A visit with catcher Glenn Borgmann
Glenn Dennis Borgmann (Borgy) was born on May 25,1950 in Paterson, New Jersey and attended the University of South Alabama. Glenn was 6’4”, weighed 210 and was a right handed batter. Glenn was more noted for his catching then for his hitting and he led all major league catchers in fielding percentage in 1974 with a .997 percentage. Glenn’s career as a starting catcher for Minnesota pretty much ended in 1976 when Butch Wynegar came on the scene and Borgmann became a free agent after the 1979 season. Glenn wore number 24 in 1972, number 27 in 1973 and number 14 during the remainder of his career in Minnesota between 1974 and 1979.
John – Glenn, I believe you were drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 6th round of the 1969 amateur draft but you did not sign, then you were drafted in the secondary phase of the draft that year by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the second round but again you chose not to sign. Then in January of 1970 you were drafted by the Twins but apparently the pick was voided, what was the story behind that situation?
Glenn – I didn’t sign out of Miami because it wasn’t enough money and I had earned a full scholarship to South Alabama to play for former major leaguer Eddie Stanky! The Pittsburgh Pirates draft choice was a mistake; I wasn’t 21 and had another year of college remaining.
John – The Twins picked you in the first round (9th pick overall) in the secondary phase of the 1971 draft and you signed with the Twins. Were you happy that the Twins selected you and what kind of signing bonus did you receive?
Glenn – I was real happy to be drafted again, especially in the first round. The money was OK – not like today of course.
John – Your trek to the big leagues seemed to be very quick. You started in Wisconsin-Rapids in 1971 and you moved up to Charlotte that same year. In 1972 you started the season in Tacoma but you were called up by the Twins and you made your major league debut on July 1, 1972 against the White Sox in Comiskey Park. You were what, 22 years old and you were in a major league game with Harmon Killebrew and Rod Carew and you were catching Jim Perry who had won a Cy Young just two years earlier. What was that like and what do you remember about that game?
Glenn – I didn’t sleep all night – my roommate was Eric Soderholm and it was great being in a big league uniform. My first game and Harmon hit the ball over the roof. I didn’t get any hits that day but the next day I got my first hit off Tom Bradley, a single to center. Rod Carew is the best hitter I ever saw. In 1974 he needed to be 3 for 3 to hit .350. Back then Louisville Slugger gave players money for hitting .300, .333. .350 etc. He told me it’s “no problem” before the game and went out and did it. Perry was always in control of what he was doing.
John – Calvin Griffith was the Twins owner during your era, what was your relationship with Calvin like and are there any stories that you would like to share with us about him?
Glenn – Calvin and I fought over a $1,000 in 1971. Finally in spring training he gave in to me – a big $1,000 – wow!
John – You played for 3 different Twins mangers (Rigney, Quilici, and Mauch) from 1972-1979. What were these guys like and who was your favorite manager and why?
Glenn – I always like Frank as a person but Mauch was the best to play for, he always did his homework. I only played for Rigney for 3 games in 1972.
John – You played with some great Twins players in your time with Minnesota like HOF’s Harmon Killebrew and Rod Carew and several more that many of us here in Minnesota feel should be HOF’s like Jim Kaat, Tony Oliva, and Bert Blyleven. What was it like being a teammate of these special players?
Glenn – Blyleven should be in the HOF, he became a great pitcher in Pittsburgh when he started to sink his fastball.
John – Who was the best player (hitter or pitcher) you ever saw play the game and what in your mind made him the best player?
Glenn – The best hitter was Rod Carew and I already told you why. The best pitcher was Nolan Ryan, he was over powering and he had a great change-up which is what made him so tough.
John – I recently did an interview with Mike Marshall who told me that he called his own pitches. What was it like to catch Marshall and was he the “character” back then that he seems to be today?
Glenn – Marshall never ran with the other pitchers, he said that “I don’t run the ball to the plate, I throws it”. Mike was hard to figure out but was fun to catch.
John – I think it is safe to say that you were considered a light-hitting but rifle-armed catcher and you led all major league catchers with a .997 fielding percentage in 1974. How would you describe yourself as a ballplayer?
Glenn – I had a .997 fielding percentage and Thurman Munson got the Gold Glove………
John – You played in the big leagues for 9 years but I don’t think you ever played on a playoff team; did you get close to making the playoffs at any time?
Glenn – We finished third in 1977 and I received $221.
John – You hit a total of 14 home runs in your eight years with Minnesota; does anyone stand out as extra special?
Glenn – A game tying home run off Larry Gura in the bottom of the 9th in 1977, we ended up winning that game 9-8 in 10 innings over the Royals at the Met.
John – Would you be willing to share with us what your top salary was during your playing career?
Glenn – I made $45,000 in 1977.
John – You ended your career with the White Sox in 1980 at about 30 years of age, which is pretty young to end your baseball career, what caused you to end your career then?
Glenn – I wasn’t good enough anymore!
John – If you could play baseball in any era, would you choose to play when you did or at some other time and why?
Glenn – I would like to play in today’s game, better condition and better PAY! But hey, no complaints.
John – What was it like to play in Met Stadium and what do you remember most about the stadium?
Glenn – No complaints.
John – What is your fondest memory of playing for the Minnesota Twins?
Glenn – All the guys were GREAT! I could have done a lot better but it didn’t happen. All my children were born in Minnesota.
John – The Twins are building a new ballpark that will be open in time for the 2010 season and will be called “Target Field” but will be an open air stadium with no roof, what are your thoughts on an open air stadium in Minneapolis based on your playing at Met Stadium?
Glenn – Very foolish if it has no retractable roof.
John – What are your thought on the steroids and HGH controversy that has plagued baseball for the last few years?
Glenn – They (MLB) are on the right track controlling it.
John – Have you ever been back to Minnesota since you played here?
Glenn – I saw the Dome once – like I told you on the phone about my roommate Craig Kusick and his wife Sara. I was back visiting them when they were still around (Both Craig and Sara have passed away). You should consider his name and career in your book, if you need more information on him give me a call.
John – What did you do after you retired from baseball? Did you ever have any thoughts of getting back into baseball after you left the game?
Glenn – I was in the auto parts business for 20 years but I always tried to become a scout.
John – Do you follow baseball today? What about the Twins?
Glenn – Yes, I always look at the Twins box scores.
John – I enjoy playing fantasy baseball, have you ever participated in that and what do you think about the various fantasy games that are played today?
Glenn – I have never participated.
John – Where do you live and what are you doing today?
Glenn – I live in Butler, New Jersey and I have worked at the Meadowlands race track for the last 23 years working nights.
John – Glenn, thank you so much for taking the time to do this Q&A with me. I appreciate the memories and wish you and your family the very best.