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Sherry Cerny

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  1. News broke last month that the Cleveland Guardians are close to selling 35% of their ownership to David Blitzer.The potential for a corporate investor could shake things up, making the newly-minted Guardians a force to be reckoned with in the near future. A LOOK BACK AT THE CLEVELAND OWNERSHIP Cleveland had a dynamic decade. Playing them was always a daunting task. They have been blessed with outstanding pitchers such as Shane Bieber, Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, and Mike Clevinger. The hitting and defense of players like Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez, and Carlos Santana moved them swiftly through the playoffs before losing the 2016 World Series to the Cubs. Terry Francona is still at the helm, and there is still solid pitching and Jose Ramirez, but their payroll has been reduced significantly due to several big trades. The Cleveland ball club has not had payrolls this low for over a decade. Their payroll in 2018 was $134 million, per Cot’s. . A year ago, it was just $49 million. Whether those cuts in payroll are because the Dolan family is tired of investing money, or whether they are trying to make the organization more attractive to investors. It might not matter. Either way, a new investment in the franchise could benefit the fans. And the fans could use a break. One of the biggest examples of payroll cutting was the trade of fan-favorite, Francisco Lindor, to the Mets before the 2021 season. While fans in Cleveland were not surprised, it knocked the wind out of the community. USHERING IN A NEW ERA With all the decisions the Dolan family has made, this deal with David Blitzer to become a minority owner seems to be a good one for the Cleveland fans. While he has not invested in baseball yet, there was a whisper of interest regarding buying the Mets before Steve Cohen purchased them. David Blitzer of HBSE is rumored to have acquired a significant stake in the Guardians; some estimate 35%. It was known that co-owner John Sherman needed to sell his 20% because he took partial ownership of another team, the Kansas City Royals, in 2019. But Sportico is reporting that the deal includes another 15%, and includes a path to majority ownership. HBSE is not new to investing in professional teams. David Blitzer seems to have made it his life's work to take over teams that seem to be falling apart or fading quickly. In fact, he took hold of the 76er's (2011) and the New Jersey Devils (2013), breathing new life into their franchises. Neither team has won a title since their acquisition. Still, both teams have remained intensely competitive because Blitzer realizes the value of good players and does not have any issues paying for them. When HBSE took over, the 76ers were in a meager state. During Sam Hinkie's three seasons as General Manager of the 76ers, he was able to acquire strong players, Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Dario Saric, that led them to their first playoff run since Blitzer took over. Blitzer's willingness to sink cash into big names (and more importantly, big talent) creates fan bases that have just as much excitement about their teams as the players. The 76ers are relevant again, and players want to play there because they know they will get paid and play to win. BRING BACK THE COMPETITIVE EDGE Let's admit it. Watching the White-Sox win, the division in 2021 told us a lot about the teams in the Central Division. Cleveland's competitiveness has disappeared along with their roster. But Cleveland has a number of hidden strengths. The Guardians are still a competitive team. In 2021, the Guardians won 80 games last year, despite the fact that most of the veterans had either been traded or spent time on the Injured List. If Blitzer has a say in player acquisition and retention, he could create a dangerous lineup, comparable to what he did with the 76ers and the Devils. A good veteran core, along with the Guardians' coaching staff, could make a team that could stay strong for years. Cleveland has a solid farm system. MLB.com ranked Cleveland as the #13 farm system in MLB this last August, specifically calling out the amount of talent they have age 21 years old and younger. That is rare for an organization nearing the end of their competitive window. It either gives them a head start if they decide to do a full rebuild, or trade assets if they decide to reload. Cleveland could use a culture change. New ownership for the Guardians could bring about a huge culture change. Blitzer's staff is known for shaking things up from coaching to players. The teams Blitzer has invested in ended up producing large fan bases, strong player core, and culture for corporate ownership. The fan base has slowly dwindled over the years as fans lost faith in the front office and, subsequently, the team. If there is one thing about the Ohio fan base, they are loyal, and what teams put into them, they give back ten-fold. The Guardians just got a new name and are proposing a $435 million stadium renovation that would include a new lease for fifteen years. With a complete stadium renovation and re-branding, this is a huge opportunity to get fans back in the seats at Progressive Field. Some empty seats were due to the pandemic, the team ranked 21st this past season in attendance. Corporate ownership, or investment, can have its perks when it comes to ownership: more money, more growth opportunities, and an overall better atmosphere. Given their struggles with payroll, and several other hidden advantages that the Guardians have, bringing Blitzer and his investment team into Cleveland’s ownership group could bring resources and stability the franchise and their fan base has craved. It could be very good news for the Guardians. And bad news for the Twins. View full article
  2. A LOOK BACK AT THE CLEVELAND OWNERSHIP Cleveland had a dynamic decade. Playing them was always a daunting task. They have been blessed with outstanding pitchers such as Shane Bieber, Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, and Mike Clevinger. The hitting and defense of players like Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez, and Carlos Santana moved them swiftly through the playoffs before losing the 2016 World Series to the Cubs. Terry Francona is still at the helm, and there is still solid pitching and Jose Ramirez, but their payroll has been reduced significantly due to several big trades. The Cleveland ball club has not had payrolls this low for over a decade. Their payroll in 2018 was $134 million, per Cot’s. . A year ago, it was just $49 million. Whether those cuts in payroll are because the Dolan family is tired of investing money, or whether they are trying to make the organization more attractive to investors. It might not matter. Either way, a new investment in the franchise could benefit the fans. And the fans could use a break. One of the biggest examples of payroll cutting was the trade of fan-favorite, Francisco Lindor, to the Mets before the 2021 season. While fans in Cleveland were not surprised, it knocked the wind out of the community. USHERING IN A NEW ERA With all the decisions the Dolan family has made, this deal with David Blitzer to become a minority owner seems to be a good one for the Cleveland fans. While he has not invested in baseball yet, there was a whisper of interest regarding buying the Mets before Steve Cohen purchased them. David Blitzer of HBSE is rumored to have acquired a significant stake in the Guardians; some estimate 35%. It was known that co-owner John Sherman needed to sell his 20% because he took partial ownership of another team, the Kansas City Royals, in 2019. But Sportico is reporting that the deal includes another 15%, and includes a path to majority ownership. HBSE is not new to investing in professional teams. David Blitzer seems to have made it his life's work to take over teams that seem to be falling apart or fading quickly. In fact, he took hold of the 76er's (2011) and the New Jersey Devils (2013), breathing new life into their franchises. Neither team has won a title since their acquisition. Still, both teams have remained intensely competitive because Blitzer realizes the value of good players and does not have any issues paying for them. When HBSE took over, the 76ers were in a meager state. During Sam Hinkie's three seasons as General Manager of the 76ers, he was able to acquire strong players, Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Dario Saric, that led them to their first playoff run since Blitzer took over. Blitzer's willingness to sink cash into big names (and more importantly, big talent) creates fan bases that have just as much excitement about their teams as the players. The 76ers are relevant again, and players want to play there because they know they will get paid and play to win. BRING BACK THE COMPETITIVE EDGE Let's admit it. Watching the White-Sox win, the division in 2021 told us a lot about the teams in the Central Division. Cleveland's competitiveness has disappeared along with their roster. But Cleveland has a number of hidden strengths. The Guardians are still a competitive team. In 2021, the Guardians won 80 games last year, despite the fact that most of the veterans had either been traded or spent time on the Injured List. If Blitzer has a say in player acquisition and retention, he could create a dangerous lineup, comparable to what he did with the 76ers and the Devils. A good veteran core, along with the Guardians' coaching staff, could make a team that could stay strong for years. Cleveland has a solid farm system. MLB.com ranked Cleveland as the #13 farm system in MLB this last August, specifically calling out the amount of talent they have age 21 years old and younger. That is rare for an organization nearing the end of their competitive window. It either gives them a head start if they decide to do a full rebuild, or trade assets if they decide to reload. Cleveland could use a culture change. New ownership for the Guardians could bring about a huge culture change. Blitzer's staff is known for shaking things up from coaching to players. The teams Blitzer has invested in ended up producing large fan bases, strong player core, and culture for corporate ownership. The fan base has slowly dwindled over the years as fans lost faith in the front office and, subsequently, the team. If there is one thing about the Ohio fan base, they are loyal, and what teams put into them, they give back ten-fold. The Guardians just got a new name and are proposing a $435 million stadium renovation that would include a new lease for fifteen years. With a complete stadium renovation and re-branding, this is a huge opportunity to get fans back in the seats at Progressive Field. Some empty seats were due to the pandemic, the team ranked 21st this past season in attendance. Corporate ownership, or investment, can have its perks when it comes to ownership: more money, more growth opportunities, and an overall better atmosphere. Given their struggles with payroll, and several other hidden advantages that the Guardians have, bringing Blitzer and his investment team into Cleveland’s ownership group could bring resources and stability the franchise and their fan base has craved. It could be very good news for the Guardians. And bad news for the Twins.
  3. The Twins had beaten Cleveland 6-4 in 10 innings earlier in the day, in the first game of a double header. It was a beautiful August night. The weather was perfect all day in Cleveland, sitting at 76 degrees with clear skies. If there was a day for a doubleheader, this was it. Dean Chance had been pitching very well over the the previous weeks, and the Twins were finishing up a long road series. Welcome back, fans! I hope that you had a fantastic holiday and New Year! I know this lockout has created some of the longest, darkest days we have seen in baseball since 1994! I am still feeling frustrated knowing that baseball talks are still not happening. The best way to combat the baseball blues is to continue reaching into those archives and remembering why this is America's favorite pastime and why we continue to show up and watch these big kids play "the game." I had a rough time ranks games four and five for my no-hitter countdown. Both games were on the road. I noticed that road games made it harder for the Twins to pull off wins, which was likely due partly to schedule, stadium, weather, and fan base. The Twins played a doubleheader against Cleveland at the end of a strenuous road trip on this particular day. The team was tired. Chance was trying to come back after a break in his winning streak, making factors for this win admirable and slide into number four in our countdown. No-No Number 4 The Pitcher: Dean Chance The Date: August 25, 1967 The Opponent: Cleveland The Stadium: Cleveland Stadium The Pitcher's Background and Story Like the other Twins pitcher with a no-hitter in the 1960's Jack Kralick, Dean Chance was born and raised in Ohio. Both were also born on the same day, June 1 (no, not in the same year). The pitchers grew up an hour and forty-six minutes apart. Dean Chance attended West Salem Northwestern High School in West Salem, Ohio. He was best known as an all-Ohio Basketball player averaging 25 points a game, and then later, for his baseball prowess. He was a large youth, 6'3 by age 14, and loved playing basketball. Chance helped lead his high school to the 1958 Class A state final four. He had scholarship offers from colleges all over the country to play basketball, but Chance decided baseball was his best opportunity. Dean Chance's talent in baseball was just as astonishing as his basketball talent. As a junior and senior year, he was setting state records that still stand today: 52–1 career record 20 wins in a season 32 straight wins Eight no-hitters in a season (in both his junior and senior years) 18 no-hitters total His talent didn't go unnoticed. The Orioles, who were in the process of rebuilding their farm system, were the first team to come calling. Chance signed with the Orioles in 1959 as an amateur free agent. They signed him right out of high school, giving him a $30,000 bonus. He spent the next two seasons pitching for the Orioles until MLB expansion came around. He was drafted by the Washington Senators in the 1960 expansion draft. The American League expanded by two teams to catch up with the National League. Chance was picked by the Senators but immediately traded to the Angels for outfielder Joe Hicks. Chance returned to the Senators, now the Twins, until December of 1966, when the Angels dealt him to the Twins for outfielder Jimmie Hall, first baseman Don Mincher, and relief pitcher Pete Cimino. When Chance came back to the Twins in 1967, he had experienced quite a bit of success in Los Angeles. He finished third in Rookie of the Year voting in 1962. In 1964. he went 20-9 with a 1.95 ERA and even four saves to win the Cy Young Award (and finished fifth in MVP voting). Not only did he make the All-Star team that year, but he led the AL in games started (39), completed games (18), and innings pitched (283 2/3). He threw 11 shutouts. The Game Cleveland was over halfway through a stretch of 15 straight games when they played the Twins on August 25, 1967. It was the third of four doubleheaders for them that month. Doubleheaders were not uncommon for this period in baseball. It was a way to ramp up competition and make fans happy with "more baseball." Doubleheaders soon faded as owners realized they were losing money (go figure). Dean Chance struggled with his control throughout the game, and that started right away. He gave up an unearned run in the first inning due to two walks, an error, and a wild pitch. Lee Maye had got on base, but with number five hitter Max Alvis stepped to the plate and struck out. However, the third strike sailed past Twins catcher Jerry Zimmerman for a wild pitch, allowing Maye to score. In the game, Chance walked five batters and hit another. Sonny Siebert (who threw a no-hitter in 1966) was the Cleveland starting pitcher that day. He and Chance kept the game tied 1-1 through the top of the sixth inning. Harmon Killebrew came to the plate with Cesar Tovar on third base. Siebert balked, sending Tovar home and giving the Twins a 2-1 advantage. That score held up through nine innings. Over the final eight innings, Chance struck out eight hitters, earning the Twins their second no-hitter. At the time, it was their "third no-hitter." You see, earlier that month, Chance had throw five perfect innings in a game against the Red Sox before the game was rained out. Since then, MLB altered its rules to require nine innings pitched for an official no-hitter. Opponent Cleveland's roster that evening was nothing to write home about. In fact, throughout the entirety of the 1960s they were a weak team. The team had problems with attendance, due to their poor play... and legends of a curse. "The Curse of Rocky Colavito" stemmed from the team's owner making a trade with the Tigers in 1960, sending Rocky Colavito to Detroit for Harvey Kuenn. Whether is is related or not, Cleveland suffered for more than 30 years, with a losing record in 27 of the next 34 seasons. The Twins had a lineup of all-stars in comparison. Even with a strong lineup, there will be games where the offense struggles. This was one of those games. The pitching being better than the other team is a relief because the Twins had just as much trouble getting runs, and the game was close. How many pitchers pitched The pitching matchup in the second game was Dean Chance (16-9, 2.52 ERA) versus the Indians' Sonny Siebert. Dean Chance was the 1964 AL Cy Young Award winner who had won five straight games from July 28 to August 16 before lasting only 2 1/3 innings in a loss to Detroit on August 22. Siebert had identical 16-8 records for Cleveland in 1965 and 1966. It wasn't that he was pitching poorly this season, Cleveland's offense was scoring a meager three runs a game when he was the starting pitcher. Scoring an unearned run in this game was solely based on walks and an error. Home or Away The Twins were coming to the end of a long road trip that took them out to the West Coast to play against Los Angeles, and then back east to New York, Detroit, and to Cleveland, playing 16 road games in 13 days. This game was the first Twins road no-hitter. Did the pitcher hit All pitchers were still hitting during this time in the league. Dean Chance was not particularly strong at the plate. He had very few plate appearances during his time, a whopping .066 batting average when he retired. In this game, Chance had four plate appearances and went 0-for-3 and was hit by a pitch. At game's end, he was hitting .027 on the season. Wrap it up! Dean Chance had all the makings of a notable pitcher from a young age. He still holds high school pitching records in Ohio. When Chance won the 1964 Cy Young award, he was the first Angels pitcher to do so. Hitters struggled to hit off of him, "Every time I see his name on a lineup card," Mickey Mantle once told sportswriter Maury Allen about Chance, "I feel like throwing up." Dean Chance should be discussed more in Twins history and he was a player that I truly enjoyed learning about. What do you think? Was he too far down on the list? Would you have him put higher on the list? Do you believe that the 1960s were peak pitching for the Twins, or would you pick a different era? I look forward to discussions! PREVIOUS NO-HITTER ARTICLES Jack Kralick Eric Milton Scott Erickson MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email View full article
  4. Welcome back, fans! I hope that you had a fantastic holiday and New Year! I know this lockout has created some of the longest, darkest days we have seen in baseball since 1994! I am still feeling frustrated knowing that baseball talks are still not happening. The best way to combat the baseball blues is to continue reaching into those archives and remembering why this is America's favorite pastime and why we continue to show up and watch these big kids play "the game." I had a rough time ranks games four and five for my no-hitter countdown. Both games were on the road. I noticed that road games made it harder for the Twins to pull off wins, which was likely due partly to schedule, stadium, weather, and fan base. The Twins played a doubleheader against Cleveland at the end of a strenuous road trip on this particular day. The team was tired. Chance was trying to come back after a break in his winning streak, making factors for this win admirable and slide into number four in our countdown. No-No Number 4 The Pitcher: Dean Chance The Date: August 25, 1967 The Opponent: Cleveland The Stadium: Cleveland Stadium The Pitcher's Background and Story Like the other Twins pitcher with a no-hitter in the 1960's Jack Kralick, Dean Chance was born and raised in Ohio. Both were also born on the same day, June 1 (no, not in the same year). The pitchers grew up an hour and forty-six minutes apart. Dean Chance attended West Salem Northwestern High School in West Salem, Ohio. He was best known as an all-Ohio Basketball player averaging 25 points a game, and then later, for his baseball prowess. He was a large youth, 6'3 by age 14, and loved playing basketball. Chance helped lead his high school to the 1958 Class A state final four. He had scholarship offers from colleges all over the country to play basketball, but Chance decided baseball was his best opportunity. Dean Chance's talent in baseball was just as astonishing as his basketball talent. As a junior and senior year, he was setting state records that still stand today: 52–1 career record 20 wins in a season 32 straight wins Eight no-hitters in a season (in both his junior and senior years) 18 no-hitters total His talent didn't go unnoticed. The Orioles, who were in the process of rebuilding their farm system, were the first team to come calling. Chance signed with the Orioles in 1959 as an amateur free agent. They signed him right out of high school, giving him a $30,000 bonus. He spent the next two seasons pitching for the Orioles until MLB expansion came around. He was drafted by the Washington Senators in the 1960 expansion draft. The American League expanded by two teams to catch up with the National League. Chance was picked by the Senators but immediately traded to the Angels for outfielder Joe Hicks. Chance returned to the Senators, now the Twins, until December of 1966, when the Angels dealt him to the Twins for outfielder Jimmie Hall, first baseman Don Mincher, and relief pitcher Pete Cimino. When Chance came back to the Twins in 1967, he had experienced quite a bit of success in Los Angeles. He finished third in Rookie of the Year voting in 1962. In 1964. he went 20-9 with a 1.95 ERA and even four saves to win the Cy Young Award (and finished fifth in MVP voting). Not only did he make the All-Star team that year, but he led the AL in games started (39), completed games (18), and innings pitched (283 2/3). He threw 11 shutouts. The Game Cleveland was over halfway through a stretch of 15 straight games when they played the Twins on August 25, 1967. It was the third of four doubleheaders for them that month. Doubleheaders were not uncommon for this period in baseball. It was a way to ramp up competition and make fans happy with "more baseball." Doubleheaders soon faded as owners realized they were losing money (go figure). Dean Chance struggled with his control throughout the game, and that started right away. He gave up an unearned run in the first inning due to two walks, an error, and a wild pitch. Lee Maye had got on base, but with number five hitter Max Alvis stepped to the plate and struck out. However, the third strike sailed past Twins catcher Jerry Zimmerman for a wild pitch, allowing Maye to score. In the game, Chance walked five batters and hit another. Sonny Siebert (who threw a no-hitter in 1966) was the Cleveland starting pitcher that day. He and Chance kept the game tied 1-1 through the top of the sixth inning. Harmon Killebrew came to the plate with Cesar Tovar on third base. Siebert balked, sending Tovar home and giving the Twins a 2-1 advantage. That score held up through nine innings. Over the final eight innings, Chance struck out eight hitters, earning the Twins their second no-hitter. At the time, it was their "third no-hitter." You see, earlier that month, Chance had throw five perfect innings in a game against the Red Sox before the game was rained out. Since then, MLB altered its rules to require nine innings pitched for an official no-hitter. Opponent Cleveland's roster that evening was nothing to write home about. In fact, throughout the entirety of the 1960s they were a weak team. The team had problems with attendance, due to their poor play... and legends of a curse. "The Curse of Rocky Colavito" stemmed from the team's owner making a trade with the Tigers in 1960, sending Rocky Colavito to Detroit for Harvey Kuenn. Whether is is related or not, Cleveland suffered for more than 30 years, with a losing record in 27 of the next 34 seasons. The Twins had a lineup of all-stars in comparison. Even with a strong lineup, there will be games where the offense struggles. This was one of those games. The pitching being better than the other team is a relief because the Twins had just as much trouble getting runs, and the game was close. How many pitchers pitched The pitching matchup in the second game was Dean Chance (16-9, 2.52 ERA) versus the Indians' Sonny Siebert. Dean Chance was the 1964 AL Cy Young Award winner who had won five straight games from July 28 to August 16 before lasting only 2 1/3 innings in a loss to Detroit on August 22. Siebert had identical 16-8 records for Cleveland in 1965 and 1966. It wasn't that he was pitching poorly this season, Cleveland's offense was scoring a meager three runs a game when he was the starting pitcher. Scoring an unearned run in this game was solely based on walks and an error. Home or Away The Twins were coming to the end of a long road trip that took them out to the West Coast to play against Los Angeles, and then back east to New York, Detroit, and to Cleveland, playing 16 road games in 13 days. This game was the first Twins road no-hitter. Did the pitcher hit All pitchers were still hitting during this time in the league. Dean Chance was not particularly strong at the plate. He had very few plate appearances during his time, a whopping .066 batting average when he retired. In this game, Chance had four plate appearances and went 0-for-3 and was hit by a pitch. At game's end, he was hitting .027 on the season. Wrap it up! Dean Chance had all the makings of a notable pitcher from a young age. He still holds high school pitching records in Ohio. When Chance won the 1964 Cy Young award, he was the first Angels pitcher to do so. Hitters struggled to hit off of him, "Every time I see his name on a lineup card," Mickey Mantle once told sportswriter Maury Allen about Chance, "I feel like throwing up." Dean Chance should be discussed more in Twins history and he was a player that I truly enjoyed learning about. What do you think? Was he too far down on the list? Would you have him put higher on the list? Do you believe that the 1960s were peak pitching for the Twins, or would you pick a different era? I look forward to discussions! PREVIOUS NO-HITTER ARTICLES Jack Kralick Eric Milton Scott Erickson MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email
  5. The Twins had some of the best pitching in the early 1970’s and Bert Blyleven was a part of that crew. He was a bright spot in the rotation, as well as a part of the 1987 World Series Twins. We forever love him for his “Circle Me Bert” trend, all trying to garner a spot on TV with the beloved circle from the charismatic announcer. A New Generation Bert Blyleven had a busy childhood before his family settled in for good in California when he was five. He was born in the Netherlands, moved to California, then Canada, and then back to California, where he became a baseball fan. He and his father watched Sandy Koufax and listened to legends Vin Scully and Jerry Doggett announce Dodgers games. He loved baseball so much that his dad built him a mound in the backyard where he would throw and throw until he developed his curveball. Blyleven attended Santiago High School, where he played baseball and ran track. He also played on local American Legion teams in the summers. He had a natural arm and worked hard to improve where needed. His arm and attitude were drawing the attention of professional scouts by the end of his junior year of high school. In his senior year, he knew playing in the majors was just a matter of which team would take him in the draft. The Big Move The Twins didn't waste time picking up Blyleven right out of high school. He was drafted 55th overall in round three of the 1969 draft. As a non-roster invite to spring training in 1970, team skipper Bill Rigney immediately saw something special in the teenager, and it didn't take long before Blyleven came to the majors. Early that season, Twins right-hander Luis Tiant was sidelined with a hand fracture. Management decided it was time for Bert Blyleven, at the age of 19 and with a mere 21 starts in the minors, to come up the majors. He never left On June 5, 1970, Blyleven debuted against the Washington Senators at RFK Stadium. In his MLB debut, he had a stellar game. He started out a little rocky when his first batter faced, Lee Maye, drilled a homer into the right-field seats. That run was all Blyleven allowed. He held the Senators to one run and five hits and earned his first win. In his rookie season, Blyleven broke many records. He was the first player in major-league history to be born in The Netherlands. Blyleven was the youngest player in the majors (19) to finish with a 10-9 record. Blyleven was the 25th pitcher to reach double digits in victories as a teenager and posted a 3.18 ERA in 164 innings. Young Ace Bert Blyleven had an excellent start to his 1972 season before hitting a slight slump. The rest of the team did as well. He started working with the team's new pitching coach, Al Worthington, to improve his mechanics, helping him find his stride for the last few weeks of the season. In 1973, Blyleven struggled again early with his mechanics. However, he won the subsequent ten decisions after making a minor adjustment to his timing. He had arguably one of the best seasons of any Twins pitcher, tossing nine shutouts, the most of any pitcher in the AL. Blyleven had an even more outstanding season in 1974. He continued to get better and better. In 36 games, he went 17-17, but had an ERA of 2.66 and over 281 innings. He had 249 strikeouts. Blyleven knew his value, and late in the season, he demanded a salary showing his worth. He continued to negotiate his contract terms with the management, but between his demands and insistence upon being paid more, he was completely frustrated by the end of the season. The tension between the ownership and the pitcher was at an all-time high. Blyleven got a raise, but he felt it wasn't enough. The relationship with the front office withered, and with the health with his back and shoulder issues, his 1975 season was derailed early. Blyleven came back strong. He went 15-10 with a 3.00 ERA. He had 20 complete games, and struck out 233 batters. 1975 was his last season (for then). It ended with the Twins trading him to the Rangers. Coming Home Blyleven spent the next nine seasons bouncing around the league with the Rangers, Pirates, and Indians before coming back to the Minnesota Twins halfway through the 1985 season. Coming home to the Twins proved to be a smooth transition. Blyleven posted an 8-5 record and completed nine of his 14 starts with the Twins. Blyleven had a 17-16 record and 3.16 ERA overall. He led the AL in starts (37), shutouts (5), and strikeouts (206) while pacing the majors in complete games (24) and innings (293 2/3). 1987 was another excellent season for Bert Blyleven and the Twins. Along with a core of sluggers (Kirby Puckett, Kent Hrbek, Gary Gaetti, Dan Gladden), he helped the Twins to an ALCS win and the World Series. Along with previous Twinsmas pitcher Frank Viola, they carried each other and the team to the title. The 1987 World Series was one of the best times Bert Blyleven had as a pitcher. "When you put fifty-five thousand screaming people in here (Metrodome), it's something," said Blyleven, soaking in the moment. Beloved Announcer Bert Blyleven ended his career as a pitcher in California with the Angels. He 'officially' retired from baseball as the Twins announcer in 2020. He was affectionately known for the "Circle Me Bert" trend in which fans would bring a sign to the Twins game with a fun saying on it to catch the attention of the former All-Star. They would "hereby be circled" from the booth. In 2002, Bert Blyleven was inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame. Then in 2011, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, receiving 79.7% of the vote. Thank you for reading, and Go, Twins! Read Previous "12 Days of TwinsMas" articles here: #12 - Torii Hunter #11 - Chuck Knoblauch #10 - Jim Kaat #9 - Frank Viola #8 - Kent Hrbek #7 - Tony Oliva #6 - Johan Santana #5 - Bert Blyleven #4 - Coming Soon! View full article
  6. A New Generation Bert Blyleven had a busy childhood before his family settled in for good in California when he was five. He was born in the Netherlands, moved to California, then Canada, and then back to California, where he became a baseball fan. He and his father watched Sandy Koufax and listened to legends Vin Scully and Jerry Doggett announce Dodgers games. He loved baseball so much that his dad built him a mound in the backyard where he would throw and throw until he developed his curveball. Blyleven attended Santiago High School, where he played baseball and ran track. He also played on local American Legion teams in the summers. He had a natural arm and worked hard to improve where needed. His arm and attitude were drawing the attention of professional scouts by the end of his junior year of high school. In his senior year, he knew playing in the majors was just a matter of which team would take him in the draft. The Big Move The Twins didn't waste time picking up Blyleven right out of high school. He was drafted 55th overall in round three of the 1969 draft. As a non-roster invite to spring training in 1970, team skipper Bill Rigney immediately saw something special in the teenager, and it didn't take long before Blyleven came to the majors. Early that season, Twins right-hander Luis Tiant was sidelined with a hand fracture. Management decided it was time for Bert Blyleven, at the age of 19 and with a mere 21 starts in the minors, to come up the majors. He never left On June 5, 1970, Blyleven debuted against the Washington Senators at RFK Stadium. In his MLB debut, he had a stellar game. He started out a little rocky when his first batter faced, Lee Maye, drilled a homer into the right-field seats. That run was all Blyleven allowed. He held the Senators to one run and five hits and earned his first win. In his rookie season, Blyleven broke many records. He was the first player in major-league history to be born in The Netherlands. Blyleven was the youngest player in the majors (19) to finish with a 10-9 record. Blyleven was the 25th pitcher to reach double digits in victories as a teenager and posted a 3.18 ERA in 164 innings. Young Ace Bert Blyleven had an excellent start to his 1972 season before hitting a slight slump. The rest of the team did as well. He started working with the team's new pitching coach, Al Worthington, to improve his mechanics, helping him find his stride for the last few weeks of the season. In 1973, Blyleven struggled again early with his mechanics. However, he won the subsequent ten decisions after making a minor adjustment to his timing. He had arguably one of the best seasons of any Twins pitcher, tossing nine shutouts, the most of any pitcher in the AL. Blyleven had an even more outstanding season in 1974. He continued to get better and better. In 36 games, he went 17-17, but had an ERA of 2.66 and over 281 innings. He had 249 strikeouts. Blyleven knew his value, and late in the season, he demanded a salary showing his worth. He continued to negotiate his contract terms with the management, but between his demands and insistence upon being paid more, he was completely frustrated by the end of the season. The tension between the ownership and the pitcher was at an all-time high. Blyleven got a raise, but he felt it wasn't enough. The relationship with the front office withered, and with the health with his back and shoulder issues, his 1975 season was derailed early. Blyleven came back strong. He went 15-10 with a 3.00 ERA. He had 20 complete games, and struck out 233 batters. 1975 was his last season (for then). It ended with the Twins trading him to the Rangers. Coming Home Blyleven spent the next nine seasons bouncing around the league with the Rangers, Pirates, and Indians before coming back to the Minnesota Twins halfway through the 1985 season. Coming home to the Twins proved to be a smooth transition. Blyleven posted an 8-5 record and completed nine of his 14 starts with the Twins. Blyleven had a 17-16 record and 3.16 ERA overall. He led the AL in starts (37), shutouts (5), and strikeouts (206) while pacing the majors in complete games (24) and innings (293 2/3). 1987 was another excellent season for Bert Blyleven and the Twins. Along with a core of sluggers (Kirby Puckett, Kent Hrbek, Gary Gaetti, Dan Gladden), he helped the Twins to an ALCS win and the World Series. Along with previous Twinsmas pitcher Frank Viola, they carried each other and the team to the title. The 1987 World Series was one of the best times Bert Blyleven had as a pitcher. "When you put fifty-five thousand screaming people in here (Metrodome), it's something," said Blyleven, soaking in the moment. Beloved Announcer Bert Blyleven ended his career as a pitcher in California with the Angels. He 'officially' retired from baseball as the Twins announcer in 2020. He was affectionately known for the "Circle Me Bert" trend in which fans would bring a sign to the Twins game with a fun saying on it to catch the attention of the former All-Star. They would "hereby be circled" from the booth. In 2002, Bert Blyleven was inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame. Then in 2011, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, receiving 79.7% of the vote. Thank you for reading, and Go, Twins! Read Previous "12 Days of TwinsMas" articles here: #12 - Torii Hunter #11 - Chuck Knoblauch #10 - Jim Kaat #9 - Frank Viola #8 - Kent Hrbek #7 - Tony Oliva #6 - Johan Santana #5 - Bert Blyleven #4 - Coming Soon!
  7. There have been plenty of great players in the history of the Minnesota Twins. From Killebrew to Buxton and many in-between, it is tough to narrow it down to the top twelve players in the history of the Twins. Tony O, as he is affectionately called, is a fan favorite that spans generations of Twins fans everywhere. People from the 1960's through the present not only know Tony Oliva, but celebrate him as being one of the best Twins of all time. It's in the Blood Oliva grew up as Pedro Oliva II and lived in Pinar del Rio with his family. His father worked harvesting tobacco, oranges, potatoes, and mangos. He also was known for the way he rolled Cuban cigars. Pedro Lopez, his father, was a former semi-pro baseball player and carved a make-shift baseball diamond for his family in their land and introduced his boys to the nation's favorite sport. Later they would form a squad and play on Sundays against other competitors from their area. Oliva grew up playing ball with whittled branches of majau trees as bats with his nine siblings and father. They only got real bats and balls when their father brought them back from Havana. They played so often; they wrapped them with tape to last longer. Even with make-shift bats and balls, it didn't take long for Oliva's talent to show. He was a fast runner, strong hitter and played on a local team at a young age because of his talent. He credits his father with helping make him the "best hitter in Pinar del Rio." The Big Move Oliva had no desire to play professional baseball in America. His goal was to play for his home country's professional team, the Cienfuegos Camaroneros. There was no doubt that Oliva loved baseball and had a natural talent. He dedicated hours to improving his swing, working on getting better. His teammate, Roberto Fernandez, played with Oliva on the Los Palacios village ball club during the winter. Fernandez played in the United States as a journeyman on the Washington Senators, soon the Minnesota Twins. Fernandez contacted Joe Cambria, a scout credited with signing 400 Cuban players for the Senators/Twins. After signing a contract for $250.00 a month, Oliva grabbed his brother Tony’s passport, which had a different name and date of birth, but it was available, convenient and with the time crunch, a quick fix. Oliva headed to America to meet up with the rest of the Twins at training camp and Pedro Oliva would be known as Antonio "Tony" Oliva from now on. Oliva and several other players got held up in Mexico and made it to camp late. Oliva finally arrived at Twins training camp in April 1961, but by the time he got there, training camp was almost over and the rosters were already set. Joe Cambria knew Tony was an asset, and that he could not go home to Cuba, so he stepped in to advocate for Oliva and was able to get him on a team in Wytheville, Virginia. The Rookie Tony Oliva went to Wytheville and played Class-D baseball for the Twins. He played in 64 of the 68 games and posted an outstanding .410 batting average. The Twins offered him a chance to play in Minneapolis with the main club because he improved his fielding. After he left Minneapolis in the fall, the Twins assigned Oliva to St. Petersburg, Florida in 1962. In Florida, Oliva got more practice and a chance to polish up on skills which earned him a spot to play a handful of games for the Twins in the majors before landing a position on the 40-man roster in 1964. Oliva had one of the best rookie seasons MLB has ever seen. It’s very well known that he had weak knees. The rookie stood in a knock-kneed, awkward stance when he was at the plate, but it didn't slow him down. That season Oliva was almost unanimously voted as the 1964 Rookie of the Year with a league-leading .323 batting average with 32 home runs and 94 RBI, along with American League highs in runs (109), hits ( 217), and doubles (43). 15-Year Career He won another batting title in 1965 when he hit .321, becoming the first player ever to win batting crowns in his first two full seasons. Oliva finished second in the AL Most Valuable Player voting that year (to teammate Zoilo Versalles), leading the Twins to the AL pennant with 16 homers, 98 RBI, and a league-best 185 hits. In 1966, Oliva led the AL in hits for the third straight year (191) while winning a Gold Glove Award for his play in right field. There was a slight dip in his career for two seasons in 1967 and 1968; his batting average dropped to .289. In 1969 Oliva rebounded with a .309 average and a league-best 197 hits in 1969, while leading the Twins to their first AL West title. He was even better in 1970, hitting .325 with 23 home runs and a career-high 107 RBI along with his fifth AL hits crown (204) en route to another second-place finish in the MVP vote. The Twins again won the AL West crown. Hall of Famer Tony Oliva finished his career with 1,907 hits, 220 home runs, 947 RBI's, and a batting average of .304. Oliva had one of the best Twins careers and one of the best MLB careers of all time. Charlotte Baseball and the Twins inducted Oliva into their Halls of Fame, but Cooperstown had not yet come calling. A glimmer of hope, in 2014, Tony Oliva was on a "second-chance" ballot for the Hall of Fame, falling one vote short. His disappointment and frustration turned to joy on December 4th, 2021, when he got the phone call to be inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame, along with former Twin Jim Kaat, this coming summer. His raw emotion and reaction allowed him and Minnesota Twins fans alike to share a moment that was beyond due and well deserved. Tony Oliva is one of the best Twins players of all time. Not only is he one of the best, but the most humble, kind, and caring humans on this planet. He and his family's contributions to baseball and their communities are inspiring. He came from a small town in Cuba with nothing but sticks for bats and landed in Cooperstown as one of the best players. Stay tuned for the sixth day of Twinsmas! Thank you for reading, and Go, Twins! Read Previous "12 Days of TwinsMas" articles here: #12 - Torii Hunter #11 - Chuck Knoblauch #10 - Jim Kaat #9 - Frank Viola #8 - Kent Hrbek #7 - Tony Oliva #6 - Coming Soon!
  8. Baseball may be America's pastime, but for Cuba, the Dominican Republic, or any central and southern American countries, baseball is a lifestyle that runs through the blood of many players who come to America to play. Tony-O was born with that blood and because of a good teammate and a chance meeting, Tony became one of the best Twins players to play the game. There have been plenty of great players in the history of the Minnesota Twins. From Killebrew to Buxton and many in-between, it is tough to narrow it down to the top twelve players in the history of the Twins. Tony O, as he is affectionately called, is a fan favorite that spans generations of Twins fans everywhere. People from the 1960's through the present not only know Tony Oliva, but celebrate him as being one of the best Twins of all time. It's in the Blood Oliva grew up as Pedro Oliva II and lived in Pinar del Rio with his family. His father worked harvesting tobacco, oranges, potatoes, and mangos. He also was known for the way he rolled Cuban cigars. Pedro Lopez, his father, was a former semi-pro baseball player and carved a make-shift baseball diamond for his family in their land and introduced his boys to the nation's favorite sport. Later they would form a squad and play on Sundays against other competitors from their area. Oliva grew up playing ball with whittled branches of majau trees as bats with his nine siblings and father. They only got real bats and balls when their father brought them back from Havana. They played so often; they wrapped them with tape to last longer. Even with make-shift bats and balls, it didn't take long for Oliva's talent to show. He was a fast runner, strong hitter and played on a local team at a young age because of his talent. He credits his father with helping make him the "best hitter in Pinar del Rio." The Big Move Oliva had no desire to play professional baseball in America. His goal was to play for his home country's professional team, the Cienfuegos Camaroneros. There was no doubt that Oliva loved baseball and had a natural talent. He dedicated hours to improving his swing, working on getting better. His teammate, Roberto Fernandez, played with Oliva on the Los Palacios village ball club during the winter. Fernandez played in the United States as a journeyman on the Washington Senators, soon the Minnesota Twins. Fernandez contacted Joe Cambria, a scout credited with signing 400 Cuban players for the Senators/Twins. After signing a contract for $250.00 a month, Oliva grabbed his brother Tony’s passport, which had a different name and date of birth, but it was available, convenient and with the time crunch, a quick fix. Oliva headed to America to meet up with the rest of the Twins at training camp and Pedro Oliva would be known as Antonio "Tony" Oliva from now on. Oliva and several other players got held up in Mexico and made it to camp late. Oliva finally arrived at Twins training camp in April 1961, but by the time he got there, training camp was almost over and the rosters were already set. Joe Cambria knew Tony was an asset, and that he could not go home to Cuba, so he stepped in to advocate for Oliva and was able to get him on a team in Wytheville, Virginia. The Rookie Tony Oliva went to Wytheville and played Class-D baseball for the Twins. He played in 64 of the 68 games and posted an outstanding .410 batting average. The Twins offered him a chance to play in Minneapolis with the main club because he improved his fielding. After he left Minneapolis in the fall, the Twins assigned Oliva to St. Petersburg, Florida in 1962. In Florida, Oliva got more practice and a chance to polish up on skills which earned him a spot to play a handful of games for the Twins in the majors before landing a position on the 40-man roster in 1964. Oliva had one of the best rookie seasons MLB has ever seen. It’s very well known that he had weak knees. The rookie stood in a knock-kneed, awkward stance when he was at the plate, but it didn't slow him down. That season Oliva was almost unanimously voted as the 1964 Rookie of the Year with a league-leading .323 batting average with 32 home runs and 94 RBI, along with American League highs in runs (109), hits ( 217), and doubles (43). 15-Year Career He won another batting title in 1965 when he hit .321, becoming the first player ever to win batting crowns in his first two full seasons. Oliva finished second in the AL Most Valuable Player voting that year (to teammate Zoilo Versalles), leading the Twins to the AL pennant with 16 homers, 98 RBI, and a league-best 185 hits. In 1966, Oliva led the AL in hits for the third straight year (191) while winning a Gold Glove Award for his play in right field. There was a slight dip in his career for two seasons in 1967 and 1968; his batting average dropped to .289. In 1969 Oliva rebounded with a .309 average and a league-best 197 hits in 1969, while leading the Twins to their first AL West title. He was even better in 1970, hitting .325 with 23 home runs and a career-high 107 RBI along with his fifth AL hits crown (204) en route to another second-place finish in the MVP vote. The Twins again won the AL West crown. Hall of Famer Tony Oliva finished his career with 1,907 hits, 220 home runs, 947 RBI's, and a batting average of .304. Oliva had one of the best Twins careers and one of the best MLB careers of all time. Charlotte Baseball and the Twins inducted Oliva into their Halls of Fame, but Cooperstown had not yet come calling. A glimmer of hope, in 2014, Tony Oliva was on a "second-chance" ballot for the Hall of Fame, falling one vote short. His disappointment and frustration turned to joy on December 4th, 2021, when he got the phone call to be inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame, along with former Twin Jim Kaat, this coming summer. His raw emotion and reaction allowed him and Minnesota Twins fans alike to share a moment that was beyond due and well deserved. Tony Oliva is one of the best Twins players of all time. Not only is he one of the best, but the most humble, kind, and caring humans on this planet. He and his family's contributions to baseball and their communities are inspiring. He came from a small town in Cuba with nothing but sticks for bats and landed in Cooperstown as one of the best players. Stay tuned for the sixth day of Twinsmas! Thank you for reading, and Go, Twins! Read Previous "12 Days of TwinsMas" articles here: #12 - Torii Hunter #11 - Chuck Knoblauch #10 - Jim Kaat #9 - Frank Viola #8 - Kent Hrbek #7 - Tony Oliva #6 - Coming Soon! View full article
  9. There have been plenty of great players in the history of the Minnesota Twins. From Killebrew to Buxton and many in-between, it is tough to narrow it down to the top twelve players in the history of the Twins. For Twinsmas, one of the players who will live in infamy is Twins player number nine, Frank Viola (and his mustache). Average Joe Not every baseball player comes bursting onto the scene like some other players I have covered recently. Frank Viola is one of those players. He didn't have a distinguished history, family legacy, and he wasn’t a baseball prodigy. But, Frank Viola was good. Frank Viola was first drafted out of high school, by the Royals in 1978. However, he didn't sign and went to St. Johns. In 1981. Frank attended and played for St. John's University, a Division 1 college located in Queens, New York. If you were a New Yorker and a baseball player, there was one school to attend if you wanted to play baseball and St. John’s was it. The team had been to the College World Series five times since 1949, and Viola, along with a closely-bonded team, worked hard to see the World Series again in 1980. St. John’s has not been back to the World Series since. In his final season (junior year) with the Red Storm, the young southpaw caught the Twins' attention. During that season, he pitched a gem against future Mets teammate Ron Darling. Both pitchers threw 11 scoreless innings before Darling made a mistake in the 12th inning to give St. John’s the win. Viola made a significant impact in 1980 and 1981 with the Red Storm with a 10-1 record, and a 0.87 earned run average over 83 innings. His record is still second-all time at St. Johns. Viola was the Twins 2nd round pick in 1981. Sweet Music Viola progressed quickly through the minors, only staying in Triple-A for eight starts and then was moved to the majors. The future Cy Young winner did not start out great for the Twins, garnering a 5.21 ERA in 1982 and 5.46 ERA in 1983. Both the team and Viola struggled those two seasons, but by 1984, Viola’s pitching and the team did a 180-degree turn. He found himself an anchor in the Twins pitching rotation from 1984 until his trade late in the 1989 season. Frank Viola had a nickname that followed him everywhere after the Twins. Of course, since his last name was a musical instrument (his favorite instrument), it made sense. He was called “Sweet Music”. More appropriately, though, Viola's true nickname came from a sportswriter who described the fans at the Metrodome erupting into "sweet music" whenever Frank Viola pitched. Later, a fan hung a banner out in the right upper-field deck that read “Frankie Sweet Music Viola”. The banner became a source of "good luck" to those who subscribed to superstition in the sports world. One and Done Frank Viola only saw one postseason run in all his years in MLB. Viola's postseason was in 1987, the first year the Twins took home the pennant. Viola appeared in three of the seven World Series games. He held the Cardinals to one earned run in his first start (Game 1), and the Twins offense put up ten runs on the board. He took the loss in Game 4 but returned after the Cardinals forced Game 7. Viola allowed two runs in the second inning but that was it. Although by a small margin that game, the Twins beat the Cardinals. Viola was named MVP of the 1987 World Series. He never played a postseason game again. In 1988, he was named American League Cy Young Award winner in his final full season with the Twins. That season, he went 24-7 and had a 2.64 ERA. The following season, he was traded to the New York Mets for four pitchers (Rick Aguilera, Kevin Tapani, Dave West and Tim Drummond) and a pitcher to be named later (Jack Savage) Aguilera and Tapani were key to the team’s 1991 World Series title. Conclusion Frank Viola stayed around the leagues for another six seasons after his trade. He continued to shine with ERA's under 4.00 until 1994 when he underwent Tommy John surgery while with the Boston Red Sox. He left baseball behind as a player in 1996 and has been a minor league pitching coach the past couple of decades. He is currently the pitching coach for the High Point Rockers, a team in the Atlantic Professional Baseball League located in North Carolina. Viola now leads a staff that in 2019 posted a 3.72 ERA, placing third in strikeouts (1043) and second in walks (409). Four pitchers from Viola's staff were named Atlantic League All-Stars in 2019. He continues to impact the pitching world and shows he is truly a master of his art. And, he still has his mustache. Thank you for reading, and Go, Twins! Read Previous "12 Days of TwinsMas" articles here: #12 - Torii Hunter #11 - Chuck Knoblauch #10 - Jim Kaat #9 - Frank Viola #8 - Coming Soon!
  10. Frank "Sweet Music" Viola was an integral part of the Twins 1987 World Series. He was a true master at the art of pitching. Viola was a strong, confident pitcher and a true fan favorite, making him number nine for Twinsmas! There have been plenty of great players in the history of the Minnesota Twins. From Killebrew to Buxton and many in-between, it is tough to narrow it down to the top twelve players in the history of the Twins. For Twinsmas, one of the players who will live in infamy is Twins player number nine, Frank Viola (and his mustache). Average Joe Not every baseball player comes bursting onto the scene like some other players I have covered recently. Frank Viola is one of those players. He didn't have a distinguished history, family legacy, and he wasn’t a baseball prodigy. But, Frank Viola was good. Frank Viola was first drafted out of high school, by the Royals in 1978. However, he didn't sign and went to St. Johns. In 1981. Frank attended and played for St. John's University, a Division 1 college located in Queens, New York. If you were a New Yorker and a baseball player, there was one school to attend if you wanted to play baseball and St. John’s was it. The team had been to the College World Series five times since 1949, and Viola, along with a closely-bonded team, worked hard to see the World Series again in 1980. St. John’s has not been back to the World Series since. In his final season (junior year) with the Red Storm, the young southpaw caught the Twins' attention. During that season, he pitched a gem against future Mets teammate Ron Darling. Both pitchers threw 11 scoreless innings before Darling made a mistake in the 12th inning to give St. John’s the win. Viola made a significant impact in 1980 and 1981 with the Red Storm with a 10-1 record, and a 0.87 earned run average over 83 innings. His record is still second-all time at St. Johns. Viola was the Twins 2nd round pick in 1981. Sweet Music Viola progressed quickly through the minors, only staying in Triple-A for eight starts and then was moved to the majors. The future Cy Young winner did not start out great for the Twins, garnering a 5.21 ERA in 1982 and 5.46 ERA in 1983. Both the team and Viola struggled those two seasons, but by 1984, Viola’s pitching and the team did a 180-degree turn. He found himself an anchor in the Twins pitching rotation from 1984 until his trade late in the 1989 season. Frank Viola had a nickname that followed him everywhere after the Twins. Of course, since his last name was a musical instrument (his favorite instrument), it made sense. He was called “Sweet Music”. More appropriately, though, Viola's true nickname came from a sportswriter who described the fans at the Metrodome erupting into "sweet music" whenever Frank Viola pitched. Later, a fan hung a banner out in the right upper-field deck that read “Frankie Sweet Music Viola”. The banner became a source of "good luck" to those who subscribed to superstition in the sports world. One and Done Frank Viola only saw one postseason run in all his years in MLB. Viola's postseason was in 1987, the first year the Twins took home the pennant. Viola appeared in three of the seven World Series games. He held the Cardinals to one earned run in his first start (Game 1), and the Twins offense put up ten runs on the board. He took the loss in Game 4 but returned after the Cardinals forced Game 7. Viola allowed two runs in the second inning but that was it. Although by a small margin that game, the Twins beat the Cardinals. Viola was named MVP of the 1987 World Series. He never played a postseason game again. In 1988, he was named American League Cy Young Award winner in his final full season with the Twins. That season, he went 24-7 and had a 2.64 ERA. The following season, he was traded to the New York Mets for four pitchers (Rick Aguilera, Kevin Tapani, Dave West and Tim Drummond) and a pitcher to be named later (Jack Savage) Aguilera and Tapani were key to the team’s 1991 World Series title. Conclusion Frank Viola stayed around the leagues for another six seasons after his trade. He continued to shine with ERA's under 4.00 until 1994 when he underwent Tommy John surgery while with the Boston Red Sox. He left baseball behind as a player in 1996 and has been a minor league pitching coach the past couple of decades. He is currently the pitching coach for the High Point Rockers, a team in the Atlantic Professional Baseball League located in North Carolina. Viola now leads a staff that in 2019 posted a 3.72 ERA, placing third in strikeouts (1043) and second in walks (409). Four pitchers from Viola's staff were named Atlantic League All-Stars in 2019. He continues to impact the pitching world and shows he is truly a master of his art. And, he still has his mustache. Thank you for reading, and Go, Twins! Read Previous "12 Days of TwinsMas" articles here: #12 - Torii Hunter #11 - Chuck Knoblauch #10 - Jim Kaat #9 - Frank Viola #8 - Coming Soon! View full article
  11. Young Legacy Chuck Knoblauch was born with a baseball silver spoon in his mouth. Both his father and uncle played and coached in the minor leagues from the 1930s to-1950s. Knoblauch attended Bellaire High School in Houston, Texas, where RHP Chris Young (GM for Texas Rangers) and outfielder Jose Cruz, Jr attended. His father was the head coach while he was there, and Knoblauch attributes a lot of his discipline and success to his father. Knoblauch was a very talented young man. He was drafted in 1986 by the Phillies, but forewent signing to attend Texas A&M and play baseball. He played at Texas A&M for three seasons He became a second-team All-American shortstop He was part of the team that had 58 wins in 1989, the most in Texas A&M baseball history. Knoblauch had a knack for being on teams that made history happen from high school through his astounding career in which he collected four World Series rings. The Climb Knoblauch was drafted 25th overall in the 1st round in 1989 by the Twins. His talent was noticed by many. Minnesota Twins scout Marty Esposito wrote about Knoblauch that he was “an exceptional competitor, aggressive baserunner, intelligent fielder, and line-drive hitter, who would be an ideal leadoff hitter.” Knoblauch spent a short amount of time in the minors, starting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in 1989, and quickly moving to the Double-A Orlando Sun Rays in 1990. Knoblauch was an all-star in the minor leagues. He was the hardest-hitting player and most difficult batter to strike out. In 118 games for the Sun Rays, Knoblauch hit .289, had an on-base percentage of .389, and led the team in doubles (23). Knoblauch knew early on that he was "being primed" for the majors, and it didn't take long for him to see his hard work pay off. Knoblauch was a non-roster invitee to Twins spring training in 1991 and batted .388. He was so impressive that he became Minnesota's Opening Day starter at second base, batting second in manager Tom Kelly's lineup against the Athletics on April 9th at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. The Rookie Knoblauch's first season with the Twins is quite literally one for the books. Knoblauch was part of the team that won the World Series with fellow greats; Jack Morris, Gene Larkin, Dan Gladden, and Kirby Puckett. The 1991 Twins team was the most robust team Twins fans have seen play, and Knoblauch made his mark to help carry the Twins to the pennant. In 151 games, he only had one home run, but he pushed other players home with 50 RBI's and also stole 25 bases. He won the American League Rookie of the Year to accompany his World Series ring. During the 1991 World Series, one of the most fun memories is the "Invisible Ball Trick," or the Greatest Double Play Never Made. On this play, Braves outfielder Lonnie Smith, in the 8th inning, didn’t see where the ball was hit. Standing just inches past second base, he flips his head back and forth between Knoblauch and Greg Gagne, wondering where in the world the ball went as they turned a “double play,: a double play that, well, wasn't. Instead, Terry Pendleton crushed the ball into the left-center gap with no Twins defensive player in sight. The ball bounced off the wall just as Smith realized the rouse, but it was too late. The fake was just enough of a distraction for Smith to lose the ball and have to stop at third or risk getting out at home. It mattered though. The genius of Knoblauch and Gagne kept the game scoreless and allowed the Twins to win in 10 innings. That play helped the Twins win the 1991 World Series; whether you want to believe it or not. I do. The Cold Hard Truth Chuck Knoblauch was the fans' second favorite player, behind Kirby Puckett. Knoblauch was good, and he knew it. The fans knew it, and the staff was fully aware. The front office either was not in agreement of Knoblauch's worth in talent, or they didn't feel that the all-star second baseman was worth the money he was requesting. When the team continued to slip further and further in the standings in 1997, Knoblauch requested a trade. The media caught wind, and so did the fans, leading to a frustrated player and fan base. After Knoblauch was traded in 1998 to the Yankees in exchange for four players (including two future All-Stars, Eric Milton and Cristian Guzmán) and $3 million, he was no longer the Minnesota hero. His career ended with an alarming series of "Yips," In 2001, fans threw objects at him when the Yankees visited the Metrodome in 2001. Conclusion Chuck Knoblauch was the best second-baseman for the Minnesota Twins, no argument. He carried the second-highest WAR (33.6) behind Rod Carew (37.5). His drive for greatness packed into a 5'8” frame and natural tenacity gave the Twins some great seasons. His galvanizing style of play made it easy for fans to get behind him and hard to let him go. His stats make no argument for his Hall of Fame status. His years with the Twins, he was an on-base machine, posting OBP well above league average. While he slumped in 1993, Knoblauch fought back and had his best season with the Twins in 1996. He led the league with 14 triples in 153 games. Chuck Knoblauch was one of my favorite players to watch during his years with the Twins, and I hope that I brought you some recollective joy for Twinsmas! Stay tuned for the third day of Twinsmas! Thank you for reading, and Go, Twins!
  12. There have been plenty of great players in the history of the Minnesota Twins. From Killebrew to Buxton and many in-between, it is tough to narrow it down to the top twelve players in the history of the Twins. One of the players that I will never forget is Chuck Knoblauch. When I was a kid Chuck Knoblauch had the most significant impact on me as a player and is a core memory I will have forever. He was powerful, charismatic, and dynamic at second base. Chuck Knoblauch is the 11th most outstanding player in Twins history. Young Legacy Chuck Knoblauch was born with a baseball silver spoon in his mouth. Both his father and uncle played and coached in the minor leagues from the 1930s to-1950s. Knoblauch attended Bellaire High School in Houston, Texas, where RHP Chris Young (GM for Texas Rangers) and outfielder Jose Cruz, Jr attended. His father was the head coach while he was there, and Knoblauch attributes a lot of his discipline and success to his father. Knoblauch was a very talented young man. He was drafted in 1986 by the Phillies, but forewent signing to attend Texas A&M and play baseball. He played at Texas A&M for three seasons He became a second-team All-American shortstop He was part of the team that had 58 wins in 1989, the most in Texas A&M baseball history. Knoblauch had a knack for being on teams that made history happen from high school through his astounding career in which he collected four World Series rings. The Climb Knoblauch was drafted 25th overall in the 1st round in 1989 by the Twins. His talent was noticed by many. Minnesota Twins scout Marty Esposito wrote about Knoblauch that he was “an exceptional competitor, aggressive baserunner, intelligent fielder, and line-drive hitter, who would be an ideal leadoff hitter.” Knoblauch spent a short amount of time in the minors, starting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in 1989, and quickly moving to the Double-A Orlando Sun Rays in 1990. Knoblauch was an all-star in the minor leagues. He was the hardest-hitting player and most difficult batter to strike out. In 118 games for the Sun Rays, Knoblauch hit .289, had an on-base percentage of .389, and led the team in doubles (23). Knoblauch knew early on that he was "being primed" for the majors, and it didn't take long for him to see his hard work pay off. Knoblauch was a non-roster invitee to Twins spring training in 1991 and batted .388. He was so impressive that he became Minnesota's Opening Day starter at second base, batting second in manager Tom Kelly's lineup against the Athletics on April 9th at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. The Rookie Knoblauch's first season with the Twins is quite literally one for the books. Knoblauch was part of the team that won the World Series with fellow greats; Jack Morris, Gene Larkin, Dan Gladden, and Kirby Puckett. The 1991 Twins team was the most robust team Twins fans have seen play, and Knoblauch made his mark to help carry the Twins to the pennant. In 151 games, he only had one home run, but he pushed other players home with 50 RBI's and also stole 25 bases. He won the American League Rookie of the Year to accompany his World Series ring. During the 1991 World Series, one of the most fun memories is the "Invisible Ball Trick," or the Greatest Double Play Never Made. On this play, Braves outfielder Lonnie Smith, in the 8th inning, didn’t see where the ball was hit. Standing just inches past second base, he flips his head back and forth between Knoblauch and Greg Gagne, wondering where in the world the ball went as they turned a “double play,: a double play that, well, wasn't. Instead, Terry Pendleton crushed the ball into the left-center gap with no Twins defensive player in sight. The ball bounced off the wall just as Smith realized the rouse, but it was too late. The fake was just enough of a distraction for Smith to lose the ball and have to stop at third or risk getting out at home. It mattered though. The genius of Knoblauch and Gagne kept the game scoreless and allowed the Twins to win in 10 innings. That play helped the Twins win the 1991 World Series; whether you want to believe it or not. I do. The Cold Hard Truth Chuck Knoblauch was the fans' second favorite player, behind Kirby Puckett. Knoblauch was good, and he knew it. The fans knew it, and the staff was fully aware. The front office either was not in agreement of Knoblauch's worth in talent, or they didn't feel that the all-star second baseman was worth the money he was requesting. When the team continued to slip further and further in the standings in 1997, Knoblauch requested a trade. The media caught wind, and so did the fans, leading to a frustrated player and fan base. After Knoblauch was traded in 1998 to the Yankees in exchange for four players (including two future All-Stars, Eric Milton and Cristian Guzmán) and $3 million, he was no longer the Minnesota hero. His career ended with an alarming series of "Yips," In 2001, fans threw objects at him when the Yankees visited the Metrodome in 2001. Conclusion Chuck Knoblauch was the best second-baseman for the Minnesota Twins, no argument. He carried the second-highest WAR (33.6) behind Rod Carew (37.5). His drive for greatness packed into a 5'8” frame and natural tenacity gave the Twins some great seasons. His galvanizing style of play made it easy for fans to get behind him and hard to let him go. His stats make no argument for his Hall of Fame status. His years with the Twins, he was an on-base machine, posting OBP well above league average. While he slumped in 1993, Knoblauch fought back and had his best season with the Twins in 1996. He led the league with 14 triples in 153 games. Chuck Knoblauch was one of my favorite players to watch during his years with the Twins, and I hope that I brought you some recollective joy for Twinsmas! Stay tuned for the third day of Twinsmas! Thank you for reading, and Go, Twins! View full article
  13. Hello, Twins Fans! When I was younger, my maternal grandparents used to say, "Hello Sportsfan!" and I loved that. It would not apply to me until I was much older since I grew up in theater and music. Baseball was never far from me though. I went to countless games in the summer with KidStop (If you know - you know), and I remember watching Kirby Puckett, Kent Hrbek, and Chuck Knoblauch and loving the feeling of the crowd roaring inside the Metrodome. A lot of you have shared similar experiences with me after reading the previous no-hitter articles. Jamie Johnson, who is a follower of TwinsDaily, had the experience of attending both of the no-hitters at the Dome and told me how it felt to him: These moments are what baseball is all about and for Jamie, getting to experience BOTH no-hitters at the Metrodome is an extraordinary memory (and incredibly unlikely!). Minnesota sports made more memories last week. The Vikings beat the Packers, and the Gophers beat the Badgers. So it's a perfect time to talk about the second no-hitter in Metrodome history where the Twins stuck it to the Brewers. No-No Number 4: Scott Erickson - 1994 The Pitcher: Scott Erickson The Date: April 27, 1994 The Opponent: Milwaukee Brewers The Stadium: Metrodome (First No-Hitter in the Metrodome) The Pitcher's Background and Story Scott Erickson grew up on the west coast in sunny Long Beach, California. where he returned to retire after his 15-year stint as a pitcher in Major League Baseball. While attending both San Jose Junior College and the University of Arizona, not only did he graduate with degrees, he played ball. While attending Arizona, Erickson set a school record for wins with an 18-3 record, had the most wins in the country (18), most innings pitched (175), and complete games (14). He was only there for a year, but his impressive numbers and hard work earned him a unanimous First Team All-American honor, and he was inducted into the Arizona Wildcat Hall of Fame. Erickson was drafted four times before he signed with the Twins in 1989. Whether it was to get selected higher in the draft or a desire to pitch in college, the 21-year-old was ready to prove to the other scouts and organizations that even though his fastball was only hitting in the 80's, he was right where he needed to be for the Twins. Erickson worked hard to develop his slider and honed his two fastballs and a changeup that made him sometimes unhittable. The outcome of the game and his ability to focus and work hard to get where he wanted to be shocked not only him but also others." The thing that impresses me is his ability to concentrate through the pressure of a nine-inning game," said [Jack] Morris (in a June 1991 New York Times interview). "That's a great trait for a young pitcher, and it has a lot to do with his success. He gets into his little world." 1994 was a challenging year for baseball and left a bad taste in a lot of people's mouths. The American and National League decided to realign the teams and add a central division. The Twins struggled to an 8-14 record by the time the game against the Royals took place. They finished the season at 53-60 and in fourth place in the AL. Later the strike took away the post season and the World Series. The drama of the strike overshadowed the accomplishments of many teams and players, including Scott Erickson's no-hitter. This particular game was a gem, but overall it was a mediocre-at-best season for the Twins and Erickson, who led baseball with 19 losses. The Game The Metrodome was sparsely filled. A mere 17,988 fans filled the stadium. It was still early in the season. There was nothing special or crazy about this game, the stadium or the teams. Before the game, he wasn't feeling that great. Nothing said this would be a no-hitter; there was no precursor to routine or even a belief that the Twins could manage a win. In an interview after the game Erickson shared, "I haven't changed anything since my last three starts," he said. "I had a better slider today, reminiscent of years past." He did say at one-point once he realized after the sixth or seventh inning he treated each inning as if it was the first inning. His catcher Matt Walbeck recalled the game as his favorite memory with the Twins in a Twins Daily story, “My biggest memory, my happiest moment playing for the Twins, was catching Scott Erickson’s no-hitter. By far. That was my career highlight.” Opponent The Milwaukee Brewers were not faring any better than the Twins. The Brewers had an awful 1993 season, and the decision to re-brand was a year into the making, but it was just putting lipstick on a pig. The new colors were supposed to bring a vibe, and the new logo was "so cool" one team official was "concerned it would fall victim to gang usage." The Brewers fans, though? They disagreed. In a poll taken by the local newspaper, only 20% of 300 fans polled liked the new colors and logo. There was just nothing Milwaukee could do right from their logo to their gameplay. They finished their season 53-62, 5th in the American League Central Division but fairing better than the Twins sitting at 11-9 when they came to the Dome. When they made it to the Metrodome, they had a slew of problems. However, they also had some positives like injured players from 1993 that were starting to bounce back and make improvements that helped carry the team after the all-star break. The Twins had a line-up that still lingered from the 1991 World Series, players like: Chuck Knoblach, Kirby Puckett, and Kent Hrbek. It’s not that Milwaukee didn’t have a great line up, they had two stand out players who seemed to carry the team throughout the season, Greg Vaughn paced Milwaukee with 19 home runs Dave Nilsson drove in 69 runs and topped batters with significant playing time by hitting .275. Even with two all star hitters, they weren't a team that was feared coming into the Dome that day in April. How many pitchers pitched Scott Erickson was the only Twins pitcher that game. Erickson exploded into the Twins pitching scene in 1991, helping the Twins get to their 1991 World Series. Since then, he struggled; in fact, he was the most hittable pitcher in 1993. Erickson walked four batters and struck out five while throwing 128 pitches. 128 pitches! That blew my mind. His catcher, Matt Walbeck, noticed he continued to get stronger throughout the game. He was confident, and his fastball was moving faster than ever. Not a single hit, run, or error. Scott Erickson was on fire. Home or Away The game was at the Dome, and the crowd was small, but by the time they were loud, they realized what was going on. In the ninth inning - all 17,988 people were on their feet cheering for Erickson. He shut down the Brewers for nine innings, completing the first no-hitter in the Metrodome and breaking the Twins 27-year no-hitter drought Did the pitcher hit Scott Erickson did not hit in this game. He left that to the all-star lineup. The offense was able to capitalize on Brewers pitching , scoring six runs. Kent Hrbek homered. Kirby Puckett hit a ground-rule double, and Chuck Knoblauch singled in a run. By the fourth inning, the Twins were up 5-0, but that did not slow down the pace of Erickson, or the Twins bats, which scored one more run to seal the deal. The Twins wore down the pitching of the Brewers, forcing them to bring four pitchers to the mound throughout the game after starting pitcher Jaime Navarro gave up the five runs to the Twins. Wrap it up! Scott Erickson had one of the best no-hitter performances that I have researched. I know I ranked his no-hitter at #3 out of five Twins no-hitters, but I have to be fair to my criteria, and allowing for four walks is not a massive deal in the grand scheme. The fact that it was the first no-hitter in the Metrodome is also exciting. A no-hitter on artificial turf was impressive in itself, but the Dome was also the place to hit "home runs," so to see that much control and focus on pulling off the no-hitter was indeed against the odds and statistics. The fans that were there for that game experienced the rush of emotions. They erupted in noise when Greg Vaughn’s fly ball landed in left fielder Alex Cole’s glove for the last out. Those fans will never forget the pitcher that beat the odds in a season when the chips were down. I look forward to discussions! MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email
  14. Today we continue the Twins No-Hitter series with Part 4. Scott Erickson had gone through many ups and downs in his first four years in the big leagues, and certainly has in his life since then. However, on one late-April night in 1994, Erickson stole the show. Hello, Twins Fans! When I was younger, my maternal grandparents used to say, "Hello Sportsfan!" and I loved that. It would not apply to me until I was much older since I grew up in theater and music. Baseball was never far from me though. I went to countless games in the summer with KidStop (If you know - you know), and I remember watching Kirby Puckett, Kent Hrbek, and Chuck Knoblauch and loving the feeling of the crowd roaring inside the Metrodome. A lot of you have shared similar experiences with me after reading the previous no-hitter articles. Jamie Johnson, who is a follower of TwinsDaily, had the experience of attending both of the no-hitters at the Dome and told me how it felt to him: These moments are what baseball is all about and for Jamie, getting to experience BOTH no-hitters at the Metrodome is an extraordinary memory (and incredibly unlikely!). Minnesota sports made more memories last week. The Vikings beat the Packers, and the Gophers beat the Badgers. So it's a perfect time to talk about the second no-hitter in Metrodome history where the Twins stuck it to the Brewers. No-No Number 4: Scott Erickson - 1994 The Pitcher: Scott Erickson The Date: April 27, 1994 The Opponent: Milwaukee Brewers The Stadium: Metrodome (First No-Hitter in the Metrodome) The Pitcher's Background and Story Scott Erickson grew up on the west coast in sunny Long Beach, California. where he returned to retire after his 15-year stint as a pitcher in Major League Baseball. While attending both San Jose Junior College and the University of Arizona, not only did he graduate with degrees, he played ball. While attending Arizona, Erickson set a school record for wins with an 18-3 record, had the most wins in the country (18), most innings pitched (175), and complete games (14). He was only there for a year, but his impressive numbers and hard work earned him a unanimous First Team All-American honor, and he was inducted into the Arizona Wildcat Hall of Fame. Erickson was drafted four times before he signed with the Twins in 1989. Whether it was to get selected higher in the draft or a desire to pitch in college, the 21-year-old was ready to prove to the other scouts and organizations that even though his fastball was only hitting in the 80's, he was right where he needed to be for the Twins. Erickson worked hard to develop his slider and honed his two fastballs and a changeup that made him sometimes unhittable. The outcome of the game and his ability to focus and work hard to get where he wanted to be shocked not only him but also others." The thing that impresses me is his ability to concentrate through the pressure of a nine-inning game," said [Jack] Morris (in a June 1991 New York Times interview). "That's a great trait for a young pitcher, and it has a lot to do with his success. He gets into his little world." 1994 was a challenging year for baseball and left a bad taste in a lot of people's mouths. The American and National League decided to realign the teams and add a central division. The Twins struggled to an 8-14 record by the time the game against the Royals took place. They finished the season at 53-60 and in fourth place in the AL. Later the strike took away the post season and the World Series. The drama of the strike overshadowed the accomplishments of many teams and players, including Scott Erickson's no-hitter. This particular game was a gem, but overall it was a mediocre-at-best season for the Twins and Erickson, who led baseball with 19 losses. The Game The Metrodome was sparsely filled. A mere 17,988 fans filled the stadium. It was still early in the season. There was nothing special or crazy about this game, the stadium or the teams. Before the game, he wasn't feeling that great. Nothing said this would be a no-hitter; there was no precursor to routine or even a belief that the Twins could manage a win. In an interview after the game Erickson shared, "I haven't changed anything since my last three starts," he said. "I had a better slider today, reminiscent of years past." He did say at one-point once he realized after the sixth or seventh inning he treated each inning as if it was the first inning. His catcher Matt Walbeck recalled the game as his favorite memory with the Twins in a Twins Daily story, “My biggest memory, my happiest moment playing for the Twins, was catching Scott Erickson’s no-hitter. By far. That was my career highlight.” Opponent The Milwaukee Brewers were not faring any better than the Twins. The Brewers had an awful 1993 season, and the decision to re-brand was a year into the making, but it was just putting lipstick on a pig. The new colors were supposed to bring a vibe, and the new logo was "so cool" one team official was "concerned it would fall victim to gang usage." The Brewers fans, though? They disagreed. In a poll taken by the local newspaper, only 20% of 300 fans polled liked the new colors and logo. There was just nothing Milwaukee could do right from their logo to their gameplay. They finished their season 53-62, 5th in the American League Central Division but fairing better than the Twins sitting at 11-9 when they came to the Dome. When they made it to the Metrodome, they had a slew of problems. However, they also had some positives like injured players from 1993 that were starting to bounce back and make improvements that helped carry the team after the all-star break. The Twins had a line-up that still lingered from the 1991 World Series, players like: Chuck Knoblach, Kirby Puckett, and Kent Hrbek. It’s not that Milwaukee didn’t have a great line up, they had two stand out players who seemed to carry the team throughout the season, Greg Vaughn paced Milwaukee with 19 home runs Dave Nilsson drove in 69 runs and topped batters with significant playing time by hitting .275. Even with two all star hitters, they weren't a team that was feared coming into the Dome that day in April. How many pitchers pitched Scott Erickson was the only Twins pitcher that game. Erickson exploded into the Twins pitching scene in 1991, helping the Twins get to their 1991 World Series. Since then, he struggled; in fact, he was the most hittable pitcher in 1993. Erickson walked four batters and struck out five while throwing 128 pitches. 128 pitches! That blew my mind. His catcher, Matt Walbeck, noticed he continued to get stronger throughout the game. He was confident, and his fastball was moving faster than ever. Not a single hit, run, or error. Scott Erickson was on fire. Home or Away The game was at the Dome, and the crowd was small, but by the time they were loud, they realized what was going on. In the ninth inning - all 17,988 people were on their feet cheering for Erickson. He shut down the Brewers for nine innings, completing the first no-hitter in the Metrodome and breaking the Twins 27-year no-hitter drought Did the pitcher hit Scott Erickson did not hit in this game. He left that to the all-star lineup. The offense was able to capitalize on Brewers pitching , scoring six runs. Kent Hrbek homered. Kirby Puckett hit a ground-rule double, and Chuck Knoblauch singled in a run. By the fourth inning, the Twins were up 5-0, but that did not slow down the pace of Erickson, or the Twins bats, which scored one more run to seal the deal. The Twins wore down the pitching of the Brewers, forcing them to bring four pitchers to the mound throughout the game after starting pitcher Jaime Navarro gave up the five runs to the Twins. Wrap it up! Scott Erickson had one of the best no-hitter performances that I have researched. I know I ranked his no-hitter at #3 out of five Twins no-hitters, but I have to be fair to my criteria, and allowing for four walks is not a massive deal in the grand scheme. The fact that it was the first no-hitter in the Metrodome is also exciting. A no-hitter on artificial turf was impressive in itself, but the Dome was also the place to hit "home runs," so to see that much control and focus on pulling off the no-hitter was indeed against the odds and statistics. The fans that were there for that game experienced the rush of emotions. They erupted in noise when Greg Vaughn’s fly ball landed in left fielder Alex Cole’s glove for the last out. Those fans will never forget the pitcher that beat the odds in a season when the chips were down. I look forward to discussions! MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email View full article
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