We are going to close out our Twins all-opponent team series today by naming the teams closer. I will tell you up front that the best closer I have seen in the 60 years I have followed major league baseball is Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees. Watching Rivera close out a game was almost like watching a machine, as near perfection as you can get. You all know my history with the Yankees, I have always disliked them since I was a pup, but in this case greatness needs to be recognized for what it is. If Mariano Rivera is not a first ballot Fall of Fame baseball player then no one is.
Now that my praise for Mariano Rivera is out-of-the-way we will go on to name the Twins all-opponent team closer and he is Troy Percival. Percival closed games for the Angels for 10 seasons before moving on to close for the Tigers, Cardinals and Rays. Percival was an All-Star four times and had 358 career saves over his 14 years in the big leagues.
In 47 games against our Minnesota Twins he pitched 47.2 innings giving up just 19 his while striking out 56 batters and notched 23 saves. The man gave up just two earned runs against Minnesota (none as an Angel pitcher) and one of those was on the only home run that a Twins batter (Justin Morneau) hit off him. Fittingly it seems, he earned the win in that game when the Tigers came back to win the game in 10 innings 5-4 at Comerica Park. His career ERA against Minnesota? Make that 0.38 .
Our previous selections for the Twins all-opponent team