Changes or additions to the site

  • Added 2015 Twins Media Guide to the Twins Media Guide page. 2/24/2015
  • Added eight video clips I found that you will enjoy to our Twins Audio & Video clips page. 2/21/2015
  • “1965 Twins win the pennant”, 40 minute video clip added to the Twins Audio & Video clips page. You don’t want to miss this one. 2/6/2015
  • Twins Ticket Price History page updated to reflect 2015 ticket prices. 2/5/2015
  • Added images to CenturyLink Sports Complex  remodel on right side bar. 1/25/2015
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No red carpet but the uniforms were red

IMGP8441cI missed the Minnesota Twins open house this past Sunday because I was feeling under the weather but I was feeling fine again on Monday so I headed out to the CenturyLink Sports Complex to check out the Twins pitchers and catchers on their first day at training camp under new manager Paul Molitor.

I don’t know why but I was surprised to see the Twins wearing their red jerseys during their first 2015 workout. The workout was already underway when I arrived. I believe that the Twins workouts normally start about 08:30 AM and finish up around 11:30 AM.

The Twins pitchers were broken into several different groups as they went through a variety of drills and took their turn in the bullpen to get some throwing in under the watchful eye of their brand new pitching coach Neil Allen. The catchers in camp this year are Kurt Suzuki, Josmil Pinto, Chris Herrmann, Eric Fryer, Mitch Garver, Tyler Grimes, Dan Rohlfing, and Stuart Turner.

It is great to see the Twins out on the field again and getting ready for their first season under the tutelage of Hall of Famer Paul Molitor but all in all it was a pretty quiet day. There were a number of fans but not as many as I might have expected checking out the action getting pictures and a few autographs when the players work for the day was over. The one observation I would make after watching the first day is that it seemed much quieter and more business-like then what I remember from previous sessions under the Gardenhire regime. I didn’t see any horsing around or players standing around laughing and telling tall tales from their off-season exploits. Maybe it was just day one jitters and everyone getting acclimated but it seemed different.

Molitor was kind of what I expected him to be, standing around and observing the action and now and then taking a player aside and talking with him one on one. Maybe I missed it but I didn’t see Molitor smile once during the morning work outs. It might be just his personality or maybe it struck him exactly what he had stepped into during his first venture in managing. It will be interesting to see how the Twins players react to a manager that I think is much more of a distant old school Tom Kelly type than a players manager like Ron Gardenhire who seemed to be more interested in being part of the gang. Time will tell.

I haven’t seen TK down here yet so I am not sure if he will report when the position players show up or if his health concerns will prevent him from taking part in spring training this season. It was kind of odd not seeing the long time Twins coaching staff and instead seeing Eddie Guardado out on the field helping with pitchers fielding practice.

Your fun fact for the day, Twins pitchers are “a tall glass of water”, at least ten of them are 6’4″ or taller.

I did get a few pictures that you can check out on the right hand side of the page under “2015 Spring Training”.

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Remembering 1965 – considering a four man rotation – Part 5

The Minnesota Twins have a new pitching coach in Neil Allen this season.  Heading into the 1965 season the Twins also had a new pitching coach and his name was Johnny Sain. It turns out that both Allen and Sain were right-handed and both pitched in the big leagues during all or parts of 11 seasons. Allen is getting his first shot as a big league pitching coach in 2015 while Sain had already served as a pitching coach for the Kansas City A’s in 1959 and the New York Yankees from 1961-1963 before he joined Minnesota in 1965 where he would last for two years before going on to serve as pitching coach for the Tigers from 1967-1969, the White Sox from 1971-1975 and the Atlanta Braves in 1977 and again from 1985-1986. Most pitchers loved Sain as their pitching coach and Twins pitcher Jim Kaat was one of those. Matter of fact, when owner Calvin Griffith and the Twins let Sain go, Kaat went public about how stupid he thought that move was but that is a another story for another time.

The Twins had switched to a five man rotation in 1962 but new Twins pitching coach Sain thought that he had the pitchers in Minnesota to go back to a four man starting rotation and it was not a hard sell. Here is a piece that appeared in the Sporting News on  February 13, 1965. Feel free to click on the article a couple of times if your eyes are like mine and need a bit larger font.

 

1965 Twins to pitch on 3 day rest SN 02131965

 Here is how the Twins 1965 pitching stats turned out.

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Twins have easy travel schedule in 2015

AirplaneUnless something unforeseen happens the Minnesota Twins will not be booking a lot of frequent flyer miles in 2015 as they will only have to fly 23,866 miles this coming season. Only seven teams, the Indians with 23,499, the Brewers with 23,429, the White Sox with 23,180, the Tigers with 22,508, the Cubs with 20,953, the Cardinals with 20,875 and the Reds with 20,612 will fly fewer miles than our home town boys. The Mariners on the other hand will be on the other end of the spectrum and will need to fly 43,281 miles to play out their schedule of games in 2015.

The site I used to look up this information has information going back to 2009. Based on their numbers the 2015 Minnesota Twins will fly fewer miles than any Twins team has flown from 2009 through 2014.

Miles flown by the Minnesota Twins

2014 – 29,532

2013 – 29,043

2012 – 25,546

2011 – 32,199

2010 – 27,398

2009 – 25,315

So when you hear those Minnesota Twins radio and television announcers talk about the teams grueling travel schedule you can say, “what a bunch of BS”, they got it easy.

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Checking out the boys of summer

Hammond StadiumI went out to the CenturyLink Sports Complex on Monday to see what Twins have reported early and are enjoying the beautiful weather here in Ft. Myers.  Spring training hasn’t officially started yet but there are a couple dozen players here getting ready for the 2015 season. At this time of the year you see the players start their workouts about 8:30 AM and they are usually done between 11 AM and Noon. I was not willing to get up early and be at the park when the players first start working out so I left our condo in Cape Coral about 9:20 AM expecting to get to the park in 20-30 minutes. I don’t know what happened to the traffic but it took me 55 minutes to traverse the 12 miles. Traffic was just plain crazy, it has never taken me that long to get to the ballpark before. Then again traffic all over Cape Coral and Ft. Myers seems to be extra heavy this year, must be all those folks that are suffering from the cold and snow in the NE that must have decided they had enough and headed for SW Florida. When I finally arrived there were about 30 or so players spread over four fields. Two of the fields had batting practice taking place, a third had some infield drills going on and the fourth field was being used by some pitchers to get their running and stretching in. Since the players don’t wear uniforms it is hard to identify a lot of the players that are there. The big leaguers are easy to identify but the minor leaguers not so much. Torii Hunter was easily the most popular player out there on Monday and he had a group of fans following him and getting his autograph. Kennys Vargas was there and he appeared to be having fun both out on the field and with the fans that asked him for his autograph, the man always seems to have a smile on his face. It is amazing how much he reminds you of David Ortiz, now if he can just hit like Big Papi.

Miguel Sano

Miguel Sano

Even though has Miguel Sano has not played a game for the Twins he is well-known and loved here in Ft. Myers and everyone enjoys watching him take BP because you know he will park many a ball over the outfield fences. On this day I saw him hit one to dead center that hit the green batting out a long way out there. Sano is not getting any smaller and I really wonder how long he can stay at third base. I heard one of the coaches talking with Sano about running and Sano said he can’t run right now because he is having a problem with his foot. Hopefully that is not a serious issue because Sano needs to get as much playing time in spring training as possible. I saw Max Kepler and I almost didn’t recognize him, Max is a lot thinner this year but when I saw him in the batting cage he was hitting some nice line drives and even poked a few over the fence. I asked Max about his weight and he said that he had lost a few pounds and was eating healthier. Kepler looks ready for a big season.

There weren’t that many fans out at the ballpark but if you are hunting for an autograph and a chance to talk to some ball players then this is the place to be before the official grind of spring training begins. Hammond Stadium itself seems to have fewer and fewer construction workers around it and it is starting to take shape. The landscaping has a way to go but it is getting there. I think there is an open house slated for February 22 to show the fans the Twins updated new digs at Hammond Stadium.

I know that spring training is still a few days away but I want you to keep one player’s name in mind this spring. He might not make the Twins opening day roster but don’t forget the name Eddie Rosario.

I took a few pictures of what is going on down here and you can see them over on the right hand side of the page on the 2015 Spring Training link. They photo’s will make you wish you were down here in beautiful SW Florida in spite of the fact that by Friday morning the temps will be about 37 degrees when the sun appears over Hammond Stadium.

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Remembering 1965 – Part 4

Sid Hartman

Sid Hartman

The below material came from a column that Sid Hartman wrote in the Star Tribune on August 19, 1990.

The payroll for the Twins, the American League West’s last-place team, is about $16 million, an average of more than $400,000 a player. In 1965, when the Twins won the pennant in a 10-team league with no playoffs, the payroll for 25 players was about $1.5 million, less than half what Kirby Puckett is paid per season. There wasn’t any free agency then and the reserve clause was in effect. There wasn’t any arbitration, either, and it was either take it or leave it.

How things have changed in favor of the player. Harmon Killebrew, a big star on the team, didn’t make $100,000 until 1967. And Bob Allison, another big star, earned about $35,000. The team drew 1,463,288 fans and sold only 3,318 season tickets. Owner Calvin Griffith made a lot of money.

And when members of the 1965 Twins World Series team, here to play in an old-timers game Saturday night, reminisced about winning the pennant and losing the World Series to the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games, they had to recall that it wasn’t all peaches and cream in the clubhouse. Pitching coach Johnny Sain didn’t get along with third-base coach Billy Martin, and manager Sam Mele sided with Martin. Many times Martin and Sain almost came to blows.

The pitchers were on the side of Sain, who believed a pitcher never threw a bad pitch or lost a game. But they never would have won without Martin’s inspiration. Still, they won the pennant and might have won the World Series had Jim Gilliam not made a sensational fielding play on a hard ground ball hit to third in the fifth inning of Game 7. Gilliam handled shortstop Zoilo Versalles‘ shot toward third with Rich Rollins on first and Frank Quilici on second. The score was 2-0 at the time and that is how it ended, with Sandy Koufax winning for the Dodgers.

Yes, baseball has sure changed in the last 25 years.

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Twins career OBP and OPS leaders

Twins Career OBP Leaders

Joe Mauer

Rk Player OBP PA From To G AB H HR BB IBB SO BA OPS
1 Joe Mauer .401 5578 2004 2014 1298 4833 1540 109 676 115 660 .319 .860
2 Rod Carew .393 6980 1967 1978 1635 6235 2085 74 613 99 716 .334 .841
3 Chuck Knoblauch .391 4573 1991 1997 1013 3939 1197 43 513 19 453 .304 .807
4 Chili Davis .385 1163 1991 1992 291 978 276 41 168 24 193 .282 .862
5 Harmon Killebrew .383 8018 1961 1974 1939 6593 1713 475 1321 152 1314 .260 .901
6 Matt Lawton .379 3150 1995 2001 771 2672 739 72 408 31 335 .277 .808
7 Steve Braun .376 2830 1971 1976 751 2429 689 35 356 24 285 .284 .757
8 Shane Mack .375 2434 1990 1994 633 2161 668 67 200 5 381 .309 .854
9 Corey Koskie .373 3257 1998 2004 816 2788 781 101 385 39 647 .280 .836
10 Doug Mientkiewicz .367 2505 1998 2004 643 2147 590 43 300 23 308 .275 .776
11 Kent Hrbek .367 7137 1981 1994 1747 6192 1749 293 838 110 798 .282 .848
12 Lyman Bostock .366 1577 1975 1977 379 1436 456 18 112 12 138 .318 .812
13 Paul Molitor .362 1885 1996 1998 422 1700 530 23 146 23 186 .312 .794
14 Bob Allison .361 4643 1961 1970 1236 3926 999 211 641 25 842 .254 .840
15 Kirby Puckett .360 7831 1984 1995 1783 7244 2304 207 450 85 965 .318 .837
16 Lenny Green .359 1754 1961 1964 485 1514 406 27 204 5 113 .268 .742
17 Denard Span .357 2671 2008 2012 589 2354 669 23 254 6 321 .284 .746
18 Luis Castillo .357 1036 2006 2007 227 933 279 3 85 0 86 .299 .720
19 Earl Battey .356 3161 1961 1967 853 2762 768 76 328 35 315 .278 .765
20 Shannon Stewart .354 1523 2003 2006 333 1373 404 29 120 7 172 .294 .772
21 Larry Hisle .354 2764 1973 1977 662 2437 697 87 251 19 478 .286 .811
22 Josh Willingham .353 1364 2012 2014 324 1132 263 61 184 9 347 .232 .799
23 Tony Oliva .353 6880 1962 1976 1676 6301 1917 220 448 131 645 .304 .830
24 Roy Smalley .350 4676 1976 1987 1148 3997 1046 110 549 31 606 .262 .750
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 2/13/2015.

To qualify for this Twins career OBP leaders list the player had to have a minimum of 1,000 plate appearances as a Minnesota Twin and have a OBP equal to or greater than .350 . The players above made the cut, anyone on this list surprise you? Joe Mauer is the Twins career OBP leader and yet he still takes a lot of abuse for his hitting. I think we need to appreciate Joe Mauer for the hitter he is. Just missing the cut, Lew Ford

 

Twins Career OPS Leaders

Harmon Killebrew

Rk Player OPS PA From To G AB H 2B 3B HR BB BA OBP SLG
1 Harmon Killebrew .901 8018 1961 1974 1939 6593 1713 232 21 475 1321 .260 .383 .518
2 Chili Davis .862 1163 1991 1992 291 978 276 61 3 41 168 .282 .385 .476
3 Joe Mauer .860 5578 2004 2014 1298 4833 1540 309 22 109 676 .319 .401 .459
4 Shane Mack .854 2434 1990 1994 633 2161 668 119 24 67 200 .309 .375 .479
5 Kent Hrbek .848 7137 1981 1994 1747 6192 1749 312 18 293 838 .282 .367 .481
6 Rod Carew .841 6980 1967 1978 1635 6235 2085 305 90 74 613 .334 .393 .448
7 Bob Allison .840 4643 1961 1970 1236 3926 999 167 41 211 641 .254 .361 .479
8 Kirby Puckett .837 7831 1984 1995 1783 7244 2304 414 57 207 450 .318 .360 .477
9 Corey Koskie .836 3257 1998 2004 816 2788 781 180 13 101 385 .280 .373 .463
10 Justin Morneau .832 5350 2003 2013 1278 4749 1318 289 16 221 501 .278 .347 .485
11 Tony Oliva .830 6880 1962 1976 1676 6301 1917 329 48 220 448 .304 .353 .476
12 Don Mincher .824 1762 1961 1966 590 1511 369 73 9 90 220 .244 .341 .483
13 Jimmie Hall .815 2102 1963 1966 573 1885 507 73 16 98 191 .269 .334 .481
14 Lyman Bostock .812 1577 1975 1977 379 1436 456 78 26 18 112 .318 .366 .446
15 Larry Hisle .811 2764 1973 1977 662 2437 697 109 23 87 251 .286 .354 .457
16 David Ortiz .809 1693 1997 2002 455 1477 393 108 3 58 186 .266 .348 .461
17 Matt Lawton .808 3150 1995 2001 771 2672 739 163 13 72 408 .277 .379 .428
18 Chuck Knoblauch .807 4573 1991 1997 1013 3939 1197 210 51 43 513 .304 .391 .416
19 Josh Willingham .799 1364 2012 2014 324 1132 263 55 2 61 184 .232 .353 .446
20 Marty Cordova .799 2620 1995 1999 628 2322 643 139 14 79 233 .277 .348 .451
21 Michael Cuddyer .794 4555 2001 2011 1139 4072 1106 239 35 141 411 .272 .343 .451
22 Paul Molitor .794 1885 1996 1998 422 1700 530 102 17 23 146 .312 .362 .432
23 Gary Ward .794 1681 1979 1983 417 1543 439 80 20 51 115 .285 .333 .461
24 Torii Hunter .793 4894 1997 2007 1234 4492 1218 259 26 192 319 .271 .324 .469
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 2/13/2015.

To qualify for this Twins career OPS leaders list the player had to have a minimum of 1,000 plate appearances as a Minnesota Twin and have a OPS equal to or greater than .790 . AJ Pierzynski just missed the cut at .788 . Number three on this list is Joe Mauer and we continue to bash him for not hitting more home runs.

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The Minnesota Twins and the Cherry Plaza Hotel

Cherry PlazaIt is mid February, TwinsFest is behind us and spring training is just around the corner. Target Field is still snow covered and the temperatures still don’t allow shorts to be worn outside but baseball fans are getting that itch, the itch to see some baseball. Since Minnesota fans won’t be able to see their home town nine play ball at Target Field until April some fans have already made their plans to travel to the Twins spring training home in Ft. Myers, Florida. Make no mistake, spring training is not far away, every day the numbers of players at the CenturyLink Sports Complex increases and Twins fans are attracted to Hammond Stadium like moths are to a flame. Some would argue with the same results.

Current Minnesota Twins players and future Twins players have it pretty good in spring training now days, but that has not always been the case. Back in 1961 at Tinker Field in Orlando, Florida when the former Washington Senators players put on their Minnesota Twins uniforms for the first time life was a lot different. Most of the teams that held spring training in Florida had segregated living and eating facilities and many of them even traveled in separate vehicles when their teams played an away game.

The Washington Senators had moved out of the Langford Hotel in Winter Park, Florida and into the Cherry Plaza Hotel (part 1) prior to spring training in 1959 under pressure from the Orlando Chamber of Commerce because the team was training in Orlando but staying in a Orlando suburb. When the Twins reported to their first spring training in 1961 the team was headquartered at the Cherry Plaza Hotel. However; the Cherry Plaza was segregated so the African-American players were housed at the Sadler Hotel on West Church Street which was an African-American business owned by Henry Sadler. It is ironic that Twins owner Calvin Griffith had helped to provide Sadler with the financing for his hotel.

In their first year of spring training as the Twins, there was little controversy over the segregated facilities in Orlando and the Cherry Plaza. Most baseball teams training in Florida were still segregating their players that year, although this would quickly change. According to various sources, by 1962 only five teams in Florida still had segregated spring training facilities, with the Twins being one of those teams.

In January of 1962, Twins players Earl Battey and Lenny Green were sitting at the head table of the “Hot Stove League” baseball banquet back in Minnesota while a derogatory and highly inappropriate story was told by “Rosy” Ryan, the former general manager of the Minneapolis Millers minor league club. Upon hearing the story, which referred to black players as “blackbirds,” Battey and Green promptly stormed out of the banquet. It is unknown if this was the straw that broke the camels back or just a coincidence but Earl Battey got in touch with than Minnesota Governor Elmer Andersen and updated him on the spring training segregation policies in Orlando.

Then the fur started to fly as then Minnesota Governor Elmer Andersen, Attorney General Walter Mondale and others started meeting with Twins owner Calvin Griffith, Road Secretary Howard Fox, and PR Director Herb Hoeft. Later, Minnesota Governor Karl Rolvaag got involved. The state also started communicating with Frank Flynn the General Manager of the Cherry Plaza Hotel (part 2).

Downtowner Motel

Downtowner Motel – Aren’t the color panels on this motel similar to colored panels on Met Stadium?

Heading into 1964 the Minnesota Twins were the only team in baseball that had not yet integrated its spring training facilities and the pressure was building as constant pressure on Griffith and Fox from civil rights organizations, the Governor’s office, the Attorney General’s office and, unceasingly, from the State Commission Against Discrimination (SCAD), caused the Twins to finally wake up. For the spring of 1964 they signed a contract with the Downtowner Motel in Orlando and abandoned the Cherry Plaza Hotel although Twins owner Calvin Griffith and his executives continued to stay at the Cherry Plaza Hotel. Segregated housing was finally over! The Twins even started paying the players meal money and allowing them to eat where ever they wished versus having the players always eat at the hotel and sign for the meal. According to Howard Fox, other teams have been providing meal money for years but the Twins approach has been to have the players sign for the meals so that the team could monitor if they were eating balanced meals.

Prior to the 1965 season the Cherry Plaza Hotel (part 3) became integrated and the Twins wasted no time moving back in and calling the Cherry Plaza Hotel as Twins headquarters once again.

There is a lot more detailed material to read about the Minnesota Twins and their early 1960’s segregation issues and you can check it out in some of these documents.

Calvin-Griffith-vs-The-State-of-Minnesota

Twins segregation continues 02161963

Twins last team to integrate in ST 03141964

Desegregating the Minnesota Twins (1964) (James C. and Kwame McDonald are one and the same person)

Baseball’s Reluctant Challenge Desegregating Major League spring training sites

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Remembering 1965 – the manager – Part 3

 Sabath Anthony “Sam” Mele 

 Sam Mele

Sabath Anthony “Sam” Mele was born in Astoria, New York on January 21, 1922. Sam Mele‘s parents were born in Avellino, Italy although they met in America. Mele’s mother was sister to big league brothers Al and Tony Cuccinello. Mele, a natural all-around athlete and a Queens Park baseball legend attended New York University where he lettered in both baseball and basketball but he excelled in basketball. After his time at NYU Mele   served his country by joining the Marines during World War II. Mele however; wanted to play pro baseball and was signed as a free agent by the Boston Red Sox in 1946. In his first year of organized ball, Mele played 119 games for Scranton (A ball in the Easter League) hitting .342 with 18 home runs before being moved up to Louisville in the AAA American Association where he played all of 15 games. Mele made his major league debut with the Red Sox the following year against the Washington Senators on April 15, 1947. His rookie season may have been one of the best of his career as Sam hit 12 home runs and knocked in 73 runs in 123 games while hitting .302. Mele would never hit over .300 again in his 10 year major league career. During his playing career spanning 1947 to 1956, Mele, who batted and threw right-handed, saw duty with six major league clubs: the Boston Red Sox, Washington Senators, Chicago White Sox, Baltimore Orioles, Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians, batting .267 with 80 home runs in 1,046 games. Sam Mele played his final major league game as a Cleveland Indian on September 16, 1956. Mele played AAA ball with for the White Sox and Athletics in 1957 and 1958 but never returned to the majors as a player.

Sam Mele in his playing days

Sam Mele in his playing days

Mele turned to coaching and served under manager Cookie Lavagetto in 1959 and 1960 for the Washington Senators before the team moved to Minnesota in 1961 and became known as the Twins. With the ‘61 Twins struggling, Calvin Griffith asked Lavagetto to take a week off to go fishing and clear his head in early June and during this period Mele filled in as manager. When Cookie Lavagetto was fired on June 23, 1961, Sam Mele who was 39 with no managerial experience stepped in as manager full-time and became the Minnesota Twins second manager. The Twins moved up two places in the standings under Mele, finishing seventh.

But the Twins, building with young home-grown players like future Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew, Jim Kaat, Zoilo Versalles and Bob Allison, challenged the powerful New York Yankees in 1962 before finishing second. After finishing third in 1963, the team suffered through a poor season in 1964, leading to speculation that Mele would be replaced by his new third base coach, Billy Martin.

Finally, in 1965 the Twins broke the Yankees’ string of five World Series appearances by winning their first ever American League pennant and sent the Bronx Bombers on a tailspin where the New York Yankees would not appear in another World Series for 12 years. Led by Versalles, who was named the American League’s Most Valuable Player, batting champion Tony Oliva, and pitcher Mudcat Grant, who won 21 games, Minnesota won 102 games and coasted to the league title. The Yankees finished sixth, 25 games out. No Twins team has ever won 102 games since and Mele was named as the 1965 Sporting News Manager of the Year and back then there was only one manager of the year named for both the AL and NL. Minnesota took a two-game lead in the 1965 World Series, but the superior pitching of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale and Claude Osteen took its toll, and Los Angeles won in seven games. During the 1965 season Mele was involved in a an incident with home plate umpire Bill Valentine. The usually mild-mannered Mele’s hand apparently hit Valentine’s jaw and he was fined $500 and suspended five days.

The 1966 Twins won 13 fewer games, and ended up as runners-up to the Baltimore Orioles. Mele had clashed publicly with two of his coaches, Hal Naragon and pitching tutor Johnny Sain and both were fired after the 1966 season much to the dismay of star pitcher Jim Kaat who wrote an “open letter” to Twins fans voicing his displeasure on the Sain firing. The “letter” made national news and caused a ruckus during the 1966 World Series when major league baseball wanted the World Series front and center. The club swung a major trade for pitcher Dean Chance during the offseason and unveiled star rookie Rod Carew in 1967. Hopes and expectations were high in Minnesota, but when the Twins were only .500 after 50 games, Mele was fired. His successor was not Martin, as had been anticipated, but long time minor league manager Cal Ermer. Mele’s record as a manager was 524-436 (.546). He never managed again, but returned to the Red Sox as a scout for 25 years.

Now days Sam Mele is retired and is living in Quincy, Massachusetts. I was lucky enough to interview Sam Mele back in May of 2009 and the interview is about a 1/2 hour-long so grab the beverage of your choice, sit back, relax and listen to Sam tell you a little about himself and what it was like to manage the Minnesota Twins.

The interview with Sam Mele was done in May 2009 and is about 35 minutes long.

The Sam Mele SABR Baseball Biography is available here.

Piece by centerfieldmaz on Sam Mele

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Spending some time with Roger Erickson

Roger EricksonBack in early December I did an interview with former Twins pitcher Roger Erickson who pitched for Minnesota from 1978 until May of 1982 when the Twins traded him to the evil empire New York Yankees but for a variety of reasons I have not been able to get it out here for everyone to enjoy until now. It was a fun interview and it actually sheds some light on a previous blog that I did almost a year ago called Top Twins rookie starting pitchers about how the Twins abused their young pitchers over the years and shortened some players careers. The right-handed Erickson burst on the Twins scene in 1978 like a comet but injuries cut this young mans career short. Was Erickson just injury prone or did pitching coaches contribute to the problem? Erickson who comes from a family of baseball players had a 31-47 record with a 4.10 ERA in 106 starts in a Twins uniform but these numbers don’t really tell the story of Roger Erickson. I think there is a lesson in this story that tells us “don’t fix what ain’t broke.” Not everyone pitches the same way and teams and their pitching coaches should not try to pigeon-hole these pitchers to pitch in a manner that worked for them and in a manner they perceive to be the correct delivery. But you can make up your own mind about after you listen to this interview. I remember vividly when Roger first came up with the Twins because WCCO radio was the Twins flagship station and I always listened to WCCO. The station had some great personalities on the air back then and the morning show had a couple of characters by the names of Charlie Boone and Roger Erickson, “legends in their own minds” they liked to say. These guys were good and they provided some funny but always squeaky clean entertainment and with the Twins adding Roger Erickson to the team, the radio Roger Erickson used to have a ball with the fact that Roger Erickson the pitcher was having a season to remember during his rookie season in 1978. I guess you had to be there to understand….. So sit back, relax and listen to Roger as he talks about his career, baseball  in general, how a black widow spider bite can change your life, and that one day in Spring Training when he thought he had a game winning hit to right field and ended up getting thrown out at first base by Ellis Valentine. You can learn a little more about Roger Erickson and listen to the interview by going here. By the way, if you stop by our Interview Archives page you can check out all of the other interviews we have done over the years.

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Historical look at how Twins measure up to the rest of the league

I have followed baseball for a long time and it seems like the New York Yankees are always beating the Minnesota Twins. Truth or myth? I decided to check it out with an assist from baseball-reference.com .

It turns that the Yankees are indeed the toughest team to beat for our home town nine. Since 1961 they have played the Yankees 600 times and won just 252 of those match-ups for a .421 winning percentage. Actually I am surprised that the winning percentage is as high as it is because it seems like the Twins always lose to the Yankees.

Who do the Twins beat up on most frequently? That would be the Senators/Rangers franchise whom the Twins have played 696 times and whipped them on 366 occasions for a .527 winning percentage.  I have left the Houston Astros off the list since their time in the American League just started last season and I have included the Brewers/Pilots franchise since the Twins play them every year even though they have been in the National League for many of these years.

Here is how the Minnesota Twins stack up against the rest of the American League since 1961.

FRANCHISE TEAMS GAMES WON LOST WIN %
RANGERS SENATORS,RANGERS 696 366 329 .527
TIGERS 779 409 369 .526
WHITE SOX 844 441 400 .524
ROYALS 714 373 341 .522
BREWERS PILOTS,BREWERS 449 232 217 .517
A’S KC,OAKLAND 707 360 347 .509
RED SOX 596 298 298 .500
RAYS 129 63 66 .488
MARINERS 422 205 216 .487
INDIANS 777 375 401 .483
ANGELS 692 331 361 .478
ORIOLES 600 276 324 .460
BLUE JAYS 362 158 204 .436
YANKEES 600 252 347 .421

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Remembering 1965 Part 2

Catcher Earl Battey played for the Senators/Twins from 1960-1967

Catcher Earl Battey played for the Senators/Twins from 1960-1967

A thousand dollars is a lot of money today but back in 1965 it was worth a whole lot more. Twins owner Calvin Griffith had a unique salary negotiation process, and it was pretty simple, “my way or the highway”. Today you get to revisit Calvin’s take on catcher Earl Battey and his weight issues prior to the 1965 pennant winning season in this issue of the January 30, 1965 Sporting News.

Sporting News January 30, 1965

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Hudson Boyd suspended for 50 games

Hudson Boyd, on tilt?

Hudson Boyd, on tilt?

MLB announced yesterday that four minor league players (three pitchers and an outfielder) have been suspended following their violations of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

One of those four players was Minnesota Twins Minor League right-handed pitcher Hudson Boyd. Boyd has received a 50-game suspension without pay following a second positive test for a drug of abuse in violation of the Program. The suspension of Boyd, who is currently on the roster of the Single-A Cedar Rapids Kernels of the Midwest League, will be effective at the start of the 2015 Midwest League season.

Last spring Boyd did not hide the fact that he did not think he should have to go back and repeat Cedar Rapids but that is exactly where the Twins organization sent him. Not only did the Twins send him to Cedar Rapids, they decided to turn him into a relief pitcher versus a starter. Boyd has also battled weight issues since he has been with the Minnesota Twins. This is not the first time that the word “suspended” and Hudson Boyd have been used in the same sentence. The now 22 year-old Boyd was also suspended by the Twins organization this past July for an unknown number of games for an undisclosed violation of team rules.

Boyd a Ft. Myers native was drafted by the Twins out of Bishop Verot High School as a first round supplemental pick (for the loss of free agent Jesse Crain) and 55th overall in 2011. Boyd’s signing bonus was reported to be $1 million.

It appears that Hudson Boyd’s baseball career is quickly spiraling out of control, hopefully for him and the Minnesota Twins he can get back on track in the near future but now “his row to hoe” has become that much tougher.

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Remembering 1965 Part 1

1965 Twins team picture

The 1964 Minnesota Twins were a disappointing 79-83 under manager Sam Mele after winning 91 games the previous season and they finished tied for sixth with the Cleveland Indians in the 10 team American league. Twins owner and GM Calvin Griffith felt that his team had suffered some bad luck in 1964 and he expected his team to be much improved in 1965.

The 1965 Twins would go on to win 102 games (most in franchise history) and lose only 60 in 1965 and walked away with the AL pennant seven games ahead of the Chicago White Sox. The 1965 Twins were the first Minnesota Twins team to taste post season action as they went on to play the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series that Fall but ended up losing the series in game seven to Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax. Previous to 1965 the last team in franchise history to appear in the World Series were the 1933 Washington Senators who lost that series four games to one to the New York Giants.

It will be 50 years this season since that 1965 Minnesota Twins team won 102 games and went to the World Series so this year we at twinstrivia.com are going to try to bring back memories of what transpired that year and relive 1965 as the season progresses. So follow us this season as we bring back some fun and interesting facts about that 1965 Twins team who some say was the best Twins team to ever step on a baseball diamond.

The beginning of this series starts with a page out of the January 23, 1965 Sporting News which was truly thee baseball Bible back in those days. Check out the Twins roster, I believe it has 42 players and some of the names there would never play for the Minnesota Twins and of course team owner Calvin Griffith wasn’t about to over pay his players even though team star Harmon Killebrew would become the first player in Twins history to make over $50,000 in a single season.

Sporting News Jan 23 1965 Twins coverage

If you remember the 1965 Twins season and have special memories that you would like to share with today’s Twins fans please feel free to share them in the comments section. I only witnessed that season through early August of 1965 and missed the Twins post season play because I had chosen to join the US Navy and by early August I was on a train from Minneapolis to the Great Lakes Naval Training center to start boot camp. Back in 1965 Navy boot camp had no TV, radio, newspapers and certainly no computers and internet, it was all business so following the Twins run to the pennant was not in the cards for me. I hope we can bring back some great memories for you Twins fans that were lucky enough to witness that great year in Twins history.

As a side note, after boot camp was over for me in late 1965 I was assigned to Radar “A” school, again at Great Lakes and the following spring on April 16, 1966 when I did get a few hours of liberty where did I go? I went to Comiskey Park to see the Chicago White Sox play the Kansas City A’s.  I remember it was kind of cool that day and of course the game went into extra innings, the White Sox won the game 2-1 in the bottom of the 11th inning on a walk-off walk of all things. Back then the White Sox let active military personnel attend the games for free I believe. Here are a few pictures I took that day of old Comiskey Park in 1966.

Comiskey Park April 16, 1966

Comiskey Park April 16, 1966

Comiskey Park scoreboard April 16, 1966

Comiskey Park scoreboard April 16, 1966

April 16, 1966 White Sox host the Kansas City A's - note the green and gold A's in the field.

April 16, 1966 White Sox host the Kansas City A’s – note the green and gold A’s in the field.

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A visit to the Twins Fantasy Camp at the CenturyLink Sports Complex

I have been out to the CenturyLink Sports Complex several times this week primarily to watch some baseball as about 107 men and women participate in the annual Twins Fantasy Camp which runs from January 10-17. This year there are eight teams playing each other on four fields all day long.

Stan Dickman

Stan Dickman

Stan Dickman who owns and runs the camp does a fantastic job and he has a staff of former Twins greats that coach the teams, give the players hitting and pitch tips, tell stories and just plain have fun with the fantasy campers. It is not cheap, rookies pay about $4,295 but returning veterans get by with paying $3,795. Having said that it is not cheap, I also need to say that you do get a lot for your money and you won’t get treated any better any place. Stan treats his campers like family and the fact that over 70% of his campers return year after year proves it. I am not going to list all the benefits that campers have but you can check them out on the Twins Fantasy camp website.

I mentioned that the staff is made up of former Twins greats. Here are some of the former Twins greats that I have run into this week, Bert Blyleven is the Fantasy camp commissioner and you see him going from field to field looking for players he can bring up on charges and fine at the daily Kangaroo court. Wouldn’t that be fun to sit in on? When he is not busy writing notes in his ever-present tablet he is interacting with the family members and fans that hang out at the ballpark to watch the games. Others Twins greats that I have run into this week were Tony Oliva, Tom Brunansky, Kent Hrbek, Greg Gagne, Frank Viola, Rick Aguilera, Tim Laudner, Juan Berenguer, Mickey Hatcher, Frank Quilici, Bill Campbell, Steve Braun, Phil Roof, Julio Becquer, Gene Larkin and I am sure there are others that I have not seen. These Twins greats are all willing to spend time talking with fans and family members, have their pictures taken and sign all kinds of autographs. It is like a huge family reunion where everyone knows everyone and the players and the Twins greats are all on a first name basis.

One of the Twins Fantasy Campers, Father Stan Mader watches the ball all the way to the catchers mitt as he bats in one of the games.

One of the Twins Fantasy Campers, Father Stan Mader watches the ball all the way to the catchers mitt as he bats in one of the games.

I noticed right off the bat that the fantasy games are a bit different then the normal games that I watch out here in the spring at Hammond Stadium and on the adjoining fields. The action is a tad slower, each of the games has two umpires, the players may not be as athletic as they would like to be, catchers have trouble getting the ball back to the pitchers sometimes, there are 10 players on the field as the teams utilize four outfielders, courtesy runners are utilized when needed, in one game I watched I noticed that both shortstops were left-handed, I saw a left-handed third basemen, and even a left-handed catcher, I wonder where he got the left-handed catchers mitt? The play is entertaining, sometimes you can’t help but laugh at a play that may or may not have been made, but you know what, the players cheer for each other and they are playing as hard as they can because they want to win, just like the Twins do. They all want to get to that championship game on Saturday that will be played in Hammond Stadium.

But you know what I didn’t see? I didn’t see pitchers stepping off the mound and adjusting their cups, I didn’t see batters stepping out to walk around and adjust their batting gloves after each pitch, I didn’t see the catchers walk out to the pitcher’s mound every few pitches, there wasn’t as much spitting as you see at a normal baseball game and only once did I see a batter complain to the home plate umpire about a call and he was a pitcher that said “I hope I get the same call when I am pitching.”

But the action isn’t always on the field, today former Boston Red Sox pitcher Bill Lee stopped by for a visit and he held court with the fans, fantasy campers, and former Twins players alike with his story-telling. The man is 68 plus years old and he looks like he could take the mound for the Twins in 2015 and win 10 games or so. Matter of fact, according to the “Spaceman” himself, he still plays ball all over the world and last year he claims to have pitched over 340 innings including a couple of one-hitters. Wish I would have taken my camera out there today so I cold have taken his picture but I didn’t. I should know better than to go out to the ballpark without my camera.

I was talking with Bert Blyleven the other day behind the home plate screen at one of the fields when Twins TV announcer Dick Bremer stepped up to the plate and of course Blyleven gave him “an easy out coming” call that got Bremer to look around and smile. Bremer ended up popping out to the third baseman this time but Bert told me that Bremer can get ahold of one now and then. He told me a story about how Bremer a few years back pulled a home run over the left field fence that was a grand slam and the ball darned near hit Bert’s car that was parked near by.

I also wandered over to Hammond Stadium to see what progress was being made on all the work being done there. Even the workers there were friendly and stopped and chatted with me about their work and didn’t yell at me to watch out for all the wet concrete that seemed to be everywhere. According to the workers that I talked with, everything is on schedule and that fans are in for a treat when they come out to watch the Minnesota Twins play their spring training schedule in the not too distant future. The landscaping has not really started but according to one of the workers that will get started in February. I took some pictures of the stadium exterior and you can see them here. Workers have been busy installing the new sign out front at the entrance and that is still not complete but it is not too far away from the looks of things.

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This Day in Twins History – January 9, 1961

The new Minnesota Twins and the American Association finally agree on a $500,000 indemnity payment to the minor league for the Minneapolis/St. Paul territory, ending 2 months of negotiations.

The 1960 American Association was made up of eight AAA teams which included the Minneapolis Millers (Boston Red Sox), St. Paul Saints (LA Dodgers), Denver Bears (Detroit Tigers), Louisville Colonels (Milwaukee Braves), Houston Buffs (Chicago Cubs), Charleston Senators (Washington Senators), Indianapolis Indians (Philadelphia Phillies), and the Dallas-Ft.Worth Rangers (Kansas City Athletics). In 1961 the American Association was down to six teams with Charleston being replaced by Omaha and Minneapolis and St. Paul obviously gone.

Here is the article that Halsey Hall wrote for the January 18, 1961 Sporting News. The same Sporting News page has a nice article about the Twins first ever barnstorming trip by Twins publicist Herb Heft that had him traveling 1,312 miles over a four days to sell the upper Midwest on Minnesota Twins professional baseball. I guess you could call this beginning of the Twins Winter caravans that are still taking place 54 years later.

Indemnity article 01181961 Sporting News

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Hughes – Jekyll & Hyde

For many years now the Minnesota Twins organization has always looked unfavorably at pitchers that issue too many bases on balls. If you eliminate 2011 and 2012 the Twins have been in the top three teams in the American League in fewest walks allowed since 1996. During that same time frame the Twins have led the American League in strikeouts just once and that was in 2006.

But today we are going to look at the other end of the spectrum, we are going to see what Twins pitchers wouldn’t exactly be considered control artists. The pitchers that would be regulars in former Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson‘s doghouse. It is surprising to me to see how many “good” pitchers there are on this list of most walks allowed in a single season by a Twins pitcher. Check out the records of some of these pitchers, two pitchers on this list won 20 games while issuing 90 or more walks during the season. Two pitchers on this list had more walks then they had strikeouts. Three pitchers made this list twice.

I can’t help but be amazed by the season that Rich Robertson had in 1996. But first let’s take a look at that team, the first year after Kirby Puckett‘s career came to an abrupt end. Tom Kelly‘s 1996 team finished fourth with a 78-84 record. The starting staff that season under pitching coach Dick Such was made up of Brad Radke, Frankie Rodriguez, Rich Robertson, Scott Aldred, and Rick Aguilera. Current Twins skipper Paul Molitor should remember that season, he was the teams DH that year and he hit .341 and had 113 RBI.

Robertson who the Twins picked up on waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates in November 1994 was a left-hander who pitched for Minnesota from 1995-1997 and won a job in the Twins starting rotation in 1996 after having started a total of four games in his brief big league career. In 1996 at the age of 27 he started 31 games for the Twins and posted a 7-17 record with a 5.12 ERA. In his 186+ innings pitched he struck out 114 batters and walked 116 and yet he had three shutouts which tied him for the American league lead. He is the only Twins pitcher to ever lead the American League in walks allowed in a single season.

Twins pitchers with 90 or more walks allowed in a single season

Rk Player BB Year G GS CG SHO W L W-L% SV IP H SO ERA HR BA
1 Jim Hughes 127 1975 37 34 12 2 16 14 .533 0 249.2 241 130 3.82 17 .255
2 Rich Robertson 116 1996 36 31 5 3 7 17 .292 0 186.1 197 114 5.12 22 .273
3 Dave Boswell 107 1967 37 32 11 3 14 12 .538 0 222.2 162 204 3.27 14 .202
4 Jim Perry 102 1971 40 39 8 0 17 17 .500 1 270.0 263 126 4.23 39 .259
5 Bert Blyleven 101 1987 37 37 8 1 15 12 .556 0 267.0 249 196 4.01 46 .249
6 Dick Woodson 101 1972 36 36 9 3 14 14 .500 0 251.2 193 150 2.72 19 .211
7 Camilo Pascual 100 1961 35 33 15 8 15 16 .484 0 252.1 205 221 3.46 26 .217
8 Dave Boswell 99 1969 39 38 10 0 20 12 .625 0 256.1 215 190 3.23 18 .226
9 Camilo Pascual 98 1964 36 36 14 1 15 12 .556 0 267.1 245 213 3.30 30 .241
10 Vic Albury 97 1975 32 15 2 0 6 7 .462 1 135.0 115 72 4.53 16 .237
11 Joe Decker 97 1974 37 37 11 1 16 14 .533 0 248.2 234 158 3.29 24 .252
12 Jack Morris 92 1991 35 35 10 2 18 12 .600 0 246.2 226 163 3.43 18 .245
13 Frank Viola 92 1983 35 34 4 0 7 15 .318 0 210.0 242 127 5.49 34 .288
14 Dave Goltz 91 1977 39 39 19 2 20 11 .645 0 303.0 284 186 3.36 23 .247
15 Dave Goltz 91 1976 36 35 13 4 14 14 .500 0 249.1 239 133 3.36 14 .254
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/31/2014.
League leaders are highlighted in bold.

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The Jekyll & Hyde Hughes

Phil Hughes

Phil Hughes

This past season California native and former New York Yankee first round pick (2004) Phil Hughes, 28, pitching for a team that finished 70-92 had a 16-10 record and an amazing and record-breaking 11.63 SO/W ratio. That comes out to 16 bases on balls issues in 209.1 innings with 186 KO’s. Another Hughes who was also from California, Jim, pitched for Minnesota from 1974-1977 and in 1975 at the age of 25 he had a 16-14 record with a 3.82 ERA for a 76-83 team. Jim, a Twins 33rd round pick in 1969 walked 127 and struck out 130 batters for a 1.02 SO/W ratio in 249.2 innings.

Jim Hughes

Jim Hughes

Strangely enough both of these right-handed pitchers won 16 games for their sub .500 teams. Phil had record-breaking control and finished the 2014 season with one complete game and Jim with not so much control had 12 complete games in 1975. Jim won a total of 25 games in his brief four-year big league career and Phil has 72 wins and counting on his resume.

Bottom line? I guess a pitcher can win at the big league level no matter what his SO/W ratio is and once again it just goes to show that it isn’t all about the numbers. But it is interesting never the less.

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BBA Binary Ballot Recommends Seven For Cooperstown

BBA LOGO
Seven players from the 2014 Baseball Writers of America ballot were recommended for enshrinement in the Baseball Hall of Fame by the members of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance on Friday.

Given the backlog of quality players on the ballot, this year the BBA adopted the plan suggested by St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Derrick Goold of a binary ballot. Each player on the ballot was given a yes or no vote by the BBA voters and those receiving over 75% were then recommended.

With this format, pitcher Randy Johnson received 100% of the vote while pitcher Pedro Martinez was close behind at 95%. Others that topped the 75% mark were catcher/second baseman/outfielder Craig Biggio (90%), pitcher John Smoltz (89%), catcher Mike Piazza (85%), first baseman Jeff Bagwell (77%) and outfielder Tim Raines (77%).

Those that just fell short of the mark were designated hitter Edgar Martinez (71%) and pitcher Curt Schilling (68%).

The rest of the voting was as follows:

Mike Mussina 67%
Barry Bonds 65%
Roger Clemens 63%
Alan Trammell 53%
Jeff Kent 44%
Gary Sheffield 38%
Larry Walker 37%
Fred McGriff 33%
Mark McGwire 33%
Don Mattingly 31%
Lee Smith 31%
Sammy Sosa 23%
Carlos Delgado 19%
Nomar Garciaparra 13%
Cliff Floyd 4%
Brian Giles 4%
Rich Aurilia 3%
Darin Erstad 3%
Troy Percival 3%
Aaron Boone 1%
Jason Schmidt 1%
Jermaine Dye 0%
Tom Gordon 0%
Eddie Guardado 0%

Using this binary method, only 13% turned in a ballot with less than 10 names selected. 40% turned in a ballot with 15 or more names selected, with a high of 20.

The official website of the BBA is located at baseballbloggersalliance.wordpress.com. The BBA can be found on Twitter by the handle @baseballblogs and by the hashmark #bbba. For more information, contact Niko Goutakolis at baseballbloggersalliance@gmail.com.

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Thanks for stopping by in 2014

Thank YouI just wanted take a few minutes and thank each of you that stopped by Twinstrivia.com this past year and continue to support the site with your continued interest. This past year we had people from 144 countries visit the site at one time or another. Is that amazing or what?

Our site volume continues to grow, up about 11% from last year and that is always nice to see. We had 195 new blog posting this past year and that is also up from 2013. Sure it would be nice to have new blog content everyday but the ultimate goal of this site is what it always has been and continues to be, a Minnesota Twins historical web site. Even though there is not new blog content published daily you can rest assured that there has been new content of some type added each day to one of the 70+ pages that make up Twinstrivia.com. I look at this site just like we do at our home and yard, always a work in progress and the job will never be totally done.

In 2014 our most popular pages have been Today in Twins History and the Twins Audio and Video Clips page. This past year our most visited blog was Manager ejections by the numbers which was written back in March of 2013 but continues to be updated.

The top referring sites to Twinstrivia.com in 2014 were Twins Daily and Baseball-Reference. We very much appreciate all the traffic that these two sites and others have sent our direction and we too send traffic to other sites with our links, works well for everyone involved.

So thank you all again and we hope you have a wonderful 2015, that the Twins can approach the .500 mark and that you and your friends keep visiting us at twinstrivia.com.

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HAPPY NEW YEAR!

2015 Happy New Year

 

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If I had a Hall of Fame vote

Hall of FameIt won’t be long before the MLB Hall of Fame announces its newest members so it is time once again for me to dream and pretend that I have a vote that counts. Heck, I have probably seen more games and follow baseball more closely than a lot of the clowns that have a vote but that is a whole different story. If I had a vote I still can’t find it in my heart to vote for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire and that bunch. I am not going to waste my time and yours on my reasoning because we have heard all those pro’s and con’s before. Maybe some time in the future they will get my vote but it won’t be this year. Just to show how time can change your thinking I am just about ready, not quite there yet but very close to saying that Pete Rose has served enough time in purgatory to get elected to the Hall of Fame. I know he has been a jerk at times but he could play some baseball and who could argue his hustle? The rub is that “hustle” can have several meanings. I am not going to quote a bunch of stats here because if you want to see them then go to B-R and check them out for yourself.

Randy Johnson gets my first vote, simply because I think he was the most intimidating pitcher in my era. Johnson has to be the pitcher that most batters would hate to face and the man was just scary to watch but you couldn’t help but stay focused on the mound whenever he pitched.

Vote number two goes to Pedro Martinez, 5 foot 11 and 170 pounds and I think 170 may have been pushing it. Are you kidding me? The man could throw a baseball and he knew how to pitch. He never pitched for teams I liked so I was always hoping he would lose but the man seldom did, a career .687 winning percentage over 18 seasons. Hall of Fame in my book.

Tim Raines gets vote number three. Again, small in stature at 5 foot 8 and 160 pounds but the “Rock” could play some baseball. Not as well-known as some because he played in Montreal for so long but Raines had six straight seasons with 70 stolen bases or more to go with his .810 OPS.

Vote number four goes to Craig Biggio. The man was a catcher, second baseman and a center fielder and through out all those position moves he still found time to post a .281 career batting mark in over 10,800 at bats. Heck, playing for 20 years for the Houston Astros should get you a few bonus votes too.

My fifth vote goes to one of my favorite all-time players, John Smoltz. 213 wins and 154 saves to boot spread over 21 seasons. I still remember that fateful day in August 1987 when the Detroit Tigers traded him to the Atlanta Braves for Doyle Alexander. When someone mentions the word “winner”, I have an image of Smoltz in my mind. A great pitcher and a real gentleman.

My final vote this season goes to Jeff Bagwell. OMG, those Houston Astros sure cleaned the Boston Red Sox’s clock when they acquired Bagwell for Larry Andersen. Only 15 seasons but 449 home runs along with a .948 OPS is good enough for me.

How will my votes compare to the “real” votes? I am thinking I will be 4 for 6 with Tim Raines and Jeff Bagwell coming up short of the 75% required. That will be a shame but we all know that life is not always fair and that there is no crying in baseball. Good luck to all the Hall of Fame candidates, you had to be a pretty special ballplayer just to make the ballot.

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Twins add ex-Padre Tim Stauffer to bullpen mix

Tim Stauffer

Tim Stauffer

The Twins recently signed 32 year-old right-handed pitcher Tim Stauffer to a one year $2.2 million deal. Stauffer was a 36th round selection of the Baltimore Orioles in 2000 but he chose not to sign and went on to college. Stauffer then was selected in the first round by the San Diego Padres in the 2003 draft and was the 4th overall pick. Prior to signing with the Padres, Stauffer and his agent Ron Shapiro stepped up and notified the team that Stauffer was suffering from some arm weakness after his last collegiate start. According to reports the Padres eventually signed Stauffer for $750,000, far short of the slot for a fourth overall pick of $2.4 million and way under the $2.6 million the team originally offered. The Padres loved his make-up and honesty and praised his integrity and then gave him almost $2 million less to sign. I guess the old saying “that no good deed goes unpunished” is true, at least it was here.

Stauffer debuted with the Padres in May of 2005 and pitched in 18 games for the friars between 2005-2007 before running into elbow issues and ended up having Tommy John surgery in May 2008 and missed the entire season. Stauffer’s best season was probably 2011 when he started 31 games and had a 9-12 record with a 3.73 ERA in 185 innings. The elbow injury bug struck Stauffer again in 2012 and after pitching just five innings in one game in 2012 Stauffer decided to have elbow flexor surgery in August and was forced to sit out the remainder of the season.

With two elbow surgeries on his resume, the Padres sent Stauffer to the bullpen in 2013 where Stauffer may have found his niche. In the last two seasons Stauffer has gone 9-3 with a 3.63 ERA in which he has struck out 131 batters in 134 innings. Stauffer’s SO/9 ratio has jumped to 8.8 as a reliever after sitting at 6.2 as a starter. Stauffer throws five pitches, a sinker 36% of the time, a cutter 27%, fourseam fastball 16%, a change-up 11% and a curve with a knuckleball grip about 10% of the time. According to Brooks Baseball, Stauffer throws between 76-91 MPH and his change-up generates more strike-outs than an average change-up does. The fly in the ointment as far as Stauffer is concerned besides his injury history is that he has a career 3.0 BB/9 mark and a 1.31 WHIP which kind of goes against the Twins pitching grain but then again maybe the Twins will look at this stat differently under the new Paul Molitor and Neil Allen regime.

So where does Tim Stauffer fit in the Twins pitching staff if at all? The Twins aren’t paying Stauffer $2.2 million to pitch for the Red Wings. According to what I have read Stauffer likes starting and the Twins have promised him a chance to be just that but in reality his chances of starting are about as good as my chances are of starting for the Twins. The Twins have a spot on the bullpen bench with Stauffer’s name on it. The only question is what his role will be coming out of the pen. Some have said that he will get a shot at the set-up role replacing Burton but I don’t see that in the cards, at least not to start the season if at all. I see Stauffer taking over as an upgrade over Anthony Swarzak as the Twins long guy with emergency start potential. We will see how it all plays out this spring.

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Merry Christmas

MERRY CHRISTMAS

 2014 Merry Christmas 2We at TwinsTrivia.com would like to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas. Enjoy this wonderful holiday with all your family and friends and don’t forget to think about and give thanks to those that are in the military serving and protecting us all over the world and not able to spend this Christmas with their families and friends. Having been there myself once upon a time I remember how lonely that can be. We hope that this Christmas will be the best ever and one that you will never forget!

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Hal Naragon 1965 AL Championship ring sold

Hal NaragonA couple of weeks ago while doing some research for this site I ran across an auction web site that was selling a 1965 American League championship ring so I had to stop and investigate.

Here is how Legendary Auctions described the ring they had up for bids:

Hal Naragon used his skills behind the plate to craft a ten-year career in the major leagues, ending his playing days in 1962 as a member of the Minnesota Twins. Immediately after that he took a job as a Twins coach and was on-hand for the teams unforgettable run to the 1965 American League championship. Offered here is Hal’s actual AL Championship Ring awarded to him for his efforts in that season that came only inches away from producing a World Series championship when Sandy Koufax downed the Twins 2-0 in a Game 7 duel with Jim Kaat. Dazzling diamond is centered on the face of this Jostens 14K ring is a brilliant round stone set upon a deep-blue background. Encircling the stone is “American League Champions.” On one shank, “MINNESOTA” is engraved above a raised “TC” logo. The bottom of the shank bears a baseball and two crossed bats with “1965” engraved within the ball. The other shank is topped with the name “NARAGON.” An image of the state of Minnesota and the Twin Cities logo is above another baseball and two crossed bats. It would seem that Hal has always appreciated how special this ring is and what it represents as he has clearly taken exceptional care of it over the past five decades. In comparing this to the one other 1965 Twins ring that we’ve seen, there is no question that this is a far superior example and it grades NM with spectacular visual qualities.

When the bidding closed, there were 14 bids and the final bid was $3,585. I am not sure why Hal Naragon who is now 86, chose to sell his 1965 AL Championship ring but to me it is always sad to see something personal like this get sold to anyone other than the person that earned it. I did an interview with Hal Naragon, who is one of the original Minnesota Twins back in September 2010 that you can listen to here.

(click on the images to make them larger)

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Twins hitters with best BB per PA %

Today we take a look through Minnesota Twins history and see what hitters were most likely to draw a walk during their Twins career. To make this list the player had to play in at least 162 games in a Twins uniform. IBB are included.

Harmon Killebrew

NAME BB PA % OF TIME WALKED PER PA GAMES
1. Harmon Killebrew 1321 8018 16.47% 1939
2. Jim Thome 95 582 16.32% 179
3. Chili Davis 168 291 14.45% 291
4. Bob Allison 641 4643 13.81% 1236
5. Bobby Kielty 102 750 13.60% 224
6. Josh Willingham 184 1364 13.49% 324
7. Craig Kusick 187 1398 13.38% 473
8. Matt Lawton 408 3150 12.95% 771
9. Steve Braun 356 2830 12.58% 751
10. Don Mincher 220 1762 12.49% 590
11. Glenn Borgmann 177 1423 12.44% 442
12. Joe Mauer 676 5578 12.12% 1298
13. Doug Mientkiewicz 300 2505 11.98% 643
14. Corey Koskie 385 3257 11.82% 816
15. Bobby Mitchell 82 694 11.82% 183
16. Kent Hrbek 838 7137 11.74% 1747
17. Roy Smalley 549 4676 11.74% 1148
18. Lenny Green 204 1754 11.63% 485
19. Butch Wynegar 358 3188 11.23% 794
20. Chuck Knoblauch 513 4573 11.22% 1013

Interactive Whiteboards by PolyVision

I noted earlier that IBB were included in the table above, so here are a couple of trivia questions for you.

1. Four Twins drew 100 or more IBB during their Twins career, can you name them?

2. I played in 618 Twins games and had 1,876 plate appearances but no opposing pitcher ever saw fit to give me an intentional free pass, who am I?

Posted in General Blogging | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Twins and post season play

As 2014 is coming to an end it is a good time to look back on another Twins season, their fourth in a row without post season play. But you have to be a winner to make post season play and the Twins have been anything but a winner the last few years. It has been a toss-up when you try to determine who has been more inept, the Twins players on the field or the ownership and Twins executives that sit behind their desks and make the decisions that determine the experience that Twins fans will have to live with during the up-coming season.

The Twins have had many losing seasons over the years and the real core Twins fans complained but they accepted the team they had and they looked forward to the next season with renewed hope for more wins “next year”. But it is seems different now, I am not sure why, maybe the fans are more passionate, maybe it is social media that allows Twins fans to better express their frustrations but today’s Twins fans are just plain mad and disgusted with the caliber of play their home team has displayed since the 2010 ended. Hopefully the Minnesota Twins organization feels some of the passion that Twins fans have and will start to look at the product from the fans perspective and see what they can do to make the fans experience a little more fun and and not so tough on the wallet.

Since the Washington Senators moved to Minnesota after the 1960 season and became the Minnesota Twins the team has played 8,617 regular season games, winning 4,274, losing 4,335 and playing to a tie on eight occasions in 54 seasons of play. Boy, how time flies by, I still remember that 1961 season.

Looking back at Twins history they have two World Series winners and a third World Series appearance in which they lost game seven to Sandy Koufax and the Los Angeles Dodgers. In addition to the 8,617 regular season games the team has played a total of 64 post season games winning 25 and losing 39. Their last post season appearance was in 2010 and that brief playoff run lasted just three games when they were swept by the New York Yankees 3 games to zip. The teams last post season win was back in 2004 (if I am not mistaken that is about 10 years ago, YIKES!) when they beat the Yankees in game 1 of the ALDS series before losing the next three games.

So let’s take a look at the hitting and pitching statistics of the Minnesota Twins in post season play. Let’s see who stood out under the bright lights of post season play and who couldn’t or didn’t deliver when the pressure was on. The names you will see below will bring back many memories, some good, some bad, some sad and in some cases you will say “who in the hell is so and so, I don’t remember him”. But it is fun looking back.

 Hitting in Post Season (had at least one PA)

Rk Player #Matching PA ? AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP OPS SB
1 Dan Gladden 24 115 104 17 29 6 3 1 15 9 12 .279 .348 .771 7
2 Kirby Puckett 24 109 97 16 30 3 2 5 15 8 17 .309 .361 .897 3
3 Kent Hrbek 24 103 91 10 14 1 0 3 12 11 12 .154 .252 .516 0
4 Greg Gagne 24 96 89 12 19 5 0 4 10 5 22 .213 .271 .675 0
5 Torii Hunter 21 88 80 15 24 8 1 3 8 5 11 .300 .337 .875 2
6 Jacque Jones 18 79 76 6 15 5 0 2 5 1 23 .197 .215 .557 0
7 Michael Cuddyer 21 78 74 5 25 2 1 2 8 4 18 .338 .372 .845 0
8 Corey Koskie 18 78 67 8 15 4 1 1 9 7 21 .224 .321 .679 0
9 Cristian Guzman 18 75 67 9 16 3 0 1 2 5 12 .239 .301 .630 3
10 Doug Mientkiewicz 14 56 53 4 12 1 0 2 6 3 5 .226 .268 .626 0
11 Chuck Knoblauch 12 55 46 8 15 3 0 0 5 7 5 .326 .407 .799 6
12 Harmon Killebrew 13 54 40 6 10 1 0 3 6 14 10 .250 .444 .944 0
13 Tony Oliva 13 53 51 7 16 5 0 3 5 2 10 .314 .340 .928 1
14 Gary Gaetti 12 53 47 9 13 3 1 3 9 3 8 .277 .340 .914 2
15 A.J. Pierzynski 14 50 45 6 14 0 1 2 7 4 4 .311 .360 .849 0
16 Tom Brunansky 12 50 42 10 12 4 0 2 11 8 7 .286 .400 .924 1
17 Shane Mack 11 44 41 4 9 2 1 0 4 2 11 .220 .250 .567 2
18 Luis Rivas 14 43 38 3 6 1 0 0 1 2 9 .158 .195 .379 0
19 Tim Laudner 12 43 36 5 8 2 0 1 6 7 9 .222 .349 .710 0
20 Chili Davis 11 42 35 7 9 2 0 2 6 7 11 .257 .381 .867 1
21 Brian Harper 11 41 39 3 13 4 0 0 2 2 4 .333 .366 .802 0
22 Joe Mauer 9 39 35 1 10 1 0 0 1 4 7 .286 .359 .673 0
23 Shannon Stewart 8 38 35 1 10 2 0 0 2 2 6 .286 .316 .659 1
24 Steve Lombardozzi 11 37 32 5 11 1 0 1 5 4 4 .344 .417 .885 0
25 Jason Kubel 8 32 29 0 2 1 0 0 0 3 13 .069 .156 .260 0
26 Bob Allison 10 30 26 3 2 1 0 1 3 3 10 .077 .167 .397 1
27 Zoilo Versalles 7 30 28 3 8 1 1 1 4 2 7 .286 .333 .833 1
28 David Ortiz 9 29 29 0 8 3 0 0 4 0 10 .276 .276 .655 0
29 Justin Morneau 7 29 29 4 9 3 0 2 4 0 3 .310 .310 .931 0
30 Mike Pagliarulo 11 28 26 5 8 1 0 2 5 1 4 .308 .333 .910 0
31 Matt LeCroy 10 28 26 2 7 0 0 0 1 2 9 .269 .321 .591 0
32 Denard Span 6 28 28 1 10 1 0 0 1 0 2 .357 .357 .750 1
33 Delmon Young 6 27 24 2 5 1 1 0 0 2 6 .208 .296 .630 1
34 Cesar Tovar 6 27 26 2 6 0 1 0 1 1 2 .231 .259 .567 1
35 Randy Bush 11 26 22 5 5 1 1 0 4 3 4 .227 .308 .671 3
36 Frank Quilici 9 26 22 2 4 2 0 0 1 4 4 .182 .308 .580 0
37 Leo Cardenas 6 26 24 1 4 0 1 0 1 1 8 .167 .200 .450 0
38 Don Mincher 7 25 23 3 3 0 0 1 1 2 7 .130 .200 .461 0
39 Earl Battey 7 25 25 1 3 0 1 0 2 0 5 .120 .120 .320 0
40 Nick Punto 6 25 21 0 6 1 0 0 1 3 2 .286 .375 .708 0
41 Don Baylor 7 21 18 3 7 0 0 1 4 1 1 .389 .476 1.032 0
42 Joe Nossek 6 21 20 0 4 0 0 0 0 0 1 .200 .200 .400 0
43 Rich Reese 5 21 19 0 3 0 0 0 2 2 2 .158 .238 .396 0
44 Scott Leius 9 20 18 2 5 0 0 1 2 2 3 .278 .350 .794 0
45 Rod Carew 5 17 16 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 5 .063 .118 .180 0
46 George Mitterwald 4 16 15 2 5 1 0 0 2 1 5 .333 .375 .775 0
47 Dustan Mohr 7 15 14 4 7 2 0 0 0 1 4 .500 .533 1.176 1
48 Orlando Cabrera 3 15 13 1 2 0 0 0 0 2 3 .154 .267 .421 1
49 Lew Ford 4 14 12 1 3 1 0 0 2 0 3 .250 .357 .690 1
50 Luis Castillo 3 14 11 0 3 0 0 0 0 3 3 .273 .429 .701 0
51 Jim Thome 3 13 10 2 1 0 0 0 0 2 3 .100 .308 .408 0
52 Orlando Hudson 3 13 12 2 4 0 0 1 2 0 2 .333 .333 .917 0
53 Gene Larkin 12 12 11 1 3 1 0 0 2 1 1 .273 .333 .697 0
54 Rondell White 3 12 12 1 5 1 0 1 2 0 0 .417 .417 1.167 0
55 Brendan Harris 3 12 12 1 3 0 1 0 1 0 3 .250 .250 .667 0
56 Al Newman 6 11 9 0 2 0 1 0 1 1 1 .222 .300 .744 0
57 Sandy Valdespino 5 11 11 1 3 1 0 0 0 0 1 .273 .273 .636 0
58 Danny Valencia 3 11 9 1 2 1 0 0 2 1 3 .222 .273 .606 0
59 Jason Bartlett 3 11 11 0 3 1 0 0 0 0 2 .273 .273 .636 0
60 Henry Blanco 4 10 8 1 2 0 0 1 2 0 2 .250 .222 .847 0
61 J.J. Hardy 3 10 10 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 2 .100 .100 .300 0
62 Danny Thompson 3 9 8 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 .125 .222 .472 0
63 Mudcat Grant 3 9 8 3 2 1 0 1 3 0 1 .250 .250 1.000 0
64 Brant Alyea 3 9 7 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 3 .000 .222 .222 0
65 Bobby Kielty 7 8 7 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 3 .000 .125 .125 0
66 Junior Ortiz 4 8 8 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 .125 .125 .250 0
67 Jason Tyner 2 8 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 .000 .250 .250 1
68 Jimmie Hall 2 8 7 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 5 .143 .250 .393 0
69 Jim Kaat 4 7 7 0 1 0 0 0 2 0 6 .143 .143 .286 0
70 Rick Renick 3 6 6 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .167 .167 .333 0
71 Denny Hocking 3 6 6 0 3 1 0 0 1 0 1 .500 .500 1.167 0
72 Ted Uhlaender 2 6 6 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .167 .167 .333 0
73 Matt Tolbert 2 6 5 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .200 .333 .533 0
74 Carlos Gomez 1 6 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 .000 .333 .333 0
75 John Roseboro 2 5 5 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .200 .200 .400 0
76 Jim Holt 2 5 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000 0
77 Paul Sorrento 4 4 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 .000 .250 .250 0
78 Roy Smalley 4 4 2 0 1 1 0 0 0 2 0 .500 .750 1.750 0
79 Jim Perry 2 4 4 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 .000 .000 .000 0
80 Paul Ratliff 1 4 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .250 .250 .500 0
81 Dave Boswell 1 4 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 .000 .000 .000 0
82 Rich Rollins 3 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 .000 .333 .333 0
83 Jose Offerman 3 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .000 .000 .000 0
84 Tom Prince 2 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000 0
85 Phil Nevin 1 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 0
86 Jose Morales 1 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000 0
87 Sal Butera 1 3 3 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 .667 .667 1.333 0
88 Charlie Manuel 2 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 .000 .500 .500 0
89 Les Straker 1 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000 0
90 Jack Morris 1 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 0
91 Jarvis Brown 1 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 0
92 Pat Borders 1 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 0
93 Bert Blyleven 1 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 0
94 Jerry Zimmerman 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 0
95 Dick Woodson 1 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000 1.000 2.000 0
96 Stan Williams 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1.000 0
97 Frank Viola 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 0
98 Kevin Tapani 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 0
99 Mike Ryan 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 0
100 Ron Perranoski 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 0
101 Camilo Pascual 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 0
102 Graig Nettles 1 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000 1.000 2.000 0
103 Tom Hall 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 0
104 Scott Erickson 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 0
105 Mark Davidson 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 0
106 Rick Aguilera 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/17/2014.

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Pitching in Post Season (faced at least one batter)

Rk Player #Matching W L W-L% ERA GS CG SHO SV IP ? H ER HR BB SO WHIP
1 Jack Morris 5 4 0 1.000 2.23 5 1 1 0 36.1 35 9 1 10 22 1.24
2 Brad Radke 6 2 3 .400 3.60 6 0 0 0 35.0 37 14 6 8 17 1.29
3 Johan Santana 11 1 3 .250 3.97 5 0 0 0 34.0 35 15 2 10 32 1.32
4 Frank Viola 5 3 1 .750 4.31 5 0 0 0 31.1 31 15 3 8 25 1.24
5 Bert Blyleven 5 3 1 .750 3.18 4 0 0 0 28.1 27 10 3 5 23 1.13
6 Mudcat Grant 3 2 1 .667 2.74 3 2 0 0 23.0 22 7 3 2 12 1.04
7 Kevin Tapani 4 1 2 .333 6.04 4 0 0 0 22.1 29 15 1 5 16 1.52
8 Jim Perry 5 0 1 .000 6.75 2 0 0 0 17.1 21 13 6 6 10 1.56
9 Joe Mays 3 1 1 .500 4.76 3 0 0 0 17.0 21 9 4 2 4 1.35
10 Jim Kaat 4 1 3 .250 4.41 4 1 0 0 16.1 24 8 1 4 7 1.71
11 Eric Milton 3 1 0 1.000 1.65 2 0 0 0 16.1 13 3 2 3 9 0.98
12 Scott Erickson 3 0 0 4.91 3 0 0 0 14.2 13 8 4 9 7 1.50
13 Dave Boswell 2 0 1 .000 1.35 1 0 0 0 13.1 10 2 0 9 7 1.43
14 Carl Pavano 2 0 2 .000 4.15 2 0 0 0 13.0 15 6 3 1 12 1.23
15 Carl Willis 7 0 0 2.92 0 0 0 0 12.1 8 4 2 2 5 0.81
16 Kyle Lohse 5 0 2 .000 3.00 1 0 0 0 12.0 9 4 1 2 14 0.92
17 Les Straker 3 0 0 6.94 3 0 0 0 11.2 12 9 1 7 7 1.63
18 Rick Reed 3 0 2 .000 8.18 2 0 0 0 11.0 15 10 6 2 8 1.55
19 Juan Berenguer 7 0 1 .000 5.23 0 0 0 1 10.1 11 6 1 3 7 1.35
20 Jeff Reardon 8 1 1 .500 2.70 0 0 0 3 10.0 12 3 1 3 8 1.50
21 J.C. Romero 12 0 1 .000 5.59 0 0 0 0 9.2 10 6 1 6 7 1.66
22 Juan Rincon 8 0 0 5.19 0 0 0 0 8.2 6 5 1 6 9 1.38
23 Dan Schatzeder 5 1 0 1.000 3.12 0 0 0 0 8.2 6 3 0 3 8 1.04
24 Rick Aguilera 7 1 1 .500 1.08 0 0 0 5 8.1 7 1 0 1 6 0.96
25 Brian Duensing 2 0 2 .000 11.25 2 0 0 0 8.0 14 10 2 2 4 2.00
26 Joe Nathan 6 0 1 .000 4.70 0 0 0 1 7.2 8 4 1 6 9 1.83
27 Francisco Liriano 2 0 0 5.87 1 0 0 0 7.2 7 5 1 4 8 1.43
28 Ron Perranoski 5 0 1 .000 10.29 0 0 0 0 7.0 13 8 0 1 5 2.00
29 LaTroy Hawkins 10 1 0 1.000 6.75 0 0 0 0 6.2 9 5 0 1 11 1.50
30 Mark Guthrie 6 1 1 .500 1.35 0 0 0 0 6.2 3 1 0 4 3 1.05
31 Tom Hall 3 0 1 .000 6.00 1 0 0 0 6.0 6 4 1 4 6 1.67
32 Stan Williams 2 0 0 0.00 0 0 0 0 6.0 2 0 0 1 2 0.50
33 Boof Bonser 1 0 0 3.00 1 0 0 0 6.0 7 2 0 1 3 1.33
34 David West 4 1 0 1.000 6.35 0 0 0 0 5.2 3 4 1 8 4 1.94
35 Nick Blackburn 1 0 0 1.59 1 0 0 0 5.2 3 1 0 2 3 0.88
36 Al Worthington 3 0 0 1.69 0 0 0 0 5.1 5 1 0 2 3 1.31
37 Eddie Guardado 5 0 0 9.00 0 0 0 3 5.0 10 5 2 2 5 2.40
38 Carlos Silva 1 0 1 .000 10.80 1 0 0 0 5.0 10 6 1 0 1 2.00
39 Camilo Pascual 1 0 1 .000 5.40 1 0 0 0 5.0 8 3 0 1 0 1.80
40 Matt Guerrier 5 0 0 0.00 0 0 0 0 4.2 1 0 0 1 4 0.43
41 Steve Bedrosian 5 0 0 3.86 0 0 0 0 4.2 6 2 0 2 4 1.71
42 Jim Merritt 2 0 0 2.70 0 0 0 0 3.1 2 1 0 0 1 0.60
43 Jon Rauch 5 0 0 3.00 0 0 0 0 3.0 1 1 0 2 1 1.00
44 Terry Mulholland 1 0 0 3.00 0 0 0 0 3.0 3 1 1 0 0 1.00
45 Dick Woodson 2 0 0 10.12 0 0 0 0 2.2 5 3 0 4 2 3.38
46 Johnny Klippstein 2 0 0 0.00 0 0 0 0 2.2 2 0 0 2 3 1.50
47 Brian Fuentes 2 0 0 0.00 0 0 0 0 2.2 1 0 0 0 2 0.38
48 Grant Balfour 2 0 0 0.00 0 0 0 0 2.2 0 0 0 0 2 0.00
49 Terry Leach 2 0 0 3.86 0 0 0 0 2.1 2 1 0 0 2 0.86
50 Scott Baker 1 0 0 3.86 0 0 0 0 2.1 3 1 1 0 2 1.29
51 Jose Mijares 5 0 1 .000 4.50 0 0 0 0 2.0 1 1 1 2 0 1.50
52 Joe Niekro 1 0 0 0.00 0 0 0 0 2.0 1 0 0 1 1 1.00
53 George Frazier 1 0 0 0.00 0 0 0 0 2.0 1 0 0 0 2 0.50
54 Dean Chance 1 0 0 13.50 0 0 0 0 2.0 4 3 1 0 2 2.00
55 Michael Jackson 4 0 0 16.20 0 0 0 0 1.2 6 3 0 2 2 4.80
56 Jesse Crain 4 0 1 .000 16.20 0 0 0 0 1.2 7 3 2 1 1 4.80
57 Ron Mahay 3 0 0 5.40 0 0 0 0 1.2 0 1 0 1 2 0.60
58 Keith Atherton 3 0 0 5.40 0 0 0 0 1.2 1 1 0 1 0 1.20
59 Bob Miller 1 0 1 .000 5.40 1 0 0 0 1.2 5 1 0 0 0 3.00
60 Bill Zepp 2 0 0 6.75 0 0 0 0 1.1 2 1 1 2 2 3.00
61 Kenny Rogers 1 0 0 0.00 0 0 0 0 1.1 1 0 0 1 3 1.50
62 Tony Fiore 1 0 0 20.25 0 0 0 0 1.1 4 3 0 2 0 4.50
63 Bob Wells 2 0 0 9.00 0 0 0 0 1.0 2 1 0 0 2 2.00
64 Dennys Reyes 2 0 0 9.00 0 0 0 0 1.0 1 1 1 2 0 3.00
65 Pat Neshek 2 0 1 .000 9.00 0 0 0 0 1.0 1 1 0 0 1 1.00
66 Bill Pleis 1 0 0 9.00 0 0 0 0 1.0 2 1 1 0 0 2.00
67 Matt Capps 1 0 0 9.00 0 0 0 0 1.0 2 1 0 0 0 2.00
68 Luis Tiant 1 0 0 13.50 0 0 0 0 0.2 1 1 1 0 0 1.50
69 Joe Grzenda 1 0 0 0.00 0 0 0 0 0.2 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
70 Glen Perkins 1 0 0 0.00 0 0 0 0 0.1 2 0 0 0 0 6.00
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/17/2014.

Since the Twins started play in 1961 through the 2014 season a total of 751 players have put on a Minnesota Twins uniform and appeared in a game either as a hitter or a pitcher. Only 162 of them or 21.57% have appeared in a Twins post season game over the 54 seasons the Twins have called Minnesota home.

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News about new Twins, former Twins, and Twins to be

Ervin SantanaThe Twins today signed free agent pitcher Ervin Santana to a four-year $55 million deal. According to ESPN, the right-hander is guaranteed $54 million over the four years, with a conditional option worth $14 million in 2019 if he throws more than 200 innings. He will receive a $1 million buyout if the Twins don’t exercise the option. The contract sets a new Twins high water mark for a free agent spending, eclipsing the $49 million deal with Ricky Nolasco last year. Because he was tendered by the Braves, Santana will cost the Twins a draft choice, a second rounder since their first round selection was protected due to the Twins poor record last year. The most recent (2006) Twins second round pick to play for Minnesota was outfielder Joe Benson. To view a complete list of Minnesota Twins round two selections you need to click here.

Santana who just turned 32 yesterday is from the Dominican Republic and pitched for the Atlanta Braves this past season going 14-10 with a 3.95 ERA in his first and only season in the National League. Santana was originally signed by the Angels in 2000 and made his major league debut with them in 2005. 2015 will be Santana’s eleventh in the big leagues and he has a career 119-100 record with a no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians in 2011 on his resume. In his 10 previous seasons Santana has averaged 188 innings per season and he has a career mark of 7.2 SO/9.

Over all this should be a very nice addition to the Twins starting pitching staff. I would expect Ricky Nolasco to pitch better than he did in 2014, Phil Hughes may not put up the same kind of numbers this season as he did last but he should still be a very good pitcher, Kyle Gibson should be improved with another season under his belt, and who ever fills out the rotation in the fifth spot should make this staff the best the Twins have had in many years. I like it!

Chris Colabello

Chris Colabello

During the just concluded baseball winter meetings the Twins lost Chris Colabello to the Toronto Blue Jays on a waiver claim.

J.R. Graham

J.R. Graham

The Twins picked up 24-year-old right-handed pitcher J.R. Graham from the Atlanta Braves via the Rule 5 draft this past Thursday. Graham must make the Twins 25 man roster in 2015 or be returned to Atlanta or a trade could be worked out with Atlanta for the Twins to keep Graham but not be forced to put him on the 25 man roster. The New York Mets selected Twins LHP Sean Gilmartin in the same Rule 5 draft.

 

 

Brayan Villarreal

Brayan Villarreal

MLBtradeRumors has reported that the Twins have also signed 26-year-old right-handed pitcher Brayan Villarreal to split contract with an invitation to spring training. Villarreal last pitched in the majors in 2013 and spent last season in AAA with the Red Sox organization. During spring training with the Detroit Tigers in 2013 Villarreal’s family was the victim of a kidnapping attempt in his native Venezuela. Armed robbers had broken into the family home and threatened his father and 14-year-old brother in an attempt to extort money. Police however, and were able to free the hostages without injury.

Juan Berenguer

Juan Berenguer

Former Twins pitcher Juan Berenguer filed suit this week in U.S. District Court alleging that “personnel from various entities in Minnesota illegally obtained Berenguer’s private, personal and confidential driver’s license information without a legitimate or permissible law-enforcement purpose or any other lawful purpose.” The suit says his private information was viewed more than 125 times between 2005 and 2011, in violation of the federal Driver’s Privacy Protection Act.

The Arizona Fall League this past Wednesday announced its 2014 Top Prospects Team. Twins minor league outfielders Byron Buxton and Eddie Rosario both made the team.

Torii Hunter

Torii Hunter

I didn’t write alot about the Twins recent free agent signing of outfielder Torii Hunter and to be honest I am really torn by this. How can you not like that great smile and that bubbly personality but yet the man is 39 years old and he will bank about $10 million for his efforts.  This former and now current Twin is one of my all-time favorite Minnesota Twins but I am not sure how much Hunter has left in the tank. The Twins plan to use him in right field and plan to move Oswaldo Arcia to left. I had really hoped that the Twins would give prospect Eddie Rosario a real shot at left field but now that looks like it won’t happen unless either Arcia or Hunter fails big time. Rosario is not really a center fielder but the Twins have had worse players out there the last few years, still, I don’t see the Twins giving Rosario a shot there. I think the biggest plus from adding Hunter will simply be his presence on the team, his will to win and professional attitude can’t help but rub off on the teams younger players and show them the path they need to take and the effort they need to put forth to once again make the Minnesota Twins winners.

Chris Parmelee

Chris Parmelee

I just saw on MLBTradeRumors that the Twins have designated Chris Parmelee for assignment to make room on the roster for Ervin Santana. I didn’t see this move coming at this stage of the off-season. Parmelee was the Twins first round selection in 2006 (20th over all) and made his big league debut in September of 2011. Parmelee played sparingly for the Twins from 2011-2014 and just never lived up to what the Twins expected from this former first rounder.

Posted in Free Agency, General Blogging | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CenturyLink Sports Complex Infographic

CenturyLink Sports Complex infographix

Posted in General Blogging | Tagged | 3 Comments

Torii Hunter comes home

The ever smiling Torii Hunter took over center from Puckett and played in the Dome from 1997 - 2007. He helped the Twins to four division titles and won seven gold gloves with the Twins. Torii hit .324 in 10 playoff games at the Metrodome.

The ever smiling Torii Hunter took over center from Puckett and played in the Dome from 1997 – 2007. He helped the Twins to four division titles and won seven gold gloves with the Twins. Torii hit .324 in 10 playoff games at the Metrodome.

The Twins announced their newest free agent signee on Wednesday and had an introductory press conference the same day but Torii Hunter needs no introduction here in Twins Territory. Hunter was the Twins first round pick in 1993 and he made his big league debut in a pinch-running role with the club at the age of 22 at Camden Yards. He became the Twins starting center fielder in 1999 and kept that job until he left as a free agent after the 2007 season to sign with the Angels. Torii played for the Angels from 2008-2012 before moving on to the Tigers where he spent the last two seasons.

Rumors have been circulating for some time now that the Twins and Hunter had a mutual interest in joining forces again and yesterday it became a reality when the Twins signed the 39 year-old Hunter to a one-year $10.5 million deal that supposedly includes a full no trade clause.

I had written a piece about the Twins/Hunter romance back on November 23 and it was a real head scratcher to me then and it still is today. I know the Twins outfield situation is a mess but I am not sure that throwing $10.5 million to Hunter is the answer. Hunter no longer can play center field and the Twins have stated that Hunter will play right field and Oswaldo Arcia will move to left field. Apparently center field will again be patrolled by Aaron Hicks if he shows anything at all with the bat. The fallback plan would be Danny Santana who apparently will be given a shot to win the shortstop job if Hicks holds on to center field but the Twins aren’t talking about shortstop too much right now. Terry Ryan did say that the focus will now turn to pitching so that means that the club will go with an in-house center fielder. Who ever plays center for a year or two is just a place-holder for Byron Buxton who hopefully can have a healthy and productive season in 2015 and maybe, just maybe get a September call-up for a taste of big league coffee.

If Twins fans are looking forward to seeing the Torii Hunter of old, they will be sorely disappointed. I have always liked Torii Hunter, who doesn’t? The man has a million dollar smile and a personality to match but he will be 40 in July and baseball skills start to erode pretty quickly when you get around the 40 mark. The man is a winner although the World Series has eluded him in his 18 years in the big leagues. The odds of him getting there with Minnesota, at least as a player are slim to none. Hunter said that he wanted to finish his career at home and he calls the Minnesota Twins home so maybe after he hangs up his spikes as a player the organization will have another role for him. Hunter knows how to play the game and hopefully he can teach some of the Twins players what it takes to get that done.

From the Twins perspective this deal fills a couple of needs. First of all it fills a corner outfield role that was in essence vacant. Although the Twins organization will not admit it the Twins team has a no leader and many times has looked like they are just going through the motions. The only players that the Twins have that show any passion at all are Brian Dozier, Casey Fien, and Glen Perkins. Hunter can help with that problem for sure. From the non-baseball side this helps the Twins organization sell some tickets. Hunter has always been a popular player and his coming back to Minnesota may help persuade a few season ticket-holders to re-up for one more season. The Twins are in desperate straits and anything they can do to stop the hemorrhaging of season ticket holders is worth a try. I think the team has a bright future but they need to find a way to hold on to their fan base because once that train leaves the station it takes lots of time and money to get it back

There are some good reasons to put Torii back in a Twins uniform, I just don’t think that signing him will do much for the Twins record in 2015. However, if you look at this signing as an investment for the future, bringing Torii home to Minnesota might make some sense. I hope so because I hate to see anyone waste $10.5 million and I want the Minnesota Twins to learn how to win and play good baseball again before I get too much older.

Welcome back Torii Hunter!

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Twins find new way to improve on the field product

Construction imageThe Minnesota Twins announced yesterday that they would like to build a new “destination bar” and add a “skyline suite” by combining several existing suites down the left field line before the team begins play at Target field on April 13. The bar would replace retail space on the main concourse between Gate 6 and the left-field foul pole.

The cost for the renovation is expected to be about $2.5 million and no public funds will be requested for these improvements to the ballpark. The Twins need to get approval from the Minnesota Ballpark Authority (MBA) which operates Target Field.  The  MBA is expected to approve the plan. According to MBA executive director Dan Kenney “We like the fact that the team has continued to invest in a first-class facility,” adding that the team has spent at least $10 million to upgrade the facility since it opened in April 2010.

With attendance dropping from 3.2 million in 2010 to 2.2 million this past season the Twins are looking for ways to stop the attendance decline and improve their on the field product. I’m not sure these improvements fit the bill. My personal take on this years proposed renovations to Target Field is “are you serious?” Boring! Combining a couple of suites to make one larger suite doesn’t even constitute a renovation in my book and certainly adds nothing to improve the average fans experience at the ballpark.

But what about the new destination bar you say? The one that will also have a “video element” so that patrons can watch the action on the field? Maybe Twins fans are going to the bar so that they don’t have to watch the on the field product. Target Field needs another bar? They already have the Town Ball Tavern, Hrbek’s, and Twins Pub (which is actually two bars). It appears that the Twins organization must be thinking that they can make the on the field Twins look better after you have a few drinks. With the way the Twins have played since 2011 it probably takes several drinks to make the Twins team worth watching in person so the Twins may be on to something there. Maybe the Twins should invest that $2.5 million towards a pitcher that could help them win a few more games but then again if you look at it from a business perspective and you ask what will help my ROI more, a pitcher or a bar? Jim Pohlad, Dave St. Peter and the rest of the Twins gang said, let’s go with the sure thing and go with the bar. Same old play it safe don’t take any chances Minnesota Twins for you.

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The 2014 Twins Turkey of the Year winner is -

Turkey CartoonOnly three teams in major league baseball lost more games than our Minnesota Twins did in 2014 when they lost 92 times, their four straight 90 plus losing season. You would think that a team that Forbes listed this past March as the 19th most valuable franchise in major league baseball at $605 million with an estimated revenue of $221 million could put a better product on the field wouldn’t you? The Twins 2014 Opening Day payroll was around $85 million give or take, ranking them 24th out of the 30 teams. The Twins front office bragged that they wouldn’t be raising ticket prices in 2014. Raising ticket prices? My God, when the team is this bad for that long the ticket prices should be automatically dropping until the teams shows some competitive life.

With a team like the Minnesota Twins, in its current state of affairs, it is not all that difficult to get candidates for the 2014 Twins Turkey of the Year award “so let’s get after it” and see who we have waiting in the wings.

Vance Worley

Vance Worley

Finalist but did not make the final cut - Vance Worley was acquired in a trade with the Phillies in December 2012.  In the first two months of 2013 the “Vanimal” started 10 games for Minnesota and posted a 1-5 record with a 7.21 ERA and allowed 82 hits in 48.2 innings and eventually pitched his way to AAA Rochester where after a few games he went on the DL. During spring training in 2014 Worley announced that he had pitched hurt in 2013 because of a bone spur in his pitching elbow. The Twins had seen enough of the Vanimal and sold him to the Pittsburg Pirates in March of this year. Another bad pitcher who had more excuses then you could shake a stick at and had a problem telling the truth. Worley was 8-4 for the Pirates with a 2.85 ERA in 2014, what’s up with that?

Finalist but did not make the final cut - The Twins troika of Ron Gardenhire/Rob Antony/Terry Ryan had a rough go of things in 2014. In what turned out to be his last season at the helm as the Twins skipper Ron Gardenhire did the best he could with the players that Terry Ryan and Rob Antony provided but when your pitching staff ranks last in the league in ERA, hits allowed, runs, earned runs, and strikeouts, your chances for a good season are slim at best. Terry Ryan had personal health issues that kept him away from the club for all of spring training and most of the regular season. Rob Antony was the acting GM for a good portion of the season and did what he could to fill Ryan’s shoes. The Twins made several personnel moves that when looked back on could probably have been handled differently and maybe prevented some of the chaos that the team experienced in the outfield. Then again when the manager keeps sending infielders to play the outfield, what can you expect?

Finalist but did not make the final cut - Twins Center fielders  – Manager Ron Gardenhire started the season with Aaron Hicks playing center field and had high hopes for the young switch-hitter particularly when Hicks started out 4 for 7 in his first two games. But then he quit hitting, got hurt, over slept and found himself packing his bags for New Britain in late June. In the first two and a half months of the season Hicks appeared on the DL twice and missed 19 games. He didn’t return until the minor league season was over in September. The Twins ended up trying Sam Fuld, Jordan Schafer, Chris Parmelee, Eduardo Escobar, Darin Mastroianni, and Danny Santana in center field and the best of the bunch was Santana but he is a natural shortstop. The rookie Santana never really got a chance to play short and to show how he can handle that position because Gardy kept sending him out to center field. At this point in the off-season center field remains a huge question mark.

Joe Mauer

Joe Mauer

Finalist but did not make the final cut - Joe Mauer – Last November (2013) the Twins brain trust in conjunction with Joe Mauer decided that Mauer was done as a catcher due to concussion issues and would become the teams first baseman. In the teams first 70 games (March 31 through June 18) Mauer played in 64 of them getting 289 plate appearances while hitting primarily third in the batting order, he managed to hit just two home runs with 16 RBI while hitting for a .254 batting average. On July 1st while playing against the Royals at Target Field, Mauer pulled his right oblique and missed 34 games between July 2 and August 11th. By the time the season was over Mauer had played in 120 games, hit four home runs, knocked in 55 and struck out a career high 96 times while posting an un-Maueresque OBP of .360 and a .732 OPS. His play in the field although not stellar was acceptable for a player learning a new position on the fly. Unless Mauer starts hitting like the Mauer of old, manager Paul Molitor has no business hitting him third. Why not hit Mauer at lead-off? Since 2004 when he first joined the Twins, Mauer has the highest OBP at .401 and is followed by Jim Thome at .387, Denard Span at .357, Luis Castillo at .357 and Danny Santana at .353 when you compare players that have played 100 games or more. Fans just have a hard time accepting the fact that Joe makes $23 million a year, seems to show no urgency, and the man never seems to get mad about anything. Come on Joe, throw something or at least get thrown out of a game arguing a strike call so we know you are still alive out there.

Ricky Nolasco Finalist but did not make the final cutRicky Nolasco was signed by Minnesota in December 2013 and is the highest paid free agent signing in team history. In early July after posting a season todate 5.90 ERA in 104 innings in 18 starts Nolasco revealed he had bad pitching through elbow pain since spring training. You would think that for $49 million that Nolasco could at least be truthful about his condition and have enough confidence in his abilities to step up and speak up instead of hurting his team by continuing to pitch when he is injured. The announcement came as a complete shock to the Twins who then placed Nolasco on the DL where he missed 32 games between July 8th and August 15th. Then in late September he further alienated himself to the Twins community when he responded to a tweet from a Dodgers fan who said they wished he was still in LA and he responded by saying “So do I!!!”  OMG! What a clown on so many levels. The man has fences to mend everywhere. “Minnesota nice” only lasts one season Ricky, pick it up their buddy and show us you are not the dud you showed in 2014.

Chuck Knoblauch was the Twins first round pick in 1989 and was the AL Rookie of the Year in 1991 and an All-Star in 1992, 1994, 1996 and 1997. Knobby played in the Dome from 1991 - 1997.

Chuck Knoblauch was the Twins first round pick in 1989 and was the AL Rookie of the Year in 1991 and an All-Star in 1992, 1994, 1996 and 1997. Knobby played in the Dome from 1991 – 1997.

Second runner-up is Chuck Knoblauch was the Twins first round (25th over all) draft choice in June of 1989 and by 1991 he was the Twins starting second baseman on a World Championship team and the American League rookie of the year. The mercurial Knobby demanded to be traded in 1997 and the Twins granted him his wish after the season ended and sent him to the Yankees where he played from 1998-2001. During his stay in New York Knoblauch started having issues with throwing to ball to first base and he left as a free agent after the 2001 season. Knoblauch spent his final season in the big leagues in Kansas City in 2002 and when the season ended so did the 34 year-old Knoblauch’s big league career. After his career ended Knoblauch had issues with alcohol and was arrested in 2010 for hitting his wife and he ended up with a years probation. In January 2014 the Twins announced that Chuck Knoblauch had been elected as the 27th member of the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame and would be inducted in August. But Chuck had another alcohol related issue in July of this year and again was arrested and charged with assaulting his ex-wife. This was too much for the Twins organization and they cancelled his August Twins Hall of Fame induction and cut off communications with Knoblauch. By the way, former Twins manager Tom Kelly was on hand at the award ceremony as a guest of Knoblauch and he asked the guests to refrain from throwing Domedogs and other miscellaneous items at Chuck as he stepped up to the podium to accept his second runner-up trophy.

Twins Marketing VP Nancy O'Brien

Twins Marketing VP Nancy O’Brien

The runner-up is non other than the infamous Twins brand survey – As the 2014 season was coming to an end and another 90+ season was just around the bend, the Minnesota Twins Marketing department decided to send a brand survey to their season ticket holders. I did not actually see the entire survey and can’t find a copy of it but one of the questions the Twins asked in the survey attracted national attention, albeit not necessarily positive. So here is the question and you need to keep in mind that the Twins are well on their way to losing 90 or more games for the fourth year in a row when the survey is sent out.

2014 Twins brand survey question

The survey caught the attention of ESPN’s Keith Olbermann and here is a short YouTube video clip on his thoughts about the Minnesota Twins. The Twins come up at about the 2:30 mark on the video if you want to skip over the first part. Olbermann clip on Twins brand survey. Twins president Dave St. Peter took offense to Olbermann’s comments and you can see what he had to say here and here. Nancy O’Brien the Twins vice-president of Marketing almost became our first female Twins Turkey of the Year winner but the crack marketing staff came up just short in the final balloting. To be honest a couple of votes had some hanging chad and the Twins were offered a recount but since they would have to pay for it they chose to pass and are planning to spend their money on a starting pitcher and they are looking at possible reunions with Kevin Slowey and Scott Baker. The Twins organization and Mr. St. Peter need to remember that “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.”

Aaron Hicks

Aaron Hicks

This years winner isAaron Hicks was the Twins first round (14th over all) selection in the June 2008 draft. Hicks was on fire during spring training in 2013 hitting .370 with four home runs and 18 RBI and the 23 year-old switch-hitting rookie won the center field job that had been vacated when Denard Span and Ben Revere were traded for pitching depth after the 2012 season. Hicks could not hold on to the job in 2013 but he again started the 2014 season as the Twins center fielder. Hicks hit poorly in his second chance with the club and then got hurt on May 1st and was put on the concussion DL the next day. After being activated from the concussion DL Hicks continued to struggle with the bat, particularly from the left-side where he is has a career average of .185 and on May 26 without consulting with Twins management Hicks announced that he was through with switch-hitting and would bat only from the right side going forward. The Twins were caught by surprise but they were desperate for a center fielder so Twins said OK, go for it and they didn’t even bother to send him to the minors to soften the transition. Just several days later Hicks came up with lower back stiffness and missed a couple more games. Then on June 9th Hicks hurt his shoulder diving for a ball and went on the DL the next day. The Twins then sent Hicks down to New Britain to rehab and on June 22 Hicks plays in a rehab game and hits left-handed. After the game Hicks announces that he has had a change of heart and is again a switch-hitter. The Twins recalled Hicks on September 2 and Hicks appeared in 21 September games hitting .250 (15 for 60) with three doubles and nine RBI. But even during the last month of the season Hicks could not stay out of Gardy’s doghouse when he again had lower back stiffness on September 20th and not only did he not show up early for treatment on Sunday, he didn’t show up until 11:00 AM for a 1:00 game saying that he had over slept. As the season was winding down the Twins brain trust talked to Hicks about playing winter-ball but he resisted stating that he was getting married in the off-season. Hicks finally consented to play winter ball in Venezuela but the team cut him after just 16 games when Hicks hit .220 in 50 at bats with one home run and four RBI but on the plus side he did draw 13 walks. Coming off back-to-back horrendous seasons Aaron Hicks has to be on the cusp of joining the scrap heap of former Twins first round picks that have failed to live up to expectations. The man is an athlete but so far he has not put it together and his attitude and perceived lack of effort is hurting his chances. Hicks seems to think he is entitled to play in the big leagues and does not seem to be willing to put in the work to get there and become the player he should be. Hicks might not have earned his pay in 2014 but he does earn the title as Twins Turkey of the Year for 2014. Step up here Mr. Hicks and claim your award.

 

Previous Twins Turkey of Year Winners

2013 – Twins President Dave St. Peter
2012 – Twins owner Jim Pohlad
2011 – Catcher Joe Mauer
2010 – Infielder Brendan Harris
2009 – Pitcher Glen Perkins
 

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

Bonus Thanksgiving content – Can a player be traded for a turkey? An interesting question because apparently it happened back in 1931 and the Washington Senators who would become the Minnesota Twins in 1961 were involved. Better yet, the Twins new AA team the Chattanooga Lookouts were the team that actually made the trade. This is a cool read and you should check it out at Baseball Prospectus.

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