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Jonathan Schoop or Ian Kinsler?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 11:58 AM
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Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 11:28 AM
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Article: Official Rule 5 Draft Day Thread

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 11:58 AM
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Article: Rundown: Cruz, Cahill, Soria and Ramos

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 11:24 AM
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The Twins Almanac for February 11–17

This week's Almanac marks the birthdates of Minnesotan major leaguers Paul Castner, Don Arlich, Brian Denman, and Cole De Vries, and former Twins slugger Josh Willingham. And it was this week in history that the Twins announced infielder Danny Thompson's leukemia diagnosis, and Hrbie signed a bigly new contract.

February 11, 1985
Hrbek Cashes In


The Twins sign 1978 Bloomington Kennedy High School grad Kent Hrbek to a new five-year, $6 million contract, making Hrbie the first player in team history scheduled to make a million dollars a year. I say "scheduled" because Hrbie's annual salary wouldn't actually exceed $1 million until the 1986 season, and the Twins traded for Bert Blyleven, making well over $1 million a year, during the 1985 season.

Hrbek celebrated by going ice fishing outside his Lake Minnetonka home.

Hrbek was coming off of what would be the best season of his career in 1984, hitting .311 with 27 home runs and 107 RBI. He finished runner-up in American League MVP balloting to Detroit closer Willie Hernandez, who also won the AL Cy Young Award. Kansas City closer Dan Quisenberry came in third in MVP balloting and second in Cy Young balloting. Quisenberry finished second or third in Cy Young balloting four straight seasons from 1982 to 1985.

Next time you see Hrbie, ask him how he feels about pitchers receiving MVP votes.

February 12
Happy 62nd Birthday, Brian Denman


It’s the birthday of 1974 Richfield High School graduate and University of Minnesota alumnus Brian Denman, born in Minneapolis in 1956.

Denman was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the first round of the 1978 January secondary phase. The 6'4" right-handed pitcher was a hot prospect in the Red Sox organization, winning 30 games in his first two minor league seasons, and 51 between 1978 and ‘82. Denman made his major league debut on August 2, 1982 at age 26, allowing two runs on six hits over five innings to earn the win in Oakland. 1961 St. Cloud Cathedral grad Tom Burgmeier earned the four-inning save. (Noticing these cool little connections makes Baseball Reference game logs some of the best reading there is)

Denman made nine starts during his only big league season, going 3-4 with a 4.78 ERA, only striking out nine in 49 innings of work.

He only lasted 2/3 of an inning in his second-to-last start, giving up six runs (two earned) on four hits and a walk against the Yankees at Fenway. He was again relieved by Burgmeier.

Denman made one heckuva recovery, pitching a six-hit shutout at Yankee Stadium on October 2, his final major league start.

He played two more seasons in the Red Sox organization, and 1985–'86 with the Tigers' triple-A Nashville Sounds.

In addition to being an all-time great baseball player at Richfield, Denman was a standout member of the Spartans’ 1972 state champion and '73 and '74 state runner-up basketball teams. These days Denman makes his home in Buffalo, NY.

February 12
Happy 33rd Birthday, Cole De Vries


It’s the birthday of 2003 Eden Prairie graduate, University of Minnesota alumnus, and former Twins pitcher Cole De Vries, born in St. Louis Park in 1985.

De Vries played three seasons for the Gophers before signing with the Twins as an amateur free agent in 2006. He made his major league debut on May 24, 2012 at age 27, allowing six runs on six hits and a walk over five innings in an 11-8 loss to the White Sox in Chicago. It was a rude welcome to the big leagues as A.J. Pierzynski, Paul Konerko and Alex Rios each took him deep. Mauer and Morneau homered for the Twins, for what it's worth.

De Vries made 17 appearances (16 starts) in 2012, compiling a 5-5 record with a 4.11 ERA. He earned the win in his second and third big league starts, but did not win again for almost two months before winning his final three starts of the season.

De Vries made it back to the majors in September 2013, struggling through two relief appearances and two starts, giving up 18 runs on 22 hits over 15 innings. He pitched in Venezuela that winter, with similar results.

The retired pitcher still lives in Eden Prairie, and works in commercial real estate.

February 15
Happy 75th Birthday, Don Arlich


It’s the birthday of 1961 St. Paul North graduate and former Houston Astros pitcher Don Arlich, born in Wayne, Michigan in 1943.

Arlich went 15-0 for the 1961 State Champion North High Polars, a team that also featured Twins curator Clyde Doepner.

Arlich signed with Houston out of high school. He made his major league debut on October 2, 1965 at age 22, starting the second-to-last game of the season versus the St. Louis Cardinals at the Astrodome. He held the Cardinals to two runs on five hits and a walk over six innings, and was in line for the win before St. Louis rallied against the Houston bullpen.

Arlich made it back to the majors in July 1966, making seven relief appearances, giving up nine runs (seven earned) on eleven hits and four walks over four innings pitched.

He stuck it out in the minors until 1969, playing his final two and a half seasons in the Braves’ organization.

February 16, 1897
Birthdate of Paul Castner


It's the birthdate of St. Thomas Academy (Mendota Heights) graduate, World War I veteran, Notre Dame legend, and former White Sox pitcher Paul Castner, born 121 years ago in St. Paul.

According to biographer Bill Lamb, baseball was Castner's third-best sport after football and hockey. He played fullback at Notre Dame under legendary coach Knute Rockne, blocking for the Gipper.

He made six relief appearances for the 1923 White Sox, giving up nine runs (seven earned) on 14 hits and five walks over 10 innings pitched. He never struck out a major league batter.

Read Bill Lamb's thorough and fascinating SABR BioProject essay on Castner (click here).

February 16, 1973
Twins Announce Thompson’s Leukemia Diagnosis


The Twins announce that 27-year-old infielder Danny Thompson has been diagnosed with chronic granulocytic leukemia. Doctors say that the disease is in an early stage, and should not affect Thompson for about five years.

The Twins drafted Thompson out of Oklahoma State in 1968 in the first round of the June Secondary Phase. He made his major league debut on June 25, 1970 at age 23 and never went back down to the farm. He played in 630 games over seven seasons with the Twins.

Thompson was involved in contentious contract negotiations with Calvin Griffith in 1976. Griffith refused to give the infielder a fair price, insisting that no other team would even offer a contract to someone with cancer. So on June 1, 1976 he was packaged with Bert Blyleven and shipped to Texas in exchange for Roy Smalley, Mike Cubbage, and pitchers Bill Singer, and Jim Gideon. Thompson struggled in Texas.

He passed away at the Mayo Clinic on December 10, 1976, just 69 days after playing his final major league game. He played in 98 games between Minnesota and Texas in the final year of his life. He was just 29 years old.

February 17
Happy 39th Birthday, Josh Willingham


It's the birthday of former Twins outfielder Josh Willingham, born in Florence, AL in 1979.

The Twins signed Willingham to a three-year, $21 million contract on December 15, 2011. It was the richest free agent deal in team history at the time according to SABR member John Swol's awesome site, TwinsTrivia.com. Willingham led off the top of the ninth with a line-drive single to center on April 21, 2012 in St. Petersburg, extending his season-starting hitting streak to 15 games. It was the longest streak to begin a Twins career, and tied with Kirby Puckett's 1994 streak for the longest to begin a season in team history.

Willingham had a career year in 2012, hitting .260 with 35 home runs and 110 RBI, and winning a Silver Slugger Award alongside fellow AL outfielders Mike Trout and Josh Hamilton.

Keep in touch with @TwinsAlmanac on Twitter and Facebook.

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11 Comments

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RaymondLuxuryYacht
Feb 11 2018 11:34 AM

Thanks again - always my happiest read of the week!

    • Matt Johnson likes this
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Matt Johnson
Feb 11 2018 11:46 AM

 

Thanks again - always my happiest read of the week!

I have fun doing it. I'd never heard of Paul Castner until recently. I didn't have time to go into much depth about him, but his SABR bio is fascinating. 

 

I prefer to keep these entries brief, anyway. Of course I don't always achieve that, but ideally the Almanac just reminds readers of historical events or people, and they can go off and read more about whichever items pique their interest. 

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ashburyjohn
Feb 11 2018 01:07 PM

I can't locate the date, but the Halsey Hall Chapter of SABR had Paul Castner as a guest panelist at one of their semi-annual meetings, sometime in the mid-1980s probably since he died in 1986. I think he was the guy who answered, when asked for his memories of Ty Cobb, whom he probably faced (I see now as I check) one time in a game on October 2, 1923, "ohhhhhh, he was a miserable fellow". Which put him pretty much in the mainstream of contemporary thought in those days. :)

 

/ Why stuff like this is still etched in my memory, but I can't come home from the store with the things my wife asked for, I don't know.

    • tarheeltwinsfan and Matt Johnson like this
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Matt Johnson
Feb 11 2018 01:48 PM

 

I can't locate the date, but the Halsey Hall Chapter of SABR had Paul Castner as a guest panelist at one of their semi-annual meetings, sometime in the mid-1980s probably since he died in 1986. I think he was the guy who answered, when asked for his memories of Ty Cobb, whom he probably faced (I see now as I check) one time in a game on October 2, 1923, "ohhhhhh, he was a miserable fellow". Which put him pretty much in the mainstream of contemporary thought in those days. :)

 

/ Why stuff like this is still etched in my memory, but I can't come home from the store with the things my wife asked for, I don't know.

Very cool! 

My feeling is that if Ty Cobb can be in the Hall of Fame, then there is no moral standard and you might as well let all the steroid guys in. The amphetamine guys are all there, anyway. 

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ashburyjohn
Feb 11 2018 01:57 PM

you might as well let all the steroid guys in. The amphetamine guys are all there, anyway. 

It's your thread. I guess you can thread-jack it if you wish. :)

    • Matt Johnson likes this
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Matt Johnson
Feb 11 2018 03:01 PM

 

It's your thread. I guess you can thread-jack it if you wish. :)

Hey, you're the one who brought up Ty Cobb being a miserable fellow. I'm easily distracted. 

    • Carole Keller, ashburyjohn and tarheeltwinsfan like this
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ashburyjohn
Feb 11 2018 03:04 PM

What's your position on Yellow Labradors?

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Matt Johnson
Feb 11 2018 04:06 PM

 

What's your position on Yellow Labradors?

I had a roommate that had a white German Shepard. Most neurotic living thing I've ever met. Dog was on Prozac. 

    • ashburyjohn likes this
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tarheeltwinsfan
Feb 11 2018 06:56 PM

Great work Matt. Thanks.

    • Matt Johnson likes this
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tarheeltwinsfan
Feb 11 2018 07:05 PM

This day in 1988, Twins OF Mark Davidson was using his 1987 World Series championship money to build some duplexes here in our hometown, Statesville, NC. Mark went back to Clemson to get his 4 year degree this year and to be an assistant baseball coach at Clemson. Mark's son, Logan, plays SS at Clemson. Mark's daughter played tennis at Stanford. Mark will tell you that his children got their mother's athletic genes. Linda was a great athlete at Mooresville, NC High School . Mark and I used to play racquetball. The game is to 21 points. Mark would give me 20 points. to start the game. He never lost to me. So there you have some Twins' history from 30 years ago today.

    • Carole Keller and Matt Johnson like this
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Matt Johnson
Feb 12 2018 06:51 AM

 

This day in 1988, Twins OF Mark Davidson was using his 1987 World Series championship money to build some duplexes here in our hometown, Statesville, NC. Mark went back to Clemson to get his 4 year degree this year and to be an assistant baseball coach at Clemson. Mark's son, Logan, plays SS at Clemson. Mark's daughter played tennis at Stanford. Mark will tell you that his children got their mother's athletic genes. Linda was a great athlete at Mooresville, NC High School . Mark and I used to play racquetball. The game is to 21 points. Mark would give me 20 points. to start the game. He never lost to me. So there you have some Twins' history from 30 years ago today.

Mark was playing for Wisconsin Rapids in 1982 when they pitched two one-hitters in a doubleheader vs. Appleton and lost both games. 


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