the league that St. Paul Saints play in) has announced the adoption of extra-inning tiebreaker rules to be used in all regular-season games, based upon existing International Baseball Federation and Can-Am League rules.

Beginning in the 11th inning, the player in the batting order immediately preceding that inning’s leadoff hitter will be placed on second base. The inning will otherwise proceed as usual, with each team getting a turn at bat.

Should the player starting the inning on second base eventually score, it will count in statistics as a run for the player and an RBI for the batter who drove him in (if applicable), but it will not count towards the pitcher’s earned-run average.

American Association commissioner Miles Wolff commented, “This rule was very well-received in the Can-Am League last year, and we’re looking forward to using this innovation in the American Association.” Similar rules are also in effect for most international competitions, including during the World Baseball Classic and the IBAF World Championships.

I am looking forward to a good World Series between the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants. Go Blue!

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Why is Eddie Rosario the forgotten man?

Rosario, Eddie 3Twins prospect Eddie Rosario is hitting .409 in the Arizona Fall League and I haven’t seen a word about him. I know the AFL season has just started and the Salt River Rafters have only played six games (going 5-1) and Rosario has played in five of those games. Small sample size I know, but the man is on fire in Arizona.

The 23 year-old from Puerto Rico with the sweet left-handed swing has been playing left field  Rafters and follows Byron Buxton (who hits lead-off) in the Rafters batting order. Yesterday’s game was the first time since play began that Rosario has not gotten two hits in a game. Rosario has nine hits in 22 at bats with two runs scored and five RBI to go along with his four stolen bases in as many attempts. Todate Rosario has only one extra base hit, a double but he has a slick .391 on-base percentage.

Rosario put himself in the Twins doghouse when he had to sit out the first two months of 2014 on a 50-game suspension for a second violation of Major League Baseball’s drug-of-abuse policy. Had this suspension not occurred, it is very likely that Rosario would have made an appearance in a Twins uniform at Target field this past season.

As it turned out, after his suspension Rosario started the season in Ft. Myers where he hit  .300 albeit in just 30 at bats before being bumped up to New Britain. Rosario struggled at New Britain both on and off the field. Rock Cats manager Jeff Smith benched Rosario in late July for four games for what Brad Steil the Twins director of minor league operations called “just a team situation.” Rosario, who continues to play second base while spending time in the outfield hit only .237 in 316 at bats, scored 40 times and hit eight home runs and knocked in 36 while stealing eight bases in 12 tries. Rosario has never hit below .284 in any season prior to 2014 has a lifetime batting average of .294. It was a bad year for Rosario all around but he seems to have caught a second wind in Arizona this fall.

The Twins didn’t call Rosario up to the big leagues for a cup of September coffee and maybe Rosario got the message loud and clear. I sure hope so because this man can hit the ball and he has some pop in his bat as he showed in 2011 when he hit 21 round trippers for Elizabethton and 12 in Beloit in 2012 in just 392 at bats.

Rosario was the Twins fourth round (135th pick over all) in 2010 and signed for about $200,000. Baseball America had him rated as the Twins sixth best prospect after the 2013 season. BA also had Rosario rated as the Twins best hitter for average in 2011 and 2012. There is a spot for Rosario with the Twins next season but he needs to wake up and smell the roses or his dream of wearing a Twins uniform in Minnesota will fade quickly. I sure hope that the Minnesota Twins organization does not give up on Eddie Rosario because down the road this man can help the Twins, he just needs some help staying on the right road.

 

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This Day in Franchise History – October 10, 1924

1924 World SeriesOn this day back in 1924 the Washington Senators who were playing in their first ever World Series won game 7 in extra innings 4-3 over the New York Giants and became baseball’s world champions. It wasn’t easy and they needed a pebble to help them win the game in the 12th inning. Read a very good review of game seven at dcbaseballhistory.com . You might also check out a nice review (with great pictures) of the entire 1924 World Series here.

1924 World Series box scores can be found here

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This Day in Twins History – October 3

Did you stop by and check out our Today in Twins History page? October 3 has been an interesting day in Minnesota Twins lore for sure. Read about Vic Power, the 1970 ALCS, the strange finish to the 1976 AL batting race, the Twins signing a letter of intent to move to North Carolina, how the Twins ended the 1999 season with a tie game and more. Even though the Twins season is done, you can still read about their exploits, good and bad from the past.

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Twins searching for a new manager

Ron GardenhireI was driving up to Duluth to enjoy a short two-day getaway when I heard the first reports over the radio that Ron Gardenhire was going to be dismissed as the Twins manager after 13 seasons at the helm of the Minnesota Twins. Gardenhire has a 1,068-1,039 won/lost record as the Twins skipper and he led the team to 6 division titles in his first nine years before the team fell on hard times between 2011-2014 when they lost 90 or more games each season. Although Gardenhire led his team to the playoffs six times, his teams have had little success in post-season play as they only advanced past the first round once and the team had a 6-21 playoff record. Gardenhire’s 1,068 wins place him second on the Twins all-time manager win list trailing only the legendary Twins skipper Tom Kellywho has 1.140 victories to his credit. When Gardenhire won his 1,000 game earlier this season he became only the 10th manager in MLB history to win that many games with just one team.

The announcement of the Twins management change was made by GM Terry Ryan and Ron Gardenhire was in attendance which in itself was kind of unusual but yet I would not have expected anything different from Gardenhire who I think is a class act all the way. It was who wasn’t there that really stood out to me, where was team president Dave St. Peter and owner Jim Pohlad? Yes, I saw a replay of the press conference and I heard Terry Ryan say that both had conflicts and would be available for questions later. What a bunch of BS that is. The team manager is the face of your baseball team and yet the owner and team president don’t attend the press conference? How ridiculous is that? If they had conflicts on Monday then schedule the press conference for another day, firing the manager a day or two later will not change the Twins record. It is all about perception and to me it appears that Jim Pohlad and Dave St. Peter don’t want to be associated with Gardenhire being relieved of his duties. It is as if they told Terry Ryan that you can stay on as the Twins GM but first you have to send Ron Gardenhire packing. Pohlad himself said in so many words that the GM was responsible for making the final call on the manager’s job. Get real Mr. Pohlad, how dumb do you think we are? I know some teams don’t have their team presidents and owners attend these kind of press conferences but the Twins usually do and when there is good news to be shared, you can count on seeing the smiling faces of Jim Pohlad and Dave St. Peter behind that table.

On one hand I hate to see Ron Gardenhire go as the Twins manager because I believe that for the most part he did a good job as the team skipper based on the players he had and I liked his attitude and how he interacted with the fans. He seemed like one of us even though he was a major league manager and only 30 people in this world can say that. On the other hand the Minnesota Twins organization has to make some kind of a statement to the dwindling Twins fan base that something is being done to try to get the good ship U.S.S. Twins back out to deeper water and back on course after they had scrapped the bottom for the last four years. Fans are jumping overboard in record numbers and the Twins crew is trying to throw a life preserve over the side to get some fans back on board but it may be too little to late. Gardenhire has been offered some type of job within the organization that as yet is not defined and Gardenhire is pondering his options but it is obvious the man wants to get in the managers seat again and I think that some organization will probably give him that opportunity in the not too distant future. I hope so, I want to see Gardenhire charging out of that dugout again with his face red with disgust and his cap hand in hand telling the umpires that “they missed that one”.

The entire Twins coaching staff were on the last year of their contracts so they are all out of work unless the new Twins manager chooses to bring them back. But who will be the new Twins manager? Around the middle of August Terry Ryan stated to Sid Hartman at the Star Tribune that Gardenhire still had a year left on his contract and he expected him to be back in 2015. The again what was he going to say, I am going to fire Gardy after the season ends? Ryan has stated that the Twins will look inside the organization and outside the organization to find the right man for the job. The leading candidate according to the press and the general public in some of those “who should the new Twins manager be” polls appears to be Paul Molitor. Even Sid Hartman is campaigning hard for Molly.

I just don’t see Molitor as the right fit for the Twins managers job. I know he is a hall of fame player, played for the Twins, and coached for the Twins but these are not necessarily working in his favor right now. Great ball players have historically not made good managers. Molitor’s personality more closely resembles Tom Kelly in his prime than it does Ron Gardenhire. Molitor seems more like the old school gruff and tough manager and with all the young players that the Twins will have on the roster I am not sure this is a good fit. Molitor has been a Twins coach all season and how many times have you seen him interviewed or quoted in the past year about Twins play? Not many, Molitor seems to prefer a low profile and if the Twins are looking for a manager that will help to market the team, Molitor is not the guy. Another thing working against Molitor is that he is a Twins insider and fans are looking for changes in the organization and next man up internally is not what the fans want. The fans don’t want to see the same old thinking and if the team hires another Twins insider it is unlikely that much will change.

GM Terry Ryan

GM Terry Ryan

So who is going to be the new Twins manager? I don’t know the answer to that, no one does right now. But I would be willing to bet it is not Molitor or anyone else in the current Twins organization. If an internal candidate was going to manage the Twins in 2015 I think that Terry Ryan would have pulled the trigger at the end of August and brought him in as an interim manager so that he could test drive the Twins for the rest of the year and management could evaluate the new skipper at the same time. That didn’t happen so I see it as a sign that the new Twins manager is working in another organization at the present time. Ryan has been in baseball a long time and he knows a lot of people, this will come in handy now.

I will miss Ron Gardenhire and I wish him the very best but I am glad that this change was made and I am looking forward to seeing who will be managing the Minnesota Twins in 2015 and beyond.

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Twins best dressed?

Where else except in the final edition of the 2014 Minnesota Twins Game Notes can you find the following paragraph.

Eduardo Nunez

Eduardo Nunez

Cory Provus

Cory Provus

TWINS BEST DRESSED AWARDS: The annual best dressed award given out by the Baseball Communications department goes to Eduardo Nunez in 2014. Nunez was known for his custom suits mixed with slim fitting dress shirts in a nice mix of colors and patterns. He also sported a variety a skinny ties and a wide range of footwear, he never cut corners and proved it with his matching belts and trendy socks. He says he owes most of the credit to his good friend Robinson Cano. Honorable mention in 2014: Anthony Swarzak, Jordan Schafer and Glen Perkins. Most improved was radio broadcaster Cory Provus. Cory is known for his tight lululemon shirts (often a size too small) while he showcases one of his several colors of AG Jeans The Portege cut. He took a step forward in 2014 with purchasing a few Brooks Brothers non-iron dress shirts, but where Cory really separates himself is when he dons his Hugo Boss suit during press conferences.

The This and That section in the Game Notes had some valuable info as well:

• The Twins have lost three of their last four games on the final game of the season.
• On the season, Twins hitters have averaged 3.99 pitches per plate appearance, second highest in baseball (Boston, 4.05).
• The Twins are hitting .309 (69-for-223) with runners in scoring position this month, the third best average in baseball.
• The Twins have gone 70-0 when ouscoring their opponent in 2014.
• The Twins have gone 7-0 when shutting out their opponent in 2014.
• The Twins went 0-11 when being held to zero runs.
• The Twins went 36-35 when wearing blue uniforms and 11-22 when wearing the traveling grays.

It just goes to show that even if you lose 90+ games four years in a row you can still have a sense of humor. Well done boys!

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According to Elias

The Twins defeated the Tigers, 12-3 yesterday, preventing the Detroit from clinching the American League Central Division title. It was the last-place Twins’ 10th win in 18 games against the division-leading Tigers this season. Believe it or not, the Twins, despite a 26-41 record since the All-Star break, lead the American League with 4.67 runs per game over that same stretch. Similarly, the Rockies led the National League in scoring average before the break this year (4.76), despite reaching the intermission at 40-56. Since the first All-Star Game in 1933, only one other major-league team has led its league in runs per game either before or after the break, while having at least 15 more losses than wins over that span; the Rockies did it in the first half of the 2004 season.

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This Day in Twins History – September 27

September 27September 27th was a very interesting day in Twins history, don’t forget to stop by our Today in Twins History page to check it out. Have a great day!

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Phil Hughes according to Elias

Phil Hughes

Phil Hughes

Phil Hughes allowed one run over eight innings and earned the victory in Minnesota’s 2-1 win over Arizona on Wednesday. Hughes is 16-10 in his first season with the Twins after going just 4-14 with the Yankees last season. He is the fourth pitcher in major-league history to follow a season with four-or-fewer wins with 16-plus wins the following season, having at least 25 starts in each campaign. The others to do that were Frank Mountain in 1883 (26-33 after going 4-21 in 1882), Jerry Koosman in 1979 (20-13 after going 3-15 in 1978) and Matt Keough in 1980 (16-13 after going 2-17 in 1979). Koosman did it under similar circumstances to Hughes: his three win season in 1978 came in New York (with the Mets) and then after being traded to the Twins in the offseason, he went on to win 20 games in his first season in Minnesota in 1979.

If Wednesday was Hughes’ final appearance of the season, he will have finished the year with 16 wins and only 16 walks allowed. Only three pitchers in the modern era registered as many or more wins as walks while winning at least 15 games: Christy Mathewson did it twice (25 wins, 21 walks in 1913 and 24 wins, 23 walks in 1914) and Slim Sallee (21 wins, 20 walks in 1919).

Because of the rain delay in yesterday’s game, Hughes came up a third of an inning short of notching 210 innings that would have triggered a $500K bonus. I can’t believe there is any way that the Twins would be so stupid as to not give Hughes this bonus anyway when they have him signed to a multi-year deal. Back in the day, Twins owner Calvin Griffith who was considered as cheap an owner as there was in baseball was not averse to giving a player a bonus after a particularly outstanding season. The sad sack Twins should not let a good publicity opportunity slip through the cracks. Free agents that the Twins might be interested in signing in the future are watching so don’t screw this up Minnesota Twins front office!

UPDATE – It turns out that the Twins did not screw things up here and came to a fair understanding with Phil Hughes. The team offered Phil Hughes the opportunity to pitch in relief this coming week-end in Detroit so that he could meet the 210 inning limit to collect a $500K bonus and Hughes decided to pass on the offer. I also read in the Star Tribune that according to the baseball collective bargaining agreement that the Twins can not call it “close enough” and pay Hughes the bonus. Good to see there are no hard feeling on either side.

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Vargas and Berrios 2014 minor league players of the year

Kennys Vargas the 24 year-old 1B/DH has been named the Twins Minor League Player of the Year (Sherry Robertson Award) and Jose Berrios a 20 year-old right-handed pitcher has been named as the Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Year (Jim Rantz Award).

Kennys Vargas

Kennys Vargas

Vargas was called up by the Twins on July 31 from New Britain and made his major league debut at U.S. Cellular Field on his 24th birthday on August 1 going 1 for 5 with a run scored and two RBI. Vargas has been with the Twins ever since and appears to be a fixture in the Twins line-up for years to come. Between New Britain and his stint in Minnesota Vargas as hit 26 home runs this season. The switch-hitting Vargas is probably going to get some games in at first base but his primary role with the Twins will be at DH.

Berrios is on the fast track to Minnesota, the 20 year-old started the season going 9-3 with a 1.96 ERA for the Ft. Myers Miracle before being bumped up to Double A New Britain where he was 3-4 with a 3.54 ERA. The Triple A Rochester club had an outside shot at making the playoffs late in the season and the Twins sent Berrios to Rochester where he started one game but came up the loser when he lasted just 3 innings and gave up 6 earned run. Berrios had a great season and the only fly in the ointment here is that he was pulled from a game late in the season with a sore arm. Berrios pitched after that episode but it is certainly something to keep an eye on. Berrios has all kinds of potential and I would hate to see some kind of an arm injury slow down his development and delay his arrival in a Twins uniform. I think that Berrios has as much or more potential than any pitcher the Twins have in their minor league system and I can’t wait to see him pitch at Target Field in as a Minnesota Twin.

Jose Berrios

Jose Berrios

I sure hope that winning the Jim Rantz award does not jinx Berrios. If Berrios checks out the previous Jim Rantz award winners, he might not show up in Minnesota in January to accept his award. Maybe the Twins should consider renaming the award instead of have it named for Jim Rantz a long time Twins executive but who was a career minor league pitcher from 1960-1964 and never got a taste of pitching in the major leagues.

Previous Jim Rantz award winners

2013 – Andrew Albers
2012 – B.J. Hermsen
2011 – Liam Hendriks
2010 – Kyle Gibson
2009 – David Bromberg
2008 – Anthony Slama
2007 – Kevin Slowey
2006 – Matt Garza
2005 – Francisco Liriano
2004 – Scott Baker
2003 – Jesse Crain
2002 – J.D. Durbin
 

Congratulations to both Kennys Vargas and Jose Berrios on their great season!

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This Day in Twins History – What if the Twins played and no one showed up?

Did the Met look like this that day?

Did the Met look like this that day?

September 20, 1965 – Just 537 fans paid to watch the Kansas City A’s Jim “Catfish” Hunter beat Jim “Mudcat” Grant 8-2 at Met Stadium in a makeup game in a cool 52 degree drizzle. Fortunately the game was over in two hours and 10 minutes. Don Mincher hits two home runs and gets two of the Twins four hits. It is the smallest paid crowd to watch the Twins play at home. B-R shows attendance of 547 but Twins media guide states 537. You would think that a team that was on its way to the 1965 World Series would draw a bit better than that. Box Score.

Twins-champion-banner-1965

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According to Elias

Trevor Plouffe

Trevor Plouffe

Trevor Plouffe drove in the winning run with a single in the bottom of the 10th inning in Minnesota’s 5-4 win over Cleveland last night. Plouffe had not had an RBI in extra innings over the last two seasons prior to his heroics in Cleveland. Plouffe’s 130 total RBIs since the start of the 2013 season were the fourth most for any A.L. player that had not driven in a run beyond the ninth inning entering Friday’s action, behind Edwin Encarnacion (191), Adam Dunn (147) and James Loney (141).

A bonus fan fact:

Santana, Danny 3 2014Garret AndersonWith his hit in last nights game Danny Santana has now gotten a hit in 17 straight games when he has played and gotten at least one official at bat at Target Field. The previous Twins record was 16 games for Ben Revere. The Twins record holder for a hitting streak with at least one at bat in the Metrodome is Kent Hrbek with 23 games in 1982. The Twins record holder at Met Stadium is Rod Carew at 21 games and he did it twice, in 1974 and again in 1977. The longest similar hitting streak by a Twins opponent in a Twins stadium is 27 games by Garret Anderson between June 8, 1997 and September 2, 2003 at the Metrodome. Next on the list at 23 games, Jim Thome.

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This and That

Santana, Danny 3 2014

According to Elias –  Danny Santana was 3-for-5 with a double, triple, and stolen base in the Twins’ 8-4 home win over the Tigers. It was the second time this season that Santana delivered at least three hits, two extra-base hits, and a steal from the leadoff slot; he also did it against the White Sox on August 3. The only other Twins leadoff hitters to have more than one such game in a season since the team moved to Minnesota in 1961 were Dan Gladden (3 in 1988) and Jacque Jones (2 in 2002).

Chattanooga Lookouts logoThe Chattanooga Lookouts are pleased to announce that the organization has signed a four-year player development contract with the Minnesota Twins. Chattanooga is part of the 10 team Southern League which is split into the Northern and Southern Division. The Lookouts are in the Northern Division. The Lookouts who were affiliated with the Los Angeles Dodgers this past season will replace the previous Twins Double-A affiliate the New Britain Rock Cats (Eastern league) who had been the Twins Double-A home since 1995. New Britain has announced a new two-year player development agreement with the Colorado Rockies.

Glen Perkins

Glen Perkins

The Twins finally announced that Glen Perkins will be under-going an MRI, what took them so long? In his last eight games going back to August 26 Perkins has pitched 6.1 innings giving up 12 hits, two walks, five home runs, and 10 earned runs while striking out two batters. Did I mention that in those 6+ innings he has faced 32 batters and posted a 14.21 ERA? You think there is a problem here? Is this another case of a Twins player hiding an injury? Can’t be sure, but I am getting tired of players that keep playing when they are injured, they are no better in my eyes than the players that beg out of a game when they have a hang-nail. These players are professionals that are paid big money to play major league baseball, it is a shame a number of them don’t act like it. Just what the Twins need, another question mark heading into the 2015 season.

Ron GardenhireSo what will happen with manager Ron Gardenhire? Will the Twins fire him or will Gardy announce that he has resigned? My guess is that Gardy will walk away after the 2014 season finally ends to recharge his batteries and spend more time with his family and take a job with MLB TV for the 2015 season and then take another managing job next season when a manager gets axed or after the 2015 season ends. Just think how much fun it will be to watch Gardy on MLB TV, they should give him his own show. The Twins still don’t like firing people and a Gardenhire resignation will work best for everyone involved. Everyone except the current Twins coaching staff, but they have all earned the right to become free agents and a clean sweep of the Twins coaching ranks is in order. The term “getting it right” has been used a lot in the Twin Cities the last week or so with another professional team that calls Minnesota home and the Twins can borrow that phrase and put it to good use. I have always liked Ron Gardenhire but the time has come when a change needs to be made, it is kind of like when we have to get rid of a car that we have had for a long time and we really liked. The car has served us well over the many years we owned it and we have gotten used to its many idiosyncracies and most of the time it got us to where we needed to go but now it has broken down again and it is time to call the tow truck and have it taken away. There is always someone out there that thinks another mans junk is another mans treasure and Gardy is too young to be sent to the manager scrap heap so you will see him managing again soon, maybe against our Minnesota Twins.

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According to Elias

The Twins entered the top of the ninth inning with a 2-0 lead over the Tigers. J.D. Martinez‘s three-run home run off Glen Perkins turned that lead into a 3-2 deficit before the Twins rallied for two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning for the win. It’s been over 30 years since the Twins won a game in which they led entering the top of the ninth inning; fell behind in the top of the ninth before rallying in the bottom of the ninth for the win. The Twins last such win occurred on April 13, 1984 against the Mariners. Minnesota saw a 2-1 lead disappear when Alvin Davis and Ricky Nelson hit back-to-back home runs off Ron Davis to open the top of the ninth inning. The Twins rallied in the bottom of the ninth on RBI singles by Tim Teufel and Tom Brunansky for the win.

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According to Elias

Torii Hunter as TigerTorii Hunter‘s solo home run in the ninth inning broke a 6-6 tie and Miguel Cabrera added some insurance with a homer of his own to give the Tigers an 8-6 win at Target Field yesterday. Hunter is the second player to appear in at least 500 games for the Minnesota Twins and then hit a game-winning home run in the ninth inning or later against them. He joins Rod Carew, who connected for a home run in the 15th inning to give the Angels a victory over Minnesota in 1980.

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200 hits in a season

Jose AltuveLast Wednesday Houston Astros 2B Jose Altuve went two for five in the Astros 5-2 win over the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. His single in the seventh inning was his 200th hit of the season. As of today, Altuve, a 2014 All-Star has 206 hits and the hitter closest to him in hits is Indians outfielder Michael Brantley with 180 hits. The 24 year-old five foot six inch second sacker who is in his fourth season with the Astro’s is showing everyone that he is a real good baseball player. In the last 10 seasons MLB hitters have had 200 or more hits on 36 occasions but last year there were none and this season Altuve may well be the only one. Is pitching taking over baseball?

So when was the last time the Minnesota Twins had a hitter with 200 or more hits in a season? Can’t remember? Maybe that is because it hasn’t happened for many a year. The last Twins hitter to have 200 or more hits in a season was 39 year-old DH Paul Molitor back in 1996. The amazing Kirby Puckett did it a total of five times including four in a row from 1986-1989 and he came up just short in 1985 with 199 hits. The Twins now in their 54th season have had only 13 hitters that have gotten 200 or more hits in a single season. The Twins have never had more than one hitter in a season get 200 or more hits but in 1977 Rod Carew had 239 hits and Lyman Bostock came up just short with 199 hits.

Twins hitters with 200 or more hits in a season

Kirby Puckett

Rk Player H Year ? Age G AB R HR RBI BA OPS Pos
1 Paul Molitor 225 1996 39 161 660 99 9 113 .341 .858 *D3/H
2 Kirby Puckett 210 1992 32 160 639 104 19 110 .329 .864 *8/DH45
3 Kirby Puckett 215 1989 29 159 635 75 9 85 .339 .843 *8/HD
4 Kirby Puckett 234 1988 28 158 657 109 24 121 .356 .920 *8/H
5 Kirby Puckett 207 1987 27 157 624 96 28 99 .332 .900 *8/DH
6 Kirby Puckett 223 1986 26 161 680 119 31 96 .328 .903 *8/H
7 Rod Carew 239 1977 31 155 616 128 14 100 .388 1.019 *3/H4D
8 Rod Carew 200 1976 30 156 605 97 9 90 .331 .858 *3/4H
9 Rod Carew 218 1974 28 153 599 86 3 55 .364 .879 *4/H
10 Rod Carew 203 1973 27 149 580 98 6 62 .350 .881 *4/H
11 Cesar Tovar 204 1971 30 157 657 94 1 45 .311 .725 *798/5H4
12 Tony Oliva 204 1970 31 157 628 96 23 107 .325 .878 *9/8H
13 Tony Oliva 217 1964 25 161 672 109 32 94 .323 .916 *9/8H7
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/15/2014.

 

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Miracle win it all!

Miracle are 2014 championsOn Monday, September 8, the Ft. Myers Miracle won the first Florida State League Championship in team history three games to one over the Daytona Cubs. Jason Kanzler‘s two-run homer in the eleventh inning propelled the Fort Myers Miracle to the Florida State League Championship in a 4-2, extra inning win over the Daytona Cubs at Jackie Robinson Ballpark in game four on Monday night. The Miracle under manager Doug Mientkiewicz finished the season with an 87-58 overall record and were 4-1 in the playoffs. Outfielder Adam Walker led the 2014 Miracle with 25 home runs and 94 RBI while hitting .246. The pitching staff was led by Matt Tomshaw, Brett Lee, and Jose Berrios who had a combined 30-14 record.

Minnesota’s longest-running Minor League full season affiliate, the Miracle began an association with the Twins in 1993. The 1993 team finished with a 55-79 record under manager Steve Liddle. Players on that team that went on to play in Minnesota were pitchers Brad Radke, Dan Naulty, Scott Watkins, catcher Damian Miller and outfielder Brent Brede.

The team has drawn nearly 120,000 fans in each of the last seven seasons. The Miracle have been top-four in the Florida State League for individual game average attendance every year since 2005. As expected, the Twins and single-A affiliate Ft. Myers Miracle have agreed to extend their Player Development Contract for four years, through the 2018 season.

This is the first league championship that a Twins minor league team has won since the Elizabethton Twins won the Appalachian League title in 2012 and also the first league championship that a minor league team has won under Brad Steil who became the Twins Farm Director after the 2012 season. The last Twins A-Ball team to win a league championship were the 1987 Kenosha Twins (82-58) who were managed by Don Leppert.

Twins minor league teams finished the 2014 season with a combined record of 409-354 for a .536 winning percentage. Of the Twins seven minor league clubs, only the 23-37 Gulf Coast League Twins posted a losing record. 2014 marked the third consecutive season that Twins farm teams have won more games than they lost.

You can learn more about the Twins minor league teams going back to 1961 on our Twins Minor League History page.

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According to Elias

Quintana joins Sale to form big-strikeout duo for Sox

Jose Quintana struck out 13 Minnesota Twins in seven innings of the White Sox’ 5-1 victory in the first game of their doubleheader in Chicago. Quintana is the second left-handed pitcher this season to strike out 13 batters in a game for the Southsiders; Chris Sale fanned 13 Tigers on August 30. Only three other teams in the modern era (since 1900) have had two different southpaws record 13+ strikeouts in a game: The 1959 Dodgers (Sandy Koufax and Johnny Podres), 1969 Tigers (Mickey Lolich and Mike Kilkenny), and 1971 Tigers (Lolich and Les Cain).

Jose Quintana is the second White Sox pitcher in 2014 to strike out at least a dozen Twins in a game. Chris Sale recorded 12 strikeouts at Target Field on July 26. It’s the third time that two different White Sox pitchers have registered a 12-strikeout game versus the same opponent in the same year. In 1954, Billy Pierce and Jack Harshman both struck out a dozen Tigers in a game. And in 1961, Pierce and Juan Pizarro each put up 12+ Ks in a game versus the Orioles.

A record-tying strikeout performance for Minnesota, Chicago

Twins and White Sox pitchers combined to strike out 45 batters in their doubleheader yesterday. That tied the modern major-league record for combined strikeouts by two teams over two nine-inning games in a day. Rockies and Marlins hurlers also fanned 45 in two games on August 16, 2009.

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According to Elias

Carlos SantanaCarlos Santana hit a two-run home run in the first inning to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead in Cleveland’s 8-2 win over Minnesota in the first game of a doubleheader, and then in the nightcap, he put the first run on the board with a solo home run in the fourth inning in a 2-0 Indians win. Over the last 20 seasons, only two other players have hit a home run to put their team ahead for good in both games of a doubleheader sweep: Kansas City’s Eric Hosmer on August 16, 2013 against Detroit and Boston’s Trot Nixon on October 5, 2001 against Baltimore.

Alvis, MaxSantana is the first Indians player to do that in over 50 years, since Max Alvis did it in both games of a doubleheader, also against the Twins on June 17, 1964. Box score game 1, Box score game 2

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This Day in Twins History – September 10, 1974

Vic AlburyForty years ago today only 3,285 fans witness what turns out to be a wild and wooly game between the Chicago White Sox and the Twins at the Met. Twins starter Vic Albury leaves after 7 with a 3-1 lead and closer Bill Campbell comes in to shut the door in what seems to be a routine ball game. Campbell retires the Whitey’s in the 8th with no scoring but in the top of the 9th all hell breaks loose. Before Campbell can retire a batter he gives up a single, then a double and Brian Downing then steps up to the plate and promptly hits a 3-run home run to tie the game at 4. The next batter singles and manager Quilici has seen enough and he brings in Tom Burgmeier who quickly gives up another single but settles down and retires the next three White Sox without any further damage and the Twins fail to score in the bottom of the ninth so to extra innings we go.

Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

Larry HisleNeither team scores in the 10th but in the top of the 11th inning the White Sox get a single, a sacrifice and another single and take a 5-4 lead but Burgmeier closes the door. Craig Kusick leads off the bottom of the 11th for the Twins with a home run and once again we are tied, this time at 5. The 12th inning is scoreless. In the 13th the White Sox put a couple of hits together off of Burgy and take a 6-5 lead but once again the Twins fight back with walks to Eric Soderholm, Craig Kusick, and a sacrifice/fielders choice by Danny Thompson and the Twins have the bases loaded with one out. Glenn Borgmann singles to left to score Soderholm but Jerry Terrell who was running for Kusick is thrown out at home but the game is tied at 6 apiece. The White Sox escape further damage and the game moves on to the 14th inning. For some reason, Twins manager Frank Quilici brings in St. Paul native Tom Johnson to make his major league pitching debut in the 14th inning in a tie ball game. The rookie pitcher gives up two singles and commits an error and the White Sox push a run across to take a 7-6 lead. In the bottom of the 14h inning the Twins get a single from Soderholm and a double from Tony Oliva and yes, the game is tied at 7 once again. Johnson pitches a 1-2-3 top of the 15th and the Twins come to bat in the bottom of the inning facing future hall of famer, Goose Gossage. Steve Brye strikes out but Rod Carew singles and proceeds to steal second, Larry Hisle steps up and singles to left and Carew scores and the Twins have an unbelievable 8-7 victory. Twins Tom Burgmeier pitched 5 innings of relief and Tom Johnson pitched two innings in his major league debut and won his first major league game in his first big league appearance. The fans sure got their money’s worth in this 4 hour and 7 minute game.

Box score

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According to Elias

FrustratedThe Angels won their season series against the Twins, seven-games-to-none. The Halos have swept only one other season series of seven or more games in their history (seven games versus the Royals in 2004) but it’s the fourth time that the Twins have been swept in a season series of at least seven games (12 games versus the Rangers in 1999, seven games against the Yankees in both 2003 and 2009).

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Dozier to join a select group of Twins players

When Twins second baseman Brian Dozier scores his next run he will cross home plate for the 100th time this season and become just the 13th player in Twins history to score 100 or more runs in a single season. Twins players have scored 100 runs or more in a single season 19 times. Our old buddy Chuck Knoblauch did it four times (1992, 1995-1997) and in 1996 he scored an amazing 140 runs. The last player to score 100 or more runs for Minnesota was Michael Cuddyer when he scored 102 runs in 2006. Here is the complete list through September 5, 2014.

Brian  Dozier

Brian Dozier

Rk Player R ? Year G PA AB H BB IBB SB BA OBP SLG OPS
1 Chuck Knoblauch 140 1996 153 701 578 197 98 6 45 .341 .448 .517 .965
2 Rod Carew 128 1977 155 694 616 239 69 15 23 .388 .449 .570 1.019
3 Zoilo Versalles 126 1965 160 728 666 182 41 3 27 .273 .319 .462 .781
4 Cesar Tovar 120 1970 161 726 650 195 52 5 30 .300 .356 .442 .798
5 Kirby Puckett 119 1986 161 723 680 223 34 4 20 .328 .366 .537 .903
6 Chuck Knoblauch 117 1997 156 716 611 178 84 6 62 .291 .390 .411 .800
7 Tony Oliva 109 1964 161 719 672 217 34 8 12 .323 .359 .557 .916
8 Kirby Puckett 109 1988 158 691 657 234 23 4 6 .356 .375 .545 .920
9 Tony Oliva 107 1965 149 647 576 185 55 12 19 .321 .378 .491 .870
10 Chuck Knoblauch 107 1995 136 629 538 179 78 3 46 .333 .424 .487 .911
11 Harmon Killebrew 106 1969 162 709 555 153 145 20 8 .276 .427 .584 1.011
12 Harmon Killebrew 105 1967 163 689 547 147 131 15 1 .269 .408 .558 .965
13 Lyman Bostock 104 1977 153 660 593 199 51 5 16 .336 .389 .508 .897
14 Kirby Puckett 104 1992 160 696 639 210 44 13 17 .329 .374 .490 .864
15 Chuck Knoblauch 104 1992 155 707 600 178 88 1 34 .297 .384 .358 .743
16 Bob Allison 102 1962 149 613 519 138 84 0 8 .266 .370 .511 .881
17 Michael Cuddyer 102 2006 150 635 557 158 62 5 6 .284 .362 .504 .867
18 Shane Mack 101 1992 156 692 600 189 64 1 26 .315 .394 .467 .860
19 Corey Koskie 100 2001 153 649 562 155 68 9 27 .276 .362 .488 .850
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/6/2014.

When Dozier joins this select list he will have the lowest batting average of any Twins player to score 100 or more runs in a season.

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This Day in Twins History – September 6, 1954

Carlos PaulaSixty years ago today, in 1954 the Washington Senators played a black ballplayer for the first time. His name was Carlos Paula and he was from Havana, Cuba. The 26 year-old Paula started in left field for the Senators seven years after Jackie Robinson made his Major League debut. Paula went 2 for 5 with a double and knocked in 2 runs in a 8-1 win in game 1 of a DH against the Philadelphia A’s. The Senators lost game 2 by a 3-2 score at Griffith Stadium. Only the Yankees in 1955, the Phillies in 1957, the Tigers in 1958 and the Red Sox in 1959 broke the color-line later than did the Senators/Twins franchise. Paula died on April 25, 1983 in Miami, Florida.

Carlos Paula

Carlos Paula

I think that theatlantic.com always is an interesting read and if you saw the movie “42” here is something you might also enjoy reading that they published in April 2013.

An interesting post done back in 2007 by MNGAMEDAY that is worth your time.

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Twins relationship with Rock Cats on the rocks?

New Britain Rock Cats logoOn the field the New Britain Rock Cats (Class AA; Eastern League) finished the season with a 72-69 record but missed the playoffs. Off the field it has been an interesting season too and owner Josh Solomon says he expects his team to be playing in Hartford in two years — but maybe not as a Minnesota Twins affiliate. A split has been rumored for a few weeks, ever since Twins GM Terry Ryan spent a few days visiting the Rock Cats in August without announcing a PDC extension.

“Overall it’s been a good season in spite of the distractions,” Solomon said, referring to the team’s announcement in the middle of the year that it intends to move to Hartford (just 12 miles from New Britain) for the 2016 season and a fight with the city of Berlin over a tax issue.

Ballpark Digest article: Solomon: Rock Cats still committed to Hartford move

The Bristol Press: Solomon not worried about issues facing Rock Cats future

The Courant: Rock Cats Pay New Britain, Averting Eviction

The Bristol Press: Rock Cats take tax dispute to court

 

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According to Elias

Joe Mauer

Joe Mauer

It has come to this for Joe Mauer. In the eighth inning of a tie game with runners on second and third and one out, manager Buck Showalter decided that the Orioles should pitch to Mauer (albeit bringing in a tough lefty, Andrew Miller, to do so) rather than put Mauer on and pitch to bring up rookie Kennys Vargas, playing in his 30th big-league game.

And could you blame Showalter? Mauer brought a .271 batting average and four home runs into the game, and was batting .244 against lefties. But deep in Mauer’s statistical profile for this forgettable season lay this nugget: Mauer was batting .320 (16 for 50) in at-bats with two-or-more runners on base, including a two-run triple just two innings earlier. And Mauer came through with a two-run single, propelling the Twins to a 6-4 win. The loss ended Baltimore’s streak of having won the last 21 games in which it scored four-or-more runs, which had been the longest current streak in the majors.

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Help is on the way, or is it?

The Twins plan to add eight players to the roster now that the Rochester Red Wings season has ended. The team plans to recall LHP Logan Darnell, RHP Michael Tonkin, C Josmil Pinto, C/OF Chris Herrmann and OF Aaron Hicks. Additionally the Twins will select the contracts of RHP Lester Oliveros, RHP A.J. Achter and INF Doug Bernier.

Also joining the Twins will be Triple-A hitting coach Tim Doherty from September 2-14 while Red Wings Manager Gene Glynn will be with the Twins from September 15-28.

Aaron Hicks

Aaron Hicks

Not much to get excited about here, just think how different things could have been had Byron Buxton. Miguel Sano, and Alex Meyer not been injured this year. Then again maybe we would not have seen Danny Santana and Kennys Vargas step up in the way they have so far this year. It will be interesting to see if Hicks has improved, he did well in New Britain and in Rochester for a while before he cooled off. When Rochester was making a push for a wild-card spot late in the season Hicks was not always a regular in that line-up.

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Twins minor league player of the week

Stuart Turner

Stuart Turner

Ft. Myers Miracle (High A ball) catcher Stuart Turner is the Twins Minor League Player of the Week. The 22 year-old Turner played in four games for the Miracle and went 6-for-13 (.462) with three doubles, a home run and five RBI. The Twins third round pick in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft is a right-handed hitter and is in just his second year of professional baseball after being drafted out of the University of Mississippi. The Eunice, Louisiana native was named the Twins best defensive catcher entering the 2014 season.

Couple of other minor league notes -

Alex Meyer

Alex Meyer

Triple-A Rochester Red Wings starter Alex Meyer was removed from last night’s game vs. Buffalo and was placed on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation. Does that kill his chances for pitching for the Twins this year? We will have to wait and see but it does not look promising.

Jose Berrios

Jose Berrios

The Twins promoted RHP Jose Berrios and LHP Ryan O’Rourke to Rochester. Berrios is expected to start for the Red Wings today in Pawtucket. 2014 has been an amazing year for Berrios who started the season at High A Ft. Myers where he put up a 9-3 record with a 1.96 ERA and was then promoted to Double AA New Britain when his record was 3-4 with a 3.54 ERA. Between the two stops he has struck out 137 batters in 137 innings. Berrios who is obviously on the fast track to Minnesota is trying to help Rochester get a wild card playoff spot.

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According to Elias

Trevor Plouffe

Trevor Plouffe

Trevor Plouffe‘s solo home run in the seventh inning would not appear to be notable at first glance, especially since the Twins would muster no more offense in their 9-1 loss at Oriole Park at Camden Yards last night. That long ball however was indeed historic – it was the 10,000th home run hit by the Twins/Senators franchise. They were the last of the 16 pre-expansion franchises to reach 10,000 home runs. The Twins have contributed 7,214 of those homers while the Senators hit 2,786. By the way, Plouffe also hit Twins home run numbers 9,999 and 10,001.

Griffith Stadium

Griffith Stadium

The Washington Senators’ longtime home field, Griffith Stadium, had very distant fences and high outfield walls. One of the most remarkable statistics in baseball history: In 1945, the Senators went through the entire season of 78 home games hitting exactly one home run in their own park – and that one was an inside-the-park four-bagger! This wasn’t in 1845; it was 1945! And that 1945 team was pretty good – finishing second, one and one-half games behind the Tigers, who would go on to win the World Series.

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