Twins Almanac for March 18–24
March 18, 1977
Twins Sign Zahn
The Twins sign free agent pitcher Geoff Zahn. The lefty, who had won a total of six games during his first four years in the majors, recorded double-digit wins in each of his four seasons in Minnesota, going 53-53 from 1977 to 1980.
Zahn earned a complete game 8-1 victory over the Angels in the Home Opener at Met Stadium on April 22, 1980. Hosken Powell, Ron Jackson, and Roy Smalley each homered, but the most noteworthy thing about this game is that it was a balmy 89 degrees at first pitch! That fun meteorological fact is courtesy of Halsey Hall SABR member John Swol‘s great site TwinsTrivia.com.
Zahn one-hit Toronto at Met Stadium on June 6, 1980, with John Mayberry singling in the seventh for the Blue Jays’ only hit.
Happy 41st Birthday, Fernando Rodney
It’s the birthday of three-time All-Star and new Twins closer Fernando Rodney, born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic in 1977. The 15-year veteran has held Twins hitters to a .214 average in 57 games. In nine appearances at Target Field, Twins hitters have gone 1-for-22 with three walks and seven strikeouts against Rodney.
He has only given up three home runs to Twins hitters: Justin Morneau (9/25/03 and 5/11/07), and Joe Mauer (4/28/07). Former Red Sox DH David Ortiz is the only other player with two homers off Rodney.
It is also, incidentally, the birthday of Corky Miller, born in Yucaipa, CA in 1976. The catcher went 0-for-12 in five games with the Twins in 2005. He played 216 major league games over parts of 11 seasons overall.
Nothing Happened Today
Nothing happened today, unless you count the births of Paul Powell in San Angelo, TX in 1948, and Tim Corcoran in Glendale, CA in 1953. The two hit a combined .171 in 42 total games with the Twins. Powell went 5-for-31 as a rookie in 1971. Corcoran, who played parts of nine seasons in the majors, went 9-for-51 for the Twins in 1981.
Happy 28th Birthday, Brad Hand
It’s the birthday of 2008 Chaska High School graduate and 2017 National League All-Star Brad Hand.
His senior season at Chaska the 6-foot-3 lefty went 8-2 with two saves, allowing only six earned runs in 68 innings for a 0.61 ERA. At the plate he hit .352 with eight home runs and 24 RBI. That summer he was drafted in the second round (52nd overall) by the Florida Marlins.
Hand made his major league debut on June 27, 2011 at age 21 in Miami versus Atlanta. He walked the first big league batter he faced, Jordan Schafer, who would play for the Twins in 2014 and ‘15. The second batter he faced was Adrian Gonzalez, who struck out swinging. Hand would allow only one hit over six innings. That one hit, however, was a solo home run by Adrian Gonzalez leading off the fourth in an eventual 1-0 Atlanta win.
Hand’s first major league win came in his fifth start, on July 7 at home versus Houston as he held the Astros scoreless on two hits and three walks over seven innings in a 5-0 victory.
Hand only pitched in one game in 2012, giving up seven runs on six hits and six walks in the first 3 ⅔ innings of a doubleheader in Washington on August 3. He appeared in only seven games in 2013. He pitched in a combined 70 games between 2014 and ’15 with mediocre results.
Then, during the first week of the 2016 season, Hand was claimed off waivers by the Padres. That season he led the majors with 82 appearances, posting a 2.92 ERA and 1.108 WHIP. How cool is that? How do you think he introduced himself to people that winter? “Hi, I’m Brad. I pitched in more major league baseball games last season than anyone else.”
He was even better in 2017, posting a 2.16 ERA, 0.933 WHIP, earning 21 saves, and making his first All-Star team.
As a batter, Hand has five major league hits, all with the Marlins, including hits off All-Stars Johnny Cueto and Stephen Strasburg. I’m sure he’d want me to mention that he did hit three home runs as a minor leaguer.
Happy 53rd Birthday, Tim McIntosh
It’s the birthday of 1983 Hopkins High School graduate and University of Minnesotaalumnus Tim McIntosh. After three seasons with the Gophers, McIntosh was taken by the Brewers in the third round of the 1986 draft.
McIntosh made his major league debut in Milwaukee in a game versus the Minnesota Twins on September 3, 1990 at age 25, going 0-for-3 as Mark Guthrie hurled a shutout. Fellow Minnesotan Paul Molitor went 0-for-4 in the game.
On September 28, with the Yankees leading the Brewers 6-1, McIntosh entered the game in the seventh as a defensive replacement for catcher B.J. Surhoff. McIntosh led off the bottom of the eighth, and hit a home run for his first major league hit, and his only hit in five games during the 1990 season.
He was a September call-up in 1991, going 4-for-9 with a home run in his first two games. He played only as a defensive replacement, however, in five subsequent games, making only two plate appearances. McIntosh, in fact, only started 25 of the 71 major league games he played in, and 20 of those starts came in 1992 when he played in a total of 35 games, collecting 14 of his 21 career hits while batting .182.
McIntosh appeared in one game as a late-inning defensive replacement for Milwaukee in 1993 before being claimed off waivers by the Montreal Expos on April 14. He played in 20 games for the Expos, collecting two hits and zero walks in 21 plate appearances for an .095 batting average. He became a free agent after the season and was signed by the Minnesota Twins. He spent the 1994 season with Triple-A Salt Lake, hitting .338 with 18 home runs. After the 1994 season, his contract was purchased by the Nippon-Ham Fighters in Japan where he hit just .220.
In February 1996, McIntosh signed as a free agent with the New York Yankees. He played in three games for the big league club that season. He appeared in his final major league game on June 12, 1996 at age 31, entering in the ninth as a defensive replacement at third in a 7-4 Yankee loss in Toronto.
Happy 40th Birthday, Cristian Guzmán
It’s the birthday of former Twins shortstop Cristian Guzmán, born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic in 1978.
The Twins acquired Guzman along with Eric Milton, Brian Buchanan, Danny Mota and $3 million of George Steinbrenner’s cold hard cash in exchange for four-time All-Star second baseman Chuck Knoblauch on February 6, 1998. Guzmán was the Twins’ starting shortstop for six seasons (1999-2004), leading the majors in triples three times, including a Twins record 20 in 2000. He was an All-Star in 2001, hitting .302, though only playing in 118 games, his lowest total as a Twin. He made a second All-Star team when he hit .316 for the Washington Nationals in 2008. Guzmán spent 11 seasons in the majors altogether, playing his final games with Texas in 2010.
March 21, 1970
Twins Trade Gzrenda and Walters for Alyea
The Twins trade pitchers Joe Grzenda and 1965 Minneapolis Edison High School graduateCharley Walters to the Washington Senators for outfielder Brant Alyea.
Alyea’s career had gotten off to an Eddie Rosario-esque start, homering on his first major league pitch on September 11, 1965.
His Twins career, too, got off to a hot start, driving in a Twins record seven runs to back Jim Perry on Opening Day. He went on to drive in 21 runs in the Twins’ first 12 games, with a remarkable 19 of those RBI coming in Jim Perry’s first four starts. Alyea matched his own record on September 7, 1970, going 3-for-4 with two home runs and driving in all seven Twins runs in a 7-6 win.
Glenn Adams broke Alyea’s record with eight RBI on June 26, 1977. Randy Bush matched that on May 20, 1989.
Though Walters didn’t make the same splash in the major as Alyea, his story is nonetheless interesting. The Twins signed Walters out of their annual open tryout at Met Stadium in 1965. He went 7-2 with a 1.94 ERA for the 1967 Northern League Champion St. Cloud Rox. He broke camp with the Twins in 1969 at age 22, and made six appearances between April 11 and May 14. He held opponents scoreless over his first five appearances (5.1 innings) on just three hits and a walk. He struggled in his final major league appearance versus Baltimore, giving up four runs on three hits and a walk over 1.1 innings.
Walters has been a sportswriter at the Pioneer Press since 1975. Stew Thornley wrote about Walters for the Halsey Hall SABR book Minnesotans in Baseball (click here).
March 21, 2010
Nathan Needs Tommy John
The defending Central Division champion Twins announce that 4x All-Star closer Joe Nathan needs Tommy John surgery. He had saved a career-high 47 games the previous season.
6-foot-11 righty Jon Rauch saved 21 games for the 2010 Twins. On July 29, the Twins traded catcher Wilson Ramos and minor league pitcher Joe Testa to the Nationals for closer Matt Capps, who had been the winning pitcher at the All-Star game on July 13. Capps saved 16 games down the stretch as the Twins won their second consecutive Central Division championship, and sixth in the last nine seasons. The Twins were swept by the Yankees in the Division Series.
Nathan came back in 2011, pitching 48 games and surpassing Rick Aguilera as the Twins’ all-time saves leader (260). Following the season he signed with Texas where he was an All-Star in 2012 and 2013.
March 22, 2010
Mauer Gets Paid
2001 Cretin-Derham Hall graduate, three-time batting champion, and 2009 American League Most Valuable Player Joe Mauer signs an eight-year, $184 million extension during a press conference at the Twins’ Spring Training facility in Ft. Myers, FL. The contract, which locked the hometown kid up through 2018, was the fourth-richest in major league history at the time.
March 23, 2015
Molitor and Sanberg Face-Off
The Paul Molitor-managed Twins lose 3-0 to Ryne Sandberg’s Phillies. It is believed to be the first time that current Hall of Famers have managed against each other. Such an occurrence has never happened in the regular season.
March 24, 1988
Twins Trade Beane
The Twins trade outfielder Billy Beane to the Tigers for pitcher Balvino Galvez. Beane, who was the Mets’ first-round draft choice in 1980, played 80 games with the Twins in 1986, and 12 games in 1987. He went 1-for-6 over six games with the Tigers in 1988. He played in 37 games with Oakland in 1989.
Galvez, who pitched 10 games for the Dodgers in 1986, never made it back to the majors.
The Twins had originally acquired Beane from the Mets on January 16, 1986 in a five-player trade featuring Tim Teufel.
Billy Beane was the General Manager of the Athletics from 1998 until after the 2015 season when he was promoted to Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations.
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