Changes or additions to the site

  • Forbes 2017 annual team valuations have been published and Twins data has been updated on the “Salaries” page. 04/12/2017
  • Another reminder that if you enjoy pictures of the Minnesota Twins you need to check out Brace Hemmelgarn’s photo’s at Twins Pics each day. The man knows how to take pictures! You can find the link on the right hand side of the page under my spring training pictures. 04/04/2017
  • The Twins Trivia page is up and running again. 03/31/2017
  • Added Twins top 30 MLB Pipeline prospects widget to right hand side of main page. 3/27/2017
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This Day in Twins History – April 27

1961 – The expansion Los Angeles Angels play their first home game bowing to the Twins at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles, 4-2. The 74-year old baseball legend Ty Cobb, in his last-ever visit to a ballpark, throws out the first ceremonial pitch. This was the first American League game to ever be played in Los Angeles. Box Score

1965 – Camilo Pascual hits a grand slam home run off pitcher Stan Williams in a 11-1 Twins win over the Indians in Cleveland Stadium. Camilo pitches a complete game two hitter and strikes out five in the process. Pascual is the first and only Twins pitcher to hit a grand slam home run. Pascual had also hit a grand slam home run as a Washington Senator at Yankee Stadium I on August 14, 1960 in a 5-4 win over the New York Yankees. Box Score

1969Harmon Killebrew hits his 400th HR and the Twins take over first place in the AL West by beating Chicago 4-3. Box Score

1980 – The Twins score 10 runs in the first inning on their way to a 20-11 thrashing of the Oakland A’s. Minnesota starter Geoff Zahn can’t hold the 10-0 lead, allowing 8 runs in 4 1/3 innings, and Doug Corbett picks up the win in relief. Box Score

1994Scott Erickson, who allowed the most hits in the majors the previous season, pitched Minnesota’s first no-hitter in 27 years and the Twins third no-hitter as the Twins beat Milwaukee 6-0 at the Metrodome. Box Score

2010 – In a very unusual game at Comerica Park, the Twins beat the Detroit Tigers 2-0 as Francisco Liriano beats Justin Verlander. What’s unusual about that you ask? It was one of those rare baseball games when neither team scores an earned run. The Twins used two pitchers and the Tigers had four hurlers take the mound. Since 2001 this has occurred to the Twins just three times and two of the three occurrences were against the Detroit Tigers. Box Score

2011 – The Tampa Rays beat the Twins 8-2 in Target Field on a cold blustery night in a game that we attended. The temperature at the start of the game was 40 degrees with a stiff 17 MPH northerly wind blowing in from left field. Shortly after the game began, the snow started falling and flurries lasted the entire game making Target Field look like a giant snow globe. The Twins played Christmas carols as the game went along and a fan that came to the game dressed as jolly old St. Nick danced in the stands. It was a weird day at the old ballpark to be sure. I even over-heard some fans saying that the Metrodome wasn’t all that bad……… Box Score . Kind of like today I guess.

Don’t forget to check back on the today in Twins history page every day, there is a lot of cool info out there.

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According to ELIAS – Ervin Santana

Santana off to a stellar start for the Twins

Ervin Santana allowed one run in seven innings of work leading the Twins to an 8-1 win over the Rangers on Tuesday. Santana is 4-0 with a 0.77 ERA in five starts for Minnesota this season. No other Twins pitcher had an ERA below 1.00 through five starts of a season since the club began playing in Minnesota in 1961. Prior to this season, the lowest ERA produced by a Twins pitcher through five starts during their time in Minnesota was 1.07 by Jim Perry in 1965.

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According to ELIAS – Brian Dozier

 

Dozier does damage

Brian Dozier’s three-run double provided all the runs the Twins would need in their 3–2 win over the Rangers on Monday. Dozier entered the game with a .122 batting average (5 for 41) with the bases loaded, with only one extra-base hit. The only active player with a lower bases-full batting average (minimum: 40 plate appearances) was Tyler Flowers (.111), although Dozier has now jumped ahead of Justin Smoak (.123).

By the way, lots of interesting things happened on this day in Twins history, stop by Today in Twins History page to learn more.

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Twins minor league player of the week – Lachlan Wells

Ft. Myers Miracle (High A) pitcher Lachlan Wells is the Twins minor league player of the week. Wells made one start for the Miracle, pitching 7.0 shutout innings against the Florida Fire Frogs on Monday, with no walks, three hits allowed and eight strikeouts. The left-handed pitcher has made three appearances (2 starts) for the Miracle this season, going 1-1, 0.64 ERA (14.0 IP, 1 ER) with one walk and 17 strikeouts. The Newcastle, Australia native was signed by the Twins as an undrafted free agent in August of 2014.

Lachlan has a twin brother Alex who is in Baltimore Orioles organization and is also a left-handed pitcher with Delmarva in A ball. According to reports, each of the Wells twins received a $300,000 signing bonus.

Lachlan Wells signs with Minnesota Twins: video

Australian twins bring competitive spirit to pro ball

Twins Minor League Report 04232017

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According to ELIAS – Justin Verlander

Verlander coughs one up

You’d think the Tigers were in safe territory with Justin Verlander taking a 3–0 lead to the bottom of the sixth at Minnesota. But the Minnesota Twins rallied for six runs, four were charged to Verlander and held on for a 6–3 victory last night at Target Field. Coming into the game, Verlander had a 129–5 record when staked to a lead of three or more runs (11 no-decisions).

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According to ELIAS – Joe Mauer

Mauer’s double is extra-special

 

Joe Mauer doubled to lead off the fourth inning and came around to score on a balk to give the Twins a 1–0 lead against the Indians. It was Mauer’s first extra-base hit this season. His 52 at-bats without a double, triple or homer––before that fourth-inning two-bagger––were by far the most into a season he has ever gone without an extra-base hit. His previous longest extra-base hit drought to begin a campaign was 37 at-bats in 2015.

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The 1967 Twins are off to a slow start – Part 6

The Minnesota Twins finished their 1967 Grapefruit League season with a 12-17 record and only the Kansas City Athletics had a worse record. The Twins started the season on the road in Baltimore where they lost two games before coming home to face the Detroit Tigers for their home opener at Met Stadium. 

With 21, 347 fans in the stands Twins starter Dave Boswell faced off against Tiger starter Earl Wilson. Boswell kept the Tigers off the board in the first inning and when the Twins came to bat in the bottom of the first they were ready, Cesar Tovar singled to left and advanced on a passed ball and Rich Rollins then doubled to left scoring Tovar. Wilson walked Tony Oliva but Wilson induced Harmon Killebrew to hit into a double play with Oliva reaching second. Wilson wild pitched Oliva to third and up stepped rookie Rod Carew who quickly singled and had his first big league RBI when Oliva scored. Bob Allison stepped up to the plate but the rookie Carew got picked off first by Wilson and the Twins had their first lead of the season.

The Tigers scored three runs off Dave Boswell in the third inning and kept their 3-2 lead until the bottom of the sixth inning when Bob Allison hit his first home run of the season to tie the game at three. The Twins took the lead for good when Zoilo Versalles scored on a Jerry Lumpe error on a Tovar ground ball to second off reliever Larry Sherry. Versalles led off the bottom of the eighth inning with a home run off Johnny Podres to end the scoring. Jim Merritt who pitched the final four inning of scoreless relief was credited with the win and Tiger starter Earl Wilson took the loss. Box score

The Twins then lost their next two games by identical 4-3 scores to the Tigers and the Indians and on April 18 their record stood at 1-4. Their 1-4 start matched their 1963 start which was the worst start they have had since they started play in Minnesota.

April 18, 1967 AL Standings

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A very interesting SABR article about Earl Wilson

Sporting News May 6, 1967 P11

Sporting News May 6, 1967 P 12

My previous 1967 pennant race articles can be found here.

 

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Twins minor league player of the week – Travis Blankenhorn

Travis Blankenhorn

Cedar Rapids Kernels (A) infielder Travis Blankenhorn is the Twins first minor league player of the week in 2017. Blankenhorn played in seven games for the Kernels, hitting .379 (11-for-29) with two doubles, three home runs, eight RBI and five runs scored.

The 20-year-old was drafted by the Twins in the third round of the 2015 First-Year Player Draft out of Pottsville (PA) High School and signed with the club for a $650,000 signing bonus. Blankenhorn is projected to be a third baseman.

Blankenhorn decides to go pro, signs with Twins

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According to ELIAS

Santana one-hits White Sox

Ervin Santana allowed one hit in his complete-game 6–0 home win over the White Sox. April 15 is the second-earliest calendar date on which a pitcher has thrown a complete-game no-hitter or one-hitter for the Twins franchise. Santana threw 107 pitches. Walter Johnson allowed one hit in a 3–0, season-opening win for the Washington Senators over the Philadelphia Athletics on April 14, 1910. Before that game, William Howard Taft started the tradition of the president throwing out the first pitch of the season (to Johnson, on that day.)

 

 
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The Pen is Mightier says Tom Verducci……. Back in 1999

When you turn on the MLB channel which has replaced ESPN as the go-to baseball channel at any point in the day you will quickly learn that the trend according to today’s baseball so-called experts is that the bullpen is now the key to having a winning team that will do well in the playoffs. The Cleveland Indians and Andrew Miller are a prime example they say. But Tom Verducci wrote a story for Sports Illustrated back in September of 1999 expounding on the virtues of relief pitchers. 

Rangers manager Johnny Oates

The importance of the bullpen was not lost on managers back in 1999 either as this quote from then Texas Rangers skipper Johnny Oates attests –

“Getting from two outs in the sixth inning to the ninth inning is the most important part of the game,” Oates says. “That’s where you’ll win or lose the pennant. It’s even more important in the playoffs, when every run is magnified.”

I guess it just goes to show that what goes around comes back around but like everything else in life, the game of baseball is slow to learn from history.

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According to ELIAS

Haley fans six in first save

Haley

Justin Haley recorded six of his 10 outs via strikeouts, earning his first major-league save in the Twins’ 11–5 win at Detroit. The last pitcher to collect at least six strikeouts in any save was the Royals’ Danny Duffy, also at Detroit on Sep. 20, 2015 (6 SO in 4 IP.) That also happened to be Duffy’s first (and to date, only) save in the majors. Haley is the 21st reliever to strike out six-or-more batters in his first big-league save since the statistic became official in 1969. Only one of the previous 20 went on to save as many as 90 games. That was Tom “Flash” Gordon, who fanned six in two-and-one-third innings for Kansas City at Texas in 1989. Gordon finished his career with 158 saves, although he wouldn’t earn more than one in a season until 1997.

Bill Campbell is the Twins all-time leader in this category getting 15 saves between 1973-1976 by pitching 3 or more innings in a game for the save.

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The 1967 AL pennant race – Part 5 – Walter Bond and Bratwurst on the menu at Met Stadium

Part time outfielder and first baseman Walt Bond played in just 10 games for Minnesota and he was never a star but he had an interesting history. Although his time in Minnesota may have been short, he still should be remembered for wearing a Minnesota Twins uniform before passing away at the age of just 29 on September 14, 1967 of leukemia. 

In memory of Walt Bond

One of the mainstays at all baseball ballparks today are the Hot dogs and Brats but apparently that was not always the case. When the 1967 season opened at Metropolitan Stadium on Friday, April the 14th with the Twins facing the Detroit Tigers there was a new comestible on the menu for fans to try, bratwurst and sauerkraut. So tomorrow will mark 50 years since the Twins first sold Brats at the home ballpark. Twins concessionaire Jimmy Robertson had 16 ounce draft beer on the menu for 50 cents and he said he would consider tortillas, pizza, fish and chips, chow mein and who knows what if someone was willing to buy it. I wonder what a Brat went for back then.

Sporting News 04221967 P16

The 1967 Minnesota Twins opened the 1967 season on April 11th on the road at Memorial Stadium taking on the Baltimore Orioles and their starter Dave McNally, the Twins countered with their big lefty Jim Kaat

The game started with a bang when Cesar Tovar hit a double off McNally but the excitement for Twins fans was short-lived when Rich Rollins flew out to left-fielder Curt Belfray who quickly doubled-off Tovar off second base. Oliva followed with a ground out and McNally was out of the inning. Twins starter Jim Kaat must have been a bit nervous because he hit lead-off hitter Curt Blefary and then proceeded to give up a double to Luis Aparicio with Blefary scoring, a single to Frank Robinson that scored Aparicio and then gave up a home run to Brooks Robinson. After facing just four Oriole batters Kaat and the Twins found themselves down 4-0 with still no one out. Kaat shut the door after that but was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the top of the fifth still trailing 4-0.

The Twins scored 3 runs in the fifth knocking McNally out of the game but that was a close as they would get as reliever Jim Perry allowed two more runs in the bottom of the sixth inning and the Orioles sent their 39,812 fans home happy after just 2 hours and 32 minutes of play. Rookie second baseman Rod Carew who played for the Wilson Tobs in the class A Carolina League in 1966 hit sixth in the Twins line-up in his first big league game and went 2 for 4 and his Hall of Fame career was under way. Jim Kaat took the loss and reliever Moe Drabowsky got the win for the O’s while Stu Miller got the save.

You can check out the four previous blogs on the great 1967 AL pennant race by clicking here.

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According to ELIAS

Supernatural start of season for Santana

Ervin Santana has been lights out for the Twins to start the season. Santana allowed two hits over six scoreless innings in his win over the White Sox on Sunday, six days after allowing two hits and one run over seven innings in his Opening Day win over the Royals. Santana is the first pitcher in Twins/Senators history to win his first two starts of the season while allowing no more than two hits in either game. The last pitcher on any team to start his season in such a way was Jake Odorizzi, who allowed two hits in each of his first two starts – both wins – for the 2015 Rays. Odorizzi had just one game of that kind in his final 26 starts for Tampa Bay that year.

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According to ELIAS

Twins peak of AL Central

Phil Hughes

Phil Hughes stifled the White Sox over six innings to keep the Twins undefeated and atop the AL Central standings. Minnesota, who improved to 4–0 on Friday, finished last season with the worst record in baseball at 59–103. The 2017 Twins are the sixth team in major-league history to open a season with a four-game winning streak after losing 100 or more games in the previous season. The other five squads to do so were the 1899 Cardinals, who started 7–0 after a season with 111 losses, 1906 Braves (4–0 after 103 losses), 1952 Browns (4–0 after 102 losses), 2003 Royals (9–0 after 100 losses), and 2004 Tigers (4–0 after 119 losses).

Minnesota partying like it’s 1987

After adding three more scoreless innings on Friday, the Twins bullpen has been unscored upon in their first 13 innings of the 2017 season. That’s Minnesota’s longest streak to start a season without allowing a run in relief since 1987 – the Twins began that season with 13? scoreless innings from their bullpen. That 1987 season, which culminated in a World Series title for Minnesota, was also the last time the Twins started a season 4–0 before this year.

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According to ELIAS

Twins sweep Royals

Jason

Jason Castro

Jason Castro hit a game-winning double and scored two runs as the Twins completed a three-game sweep of the Royals at Target Field. Minnesota allowed just five runs over the seasons (since 2011), the only other series sweep of at least three games in which the Twins allowed five-or-fewer runs was from April 11 to 13, 2014 at Target Field. Their opponent in that series was also the Royals (allowed five runs, with the same sequence of one run allowed in each in the first two games and three in the third).

Did you know that the Minnesota Twins longest winning streak to start a new season is just six games? Back in 1968 the Twins started on the road beating the Senators (2-0, 5-4) and Yankees (6-0, 4-3) twice, beat the Orioles 6-3 and then came come and beat the Senators again 13-1 before losing game seven to the Senators 7-6.

 

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The 1967 AL Pennant Race – Part 4 – pitching & defense and a rodeo bronc rider

The 1966 Minnesota Twins finished the season in second place with a 89-73 record, a full nine games behind the AL pennant winning Baltimore Orioles and they were looking to regain the pennant they felt should have been theirs for the second year in a row in 1966.

The 1966 Orioles were no slouches themselves having won 97 games on the back of Triple Crown winner Frank Robinson and their top four starters Jim Palmer, Dave McNally, Wally Bunker and Steve Barber who won 48 games between them.

Twins owner Calvin Griffith was eager to get back to the World Series and made some moves in December of 1966 that he felt would ensure him the AL pennant in 1967. He traded pitcher Pete Cimino, 1B Don Mincher and OF Jimmie Hall to the California Angels to acquire pitcher Dean Chance and shortstop Jackie Hernandez and the very next day he traded 2B Bernie Allen and P Camilo Pascual to the Washington Senators for reliever Ron Kline.

Manager Same Mele wasn’t entirely pleased with how the Twins did in spring training, finishing with a 11-17 mark in Grapefruit League play. It didn’t make him feel any better when Starter Jim Grant was hit in the forearm by a line drive that took him out of action for several weeks just before the 1967 season was about to start.

The April 15, 1967 Sporting News lays out the Twins plan to win it all with pitching and defense and gives you a look at the roster of the 1967 Twins as they prepare to open the season in Baltimore on April 11. It also has a short piece on Twins rodeo bronc riding third baseman Ron Clark.

Sporting News 04151967 P39

 

All of my previous blogs on the 1967 pennant race can be found here.

 

 

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According to ELIAS

Twins’ big inning subjugates Royals

Eduardo Escobar

Miguel Sano hit a three-run triple and Eduardo Escobar blasted a three-run homer in the seventh inning of the Twins’ 9–1 win over the Royals on Wednesday. It’s the first time since the Twins arrived in Minnesota in 1961 that they had a three-run triple and three-run homer in the same inning.

Sano’s triple was a welcome sight for Twins fans: Minnesota hit .190 with the bases loaded last season, the lowest in the major leagues in any of the past three seasons (2014–16) and the lowest for Minnesota since 1982.

Don’t forget to check out our Today In Twins History page, lots of fun facts there.

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Twins Express bus gets benched

I have taken the so-called Twins Express bus to Target Field numerous times over the last few years from 394 and County Road 373 and found it an easy and inexpensive way to get to Target Field and not have to worry about finding and paying for a parking spot. With the Minnesota Twins playing poorly since 2010 it turns out that ridership had dropped from about 100,000 a season to just 25,800 in 2016.

According to the Star Tribune article on March 30th:

Ridership on Route 679 is down so much that the agency has decided to drop the service that for the past six years has ferried fans between Target Field and the park-and-ride at Interstate 394 and County Road 73.
“We have done everything we can to get that route going,” Kelci Stones, a specialist in Metro Transit’s marketing department, told the Met Council this week. “We couldn’t continue the service this year any further.”

The service offering a round-trip ride for $5 debuted in 2010 with the opening of the new stadium and generated nearly 100,000 rides. Since the Twins won the division title that year, the team has struggled on the field and at the box office. Consequently, Metro Transit has seen a steady decline in fans taking the express bus. Last season, ridership fell to an all-time low of just more than 25,800 for the 81 home games.

It is a shame that this service has been discontinued, hopefully once the Twins start playing a better brand of baseball and fans start going to Twins games again that this service can be revived. I will miss this service.

Metro Transit drops Twins Express service for 2017 season

 

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According to ELIAS

Twins walk to a 7-1 Opening Day win at Target Field over the Kansas City Royals

Joe Mauer

Robbie Grossman, Joe Mauer and Miguel Sano each drew bases loaded walks in the Twins’ six-run seventh inning in their win over the Royals. It was the first time since September 25, 2009 that the Twins drew three bases loaded walks in the same inning. That game was also against the Royals and the Twins players who did it were Joe Mauer, Jason Kubel and Michael Cuddyer.

The Twins drew only seven bases loaded walks all of last season.

According to MLB, Opening Day rosters feature record 259 players born outside the U.S.

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The 2017 Minnesota Twins have arrived

The season opener for your favorite team is always a special day and that day has arrived for my favorite team the Minnesota Twins. I won’t be at the game in person as I am still in Florida but you can bet your bippies that I will be watching the Twin take on the Royals.

I have high hopes for this team, no, not playoff type hopes but I want to see this team breakout and take a giants step forward and show all those baseball experts that they are a team that will need to be reckoned with in the near future. The team is due to hit on some players that they didn’t expect to be stars, it happens all the time but it hasn’t happened in Minnesota since Brian Dozier came on the scene.

The Twins have suffered some bad luck since they moved into Target Field and some folks still say it was those 13 trees that were removed from Target Field after the inaugural 2010 season that started the down hit slide. Maybe it was and maybe it wasn’t, but this spring like every spring brings new hope, even for us old-timers that got to go to Met Stadium and the HHH Metrodome to see the Killer, Carew, Puckett, Hrbek, and Santana take the Twins to heights that today’s fans can old dream about.

But our team this season is the 2017 version of the Minnesota Twins, how much do you know about these guys? I have put together a little quiz for you to test your knowledge about this years team and staff. Have fun and good luck.

Know your 2017 Minnesota Twins

Here is a 25 question quiz to see how well you know your 2017 Minnesota Twins players and staff. The information is based on the Opening Day roster and includes players that start the season on the DL. Give it a shot, it is multiple choice so if nothing else you can always guess. Most of all have fun!

 

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“Grin and bear it cause good things are a-comin”.

Like most baseball fans I can’t wait for the 2017 MLB season to begin. I have been excited for every baseball season to start for over 60 years now so that tells you that I am no rookie fan, you might compare me to the old veteran player that is looking to hang on for another season.

Spring brings hope as the weather warms, spring rains fall, the grass turns green, the leaves start to form on the trees and somewhere off in the distance you hear that yell that your ears have yearned for during the cold winter months, PLAY BALL!!

The home town Minnesota Twins ended spring training on Friday and flew to Minnesota after their final exhibition game which ended in a 3-3 tie against their AAA Rochester team. Spring training wins mean very little, in 2016 the Cubs finished their exhibition schedule with a 11-19 record and won the World Series. The 2016 Twins finished with a 19-11 record and when they looked at the standings when the season ended they saw a “59” in their W column. The 2017 Twins were 16-13 in this springs meaningless games.

This is the first season for the new Derek Falvey and Thad Levine regime and the third season as the Twins manager for Paul Molitor. Much has been said and written about Falvey and his approach to running a team and how appreciated he was in Cleveland. The consensus is that Falvey has taken over a tired old organization that time has passed by and a complete house-cleaning was in order. But Falvey and Levine have not done that, they have actually made very few moves both on the field and in the front office. I think that tells us something.

To me it sends a very clear message, the Minnesota Twins organization coming off a disastrous season in which they lost 103 games is not the pile of s*%# that everyone says it was and that the team has a bright future and all they need to do is fine tune it a bit and stay out of way to make sure they don’t screw it up. Falvey didn’t leave the Indians and Levine the Rangers to end up in some dead-end team with no hope, they came to Minnesota because they see what this team can and will be in the next few years. Believe me, the Twins organization is far from perfect and there will not be any playoff games played in Target Field in 2017 but this years team will not be the sad sack Twins of 2016.

The major weakness the Twins have is their relief pitching and Falvey and Levine did nothing to speak of to address that problem, that will come back to haunt the team this season. Can the starters be worse this year than last? I think not so I am expecting much more from that group in 2017. The young position players are just getting to the stage of realizing that they can play and compete at the big league level and they will be both fun and at times frustrating to watch. The Twins motto for this season should be “Grin and bear it cause good things are a-comin”.

My 2017 American League Central Division prediction

Here is how it is going to look after the 2017 season ends.

 

The 2017 American League pennant winners will be the Cleveland Indians and the National League pennant winning Washington Nationals will play in the 2017 World Series with the Indians winning in 6 exciting games. Enjoy the season.

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Minnesota Twins Historical Opening Day Crossword Puzzle

crossword image

The Minnesota Twins will open their 2017 season in just a few days at Target Field against the Kansas City Royals. The last time the Twins won a game on Opening Day was March 31, 2008 when they beat the Angels 3-2, since then they have lost on Opening Day eight times in a row. Hopefully they can change that pattern and celebrate a win on the opener. The only active players on this years (2017) version of the Minnesota Twins that played on the 2008 Twins are Joe Mauer and Craig Breslow. Breslow left the Twins in 2009 and has since played for the A’s, Diamondbacks, Red Sox and Marlins before putting on a Twins uniform again. Back in 2008 Mauer was an All-Star, Gold Glove, Silver Slugger award winning catcher. Livan Hernandez was the winning pitcher back in 2008. Check out the box score from that game, you might not even remember some of those players. Some of the Twins players from 2008 are Twins coaches today.

Box Score from March 31, 2008

Let’s see how well you remember your Minnesota Twins Opening Day games. Have fun!

Minnesota Twins Opening Day Crossword puzzle

Once you have brought the puzzle up and are ready to print the puzzle, do a right-click with your mouse and you might want to do a print preview first to get the puzzle the right size to fit on a single page. The clues for the puzzle will print on page 2.

Answers? You want answers? Probably just to double-check your work because if you are checking out this site you are probably a big Twins fan and will not need any research to complete the puzzle. If you do need help answering some, the answer might be found else where on this site. If you must see the answers, you can find them on the link below but only do so as a last resort. Thanks, I hope you enjoy it.

Minnesota Twins Opening Day Crossword puzzle answers

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Who was this guy?

This pitcher was signed by the Kansas City Royals as an amateur free agent but released just 10 months later. The Cincinnati Reds signed him as a free agent only to lose him to the Minnesota Twins four years later in the Rule 5 draft. He made his major league debut on Opening Day for the Minnesota Twins at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in the eighth inning with the Twins trailing the A’s 7-5. The Twins scored in the top of the ninth inning to tie the ball game when Willie Norwood pinch-hit for Rob Wilfong and delivered a single to left to score two base runners and send the game into extra innings. 

Neither team scored until the 12th inning when both Roy Smalley and Rick Sofield hit home runs for the visiting Twins while the A’s were held scoreless in the bottom of the 12th inning sending A’s fans home disappointed. The pitcher you are trying to identify pitched the last 5 innings for Minnesota and held the A’s scoreless allowing just one hit and striking out six. This pitcher is the only pitcher in Twins history to be credited with a win while making his major league debut on an Opening Day. Do you know who this pitcher is?

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The great pennant race of 1967 – part 3 – the rookies, Chance, Versalles and payroll could reach $700K

The Minnesota Twins were unable to defend their 1965 championship season and finished 1966 with a 89-73 record in second place behind the World Champion Baltimore Orioles. The team was out to make amends in 1967 and get back to the World Series.

Tinker Field

In late March of 1967 the Minnesota Twins like every other team in the ten team American League was getting ready to wind down spring training at Tinker Field in Orlando, Florida and prepare for the long season ahead. The soon to be 1967 Minnesota Twins were a veteran team but they had high hopes for rookies like pitcher Jim Ollom, first baseman Rich Reese, third baseman Ron Clark and a 21 year-old Panamanian second baseman by the name of Rod Carew who spent 1966 in the class A Carolina League playing for the Wilson Tobs where he hit .292 with one home run and committed 21 errors.

Today you can read what Twins beat writer Max Nichols wrote about the Twins in the March 25, 1967 issue of the Sporting News which was the weekly baseball bible back in the days before the internet.

Sporting News 03251967 P27

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Does QS=BS?

Everyone talks about their starting pitcher putting up a Quality Start which means they want their starter to go at least 6 innings and give up 3 earned runs or less. The best team in baseball in 2016 the World Champions Chicago Cubs won 103 games and had 100 QS’s of which the team won 74 of those games or 74%. On the other end of the National League spectrum we had the Los Angeles Dodgers who won the NL west with a 91-71 record had the NL fewest QS’s with 60 and they won 46 of those games for a 76.7%. The Dodgers had one more QS than the worst team in baseball, the Minnesota Twins who won 59 games and had 59 QS’s of which the Twins won 35 of those games for a 59.3%. Hard to believe but the Dodgers had one more QS than Minnesota and yet they almost made it to the World Series and won 32 more games than did the Twins. WOW!

I see Quality Starts as one of those baseball numbers that does not mean a lot, it is one of the contributing factors to a win but a QS in itself doesn’t ensure an addition to the “W” column. Looking over the entire history of the Minnesota Twins since 1961 I found that they have had 4,401 QS’s and the team has won 3,024 of those games for a 68.71%. That appears to mean that when your pitcher puts up a QS you will win about 2/3 of your games and that is not bad at all, if your team has .666 winning percentage you are in fat city because your baseball team has won about 108 games. But we all know that the Twins have lost more games than they have won since they moved to the Land of Sky Blue Waters in 1961.

The 2016 Minnesota Twins had the fewest Quality Starts in their history with 59 in the years that they have played the full schedule of games. The Twins have had three seasons when they have had 100 or more Quality Starts, in 1968 they had 100 QS’s and yet they finished 79-83, in 1967 they had 105 QS’s and finished 91-71, and in 1972 they only played 154 games finishing with a 77-77 mark but had 114 QS’s.

2016 American League Quality Start totals

2016 National League Quality Start totals

 

Bottom line? Kind of shows you that QS=BS.

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59 wins and yet no starting position player battles for jobs

What is going on here? L-R – Jim Pohlad, Michael Cuddyer, Derek Falvey, and ?

The Minnesota Twins find themselves in a strange position this spring. The team is coming off a record-setting 59-103 season and yet there are really no position battles waging in Ft. Myers this spring. All the starting position players are pretty much the same as last season except for the catcher Kurt Suzuki who left via free agency and the Twins signed free agent Jason Castro to replace him and handed him the starting job.

How often does that happen? Usually you lose 103 games and everyone is fighting for a job but that is not the case in the spring of 2017 at the CenturyLink Sports complex where the Twins are preparing for the 2017 season. As I watch the team go through its spring routines there doesn’t seem to be much urgency and the players are acting as if they are all veterans just waiting for the bell to ring in a new season. I can see the players going through the drills but I just don’t see that they are working hard to get better. This team is young, and talented but have they had enough sand kicked in their face yet to really want to win? I hope so.

I am still convinced that Joe Mauer playing first base limits the Twins from taking that next step. Mauer is the grey-beard among the position players at 33 and then Brian Dozier and Jason Castro follow at 29 and the rest of the starting line-up is 25 or under. 

If you look at the spring training stats and I know they don’t mean a hill of beans when the season starts BUT this team appears to be a team that can score some runs but will hit for a lower average than what fans might expect. Mauer’s .300 plus days are in his rear view mirror and I am not expecting Jason Castro, Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Miguel Sano, Jorge Polanco, or Brian Dozier to hit .260 or above. I expect a higher average from Eddie Rosario this year but he too is still unproven.

In spite of what I have written this team should be fun to watch but you must be prepared for those “what the hell just happened” moments. This team will continue to improve as the season progresses and but so much will depend on the teams pitching staff both from the starters and the relievers. 

I was used to seeing GM Terry Ryan out next to the fields checking out the action but this year I have not seen Thad Levine at all and Derek Falvey just once and that was this morning. A different style I guess, particularly since all I heard early on about Falvey was how closely he worked with his manager. But you are right, it is still early.

After horrible starts to the season the last two years, how will the Twins leave the starting gate in 2017? Another bad start could would be a serious problem for Paul Molitor and his boys. 

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Looking at the Minnesota Twins top 10 center fielders

The Minnesota Twins have had a strong history of good center field play and when you look at this list you can certainly see why. The rankings are in Baseball-Reference WAR order and the player needed to have played center field in at least 50% of his games. 

How many of these guys did you get to see play? An old fossil like me gets to say he saw them all play and one of my favorites although he did not play here very long was Lenny Green. I am not saying that Green was in Puckett’s or Hunter’s class as a center fielder but I enjoyed watching him play. 

Minnesota Twins top 10 center fielders

 

Buxton

Todays Twins center fielder is still tying to prove he belongs on this list and he just might but he is going to have to show us his stuff. Can he prove to be even better than hall of famer Kirby Puckett? That is a tall order, we will just have to wait and see and it should be fun. I am expecting a HUGE breakout season from Buxton in 2017.

Some of the guys that didn’t make the top 10 list above are Carlos Gomez, Aaron Hicks, Buxton, Alex Cole, and Ken Landreaux.

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What goes on back at the ballpark when there is a road game

I was back out at the ballpark to check on the Twins yesterday to see what the rest of the team was up to when the Twins had a game in Jupiter, Florida scheduled for that afternoon. Jupiter is almost due east of Ft. Myers across the state and although it is only about 140 miles it takes almost three hours to get there. Lake Okeechobee is between Ft. Myers and Jupiter so you end up going around it to the north as you head towards the Atlantic ocean.

Apparently skipper Paul Molitor felt that drive is way too much for most of the Minnesota Twins regulars so he sent the following line-up to play the game at Roger Dean Stadium.

  • Granite – RF
  • Santana – LF
  • Paulsen  – 1B
  • Hague – DH
  • Shuck – CF
  • Fields – 2B
  • Escobar – SS
  • Murphy – C
  • Adrianza – 3B
  • Gibson – P

Not exactly the 1965 Twins but they did manage to keep the game interesting until they allowed the Cards to score the winning run in the bottom of the ninth in a 2-1 loss. Ticket prices for the game on the internet were between $46 and $180. Fans pay prices like this to see a spring training game and the Twins send zero starting position players. CRAZY! Both the Cardinals and the Twins should be embarrassed and MLB should start fining these teams for this kind of behavior.

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Former Twins pitcher Bill Hands dead at 76

 

Former Giants, Cubs, Twins and Rangers pitcher Bill Hands and a 20-game winner for the 1969 Cubs, died Thursday, March 9 in a Orlando, Florida hospital after a brief illness at the age of 76.

William Alfred Hands was born May 6, 1940 in Hackensack, New Jersey and signed with the San Francisco Giants as an amateur free agent prior to the 1959 season. Hands started his pro career at the age of 19 in class D ball in Hastings, Nebraska in the Nebraska State League and worked his way up the big-league ladder. The right-handed Hands made his major league debut on June 3, 1965 in a Giants 10-3 loss to the Milwaukee Braves at County Stadium. “Froggy” as he was known to his teammates appeared in just four games as a San Francisco Giant before he was traded by the San Francisco Giants with Randy Hundley to the Chicago Cubs for Don Landrum and Lindy McDaniel in December 1965. 

Bill Hands pitched for the Cubs for seven season posting a 92-86 record with a 3.18 ERA including a 20 win season in 1969. In November 1972 he was traded by the Chicago Cubs with Bob Maneely (minors) and Joe Decker to the Minnesota Twins for Dave LaRoche. Hands was not happy in Minnesota under the Calvin Griffith ownership team and requested to be traded but instead found himself waived by the team and claimed by the Texas Rangers in September of 1974 where he finished out that season and then again pitched for the Rangers in 1975 but suffered a back injury that essentially ended his career at the age of 35. In February of 1976 Hands was again on the move, this time traded by the Texas Rangers to the New York Mets for George Stone but as far as I know he never pitched pro ball again after his final big league game on August 10, 1975. 

With baseball salaries being what they were back in the 1960’s, Hands started driving a fuel truck in Lyndhurst, New York during the off-season for what is now Keller Depken Oil. That planted the seed for a post-baseball job as an oil company salesman on Long Island, and eventually the service station that he ran in Orient, New York for a quarter century with his son Billy III. 

So Orient was home, where he lived with his wife Sandra, after his first wife passed away. Besides his son, he also has two daughters (Heather, Heidi) and nine grandchildren.

Orient’s Bill Hands, pitcher for ’69 Cubs, rooting against the Mets again

Where are they now? Rutherford’s Bill Hands

Orient resident, MLB 20-game winner Bill Hands dies at 76

Ex-Cub Bill Hands, 20-game winner in 1969, dies at 76 – Chicago Tribune obituary

 

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I wonder how many ballplayers still chew

Despite health warnings and minor league prohibition, Major League players continue to chew tobacco on the field and in the dugout. A number of years ago I remember being near one of the back fields watching the Twins minor league players getting ready to play a minor league game and I saw catcher Wilson Ramos reach into his bag for some tobacco to chew when Twins GM Terry Ryan spotted him and ran over and told him that the Twins don’t want their players chewing “that stuff”. Ramos put the can pack in his bag and that was the end of it. I don’t know if Ramos chews today or not but that little episode stuck with me as I remember the health problems that former Twins player Bill Tuttle had with “chew”.

Anti-spit tobacco crusader Bill Tuttle (please be aware that some of the images you may see can be disturbing)

SABR Baseball Cards recently did a piece they called “Chaw Shots” showing baseball cards with players chewing. I think it is surprising how many of the former players pictured were Minnesota Twins at one time or another.

MLB: Violators of new tobacco laws face baseball penalties

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