Going to work or play every day

I seldom missed a day of school back in Taylors Falls and I continued that practice at work during my working career. The Navy of course reinforced the idea that going to work every day was the only way. I am old school and retired now but back in the day when I worked I took a lot of pride in the fact that I showed up for work day in and day out rain or shine.  I figured I was being paid to work so I showed up day after day. It used to drive me crazy when I knew that certain co-workers stayed home because they were hung-over or just plain didn’t feel like working. There were probably times when it would have been safer to stay home due to the snow or ice but not me, I was off to work.

Working every day carries over to my enjoyment of baseball, I like players that come to play ball each day and don’t take time off because they are tired or have a hang-nail. These players are being paid big bucks to play, not to sit on the bench and rest, they can rest on their own time like the rest of us.

"<strongSo where am I going with this? Today we are going to take a look at the Minnesota Twins players that came to play. Today’s players are playing fewer games then their compatriots did 50 or so years ago for a variety of reasons. The change however; is not as great as I expected to find. When was the last time that a Twins player played in every game that season? That would be Justin Morneau in 2008 when he appeared in all 163 regular season games. Since 1961 and 55 baseball seasons only six Twins players have played in every game and Harmon Killebrew is the only one to do it more than once.

 

Rk Player Year G Age PA AB H HR RBI SB BA OPS Pos
1 Justin Morneau 2008 163 27 712 623 187 23 129 0 .300 .873 *3/D
2 Gary Gaetti 1984 162 25 644 588 154 5 65 11 .262 .665 *5/76
3 Roy Smalley 1979 162 26 729 621 168 24 95 2 .271 .794 *6/3
4 Harmon Killebrew 1969 162 33 709 555 153 49 140 8 .276 1.011 *5*3
6 Cesar Tovar 1967 164 26 726 649 173 6 47 19 .267 .691 5847/69H
7 Harmon Killebrew 1966 162 30 677 569 160 39 110 0 .281 .929 *537/H
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 2/5/2016.

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Working or playing every day can be tough and everyone gets sick or hurt now and then so I am going to use 160 games as my measuring stick for players that comes to play, a gamer as they say. Here is a question for you to ponder before you look it up on the list below, what Twins player has played in 160 or more games in a single season the most frequently? Here is a list of Twins players that played in 160 games or more from 1961 through 2015. Most of the players on this list are in the Twins Hall of Fame, the ones that are not deserve to be there!

Paul Molitor the current Twins manager played in 161 games at the age of 39 back in 1996 and I grant you that most of those were at DH but still, the man was 39 years old. Will that thinking factor into his daily line-up make-up? So far it has not.

"<strong

Rk Player Year G Age PA AB H HR RBI SB BA OPS Pos
1 Justin Morneau 2008 163 27 712 623 187 23 129 0 .300 .873 *3/D
2 Torii Hunter 2007 160 31 650 600 172 28 107 18 .287 .839 *8/DH
3 Paul Molitor 1996 161 39 729 660 225 9 113 18 .341 .858 *D3/H
4 Kirby Puckett 1992 160 32 696 639 210 19 110 17 .329 .864 *8/DH45
5 Kirby Puckett 1986 161 26 723 680 223 31 96 20 .328 .903 *8/H
6 Gary Gaetti 1985 160 26 608 560 138 20 63 13 .246 .710 *5/H7D3
7 Kirby Puckett 1985 161 25 744 691 199 4 74 21 .288 .715 *8/H
8 Gary Gaetti 1984 162 25 644 588 154 5 65 11 .262 .665 *5/76
9 Roy Smalley 1979 162 26 729 621 168 24 95 2 .271 .794 *6/3
10 Leo Cardenas 1970 160 31 649 588 145 11 65 2 .247 .674 *6
11 Cesar Tovar 1970 161 29 726 650 195 10 54 30 .300 .798 *87/4H59
12 Harmon Killebrew 1969 162 33 709 555 153 49 140 8 .276 1.011 *5*3
13 Leo Cardenas 1969 160 30 665 578 162 10 70 5 .280 .741 *6
14 Cesar Tovar 1967 164 26 726 649 173 6 47 19 .267 .691 5847/69H
15 Zoilo Versalles 1967 160 27 626 581 116 6 50 5 .200 .531 *6/H
16 Harmon Killebrew 1967 163 31 689 547 147 44 113 1 .269 .965 *3/5
17 Harmon Killebrew 1966 162 30 677 569 160 39 110 0 .281 .929 *537/H
18 Zoilo Versalles 1965 160 25 728 666 182 19 77 27 .273 .781 *6
19 Zoilo Versalles 1964 160 24 717 659 171 20 64 14 .259 .742 *6/H
20 Tony Oliva 1964 161 25 719 672 217 32 94 12 .323 .916 *9/8H7
21 Zoilo Versalles 1962 160 22 624 568 137 17 67 5 .241 .660 *6/H
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 2/5/2016.

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So how do the Twins compare to the other American League teams from 1961 through the 2015 season? This table shows all the AL teams and how many occurrences they have had of a player appearing in 160 or more games and when it was last accomplished.

TEAM 160 or more Game occurrences Last Done
1 Orioles 50 2015
2 Tigers 26 2014
3 Astros 25 2009
4 Yankees 22 2013
5 Twins 21 2008
5 Mariners 21 2015
5 Rangers/Senators 21 2015
8 White Sox 20 2010
8 Blue Jays 20 2010
10 Indians 18 2007
11 A’s 17 2005
12 Angels 16 2001
13 Red Sox 15 2013
13 Royals 15 2014
15 Rays 6 2015

Interactive Whiteboards by PolyVision

A question that came to mind as I was doing this is what impact does the DH in the American League have when you compare it to the National League where double switches are a way of life. Oddly enough the NL had 300 occurrences of players appearing in 160 games or more between 1961 and 2015 and the American League had just two more at 302. I would have thought that there would have been a bigger disparity with all the double switches in the NL contributing to more players appearing in more games.

DECADE AL NL TOTALS
1961-1970 61 62 123
1971-1980 43 57 100
1981-1990 63 44 107
1991-2000 39 46 85
2001-2010 66 70 136
2011-2015 30 21 51
302 300 602

I am not sure what caused the huge increase in 160 or more games played from 2001-2010 over the previous decade. The players with the most occurrences of 160 or more games played you ask over the time period covered here? That of course would be Cal Ripken with 15 and Pete Rose with 10.

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