Changes or additions to the site

  • Added “Hitting streaks” to the Additional Menu Selections. 1/28/2018
  • Added Twins career “Save leaders” to the Additional Menu Selections. 1/24/2018
  • We have a new trivia quiz for you on our Twins Trivia Questions page. 1/3/2018
  • Added 20 game winners and no-hitters to “additional menu selections”. 12/23/2017
  • TheRule 5 Draft Historypage has been updated. 12/15/2017
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Twins deal for Jake Odorizzi

Jake Odorizzi

The Twins made a very nice addition to their starting rotation when they acquired pitcher Jake Odorizzi from the Tampa Rays for minor league shortstop Jermaine Palacios yesterday. Odorizzi, 27, has a career 3.83 ERA in 129 appearances (126 starts) since 2012 and he has struck out 643, walked 232 and allowed 101 homers in 705 1/3 innings. The 21-year-old Palacios played shortstop for A ball Cedar Rapids and High A Ft. Myers in 2017. Most of the experts had Palacios ranked somewhere between the 20th and 30th best Twins prospect. Palacios is known more for his hitting than he is his fielding

Jermaine Palacios

This will be the fourth big league organization for Odorizzi who was a first round pick by the Brewers in 2008 but was traded to the Royals in 2010. The Royals traded Odorizzi to the Rays in 2012. Odorizzi will make $6.3 million this year and can become a free agent in 2020.

Kind of an unusual footnote here is that having back to back zz’s in your name isn’t all that common yet Jake Odorizzi joins former Twins Steve Lombardozzi, Sam Perlozzo, Buzz Stephen, Mauro Gozzo and Keith Garagozzo in this unusual club.

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Baseball and the Tomato

Just makes my mouth water looking at these.

I love baseball and I love gardening. There is nothing in this world that tastes better than a freshly picked tomato off the vine on a warm summer day. There was a lot of fun at Met Stadium back in the early 60’s and some of it was not on the diamond. In today’s world we take too many things too seriously and neglect to stop and smell the roses tomato’s. We forget sometimes that baseball was meant to be a game but over the years it became a business. We don’t have the “characters” in baseball anymore like we once had and players work at the game year-around. I miss the game of baseball the way it used to be but baseball is still a great game no matter what. Here is a fun column by Dick Cullum about the Metropolitan Stadium tomato growing contest. Maybe they should come up with something similar now that the Twins are playing outdoors again. Sounds like a great marketing gimmick to me.

This clipping is from the June 24, 1964 Star Tribune.

Here is what Amanda Fiegl wrote on Smithsonian.com back in March of 2008 in her article called “Tomatoes in the Bullpen”. Obviously she never heard of what went on at Met Stadium.

Greenest Bullpen
Shea Stadium, Queens, NY: Home of the Mets
Shea is a place of many firsts. When it opened in 1964, it was the first stadium capable of hosting both baseball and football events. The Jets stopped using it in 1984, and soon the Mets will too, with the new Citi Field set to open next year.

Shea was the site of the longest extra-inning doubleheader in baseball history (10 hours and 32 innings, against the San Francisco Giants) in May 1964, and hosted the Beatles’ first U.S. outdoor stadium show a year later. It also hosts some uninvited guests–The New York Times reported in 2007 that a colony of several dozen feral cats lives at the stadium, sometimes making surprise appearances on camera. In the one YouTube-celebrated instance last season, a startled kitten popped out of a tarp being unfurled by and even more startled groundskeeper.

But Shea has another unique claim to fame as well–the majors’ first bullpen vegetable garden. The tradition is said to have started with a few tomatoes planted by bullpen coach Joe Pignatano in 1969, which groundskeepers turned into a full-fledged garden in later years. By 1997, the corn and sunflowers in the Mets’ bullpen grew so high that the visiting Phillies actually complained that the greenery obstructed their view of warm-ups. Now, teams including the Red Sox, Braves and Detroit Tigers also have bullpen gardens.

 

 

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Minnesota Twins Top 10 Third Baseman

Over the years 69 players have played 10 or more games at third base for the Minnesota Twins. Gary Gaetti has far and away played the hot corner more frequently and any other Minnesota Twin. To qualify for this list you must have played at least 51% of your games at third base. The most obvious name that you would think of that belongs on this list is Harmon Killebrew but he does not qualify because he played 1,939 games in a Minnesota Twins uniform but only 517 of them were at third base. My silly rule but it is what it is. My biggest surprise looking at the list is to see Eric Soderholm so high on the list.

Gary Gaetti 

 

Results
Rk Player WAR/pos G From To AB R H HR RBI SB BA OPS
1 Gary Gaetti 27.1 1361 1981 1990 4989 646 1276 201 758 74 .256 .744
2 Corey Koskie 22.2 816 1998 2004 2788 438 781 101 437 66 .280 .836
3 John Castino 15.1 666 1979 1984 2320 293 646 41 249 22 .278 .727
4 Rich Rollins 11.9 888 1961 1968 3048 395 830 71 369 15 .272 .727
5 Eric Soderholm 10.1 407 1971 1975 1345 184 345 36 161 14 .257 .725
6 Trevor Plouffe 8.1 723 2010 2016 2638 332 651 96 357 11 .247 .727
7 Mike Cubbage 6.9 555 1976 1980 1681 195 447 29 226 6 .266 .715
8 Scott Leius 4.8 476 1990 1995 1373 201 346 26 155 15 .252 .693
9 Mike Pagliarulo 4.0 246 1991 1993 723 79 197 9 68 8 .272 .693
10 Brent Gates 0.9 217 1998 1999 639 71 161 6 80 4 .252 .656
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 2/3/2018.

 

Twins Top 10 Catchers

Twins Top 10 Second Basemen

Twins Top 10 Third Baseman

Twins Top 10 Shortstops

Twins Top 10 Center Fielders

 

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Dropping by the ballpark before Twins spring training cranks up

Trevor May (click on picture to make it larger)

I went out to the CenturyLink Sports Complex on Friday to see who was out there before the pitchers and catchers report early next week. I got there about 8:45 am and there wasn’t a player in site and the fields were all empty, as a matter of fact I was the only fan out there for about 15 or 20 minutes. About 9AM or so the players started drifting out to the field with the big grassy knoll, I would guess there were about 25 or so and they did some stretching and running before moving on. Fans started arriving about 9:30 or so.

It was fairly quiet at the complex, pretty much what I expected at this time of the year. I was hoping to see Miguel Sano but I didn’t spot him at all. I took a few pictures that are posted under “2018 Spring Training” on the right-hand side of the page. It is hard for me anyway, to identify the players, particularly the minor leaguers’ without names on their uniforms.

I see that the Twins missed out on Yu Darvish when he agreed to a deal to become a Chicago Cub. I know that the Twins are in desperate need of starters but I am happy they didn’t spend $126 million on Darvish over the next 5 years, there are other and I think better options out there that will be a better fit. I applaud the Twins decision not to give in to a player and give him an opt-out in his contract. An opt-out is a one-way benefit for the player and is a dumb idea for baseball teams and those that fall for that agent trick deserve what they get.

Baseball is just around the corner and I can’t wait to see the pitchers and catchers in action next week.

PLAY BALL!!!

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Should Max Kepler be traded for pitching?

Max Kepler

I am not one to usually comment about trade rumors but this one peaked my interests because it involves one of the Twins starting outfielders, Max Kepler. Rumor has it that the Tampa Rays have stated they are interested in Kepler in any trades for Rays pitchers like Chris Archer or Jake Odorizzi, both right-handed.

I have been a Kepler fan since the Twins signed him back in 2009. Kepler made his big league debut as a September call-up in 2015 and appeared in just three games but became a regular in 2016. Kepler, who will turn 25 in a few days has appeared in 263 games, mostly in right field and hit 36 home runs and posted a .239 average but has sometimes struggled against lefties. Defensively Kepler is above average and plays in center now and then. I am a bit baffled so far by Kepler’s average because this guy should be hitting closer to .300 but he has changed his swing working to get more elevation, I am not sure this is the right approach for Kepler who has a great level swing and will hit around 20 home runs just because he is that strong. Kepler has a history of needing a bit of time to adapt to new leagues and he could have a break-out year in 2018, then again he might not and his value will tank.

The Twins tasted the playoffs in 2018, maybe a little earlier than they should have and now everyone thinks they are well on their way but the Twins have serious starting pitching deficiencies and so far have done nothing to fix that problem and just yesterday they announced that Ervin Santana had surgery on his pitching hand and will be out 10-12 weeks. That means that by the time he comes back and gets in pitching shape the season will be 1/3 over.

Odorizzi

So what do you do? Possibly mortgage the future by trading Kepler for Chris Archer or Jake Odorizzi? Odorizzi who will turn 28 in late March has pitched in the big leagues for the last six seasons and was originally a Brewers first round selection in 2008 but was traded to the Royals in the Zack Greinke trade and then traded to Tampa in the Wil Myers trade. Odorizzi made $4,1 million last year and will not be a free agent until 2020. Odorizzi strikes out 8.2 batters per nine innings and would be a great fit in the Twins rotation.

Archer

Archer is 29 and also has pitched in the big leagues for six seasons, all for Tampa and his history is similar to Odorizzi but he was a fifth round pick by the Indians and traded to the Cubs who then traded him to Tampa in the Matt Garza deal in 2011. Archer is a two-time All-Star who strikes out batter at a clip of 9.7 per nine innings. He is signed through 2020 for about $14 million with team options for 2021 and 2022 for $20 million. 

If I am going to trade for one of these guys and I have a choice, I take Chris Archer but I would love to see either one of these guys in the Twins rotation and as much as I like Kepler I would trade him for either one of these pitchers straight up. Why? Because the Twins have a history of finding and developing hitters, pitchers not so much. It is about time the Twins pushed some of their chips to the middle of the table and take some calculated risks. You have a known weakness, you at least have to try to fix it. Sitting back and waiting is not the answer. It is time for Derek Falvey and Thad Levine to show us their hand.

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Yup! Baseball season is here

The Super Bowl is in the rear view mirror and baseball is just around the corner. I know this is true because just yesterday the Minnesota Twins announced that their starting pitcher Ervin Santana will be out for 10-12 weeks due to surgery to a finger on his pitching hand. Geez, pitchers and catchers haven’t even reported yet. Injuries to Twins pitchers are a sure sign of Spring. We should drop Groundhogs Day and when the first Twins pitcher goes down we all know that Spring is just about here.

I ran across the following short video on Facebook and just could not resist borrowing it for all of you to enjoy.

Borrowed this from Facebook

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The Twins Trivia Best Minnesota Twins of the 60’s

The Washington Senators franchise moved to Minnesota after the 1960 season and became the Minnesota Twins in 1961. From 1961 through 1969 the Twins had a record of 789-666 and played .542 baseball.

During that time period the Minnesota Twins worst season was their first when the team went 70-90. In 1962 the team improved dramatically and won 91 games but finished second, five games behind the New York Yankees. In 1963 the team won 91 games again but this time finished in third behind the Yankees and the Chicago White Sox. In 1964 dropped off dramatically and finished in 6th place with a 79-83 record and as usual the Yankees won the AL Pennant. In 1965 the Twins roared back with 102 wins, a franchise high that stands to this day and they played the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series but lost in seven games. 1966 found Minnesota winning 89 games while losing 73 but that was only good enough for second place, nine games behind the Baltimore Orioles. 1967 is remembered as one of the greatest pennant races in baseball history and the Twins came up short when the lost their final two games of the season to the Boston Red Sox and finished one game out with a record of 91-71 and tied the Detroit Tigers for second place behind the pennant winning Red Sox. The following season, 1968, saw the Twins fall back to a 79-83 record and seventh place as the Tigers hoisted the AL pennant in Detroit. 1969 saw expansion and the first time that the AL was split into two Divisions. The Twins won the West Division with a 97-65 mark and played the East Division winning Baltimore Orioles who were 109-53 and the Twins came up short in the ALCS losing 3 games to zip. So in nine seasons of play in the 60’s, the Twins had just three losing seasons. During this era pitchers were also hitters, the DH did not come into play until 1973.

So who were the best Twins position players in that era? Let’s look back and see who they were by position.

Harmon Killebrew

C – Earl Battey with a WAR of 14.3

1B – Harmon Killebrew with a WAR of 42.7

2B – Rod Carew with a WAR of 10.1

3B – Rich Rollins with a WAR of 11.9

SS – Zoilo Versalles with a WAR of 15.2

LF – Bob Allison with a WAR of 30.3

CF – Cesar Tovar with a WAR of 15.1 (why is this guy not in the Twins Hall of Fame?)

RF – Tony Oliva with a WAR of 31.9

P – Jim Kaat with a hitting/fielding WAR of 4.3 

Hitting Stats

 

Let’s take a look at Twins pitching in the 60’s. The biggest surprise on this list is Jim Merritt who I always liked but his numbers are better than I remember.

Jim Kaat

SP – Jim Kaat with a WAR of 23.7

SP – Jim Perry with a WAR of 20.5

SP – Camilo Pascual with a WAR of 18.4

SP – Dean Chance with a WAR of 13.0

SP – Dave Boswell with a WAR of 12.8

SP – Jim Merritt with a WAR of 11.2

Al Worthington

RP – Al Worthington with a WAR of 10.0

 

Pitching Stats

For more information about Minnesota Twins from the 1960’s, please go to Twins Heroes

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Back in Time to June 1967

What we have here is a clipping from the Sunday, June 4, 1967 Star Tribune Sports section and a story about the up-coming June free agent draft with assistant farm director George Brophy.

You have to love Brophy’s best picks going into the draft being listed in the local paper. Was Brophy being honest or just blowing smoke? You sure don’t see things like that now days. Let’s take a closer look.

The first guy on the list is Terry Hughes and he was the second overall pick by the Cubs. Next on the list was Mike Garman and he was the third overall pick by the Red Sox. Don Blemberg was the next player on the list but the name was incorrect, it was really Ron Blomberg and he was the first overall pick in the draft by the Yankees. Fourth on the list is Wayne Simpson and he was the eighth overall selection by the Reds. Phil Meyer was next on the list he went number 14 overall to the Phillies but never made it to the big leagues. Mike Nunn is next and the Angels used the ninth overall selection to draft this catcher who would never reach the majors. Next on the Brophy list is Brian Bickerson who was really Brien Bickerton who was taken seventh overall by the Athletics but he too never had a big league appearance. Next up, Larry Keener who turned out to be a round two pick by the Phillies and he too spent his big league career in the minors. Next up is catcher Ted Simmons and he was taken tenth overall by the Cardinals and he went on to have a long 21-year big league career. Larry Matlock is the tenth guy on the list and he is really Jon Matlack who was picked by the Mets as the fourth overall selection and he had a very nice career. Up next was Jim Feer but he turns out to be Jim Foor and he was picked 15th overall by the Tigers and he had a brief big league career. The last player on this 12-man list is a pitcher by the name of Dave Kingman. The Angels got Kingman in the middle of round two and turned him into a position player that some of you might know as Kong Kingman. Yes, he is the same guy that put a ball into the Metrodome ceiling. Actually the best player (by WAR) selected in the first round (or any round) that year was shortstop Bobby Grich who was taken 19th overall by the Orioles.

So, what did the Twins do with their 17th pick? The Twins chose third baseman Steve Brye who became the first ever Twins first round pick to put on a Twins uniform when he debuted with Minnesota in September of 1970. Brye went on to spend all or parts of seven seasons with Minnesota but only appeared in 100 or more games twice. The best players the Twins drafted in 1967 turned out to be pitcher Dave Goltz a fifth round pick and catcher Rick Dempsey a 15th round pick who went on play in the big leagues for 24 years but the Twins traded him early on to the New York Yankees for Danny Walton.

As far as the players names being misspelled is concerned, it is not all that unusual for that time period for the scouts and teams to have incorrect spelling of prospect names and every now and then the same player was picked by two different teams because of the spelling of their names.

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Wayne Hattaway is a true baseball lifer and legend

Minnesota Twins clubhouse assistant Wayne Hattaway, center, talks smack with now-retired radio broadcaster John Gordon in this 2006 image taken in the Twins clubhouse at the Metrodome. (Pioneer Press file photo: Richard Marshall)

 

How often have you heard a Minnesota Twins fan ask another, who is that old guy with that huge mustache and the cowboy hat in the Twins dugout? Well, today you are going to find out all about Mr. Wayne Hattaway.

Baseball has always had its “characters”, that is one of the reasons that I love baseball. Some of baseball characters have been good players, some have been just mediocre players and some have not played the game at all but somehow they were drawn to the game that is known as the national pastime.

We have over 3 1/2 hours of fun listening for you as Wayne Hattaway tells you about his life in baseball, the players, managers and coaches and ownership. The Big Fella tells it like it is and you may agree or disagree with him but it makes for some fun listening. Wayne is getting up there in age and sometimes his memory fails him but who among us can’t say we don’t have the same issue. Enjoy the interviews and if you have any Big Fella stories that you would like to share, please leave them in the comments or get in touch with me.

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The Twins longest hitting streak goes back to 1980

Joe DiMaggio‘s 56-game hitting streak in 1941 is the longest in Major League Baseball history.

In baseball, a hitting streak is the number of consecutive official games in which a player appears and gets at least one base hit. According to the Official Baseball Rules, such a streak is ended when a player has at least one plate appearance and no hits. A streak shall not be terminated if all official plate appearances result in a base on balls, hit by pitch, defensive interference or a sacrifice bunt. The streak shall terminate if the player has a sacrifice fly and no hit.

The Minnesota Twins longest hitting streak, a 31 gamer by Ken Landreaux took place in 1980 starting in a 17-0 loss to the California Angels at Met Stadium on April 23 and ended on May 31 in an 11-1 loss to the Orioles at Met Stadium. During his streak Landreaux had 49 hits in 125 at bats and hit for a .392 average with a .937 OPS.

31 game hitting streak

 

 

The longest streak by a current Twins player belongs to Brian Dozier who had a 24 hitting streak at the tail end of the 2016 season. The longest hitting streak in MLB history belongs to Joe Dimaggio who has the famous 56 game streak on the books, a record set in 1941 that most folks say will never be broken.

 

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