The 1982 Minnesota Twins 60-102 season has been on the books for a long time as the Twins team with the most losses but that does not necessarily make them the worst team in Twins history. The Twins 2016 team is almost a cinch to break the record of 102 losses in a single season but like the 1982 team that does not mean they are the worst Twins team ever. Both teams had some very good players but in both cases their pitching staff was substandard or young and the position players were just starting to come into their own as major league players. The average age of the 1982 team was just barely over 25 years of age, the 2016 team by comparison has the youngest average position players in the league at 27 but the pitching staff is middle of the pack with and average age of just over 28.
Tonight the Twins are in Kansas City to play the Royals and they have a chance to lose game number 102 but the Twins will send their best pitcher (Ervin Santana) to the mound so they can put off the inevitable for another day.
The Twins loss number 102 back in ’82 took place on the final day of the season, Sunday, October 3 with White Sox starter LaMarr Hoyt facing off against Twins starter Brad Havens. The Chicago White Sox were in third place and the Twins occupied the cellar of the AL West a full 32 games out of first. Only 5,085 Twins fans paid t0 enter the Metrodome that day to watch this meaningless game but how many were actually there is probably another story.
The game was scoreless until the top of the fourth inning when the Tony La Russa led mighty whities put three runs on the board against the lefty Brad Havens on a home run by Tom Paciorek and a single by Marc Hill that scored two more. Havens day ended in the top of the sixth after he gave up a walk, a double and a ground out that scored the fourth run for the Sox. Twins manager Billy Gardner had seen enough and brought in reliever Paul Boris who got of the inning but allowed another run to score on a ground out and going into the bottom of the sixth inning the home town Twins were down 5 to zip. The Twins finally got on the board in the bottom of the sixth inning when Gary Ward had an infield single that scored Bobby Mitchell who had singled to lead off the inning. The White Sox added a run in the top of the eighth inning when Twins killer Harold Baines took Paul Boris deep to lead off the inning. Hoyt who would go on to pitch a complete game and win his league leading 19th game retired the first two Twins in the ninth before Greg Wells tripled bringing DH Randy Bush to the plate but he grounded out to the second baseman and Brad Havens and the Twins took the defeat. The game lasted all of 2 hours and 5 minutes and it was “wait until next year” for the Twins and their fans.
The bearded LaMarr Hoyt was an interesting player to be sure, the following season he went on to win a league leading 24 games and take home the 1983 Cy Young award. In 1985 he found himself in San Diego where he was named the NL starting pitcher in the 1985 All-Star game at the Metrodome that the NL won by a 6-1 score and Hoyt was credited with the victory by allowing no earned run in 3 innings. By 1987 the 32-year old Hoyt was out of professional baseball due to problems with drugs. More info on Hoyt.
Rusty Kuntz who was the White Sox center fielder that day went on to play for the Twins in 1983 and tonight you will find him in Kansas City coaching for the Royals, I wonder if he remembers this day from back in 1982?
By the way, September 28 has been a very interesting day in Minnesota Twins history so please don’t forget to check it out on our This Day in Twins History page before you leave.