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  1. The Minnesota Twins placed Miguel Sano on the 60-day injured list due to complications from his knee surgery. After a torrid stretch rehabbing, and a small six-at-bat sample in his return, the end of Sano’s career with the organization is now likely here. How will it be remembered? When Miguel Sano was signed out of the Dominican Republic as a teenager, he was so highly desired that a movie was made about the process. A physical specimen was so hotly contested that bone scans were necessary to determine his actual age prior to Major League Baseball allowing a signed contract. Prior to playing a single professional game, Sano was ranked as the 94th best prospect in baseball by Baseball America and the 35th best prospect by Baseball Prospectus. His status and hype only rose from there, and he ultimately topped out as the 4th best prospect in baseball according to MLB Pipeline. He wound up representing Minnesota in the 2013 Futures Game. Sano made his debut for Minnesota on July 2, 2015, going 1-for-4 against the Kansas City Royals. Crushing 18 homers and posting a .916 OPS, Sano wound up finishing third in the American League Rookie of the Year voting, trailing only (now teammate) Carlos Correa and Francisco Lindor. The offensive production was good enough for a 149 OPS+ that season. The first of Sano’s rolling regressions then took place in 2016. While still above league average with a 108 OPS+, his 25 home runs came alongside the caveat of a gaudy 178 strikeouts. Walking 53 times his rookie season and striking out just 119 times, Sano added just a single additional walk despite the massive boost in whiffs. It was in this season that a poorly-constructed Twins club also put their hulking slugger in right field. That went as expected and was somewhere between comical and disastrous. Sano did become a first-time All-Star in 2017 and competed in the Home Run Derby. By this point, he had ballooned as a player and a personality. He was somewhat of a polarizing figure for Twins fans and deciding whether the juice was worth the squeeze had begun. In the years that followed, it became an annual tradition to suggest Sano was fat, lazy, or unathletic. The truth probably never lied solely on any of those terms, but there was something to be said for their application. Sano was available for just 71 games in 2018 and only 105 a year later. He did play 53 games in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, but his 90 strikeouts led the league. After his 2019 bounce-back, which included a .923 OPS, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine decided to opt for an extension rather than the annual arbitration process. Three years at $30 million was never going to break the bank, and if there was any upside to be had at all, he should blitz by the terms of the deal. Playing just above league-average the past two seasons, the 20-game sample in 2022 was the sad trombone to this whole story. 96% worse than the league average, Sano going out with a whimper couldn’t be more true. He looked most competent during a stretch at Triple-A St. Paul this season, but there was never a point in which that translated to Major League success. There’s zero chance the Twins are picking up a $14 million club option this offseason, so the $2.75 million buyout will be his last paycheck from the organization. At 29 years old, it would be shocking if this was the end of his career, but there’s no denying the two sides would be best to part ways. Sano has generated 8.4 fWAR for Minnesota during his time, and despite losing on his contract extension, the organization has received a financial surplus thanks to his earlier years. Sano’s 162 career homers rank 12th all-time for Minnesota, one behind Tom Brunansky. His 1,042 strikeouts are second in team history, behind only Harmon Killebrew, who played in over 1,600 more games. No matter how you feel about Sano at present, there’s a good chance you’ve felt differently about him at various points during his tenure with the Twins. From hyped prospect, to prized rookie, to All-Star, to wishing there was more, the cycle as a whole probably could’ve gone much better in the eyes of many. That said, there were some great moments as well, and the expectation or longevity might have always been acceptable in a vacuum. As Minnesota will do this offseason, it’s now time to bid Sano adieu. What were your favorite moments? Does his career or production here live up to what you expected? View full article
  2. When Miguel Sano was signed out of the Dominican Republic as a teenager, he was so highly desired that a movie was made about the process. A physical specimen was so hotly contested that bone scans were necessary to determine his actual age prior to Major League Baseball allowing a signed contract. Prior to playing a single professional game, Sano was ranked as the 94th best prospect in baseball by Baseball America and the 35th best prospect by Baseball Prospectus. His status and hype only rose from there, and he ultimately topped out as the 4th best prospect in baseball according to MLB Pipeline. He wound up representing Minnesota in the 2013 Futures Game. Sano made his debut for Minnesota on July 2, 2015, going 1-for-4 against the Kansas City Royals. Crushing 18 homers and posting a .916 OPS, Sano wound up finishing third in the American League Rookie of the Year voting, trailing only (now teammate) Carlos Correa and Francisco Lindor. The offensive production was good enough for a 149 OPS+ that season. The first of Sano’s rolling regressions then took place in 2016. While still above league average with a 108 OPS+, his 25 home runs came alongside the caveat of a gaudy 178 strikeouts. Walking 53 times his rookie season and striking out just 119 times, Sano added just a single additional walk despite the massive boost in whiffs. It was in this season that a poorly-constructed Twins club also put their hulking slugger in right field. That went as expected and was somewhere between comical and disastrous. Sano did become a first-time All-Star in 2017 and competed in the Home Run Derby. By this point, he had ballooned as a player and a personality. He was somewhat of a polarizing figure for Twins fans and deciding whether the juice was worth the squeeze had begun. In the years that followed, it became an annual tradition to suggest Sano was fat, lazy, or unathletic. The truth probably never lied solely on any of those terms, but there was something to be said for their application. Sano was available for just 71 games in 2018 and only 105 a year later. He did play 53 games in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, but his 90 strikeouts led the league. After his 2019 bounce-back, which included a .923 OPS, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine decided to opt for an extension rather than the annual arbitration process. Three years at $30 million was never going to break the bank, and if there was any upside to be had at all, he should blitz by the terms of the deal. Playing just above league-average the past two seasons, the 20-game sample in 2022 was the sad trombone to this whole story. 96% worse than the league average, Sano going out with a whimper couldn’t be more true. He looked most competent during a stretch at Triple-A St. Paul this season, but there was never a point in which that translated to Major League success. There’s zero chance the Twins are picking up a $14 million club option this offseason, so the $2.75 million buyout will be his last paycheck from the organization. At 29 years old, it would be shocking if this was the end of his career, but there’s no denying the two sides would be best to part ways. Sano has generated 8.4 fWAR for Minnesota during his time, and despite losing on his contract extension, the organization has received a financial surplus thanks to his earlier years. Sano’s 162 career homers rank 12th all-time for Minnesota, one behind Tom Brunansky. His 1,042 strikeouts are second in team history, behind only Harmon Killebrew, who played in over 1,600 more games. No matter how you feel about Sano at present, there’s a good chance you’ve felt differently about him at various points during his tenure with the Twins. From hyped prospect, to prized rookie, to All-Star, to wishing there was more, the cycle as a whole probably could’ve gone much better in the eyes of many. That said, there were some great moments as well, and the expectation or longevity might have always been acceptable in a vacuum. As Minnesota will do this offseason, it’s now time to bid Sano adieu. What were your favorite moments? Does his career or production here live up to what you expected?
  3. There is some debate over how far back to go into the franchise's history regarding Minnesota's Mount Rushmore. The Twins moved to Minnesota before the 1961 season, but the franchise came from Washington with an already established legacy. They recently discussed Minnesota's Mount Rushmore on MLB Network and included Walter Johnson, one of the best pitchers in baseball history. He never played a game in Minnesota, so it doesn't seem right to include him. Since 1961, there have been some clear favorites to include on the team's Mount Rushmore. Many of the great players in team history have their numbers retired, including Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew, Tony Oliva, Bert Blyleven, Kirby Puckett, Kent Hrbek, and Joe Mauer. An argument can be made for a handful of players outside the team's inner circle, but those players are the most straightforward selections for being the organization's all-time great players. Founding Fathers Killebrew and Carew are two of the easiest choices on the team's Mount Rushmore. Killebrew is the George Washington-like figure in Twins history as he came with the organization from Washington and was the team's first star. According to Baseball-Reference, only one Twins player ranks higher than him when it comes to WAR in a Minnesota uniform. Killebrew became the first player to don a Twins hat in Cooperstown as he was a 13-time All-Star and an MVP. Killebrew was in his early-30s when Carew made his big-league debut, but there was an evident passing of the torch between these two players. Carew quickly became the team's most consistent hitter and a perennial MVP candidate. He leads the franchise in WAR, which is crazy considering he added even more career WAR in his seven seasons with the Angels. Both Carew and Killebrew separated themselves enough to be locks for the team's Mount Rushmore. Just Missed Oliva and Blyleven played in the same era as the Founding Fathers mentioned above, but their greatness might not have been fully appreciated in their time. Both players had a long wait before being elected to Cooperstown, but each has provided a long-term connection to baseball in the Upper Midwest. Blyleven is in the conversation for best pitcher in team history with players like Brad Radke, Johan Santana, and Jim Kaat. Oliva might be the best pure hitter in team history, but injuries kept him from reaching his full potential. An argument can be made for both players to be on the team's Mount Rushmore, but for me, they fall just short. Hrbek is a Minnesota legend, and he ranks in the top-8 for franchise WAR. He provided some of the most important World Series moments in team history, including his tag on Ron Gant and his Game 6 grand slam in 1987. Like Oliva and Blyleven, he has become part of the baseball culture in Minnesota, but it isn't enough to include him on the team's Mount Rushmore. Final Spots No history of the Minnesota Twins is complete without Kirby Puckett. Even with an injury-shortened career, he ranks fourth in franchise WAR. He also provided some of the most dramatic moments in arguably the greatest World Series of all time. Some may move him off the franchise's Mount Rushmore due to his off-the-field issues, but many in Twins Territory still see him as a hero. Puckett gets one of the four spots for his Hall of Fame career on the field while still acknowledging that he was far from perfect off the field. For the final spot, Joe Mauer gets the nod over some of the other Twins legends. According to Baseball-Reference, he only ranks behind Carew and Killebrew in franchise WAR. Mauer is not yet eligible for the Hall of Fame, but his case is strong for induction when he appears on the ballot. He was one of the league's best hitters while playing a grueling defensive position. According to JAWS, Mauer ranks as the seventh-best catcher in baseball history, and his seven-year peak puts him in the top five. He's a franchise great that deserves Mount Rushmore recognition. Who would you put on Minnesota's Mount Rushmore? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email
  4. It can be one of the most debated topics for any franchise. Who are the best players in franchise history? Minnesota's Mount Rushmore isn't as easy to design as one might think. There is some debate over how far back to go into the franchise's history regarding Minnesota's Mount Rushmore. The Twins moved to Minnesota before the 1961 season, but the franchise came from Washington with an already established legacy. They recently discussed Minnesota's Mount Rushmore on MLB Network and included Walter Johnson, one of the best pitchers in baseball history. He never played a game in Minnesota, so it doesn't seem right to include him. Since 1961, there have been some clear favorites to include on the team's Mount Rushmore. Many of the great players in team history have their numbers retired, including Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew, Tony Oliva, Bert Blyleven, Kirby Puckett, Kent Hrbek, and Joe Mauer. An argument can be made for a handful of players outside the team's inner circle, but those players are the most straightforward selections for being the organization's all-time great players. Founding Fathers Killebrew and Carew are two of the easiest choices on the team's Mount Rushmore. Killebrew is the George Washington-like figure in Twins history as he came with the organization from Washington and was the team's first star. According to Baseball-Reference, only one Twins player ranks higher than him when it comes to WAR in a Minnesota uniform. Killebrew became the first player to don a Twins hat in Cooperstown as he was a 13-time All-Star and an MVP. Killebrew was in his early-30s when Carew made his big-league debut, but there was an evident passing of the torch between these two players. Carew quickly became the team's most consistent hitter and a perennial MVP candidate. He leads the franchise in WAR, which is crazy considering he added even more career WAR in his seven seasons with the Angels. Both Carew and Killebrew separated themselves enough to be locks for the team's Mount Rushmore. Just Missed Oliva and Blyleven played in the same era as the Founding Fathers mentioned above, but their greatness might not have been fully appreciated in their time. Both players had a long wait before being elected to Cooperstown, but each has provided a long-term connection to baseball in the Upper Midwest. Blyleven is in the conversation for best pitcher in team history with players like Brad Radke, Johan Santana, and Jim Kaat. Oliva might be the best pure hitter in team history, but injuries kept him from reaching his full potential. An argument can be made for both players to be on the team's Mount Rushmore, but for me, they fall just short. Hrbek is a Minnesota legend, and he ranks in the top-8 for franchise WAR. He provided some of the most important World Series moments in team history, including his tag on Ron Gant and his Game 6 grand slam in 1987. Like Oliva and Blyleven, he has become part of the baseball culture in Minnesota, but it isn't enough to include him on the team's Mount Rushmore. Final Spots No history of the Minnesota Twins is complete without Kirby Puckett. Even with an injury-shortened career, he ranks fourth in franchise WAR. He also provided some of the most dramatic moments in arguably the greatest World Series of all time. Some may move him off the franchise's Mount Rushmore due to his off-the-field issues, but many in Twins Territory still see him as a hero. Puckett gets one of the four spots for his Hall of Fame career on the field while still acknowledging that he was far from perfect off the field. For the final spot, Joe Mauer gets the nod over some of the other Twins legends. According to Baseball-Reference, he only ranks behind Carew and Killebrew in franchise WAR. Mauer is not yet eligible for the Hall of Fame, but his case is strong for induction when he appears on the ballot. He was one of the league's best hitters while playing a grueling defensive position. According to JAWS, Mauer ranks as the seventh-best catcher in baseball history, and his seven-year peak puts him in the top five. He's a franchise great that deserves Mount Rushmore recognition. Who would you put on Minnesota's Mount Rushmore? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. 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
  5. Along the banks of the Crow Wing River sits Nimrod, Minnesota, a quaint town that bears a son of the Twins organization that saw the game of baseball come full circle. Pitch a canoe on the currents of the Crow Wing River, and you’ll stumble across Nimrod, Minnesota, population 69. A bar, church, and campground make up the bulk of the one-horse town that was once a flourishing logging community in the World War II era. Take a few steps past the bar and the sight of four bags 90 feet apart and lush green grass will christen the eyes. Dick Stigman Field, home of the Nimrod Gnats and named after the town’s most famous son. A starting pitcher for the Twins’ infancy in Minnesota, Stigman spent seven years at the Major League level. Starting with a $200 per month contract, the tall lefty grew up in Cleveland’s organization, played two years with the parent club, and spent four years with the Twins from 1962-65. Stigman finished his career with the hallowed Boston Red Sox in 1966. Stigman’s life has run full circle; A small town boy with a deep love of America’s Pastime who had the opportunity to play for the Minnesota Twins. On his 86th birthday, Stigman couldn’t be more thankful for the road that transcended from the rural pines of northern Minnesota to baseball’s biggest stage. The Booming 50’s Despite its current quaintness, Nimrod was a bustling small town at the midpoint of the 20th century with a handful of industries painting the Wadena County town. “We had two grocery stores, two gas stations, two restaurants, a blacksmith shop, a feed mill, and a creamery,” Stigman recalled. “There was a pretty good-sized lumber mill. They used to pull logs down the river. It was a great experience. We had a community.” Young Dick spent his childhood selling grit, a popular newspaper option in rural America through the 1950s. “We sold it for five cents a copy. I think I got two cents back,” he laughed. Yet in an era when many young men were being drafted for World War II, Nimrod’s isolation provided solace for Dick and his brothers; an opportunity that sprouted a lifelong love for the game of baseball. The son of a catcher, Dick and his brothers spent hours simulating game situations and playing catch. Both Dick and his older brother were southpaws. That didn’t stop them from finding a catcher’s mitt at Montgomery and Ward to compliment each other on the mound. The mound? An old tire and some plywood. “We’d put a 2 by 4 on top of a rubber tire to pitch from and simulate situations,” Stigman said. “It wasn’t very high up, but it worked.” Barren winters didn’t stop the Stigmans from practicing their craft. The boys’ mother managed the town hall, creating a pseudo-bullpen for them over the winter months. “It was a pretty decent-sized building so we’d pitch inside the hall,” Stigman said. “We'd build a fire and take care of that if there was an event and then we'd have our baseball sessions.” Stigman's love of pitching ran deep. With no team in Minnesota during his childhood he fell in love with Cleveland because of talented pitching from the likes of Bob Feller and Bob Lemon. And with a rich list of MLB names like Williams, Lemon, and Mays to look up to, Dick’s and skill level only rose with time. “There were a couple of other guys in Nimrod that were interested in baseball, but not like we were,” he recalled. That small-town talent would expand outside the silos of Nimrod to the greater Minnesota community. Stigman pitched for Sebeka High School and began to draw looks by shutting down larger schools and towns on the mound. A tournament with strong performances against the ‘big cities’ of Aitkin and Brainerd drew the eye of Cleveland scout Marv Nutting. Impressed with the small town hurler, Nutting name-dropped Stigman to Cy Slapnika, a Cleveland scout based out of Cedar Rapids who had a stellar track record. Slapnika had signed the legendary Bob Feller to Cleveland alongside other household names like Gordy Coleman and Herb Score. Slapkina made the trek up to Minnesota to watch Stigman play Legion ball against Hawley, something that Stigman wasn’t aware of at the time. “I probably would have wet my pants if I had known that someone was watching me.” Stigman was electric, striking out 21 batters in seven innings alongside racking up a few hits himself. He even struck out Rodney Skoog, the brother of Minneapolis Lakers star Whitey Skoog who was batting in the .500 range at the time. The magic had been noticed. Slapnika drove Dick and his parents to the Greystone Hotel in Detroit Lakes to sign his first professional contract for the organization he cheered for growing up. That $200 per month contract (with an additional $200 for each month with the club) was a $50 pay raise from what Stigman was receiving at his job at the lumber mill. Was the pay raise nice? Absolutely. Yet the opportunity for Dick was priceless. “I loved baseball so much that I probably would have paid to play.” Reflecting with Grace Stigman finished his MLB career with 74 wins. His best season was his first with the Twins in 1962, finishing the year with a 12-5 record and 3.66 ERA with three saves to top it off. And while the star season in his home state was memorable, the transition to the Twins from the organization that he cut his teeth in was tough. Being in Cleveland and coming up in the farm system, it was a difficult transition, Dick recalled. “I was very apprehensive about coming to Minnesota; playing in front of people that you know, there's an added expectation.” Yet when the nerves melted, the homecoming was one of joy. “It was a pleasant surprise,” Stigman said “It was great with all the attention we got, everywhere we went people knew us. And I had a really good year so that added to it.” The innings on the ground were great; the memories, comradery, and relationships were what solidified. “Earl Battey was one of my best friends. We played cards on the plane. He was just an amazing guy," Dick recalled. "Guys like Lenny Green, Don Mincher, and Jim Kaat (were incredible). Baseball isn't all about skill, it's about chemistry. Even as big of a star that Harmon (Killebrew) and Tony Oliva were, it wasn't about them. It was about winning. And we proved that with some pretty good years.” Stigman is now 55 years removed from his MLB career. After years in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, he and his wife moved to the beaming sun of Florida. He still stays knitted to the Twins through rich admiration of the organization and participation in things like Twins Fantasy Camp. A man of deep faith and humility, Stigman looks back with a sense of appreciation and gratefulness that society can admire. Yet even he recognizes the wild ride that the uncertainty and beauty of life has graced him with. “I look back and think to myself ‘did I really do that,’ coming from where I came from,” Dick recalled. “I try not to get in front of myself, I always remember where I came from and who I am.” If you're in west-central Minnesota during the summer and happen to catch a baseball game, there is a decent chance you might see the Stigman name in the lineup. View full article
  6. Pitch a canoe on the currents of the Crow Wing River, and you’ll stumble across Nimrod, Minnesota, population 69. A bar, church, and campground make up the bulk of the one-horse town that was once a flourishing logging community in the World War II era. Take a few steps past the bar and the sight of four bags 90 feet apart and lush green grass will christen the eyes. Dick Stigman Field, home of the Nimrod Gnats and named after the town’s most famous son. A starting pitcher for the Twins’ infancy in Minnesota, Stigman spent seven years at the Major League level. Starting with a $200 per month contract, the tall lefty grew up in Cleveland’s organization, played two years with the parent club, and spent four years with the Twins from 1962-65. Stigman finished his career with the hallowed Boston Red Sox in 1966. Stigman’s life has run full circle; A small town boy with a deep love of America’s Pastime who had the opportunity to play for the Minnesota Twins. On his 86th birthday, Stigman couldn’t be more thankful for the road that transcended from the rural pines of northern Minnesota to baseball’s biggest stage. The Booming 50’s Despite its current quaintness, Nimrod was a bustling small town at the midpoint of the 20th century with a handful of industries painting the Wadena County town. “We had two grocery stores, two gas stations, two restaurants, a blacksmith shop, a feed mill, and a creamery,” Stigman recalled. “There was a pretty good-sized lumber mill. They used to pull logs down the river. It was a great experience. We had a community.” Young Dick spent his childhood selling grit, a popular newspaper option in rural America through the 1950s. “We sold it for five cents a copy. I think I got two cents back,” he laughed. Yet in an era when many young men were being drafted for World War II, Nimrod’s isolation provided solace for Dick and his brothers; an opportunity that sprouted a lifelong love for the game of baseball. The son of a catcher, Dick and his brothers spent hours simulating game situations and playing catch. Both Dick and his older brother were southpaws. That didn’t stop them from finding a catcher’s mitt at Montgomery and Ward to compliment each other on the mound. The mound? An old tire and some plywood. “We’d put a 2 by 4 on top of a rubber tire to pitch from and simulate situations,” Stigman said. “It wasn’t very high up, but it worked.” Barren winters didn’t stop the Stigmans from practicing their craft. The boys’ mother managed the town hall, creating a pseudo-bullpen for them over the winter months. “It was a pretty decent-sized building so we’d pitch inside the hall,” Stigman said. “We'd build a fire and take care of that if there was an event and then we'd have our baseball sessions.” Stigman's love of pitching ran deep. With no team in Minnesota during his childhood he fell in love with Cleveland because of talented pitching from the likes of Bob Feller and Bob Lemon. And with a rich list of MLB names like Williams, Lemon, and Mays to look up to, Dick’s and skill level only rose with time. “There were a couple of other guys in Nimrod that were interested in baseball, but not like we were,” he recalled. That small-town talent would expand outside the silos of Nimrod to the greater Minnesota community. Stigman pitched for Sebeka High School and began to draw looks by shutting down larger schools and towns on the mound. A tournament with strong performances against the ‘big cities’ of Aitkin and Brainerd drew the eye of Cleveland scout Marv Nutting. Impressed with the small town hurler, Nutting name-dropped Stigman to Cy Slapnika, a Cleveland scout based out of Cedar Rapids who had a stellar track record. Slapnika had signed the legendary Bob Feller to Cleveland alongside other household names like Gordy Coleman and Herb Score. Slapkina made the trek up to Minnesota to watch Stigman play Legion ball against Hawley, something that Stigman wasn’t aware of at the time. “I probably would have wet my pants if I had known that someone was watching me.” Stigman was electric, striking out 21 batters in seven innings alongside racking up a few hits himself. He even struck out Rodney Skoog, the brother of Minneapolis Lakers star Whitey Skoog who was batting in the .500 range at the time. The magic had been noticed. Slapnika drove Dick and his parents to the Greystone Hotel in Detroit Lakes to sign his first professional contract for the organization he cheered for growing up. That $200 per month contract (with an additional $200 for each month with the club) was a $50 pay raise from what Stigman was receiving at his job at the lumber mill. Was the pay raise nice? Absolutely. Yet the opportunity for Dick was priceless. “I loved baseball so much that I probably would have paid to play.” Reflecting with Grace Stigman finished his MLB career with 74 wins. His best season was his first with the Twins in 1962, finishing the year with a 12-5 record and 3.66 ERA with three saves to top it off. And while the star season in his home state was memorable, the transition to the Twins from the organization that he cut his teeth in was tough. Being in Cleveland and coming up in the farm system, it was a difficult transition, Dick recalled. “I was very apprehensive about coming to Minnesota; playing in front of people that you know, there's an added expectation.” Yet when the nerves melted, the homecoming was one of joy. “It was a pleasant surprise,” Stigman said “It was great with all the attention we got, everywhere we went people knew us. And I had a really good year so that added to it.” The innings on the ground were great; the memories, comradery, and relationships were what solidified. “Earl Battey was one of my best friends. We played cards on the plane. He was just an amazing guy," Dick recalled. "Guys like Lenny Green, Don Mincher, and Jim Kaat (were incredible). Baseball isn't all about skill, it's about chemistry. Even as big of a star that Harmon (Killebrew) and Tony Oliva were, it wasn't about them. It was about winning. And we proved that with some pretty good years.” Stigman is now 55 years removed from his MLB career. After years in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, he and his wife moved to the beaming sun of Florida. He still stays knitted to the Twins through rich admiration of the organization and participation in things like Twins Fantasy Camp. A man of deep faith and humility, Stigman looks back with a sense of appreciation and gratefulness that society can admire. Yet even he recognizes the wild ride that the uncertainty and beauty of life has graced him with. “I look back and think to myself ‘did I really do that,’ coming from where I came from,” Dick recalled. “I try not to get in front of myself, I always remember where I came from and who I am.” If you're in west-central Minnesota during the summer and happen to catch a baseball game, there is a decent chance you might see the Stigman name in the lineup.
  7. Usually when guys are in their late 30s and 40s playing baseball in Minnesota, you can find them playing for teams like the Miesville Mudhens or the Cold Spring Springers, not the Minnesota Twins. Take a look at the best seasons by Twins players 35 and older. As players age, their physical abilities deteriorate and they often can not play as well as they used to play.. So when a player 35 or older has a great season, it is remarkable. Veterans are usually good locker room presences and leaders for younger players, but if they can also be one of the best players on the team, that is an added bonus. In this article, we will look at the top five seasons by hitters in Twins history over the age of 35. If a player has multiple great seasons over the age of 35, I picked their best one. All of the players on this list have had illustrious careers and while their production in these seasons wasn’t as high as they had in their primes, they still were very impactful players on their teams. 5. Josh Donaldson, 2021 - 2.2 fWAR When Josh Donaldson made news in 2021, it was for sparking a sticky controversy with White Sox pitcher Lucas Giolito and for feuding with Gerrit Cole. Despite being one of the most controversial players in baseball, Josh Donaldson has also been one of the best. Since 2013, he has the third highest WAR in all of baseball, trailing only Mike Trout and Mookie Betts. In Donaldson’s prime, he was a 6-8 WAR player, winning AL MVP in 2015 and finishing in the top 10 four times. In 2021, he was only worth 2.2 WAR, making him the third best player on the Twins behind Byron Buxton and Jorge Polanco. Donaldson hit .247/.352/.475 (.827) in 135 games. He had a wRC+ of 124, meaning he was 24 percent better than league average at creating runs for his team. He also had a keen eye at the plate, leading the Twins with 74 walks. When you dive deeper into the numbers, Donaldson was even more impressive. He ranked 4th in MLB in average exit velocity (94.1), 3rd in Barrels per plate appearance (11.2 percent), and 11th in hard hit rate. Below are his Baseball Savant percentile rankings. In nearly all of the offensive categories, Donaldson ranked in the top 10 percent of all hitters. This is incredible for a player who is 35 years old. As Donaldson ages, he will get more time in the DH role as the Twins look to younger players like Luis Arraez and Jose Miranda to occupy third base to keep Donaldson’s bat in the lineup more regularly. Donaldson had a good 2021 and I wouldn’t be surprised to see his production improve in 2022 as a 36 year old. 4. Paul Molitor, 1996 - 2.5 fWAR After an outstanding career in Milwaukee and Toronto, Hall-of-Famer and native Minnesotan Paul Molitor returned to play in his homeland for the final three years of his career. As is the case with most veterans, Molitor was mostly a designated hitter in his tenure with the Twins. During his career, Molitor’s versatility was one of his best assets so confining him to DH took a lot of his value away. Still, the future Twins manager was able to post 2.5 WAR in 1996, his first season with the Twins. In Molitor’s prime, he was consistently a 4-6 win player for the Brewers and Blue Jays. He won the World Series in 1993 with the Blue Jays and was named World Series MVP, going 11-for-24 with five extra base hits, seven RBI, three walks, and no strikeouts in six games. He also tied the World Series record for most runs in a series with 10 runs scored. In 1996, Molitor hit .341/.390/.468 (.858) for a 114 wRC+. Molitor led the American League with 225 hits, which is the third most for a single season in Twins history. He also drove in 113 runs and hit 41 doubles in that year. During that season he became the first player to hit a triple for his 3000th career hit. Molitor was a great veteran addition to a Twins team that needed some guidance. 3. Jim Thome, 2010 3.1 fWAR As a player who spent the majority of his career with the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox, Twins fans did not associate Jim Thome with good memories. In his career against the Twins, Thome hit an ungodly .314/.415/.635 (1.049) with 61 home runs in 196 games. In 2010, the Twins decided that if you can’t beat him, join him, so they signed Thome to a one year deal worth $1.5 million. In his age 39 season, Thome was outstanding. He appeared in 108 games and hit .283/.412/.627 (1.039) for a 177 wRC+. Among players 39 and older who appeared in 100 or more games, the only players in MLB history with a higher OPS than Thome were Barry Bonds and Hank Aaron. Thome posted 3.1 WAR in only 108 games despite only playing DH. The only primary DH’s in MLB history with more WAR in a similar amount of games are Yordan Alvarez and David Ortiz. Thome hit his 600th career home run with the Twins in 2011, but his signature moment as a Twin was this walk-off home run he hit in August of 2010, the first walk-off homer in Target Field history. Thome was also an outstanding clubhouse presence, being named the nicest player in baseball by his fellow players, a nice touch on an outstanding career. 2. Harmon Killebrew, 1971 3.9 fWAR Killebrew was an outstanding player for the entirety of his career. He actually had two seasons that would’ve placed him on this list but I chose to go with the better of the seasons, 1971. Killebrew was already on his way to the Hall of Fame before he turned 35, having hit 487 home runs in his career. But in his age 35 season, Killebrew had a great season. By this time, Killebrew’s outfield days were behind him and he was splitting time between first base and third base. In 1971, Killebrew hit .254/.386/.464 (.850) for a wRC+ of 137. He led the American League in RBI (119) and walks (114). He was named to the final all-star game of his fantastic career. In late July of this year, Killebrew hit his 499th homer. For the next 16 games, Killebrew went into a slump, not able to hit his 500th. But in the 17th game, Killebrew hit home runs 500 and 501 at Metropolitan Stadium to cement his legacy as an all-time great. Killebrew was relieved, telling the Associated Press he could finally breathe a sigh of relief again. “When people keep asking you when you’re going to hit it, you try a bit harder. The only time I thought about it was when people were asking me about it”, said Killebrew. 1. Nelson Cruz, 2019 - 4.3 fWAR The ageless wonder, Nelson Cruz, was a fantastic signing for the Twins in the 2019 offseason. In his age 38 season, Cruz turned the Twins from a mediocre team into a 100 game winner. The Dominican slugger helped guide young Hispanic sluggers Miguel Sano and Eddie Rosario to career highs in home runs. Cruz had such a profound impact on Sano that Sano decided to name Cruz the Godfather of his daughter. He also won the 2021 Roberto Clemente Award for all of the great work he does in the community. Along with his great leadership, Cruz was one of the best hitters in the league. In 2019, Cruz hit .311/.392/.639 (1.031) for a wRC+ of 164. His .639 slugging percentage was the best single season slugging percentage in Twins history. He hit 41 home runs and drove in 108 runs. He also led MLB in Barrels per Plate Appearance, Hard Hit Rate, and Average Exit Velocity. The combination of this means that he hit the ball harder than anyone else did more consistently than anyone else. This led to a lot of success for Cruz. Nelson Cruz had two more good seasons for the Twins before he was traded during his age 40 season to the Tampa Bay Rays for Joe Ryan and Drew Strotman. Cruz has a strong impact on baseballs and teammates, making him a great addition to any team. Conclusion Throughout the Twins history, they have had some great seasons by older players, proving that baseball isn’t always a young man’s game. Hopefully another great season by Donaldson next year can move him up on this list, but don’t look for many Twins to make this list in the near future as the Twins will try to get younger players more experience. Who did I miss on this list? What would you change about the order? Is Cruz the best power hitter in Twins history? Leave a comment below! Let me hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading, and Go Twins! View full article
  8. As players age, their physical abilities deteriorate and they often can not play as well as they used to play.. So when a player 35 or older has a great season, it is remarkable. Veterans are usually good locker room presences and leaders for younger players, but if they can also be one of the best players on the team, that is an added bonus. In this article, we will look at the top five seasons by hitters in Twins history over the age of 35. If a player has multiple great seasons over the age of 35, I picked their best one. All of the players on this list have had illustrious careers and while their production in these seasons wasn’t as high as they had in their primes, they still were very impactful players on their teams. 5. Josh Donaldson, 2021 - 2.2 fWAR When Josh Donaldson made news in 2021, it was for sparking a sticky controversy with White Sox pitcher Lucas Giolito and for feuding with Gerrit Cole. Despite being one of the most controversial players in baseball, Josh Donaldson has also been one of the best. Since 2013, he has the third highest WAR in all of baseball, trailing only Mike Trout and Mookie Betts. In Donaldson’s prime, he was a 6-8 WAR player, winning AL MVP in 2015 and finishing in the top 10 four times. In 2021, he was only worth 2.2 WAR, making him the third best player on the Twins behind Byron Buxton and Jorge Polanco. Donaldson hit .247/.352/.475 (.827) in 135 games. He had a wRC+ of 124, meaning he was 24 percent better than league average at creating runs for his team. He also had a keen eye at the plate, leading the Twins with 74 walks. When you dive deeper into the numbers, Donaldson was even more impressive. He ranked 4th in MLB in average exit velocity (94.1), 3rd in Barrels per plate appearance (11.2 percent), and 11th in hard hit rate. Below are his Baseball Savant percentile rankings. In nearly all of the offensive categories, Donaldson ranked in the top 10 percent of all hitters. This is incredible for a player who is 35 years old. As Donaldson ages, he will get more time in the DH role as the Twins look to younger players like Luis Arraez and Jose Miranda to occupy third base to keep Donaldson’s bat in the lineup more regularly. Donaldson had a good 2021 and I wouldn’t be surprised to see his production improve in 2022 as a 36 year old. 4. Paul Molitor, 1996 - 2.5 fWAR After an outstanding career in Milwaukee and Toronto, Hall-of-Famer and native Minnesotan Paul Molitor returned to play in his homeland for the final three years of his career. As is the case with most veterans, Molitor was mostly a designated hitter in his tenure with the Twins. During his career, Molitor’s versatility was one of his best assets so confining him to DH took a lot of his value away. Still, the future Twins manager was able to post 2.5 WAR in 1996, his first season with the Twins. In Molitor’s prime, he was consistently a 4-6 win player for the Brewers and Blue Jays. He won the World Series in 1993 with the Blue Jays and was named World Series MVP, going 11-for-24 with five extra base hits, seven RBI, three walks, and no strikeouts in six games. He also tied the World Series record for most runs in a series with 10 runs scored. In 1996, Molitor hit .341/.390/.468 (.858) for a 114 wRC+. Molitor led the American League with 225 hits, which is the third most for a single season in Twins history. He also drove in 113 runs and hit 41 doubles in that year. During that season he became the first player to hit a triple for his 3000th career hit. Molitor was a great veteran addition to a Twins team that needed some guidance. 3. Jim Thome, 2010 3.1 fWAR As a player who spent the majority of his career with the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox, Twins fans did not associate Jim Thome with good memories. In his career against the Twins, Thome hit an ungodly .314/.415/.635 (1.049) with 61 home runs in 196 games. In 2010, the Twins decided that if you can’t beat him, join him, so they signed Thome to a one year deal worth $1.5 million. In his age 39 season, Thome was outstanding. He appeared in 108 games and hit .283/.412/.627 (1.039) for a 177 wRC+. Among players 39 and older who appeared in 100 or more games, the only players in MLB history with a higher OPS than Thome were Barry Bonds and Hank Aaron. Thome posted 3.1 WAR in only 108 games despite only playing DH. The only primary DH’s in MLB history with more WAR in a similar amount of games are Yordan Alvarez and David Ortiz. Thome hit his 600th career home run with the Twins in 2011, but his signature moment as a Twin was this walk-off home run he hit in August of 2010, the first walk-off homer in Target Field history. Thome was also an outstanding clubhouse presence, being named the nicest player in baseball by his fellow players, a nice touch on an outstanding career. 2. Harmon Killebrew, 1971 3.9 fWAR Killebrew was an outstanding player for the entirety of his career. He actually had two seasons that would’ve placed him on this list but I chose to go with the better of the seasons, 1971. Killebrew was already on his way to the Hall of Fame before he turned 35, having hit 487 home runs in his career. But in his age 35 season, Killebrew had a great season. By this time, Killebrew’s outfield days were behind him and he was splitting time between first base and third base. In 1971, Killebrew hit .254/.386/.464 (.850) for a wRC+ of 137. He led the American League in RBI (119) and walks (114). He was named to the final all-star game of his fantastic career. In late July of this year, Killebrew hit his 499th homer. For the next 16 games, Killebrew went into a slump, not able to hit his 500th. But in the 17th game, Killebrew hit home runs 500 and 501 at Metropolitan Stadium to cement his legacy as an all-time great. Killebrew was relieved, telling the Associated Press he could finally breathe a sigh of relief again. “When people keep asking you when you’re going to hit it, you try a bit harder. The only time I thought about it was when people were asking me about it”, said Killebrew. 1. Nelson Cruz, 2019 - 4.3 fWAR The ageless wonder, Nelson Cruz, was a fantastic signing for the Twins in the 2019 offseason. In his age 38 season, Cruz turned the Twins from a mediocre team into a 100 game winner. The Dominican slugger helped guide young Hispanic sluggers Miguel Sano and Eddie Rosario to career highs in home runs. Cruz had such a profound impact on Sano that Sano decided to name Cruz the Godfather of his daughter. He also won the 2021 Roberto Clemente Award for all of the great work he does in the community. Along with his great leadership, Cruz was one of the best hitters in the league. In 2019, Cruz hit .311/.392/.639 (1.031) for a wRC+ of 164. His .639 slugging percentage was the best single season slugging percentage in Twins history. He hit 41 home runs and drove in 108 runs. He also led MLB in Barrels per Plate Appearance, Hard Hit Rate, and Average Exit Velocity. The combination of this means that he hit the ball harder than anyone else did more consistently than anyone else. This led to a lot of success for Cruz. Nelson Cruz had two more good seasons for the Twins before he was traded during his age 40 season to the Tampa Bay Rays for Joe Ryan and Drew Strotman. Cruz has a strong impact on baseballs and teammates, making him a great addition to any team. Conclusion Throughout the Twins history, they have had some great seasons by older players, proving that baseball isn’t always a young man’s game. Hopefully another great season by Donaldson next year can move him up on this list, but don’t look for many Twins to make this list in the near future as the Twins will try to get younger players more experience. Who did I miss on this list? What would you change about the order? Is Cruz the best power hitter in Twins history? Leave a comment below! Let me hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading, and Go Twins!
  9. Just a Small Town Boy If there was ever a small-town all-American youth, Harmon Killebrew is it. Killebrew grew up in a small town eastern Idaho where he worked as a farm hand and carried 10 gallon-95 pound milk buckets daily. It’s no wonder that he was able to hit sluggers when he got older. Harmon Killebrew was a tri-sport athlete in high school in Idaho. He played basketball, baseball and was the star quarterback of his football team. Killebrew was a natural athlete, a natural talent. Harmon Killebrew intended to play at the University of Oregon and was offered an athletic scholarship, but he turned it down. Harmon Killebrew ended up attending the College of Idaho and playing in the Idaho-Oregon Border League. Stellar Player, Incredible Man Killebrew showed out in semi-pro ball; so much that Idaho senator Herman Walker dropped a bug in the ear of Washington Senators owner Clark Griffith (father of Calvin) about the state’s crowned yet uncovered jewel. That led to a $50,000 contract for Griffith and inked the start of a career that would not only serve as the greatest of a ballplayer from Idaho, but one of the most prolific in the history of Major League Baseball. Harmon spent 22 years in the majors, 21 of which were with the Twins/Senators organization. Killebrew was rock-solid for Washington, consistently flirting with and surpassing a .300 batting average and earning all star accolades in 1959. Yet when the train left D.C. and headed west to Minneapolis, Killebrew’s true talent was untapped. Ten all-star appearances, an MVP award, and five HR titles later, Killebrew’s lore as a hall of famer was cemented. Yet after years of incredible accolades Harmon is remembered by most as a great ballplayer but an even better person. Kind to teammates, fans, and even umpires, Killebrew was the pinnacle of a gentleman that had the utmost respect for those around him. That genuine demeanor carried into his life off the field following retirement from baseball. Killebrew spent time with the A’s, Angels, and Twins as a broadcaster and continued to grow the game of baseball for those of all ages. And if you need more proof on how beloved Harmon was, find another former played who had an entire episode of the David Letterman show dedicated to him. Killebrew passed away in 2011 following a battle with Esophageal Cancer. The Twins released this statement following his passing. "No individual has ever meant more to the Minnesota Twins organization and millions of fans across Twins Territory than Harmon Killebrew. Harmon will long be remembered as one of the most prolific home run hitters in the history of the game and the leader of a group of players who helped lay the foundation for the long-term success of the Twins franchise and Major League Baseball in the Upper Midwest. However, more importantly Harmon's legacy will be the class, dignity and humility he demonstrated each and every day as a Hall of Fame-quality husband, father, friend, teammate and man." Harmon Killebrew was the full package as a player and person. It’s no surprise that his silhouette embodies the MLB logo to this day. And while he’s no longer with us, his kind demeanor, heroic home runs, and genuine personality bring back fond memories to Twins fans that span almost the entirety of the organization’s history. 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 - Joe Mauer #3 - Harmon Killebrew #2 - Coming Soon!
  10. If there is any baseball player that could do it all, Harmon Killebrew would be that guy. He was an outstanding power hitter, he could play first base, third base and left field. His nicknames “The Killer” and “Hammerin’ Harmon” left little to the imagination as to what he was known for. Just a Small Town Boy If there was ever a small-town all-American youth, Harmon Killebrew is it. Killebrew grew up in a small town eastern Idaho where he worked as a farm hand and carried 10 gallon-95 pound milk buckets daily. It’s no wonder that he was able to hit sluggers when he got older. Harmon Killebrew was a tri-sport athlete in high school in Idaho. He played basketball, baseball and was the star quarterback of his football team. Killebrew was a natural athlete, a natural talent. Harmon Killebrew intended to play at the University of Oregon and was offered an athletic scholarship, but he turned it down. Harmon Killebrew ended up attending the College of Idaho and playing in the Idaho-Oregon Border League. Stellar Player, Incredible Man Killebrew showed out in semi-pro ball; so much that Idaho senator Herman Walker dropped a bug in the ear of Washington Senators owner Clark Griffith (father of Calvin) about the state’s crowned yet uncovered jewel. That led to a $50,000 contract for Griffith and inked the start of a career that would not only serve as the greatest of a ballplayer from Idaho, but one of the most prolific in the history of Major League Baseball. Harmon spent 22 years in the majors, 21 of which were with the Twins/Senators organization. Killebrew was rock-solid for Washington, consistently flirting with and surpassing a .300 batting average and earning all star accolades in 1959. Yet when the train left D.C. and headed west to Minneapolis, Killebrew’s true talent was untapped. Ten all-star appearances, an MVP award, and five HR titles later, Killebrew’s lore as a hall of famer was cemented. Yet after years of incredible accolades Harmon is remembered by most as a great ballplayer but an even better person. Kind to teammates, fans, and even umpires, Killebrew was the pinnacle of a gentleman that had the utmost respect for those around him. That genuine demeanor carried into his life off the field following retirement from baseball. Killebrew spent time with the A’s, Angels, and Twins as a broadcaster and continued to grow the game of baseball for those of all ages. And if you need more proof on how beloved Harmon was, find another former played who had an entire episode of the David Letterman show dedicated to him. Killebrew passed away in 2011 following a battle with Esophageal Cancer. The Twins released this statement following his passing. "No individual has ever meant more to the Minnesota Twins organization and millions of fans across Twins Territory than Harmon Killebrew. Harmon will long be remembered as one of the most prolific home run hitters in the history of the game and the leader of a group of players who helped lay the foundation for the long-term success of the Twins franchise and Major League Baseball in the Upper Midwest. However, more importantly Harmon's legacy will be the class, dignity and humility he demonstrated each and every day as a Hall of Fame-quality husband, father, friend, teammate and man." Harmon Killebrew was the full package as a player and person. It’s no surprise that his silhouette embodies the MLB logo to this day. And while he’s no longer with us, his kind demeanor, heroic home runs, and genuine personality bring back fond memories to Twins fans that span almost the entirety of the organization’s history. 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 - Joe Mauer #3 - Harmon Killebrew #2 - Coming Soon! View full article
  11. Seventy five for a seventy five year old Okay, it is my birthday and I love life and all my ex-students, friends, participants in the guided tours, neighbors and family. So I am reflective and that means I have to think of 75 memories – there are many more. But here are 75 Twin memories. 1. Ushering during season one 2. Mudcat Grant – you want colorful – this is it. 3. Vic Power taking over first base in a way I have never seen anywhere else. 4. Jim Kaat just delivering and delivering and delivering. 5. Harmon Killebrew with a swing that seemed to cut the night air into pieces. 6. Rod Carew just toying with the fielders. 7. Sandy Koufax showing us what HOF means – despite out loss it was great. 8. Tony Oliva doing everything and then those knees just radiated pain. 9. Joe Mauer being so Minnesota that everyone in MN complained he was too plain. 10. Tovar playing everywhere and playing so good. 11. Everyday Eddie coming in day after day and giving us ulcers everytime. 12. Calvin Griffith reminding us that owning a team did not make a man into a good man. 13. Sid Hartman telling us everything MN was great even when it wasn’t. 14. Metropolitan Stadium, a dream for all of us with erector sets. 15. The dome collapsing like a big pimple. 16. 1987 Twins being champions when they looked like a below average team 17. 1965 Twins being the best team in our history, but losing to a historic event 18. Hrbek doing his wrestling move on first base – I am still laughing 19. Sitting in the upper upper deck of the metrodome at game 7 1991 20. Jack Morris refusing to quit – HOF for no other reason 21. Kirby Puckett showing that determination can change an outcome 22. Dan Gladden a non-star who gave us grit 23. Herb Carneal giving us a transistor seat at all the games 24. Halsey Hall so outrageous that we loved him even if we did not know what he was talking about 25. Cool nights with a breeze from right field in the sixties 26. Lousy hot dogs that still were satisfying in the early decades 27. Bob Allison looking so fit and intimidating 28. Nelson Cruz reminding us old guys that old does not mean feeble 29. Kirby Puckett taking over game six 30. Hrbek’s WS grand slam 31. Knoblauch at second base 32. Knoblauch returning to a shower of boos and hotdogs 33. Jim Perry 1970 Cy Young 34. Tom Kelly blowing it with Ortiz 35. Zoilo Versalles 1965 MVP 36. Byron Buxton in Centerfield 37. Torii Hunter robs Barry Bonds in All Star game 38. Frank Viola Cy Young 1988 39. Harmon Killebrew MVP 1969 40. Billy Martin and the marshmallow salesman 41. Johann Santana Cy Young award 2004 42. John Castino – rookie of the year 1979 43. Seeing Carew leave 44. Johann Santana Cy Young 2006 45. Paul Molitor at DH 1996 46. Dean Chance No-hitter 47. Joe Mauer 2009 – major league player of the year 48. Camilo Pascual’s curveball 49. The collapse of the Metrodome 50. Marty Cordova Rookie of the year 1995 (or last rookie of the year) 51. Justin Morneau MVP 2006 52. Mitch Garver in 2019 53. The Turtle running the bases 54. Bob Allison’s sliding catch 55. Randy Bush pinch hitter with 13 hits in one year 56. Gene Larkin’s walk off pinch hit 57. Puckett to the HOF 58. Harmon Killebrew’s 520-foot Home Run June 1967 59. The last playoff game won by the Twins 2004 60. 18 game post season losing streak 2020 61. 1984 Dave Kingman hits a 208 foot double – straight up and into the metrodome roof 62. Tony Oliva wins batting title in 1964 and 1965 63. 1971 Rod Carew Rookie of the Year 64. Lyman Bostock and Larry Hisle came together for one great year 65. 1977 Rod Carew batted 388 66. 1969 Harmon Killebrew hit 49 HRs 67. Billy Martin gets in fight with his own 20 game winner – Dave Boswell 68. 2016 Twins lose record 103 games 69. 1987 home team wins all the games in WS and we have four home games 70. Watching the famous Hrbek game in Sierra Vista AZ bar as the only Twins fan in the place 71. Killebrew in the HOF 72. Rod Carew in the HOF 73. 2002 Pohlads agree to contraction – we almost lost the team 74. 2006, the year of the Piranhas 75. Bert Blyleven in the HOF
  12. How would you rank… these four Twins players? (1.) Dean Chance, 2.) Nelson Cruz, 3.) Greg Gagne, 4.) Eddie Guardado) We all like lists and rankings, right? On this site, our prospect rankings often are the most heavily-discussed articles that we put together. Everyone can have their varying opinions and none are completely wrong, well, some are just more debatable. But this new e-book, The Top 60 Twins in 60 Seasons in Minnesota, should hopefully create a lot of discussion for our readers, but also for fathers and sons, husbands and wives, grandparents and grandkids. And for just $7.99. Before last month, I had never talked to “Nate Tubbs Rules.” However, for the past decade, I have eagerly awaited his updated Top 300 Twins Player rankings. Shortly after each season, it was fun to see which current players jumped furthest up the rankings. Which players fell out of the Top 300. For his rankings, “NTR” considers several factors, and they are things that we all think about probably as we think about how we might rank the players. (No, most of us wouldn’t think to actually rank them to 60, much less 300!) As he explains, these are some of the factors that go into these rankings (and by the way, you should see all the Excel spreadsheets that go into this!). “Longevity” includes how many years the player was with the Twins as well as how many plate appearances or innings pitched that player had during those years. For “Peak Value”, I looked at their stats, honors, and awards in their best seasons, as well as how they compared to their teammates. Did they lead their team in OPS or home runs or ERA for starters or WPA? If so, that got some bonus points. Postseason Heroics, Awards (Gold Gloves, Silver Sluggers, MVPs, Cy Youngs), Statistical achievements (batting titles, home run leaders, ERA champs, etc), Honors (All Star appearances), and Team Success. If you were the #1 starter on a division-winning champ, that gave you more “points” than the #1 starter on a cellar dweller. For each of us, we probably weigh each of those factors a little bit differently. In the handbook, you will find profiles for each of the Top 60 on his list, but you will also find the Top 300 rankings. At the very back of the book, I tried it myself. You can find my Top 60 Twins rankings there. So, let’s go back to that original question: How would you rank… these four Twins players? (1.) Dean Chance, 2.) Nelson Cruz, 3.) Greg Gagne, 4.) Eddie Guardado) Dean Chance was really good for about three seasons as a starter for the Twins. He was an All Star, threw a no-hitter, posted a 2.67 ERA over three years. Nelson Cruz has two Silver Sluggers at DH for the Twins in his two seasons, and the team won the division both years. Greg Gagne is a Twins Hall of Famer with two World Series rings. His offense wasn’t great, though most shortstops not named Ripken or Trammell did, but he was great defensively. And, he hit for some power at times. Eddie Guardado struggled as a starter and then became a solid, and frequently-used reliever before becoming an All Star closer. Leave your comments below for how you might rank those players, but as you can see, this is a fun exercise for Twins fans. And, it brings in all of the factors. Varying longevity in a Twins uniform. Varying levels of team success. Some won awards or were All Stars. Others were just really solid for several years. How do you compare starting pitchers to relievers, to power hitters and defensively-strong players? Those are the types of questions you will find yourself asking yourself and your friends over and over while reading through this book. For each of the Top 60, you will find a profile. I wrote the profiles, but “Nate Tubbs Rules” added his comments on why he ranked each player where he did. There are lists. There are rankings. And it’s just a lot of fun. We think that if you are a passionate Twins fan, you will really enjoy this book. We made it and it is only available as an e-book. We are asking for $7.99 per book. We were told we could charge more, and if you want to give more, you can, but we just want it to get in the hands of as many Twins fans as possible. The history of the organization is a lot of fun to read about and discuss. Oh, and then you can discuss who you would rank higher… Mudcat Grant or Jack Morris? Or which DH would you rank highest? Randy Bush, Nelson Cruz, Chili Davis, Jason Kubel or Paul Molitor? And why… We certainly hope that you will enjoy the book as much as Nate Tubbs Rules and I enjoyed researching and writing it! Tuesday night at 7 pm, "Nate Tubbs Rules" and I will be discussing the book and talking about the controversial rankings and answering any questions you would like to ask.
  13. Now available for Name Your Own Price (including free, if you like)... The 2020 season marked the 60th season of the Twins in Minnesota. Now available is a new e-book of The Top 60 Twins Players in 60 Seasons in Minnesota. Order now for immediate download.How would you rank… these four Twins players? (1.) Dean Chance, 2.) Nelson Cruz, 3.) Greg Gagne, 4.) Eddie Guardado) We all like lists and rankings, right? On this site, our prospect rankings often are the most heavily-discussed articles that we put together. Everyone can have their varying opinions and none are completely wrong, well, some are just more debatable. But this new e-book, The Top 60 Twins in 60 Seasons in Minnesota, should hopefully create a lot of discussion for our readers, but also for fathers and sons, husbands and wives, grandparents and grandkids. And for just $7.99. Before last month, I had never talked to “Nate Tubbs Rules.” However, for the past decade, I have eagerly awaited his updated Top 300 Twins Player rankings. Shortly after each season, it was fun to see which current players jumped furthest up the rankings. Which players fell out of the Top 300. For his rankings, “NTR” considers several factors, and they are things that we all think about probably as we think about how we might rank the players. (No, most of us wouldn’t think to actually rank them to 60, much less 300!) As he explains, these are some of the factors that go into these rankings (and by the way, you should see all the Excel spreadsheets that go into this!). “Longevity” includes how many years the player was with the Twins as well as how many plate appearances or innings pitched that player had during those years.For “Peak Value”, I looked at their stats, honors, and awards in their best seasons, as well as how they compared to their teammates.Did they lead their team in OPS or home runs or ERA for starters or WPA? If so, that got some bonus points.Postseason Heroics,Awards (Gold Gloves, Silver Sluggers, MVPs, Cy Youngs),Statistical achievements (batting titles, home run leaders, ERA champs, etc),Honors (All Star appearances), andTeam Success. If you were the #1 starter on a division-winning champ, that gave you more “points” than the #1 starter on a cellar dweller.For each of us, we probably weigh each of those factors a little bit differently.In the handbook, you will find profiles for each of the Top 60 on his list, but you will also find the Top 300 rankings. At the very back of the book, I tried it myself. You can find my Top 60 Twins rankings there. So, let’s go back to that original question: How would you rank… these four Twins players? (1.) Dean Chance, 2.) Nelson Cruz, 3.) Greg Gagne, 4.) Eddie Guardado) Dean Chance was really good for about three seasons as a starter for the Twins. He was an All Star, threw a no-hitter, posted a 2.67 ERA over three years. Nelson Cruz has two Silver Sluggers at DH for the Twins in his two seasons, and the team won the division both years. Greg Gagne is a Twins Hall of Famer with two World Series rings. His offense wasn’t great, though most shortstops not named Ripken or Trammell did, but he was great defensively. And, he hit for some power at times. Eddie Guardado struggled as a starter and then became a solid, and frequently-used reliever before becoming an All Star closer. Leave your comments below for how you might rank those players, but as you can see, this is a fun exercise for Twins fans. And, it brings in all of the factors. Varying longevity in a Twins uniform. Varying levels of team success. Some won awards or were All Stars. Others were just really solid for several years. How do you compare starting pitchers to relievers, to power hitters and defensively-strong players? Those are the types of questions you will find yourself asking yourself and your friends over and over while reading through this book. For each of the Top 60, you will find a profile. I wrote the profiles, but “Nate Tubbs Rules” added his comments on why he ranked each player where he did. There are lists. There are rankings. And it’s just a lot of fun. We think that if you are a passionate Twins fan, you will really enjoy this book. We made it and it is only available as an e-book. We are asking for $7.99 per book. We were told we could charge more, and if you want to give more, you can, but we just want it to get in the hands of as many Twins fans as possible. The history of the organization is a lot of fun to read about and discuss. Oh, and then you can discuss who you would rank higher… Mudcat Grant or Jack Morris? Or which DH would you rank highest? Randy Bush, Nelson Cruz, Chili Davis, Jason Kubel or Paul Molitor? And why… We certainly hope that you will enjoy the book as much as Nate Tubbs Rules and I enjoyed researching and writing it! Tuesday night at 7 pm, "Nate Tubbs Rules" and I will be discussing the book and talking about the controversial rankings and answering any questions you would like to ask. Click here to view the article
  14. A: Bob Allison (211 Home Runs) Allison is possibly one of the most underappreciated sluggers in Twins history. His first All-Star appearance and his first 30-home run campaign came in a Senators’ uniform. Even with his season’s in Washington, he ranks sixth all-time in home runs in a Twins uniform. B: Tom Brunansky (163 Home Runs) Brunansky hit 20 or more home runs for eight straight seasons from 1982-1989. He also became the Twins first Home Run Derby participant when the Twins hosted the 1985 All-Star Game at the Metrodome. In that contest, he finished two home runs behind Dave Parker and tied with some all-time greats like Carlton Fisk, Eddie Murray, and Jim Rice. C: Michael Cuddyer (141 Home Runs) Cuddyer will appear on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time this year and his home run total puts him in the top-12 in Twins history. He’d make his first All-Star appearance as a 32-year old in his final season with the Twins and he went on to win the NL batting title in 2013 with the Rockies. D: Brian Dozier (167 Home Runs) Dozier was a late bloomer when it came to Twins prospect as he wouldn’t make his big-league debut until he was 25. His first season with 30 or more home runs was 2016 when he was already 29-years old. His 42 home runs in 2016 are the most all-time in Twins history by a player not named Harmon Killebrew. E: Eduardo Escobar (63 Home Runs) Escobar is the gift that keeps on giving as the Twins seem to still be benefiting from his trade to the Diamondbacks. His best home run season came in Arizona, but he hit 21 home runs for the Twins in 2017 and he probably would have crossed that mark again in 2018 if he weren’t traded at the deadline. F: Dan Ford (57 Home Runs) This would be a lot of fun if Lew Ford ended up with the top spot, but he only hit 32 home runs as a Twin. Dan Ford played 11 seasons as a big-leaguer and broke into the AL as a 23-year old in 1975. He hit double-digit home runs in all four seasons with Minnesota. G: Gary Gaetti (201 Home Runs) A long-time fan favorite, Gaetti is one of only eight players to clock over 200 home runs with the Twins. He’d play at the big-league level until he was 41-years old in a career that spanned 20 seasons. He’d end his career with 360 long balls which is no small feat for a player that was also a strong defensive presence. H: Kent Hrbek (293 Home Runs) Bloomington’s own has his number retired by his hometown team and only one player in team history has hit more home runs. He retired at age-34, so it’s interesting to think about how many home runs he could have ended up with if he had played well into his 30s. I: None No Twins player has ever hit a home run with the last name starting with I. J: Jacque Jones (132 Home Runs) Jones ranks 13th on the Twins all-time home run list, but he is only one home run ahead of Miguel Sano. He played seven seasons in a Twins uniform and he would only accumulate 33 home runs outside of Minnesota. In 2002, he finished eight among position players in WAR when hie hit 27 home runs. K: Harmon Killebrew (475 Home Runs) The best home run hitter in Twins history and it’s not even close. No other player hit over 300 home runs for the Twins. He led the American League in home runs six different seasons, and he is one of two Twins players to hit more than 40 home runs in one season. Oh yeah, he did that seven different times. L: Tim Laudner (77 Home Runs) Laudner played all nine of his big-league seasons in Minnesota and hit double digit home runs in four different campaigns. His lone All-Star appearance came as a 30-year old when he hit .251/.316/.408 with 13 home runs and 18 doubles. M: Justin Morneau (221 Home Runs) The more powerful half of the M&M duo, Morneau hit 18 or more home runs in seven consecutive seasons. Only a handful of Twins players have hit more than 30 home runs in a season which Morneau did three different times. He has the third most home runs in team history. N: Eduardo Nunez (20 Home Runs) He helped the Red Sox win the World Series, but his lone All-Star appearance cam with the 2016 Minnesota Twins. He’s never hit more than 16 home runs in one season, but his defensive versatility allowed him to play parts of 10 different seasons at the big leagues. O: Tony Oliva (220 Home Runs) Outside of Joe Mauer, Oliva might be the greatest Twins player that hasn’t been elected to the Hall of Fame. He became the first designated hitter to hit a home run while hitting 13 or more home runs in 11 different seasons. Only three players have hit more home runs for the Twins. P: Kirby Puckett (207 Home Runs) Puckett’s most famous homer came in Game 6 of the 1991 World Series, but he hit plenty of other home runs in a Twins uniform. He hit double digit home runs in nine different seasons, and he hit 20 or more home runs in six different years. He ranks seventh in club history. Q: Frank Quilici (5 Home Runs) Surprisingly, his five home runs aren’t the lowest total on this list. He played parts of five different seasons with the Twins and ended his career as a .214/.281/.287 hitter. He was part of Minnesota’s first World Series team in 1965 and he played on the 1970 team that lost to Baltimore in the ALCS. R: Eddie Rosario (119 Home Runs) Rosario’s time in Minnesota might be done and if it is, he will finish his Twins tenure with the 15th most home runs in club history. As part of the 2019 Bomba Squad, he hit a career high 32 home runs. He has hit 10 or more home runs in every big-league season. S: Miguel Sano (131 Home Runs) After six seasons, Sano already ranks 14th in team history when it comes to home runs. If he hits 13 or more home runs next season, he will pass Joe Mauer and move into 11th on the Twins all-time list and he’s 22 home runs away from breaking into the top-10. T: Cesar Tovar (38 Home Runs) Tovar hit double-digit home runs in two seasons, but he was more known as a doubles hitter. He led the American League in doubles and triples back in 1970 and he had the most hits in the league during the 1970 campaign. U: Ted Uhlaender (23 Home Runs) His lone double-digit home run season came after he left the Twins organization. As a center fielder, he wasn’t known for his power, but he got on base over 30% of the time. V: Zoilo Versalles (86 Home Runs) The 1965 AL MVP led the league in runs, doubles, and triples that season. Versalles is one of three Cuban born players to take home MVP honors including Jose Abreu in 2020. He only hit double-digits in home runs in four seasons, but all those seasons were with the Twins. W: Josh Willingham (61 Home Runs) Willingham only played parts of three season with the Twins but only four Twins players have hit more than his 35 home runs in 2012. His career took a steep downturn from there as he never hit more than 14 home runs in another season. X: None No Twins player has ever hit a home run with the last name starting with X. Y: Delmon Young (47 Home Runs) Young was acquired to be the powerful right-handed bat to break-up Minnesota’s lefties (Mauer and Morneau). He hit a career high 21 home runs in 2010 before going on to have some postseason success with the Detroit Tigers when he won the 2012 ALCS MVP. Z: Jerry Zimmerman (3 Home Runs) Zimmerman play parts of seven seasons with the Twins, but he only played more than 85 games in one season. He hit one home run in each season from 1965-1967 to end up with the most home runs for the letter Z. What names stand out to you on this list? What home run from these players do you remember the most? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  15. I don’t think it’s burying the lede here to note that Harmon Killebrew’s signature is going to be number one on this list. He’s got some of the greatest penmanship we’ve seen in any era, and it was a craft he took great pride in. You’ll often hear stories from more recent players where they’ll quip about the times Harmon noted they needed to clean up their signature. Given the recent explosion of the trading card collecting hobby it seemed only fitting to explore the guys that have followed his advice best. Surprisingly, there’s more than a few modern candidates on this list. Without further ado, let’s get into it: 5. Paul Molitor After playing 15 years in Milwaukee for the Brewers, Molitor ended his Hall of Fame career with the hometown team. The St. Paul native was well past his prime when he joined the Twins, but Molitor still put up an .858 OPS at age-39. There was no shortage of autograph requests given the local fanfare, and those continued when he became manager, and eventually Manager of the Year, following his playing days. The signature is a compressed one, and the letters are all tight together, but getting every character is something rarely seen today. 4. Bert Blyleven This is a weird case in which the signature is awesome, but it’s one that typically comes with caveats. Blyleven is also a Hall of Famer and played 11 of his 22 big league seasons in Minnesota. He is still connected to the team as a broadcaster, and while his capacity is slowly being phased out, it will never not be true that he was among the best to put on the uniform. Much like Harmon’s style, Blyleven makes sure to get out his full name fully and visibly when signing. For collectors he’ll generally ink his name in undesirable places or attempt to devalue whatever he is signing for the fear of secondary market flipping. At any rate, the signature itself is a gorgeous one. 3. Torii Hunter As the first modern day inclusion on this list Torii Hunter represents a guy bound by principles. He has often talked about things gleaned from his time listening to Harmon, and he too represents that type of retired veteran constantly passing information down. Hunter played the role of mentor and leader on multiple teams, and it’s not hard to see why doing things the right way would be of importance to him. Hunter’s autograph is loopier and more cartoonish than the previous two entries, but it’s plenty obvious who the inscription belongs to when reading it. Often accompanied by his number, Torii takes any piece of memorabilia up a notch by putting his name on it. 2. Michael Cuddyer One of my favorite autographs in all of baseball, Cuddyer combines principles from the three players before him. He was a Twins for 11 of his 15 Major League seasons and there was never a time in which he wasn’t fighting to cement his place as a regular. Often seen as the utility player that could contribute everywhere, Cuddyer went about all of his processes the right way. Without sounding too sappy Cuddyer’s signature has an elegance to it. As a fan of photography, often taking pictures at away ballparks, maybe there was even an artistic tie to the swoops of his pen. Each time his name came out though, it looked as good as the last. 1. Harmon Killebrew As I said when starting this off, it’s pretty impossible to look at any group of people under this subject and not determine Harmon as the gold standard. Playing 21 of his 22 illustrious seasons with the Minnesota franchise (after relocating from Washington seven seasons in) the Killer racked up accolades like no one’s business. An inner circle Hall of Famer doesn’t need to bother themselves with signature requests, but Killebrew took it upon himself to treat each as if it were his last. There will never be a time that the importance Killebrew placed on a well-respected signature isn’t a story that’s shared fondly among Twins fans. Although it doesn’t resonate with every future player, it’s great to see the trickle-down effect and know that his presence remains even though he has left us. Who's missing that you would add to this list? MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  16. Twins fans fans may have been spoiled by the team in their first decade. The second decade started out strong with 98 wins and a playoff berth in 1970. That was their lone playoff appearance of the decade. In 1971, they finished in fifth place in the division. Each other season, they finished either third or fourth in the AL West. Some of the Twins stars of the 1960s were still around and contributing early in the 1970s, though generally just a shell of themselves after 1971. Rod Carew and Bert Blyleven certainly led the way during the decade, but there were other really solid players throughout the decade. The 1976 and 1977 Twins won 85 and 84 games. The 1977 team scored 867 runs, but the pitching was not real strong. Bill Rigney began the decade as the team's manager. He was replaced by Frank Quilici midway through the 1972 season. Gene Mach took over in 1976 and remained through the decade. He managed his nephew, Roy Smalley who was voted the starting shortstop for the American League in the 1979 All-Star Game. Let's get to the lineup... and be sure to leave your thoughts on this roster, or who I missed. http://traffic.libsyn.com/sethstohs/GTKE_Podcast_Ep16_Patrick_Reusse.mp3 C - Butch Wynegar (1976-1979) 577 games, .256/.344/.350 (.694) with 85 doubles, 31 homers, 250 RBI. Wynegar was the Twins second-round pick out of high school in 1974 and debuted just after he turned 20 in April of 1976. He finished second to Mark Fydrich in 1976 Rookie of the Year voting, and he was an All-Star his first two seasons. He caught between 131 and 146 games in each of his first five seasons. 1B - Harmon Killebrew (1970-1974) 634 games, .247/.373/.451 (.824) with 68 doubles, 113 homers, 391 RBI. After winning the AL MVP in 1969, Killebrew hit 41 homers and finished third in the voting in 1970. He was an All-Star in 1970 and 1971, his 10th and 11th of the year. While things went downward from there, the Twins great and future Hall of Famer was still the easy choice for this position. His 113 homers from over these five years still led the organization by 25. 2B - Rod Carew (1970-1978) 1,248 games, .345/.407/.460 (.867) with 226 doubles, 57 homers, 584 RBI. Carew was the choice in the 1960s for second base as well, but he was just getting started. Look at that, a .345 average over NINE seasons. He didn’t hit under .307 in any season, and he led the league in batting average six of those nine years. He was the AL MVP in 1977 when he hit .388/.449/.570 (1.019) with 38 doubles, 16 triples, 14 home runs and 100 RBI. He had four other Top 5 MVP seasons as well. He was an All-Star each of the 12 seasons he played with the Twins. If you’re into bWAR, his 53.7 mark is 36.5 more than anyone else in the organization during the decade. 3B - Steve Braun (1971-1976) 751 games, .284/.376/.381 (.757) with 103 doubles, 35 homers, 273 RBI. Braun was the team’s 10th-round pick in 1966 out of high school. He debuted with 128 games in 1971. He spent six seasons with the Twins. He played around the diamond, but mostly at third base the first three seasons and then in left field the next three years. He had a good, patient approach at the plate. In 1973, he hit .283 but also had a .408 on-base percentage. SS - Roy Smalley (1976-1979) 573 games, .261/.346/.388 (.734) with 96 doubles, 51 homers, 264 RBI. Smalley was the Rangers' first-round pick in 1974 from USC and debuted in 1975. On June 1, 1976, he came to the Twins as part of a package for Bert Blyleven. His best season was in 1979. He was an All-Star and received MVP votes. He led the league in games played and plate appearances. He hit 28 doubles and a career-high 24 homers. Side note - It’s inexplicable to me why Roy Smalley is not in the Twins Hall of Fame. LF - Larry Hisle (1973-1977) 662 games, .286/.354/.457 (.811) with 109 doubles, 87 homers, 409 RBI. Hisle was traded to the Twins from the Cardinals after the 1972 season and spent the next five seasons in a Twins uniform. He immediately became an impact player, hitting for average, getting on base and showing some power. He was good the first four years, but in 1977, he hit .302 with 36 doubles, 28 homer and a league-leading 119 RBI. He was an All-Star and earned MVP votes. That offseason, he left via free agency and signed with Milwaukee where he had one more really strong season. CF - Lyman Bostock (1975-1977) 379 games, .318/.366/.416 (.812) with 78 doubles, 18 homers, 179 RBI. Bostock was the Twins 26th-round pick in 1972 out of Cal State, Northridge. He debuted at the start of the 1975 season. He hit .282 in 98 games as a rookie. Then he hit .323 in 1976. In 1977, he hit .336/.389/.508 (.897) with 36 doubles, 12 triples and 14 home runs. He became a free agent and signed with the Angels. He was tragically killed in September of 1978. RF - Cesar Tovar (1970-1972) 459 games, .293/.348/.384 (.732) with 85 doubles, 13 homers, 130 RBI. Tovar continued to play all over the diamond in the early 1970s. In 1970, he led the league with 36 doubles and 13 triples. In 1971, he led the league with 204 base hits. He batted .300 in 1970 and 1971 and received MVP votes. He was traded to the Phillies after the 1972 season and played through the 1976 season. DH - Tony Oliva (1970-1976) 764 games, .299/.345/.446 (.791) with 116 doubles, 88 homers, 412 RBI. Oliva was a star for the Twins in the 1960s, and he entered the 1970s as one of the best players in the league. In 1970, he hit .325, finished second in MVP voting and led the league with 204 hits and 36 doubles. In 1971, he won his third career batting title by hitting .337. He also led the league with a .546 slugging percentage. Knee injuries cost him most of the 1972 season and lowered the trajectory of his career. He kept playing through the 1976 season. Your turn. Who would make your Twins 1970s All-Decade team? And what might that lineup look like?
  17. Last week, I broke down my choices for a Minnesota Twins All-Decade Team of the 1960s in three parts (Hitters, Pitchers, Podcast). This week, we advance to the 1970s. Today, we will share the potential lineup for a Twins team of the '70s. Tomorrow we will be back with the pitching staff. On Thursday night, we'll share another fun, story-filled podcast with someone who covered the team during the decade.Twins fans fans may have been spoiled by the team in their first decade. The second decade started out strong with 98 wins and a playoff berth in 1970. That was their lone playoff appearance of the decade. In 1971, they finished in fifth place in the division. Each other season, they finished either third or fourth in the AL West. Some of the Twins stars of the 1960s were still around and contributing early in the 1970s, though generally just a shell of themselves after 1971. Rod Carew and Bert Blyleven certainly led the way during the decade, but there were other really solid players throughout the decade. The 1976 and 1977 Twins won 85 and 84 games. The 1977 team scored 867 runs, but the pitching was not real strong. Bill Rigney began the decade as the team's manager. He was replaced by Frank Quilici midway through the 1972 season. Gene Mach took over in 1976 and remained through the decade. He managed his nephew, Roy Smalley who was voted the starting shortstop for the American League in the 1979 All-Star Game. Let's get to the lineup... and be sure to leave your thoughts on this roster, or who I missed. C - Butch Wynegar (1976-1979) 577 games, .256/.344/.350 (.694) with 85 doubles, 31 homers, 250 RBI. Wynegar was the Twins second-round pick out of high school in 1974 and debuted just after he turned 20 in April of 1976. He finished second to Mark Fydrich in 1976 Rookie of the Year voting, and he was an All-Star his first two seasons. He caught between 131 and 146 games in each of his first five seasons. 1B - Harmon Killebrew (1970-1974) 634 games, .247/.373/.451 (.824) with 68 doubles, 113 homers, 391 RBI. After winning the AL MVP in 1969, Killebrew hit 41 homers and finished third in the voting in 1970. He was an All-Star in 1970 and 1971, his 10th and 11th of the year. While things went downward from there, the Twins great and future Hall of Famer was still the easy choice for this position. His 113 homers from over these five years still led the organization by 25. 2B - Rod Carew (1970-1978) 1,248 games, .345/.407/.460 (.867) with 226 doubles, 57 homers, 584 RBI. Carew was the choice in the 1960s for second base as well, but he was just getting started. Look at that, a .345 average over NINE seasons. He didn’t hit under .307 in any season, and he led the league in batting average six of those nine years. He was the AL MVP in 1977 when he hit .388/.449/.570 (1.019) with 38 doubles, 16 triples, 14 home runs and 100 RBI. He had four other Top 5 MVP seasons as well. He was an All-Star each of the 12 seasons he played with the Twins. If you’re into bWAR, his 53.7 mark is 36.5 more than anyone else in the organization during the decade. 3B - Steve Braun (1971-1976) 751 games, .284/.376/.381 (.757) with 103 doubles, 35 homers, 273 RBI. Braun was the team’s 10th-round pick in 1966 out of high school. He debuted with 128 games in 1971. He spent six seasons with the Twins. He played around the diamond, but mostly at third base the first three seasons and then in left field the next three years. He had a good, patient approach at the plate. In 1973, he hit .283 but also had a .408 on-base percentage. SS - Roy Smalley (1976-1979) 573 games, .261/.346/.388 (.734) with 96 doubles, 51 homers, 264 RBI. Smalley was the Rangers' first-round pick in 1974 from USC and debuted in 1975. On June 1, 1976, he came to the Twins as part of a package for Bert Blyleven. His best season was in 1979. He was an All-Star and received MVP votes. He led the league in games played and plate appearances. He hit 28 doubles and a career-high 24 homers. Side note - It’s inexplicable to me why Roy Smalley is not in the Twins Hall of Fame. LF - Larry Hisle (1973-1977) 662 games, .286/.354/.457 (.811) with 109 doubles, 87 homers, 409 RBI. Hisle was traded to the Twins from the Cardinals after the 1972 season and spent the next five seasons in a Twins uniform. He immediately became an impact player, hitting for average, getting on base and showing some power. He was good the first four years, but in 1977, he hit .302 with 36 doubles, 28 homer and a league-leading 119 RBI. He was an All-Star and earned MVP votes. That offseason, he left via free agency and signed with Milwaukee where he had one more really strong season. CF - Lyman Bostock (1975-1977) 379 games, .318/.366/.416 (.812) with 78 doubles, 18 homers, 179 RBI. Bostock was the Twins 26th-round pick in 1972 out of Cal State, Northridge. He debuted at the start of the 1975 season. He hit .282 in 98 games as a rookie. Then he hit .323 in 1976. In 1977, he hit .336/.389/.508 (.897) with 36 doubles, 12 triples and 14 home runs. He became a free agent and signed with the Angels. He was tragically killed in September of 1978. RF - Cesar Tovar (1970-1972) 459 games, .293/.348/.384 (.732) with 85 doubles, 13 homers, 130 RBI. Tovar continued to play all over the diamond in the early 1970s. In 1970, he led the league with 36 doubles and 13 triples. In 1971, he led the league with 204 base hits. He batted .300 in 1970 and 1971 and received MVP votes. He was traded to the Phillies after the 1972 season and played through the 1976 season. DH - Tony Oliva (1970-1976) 764 games, .299/.345/.446 (.791) with 116 doubles, 88 homers, 412 RBI. Oliva was a star for the Twins in the 1960s, and he entered the 1970s as one of the best players in the league. In 1970, he hit .325, finished second in MVP voting and led the league with 204 hits and 36 doubles. In 1971, he won his third career batting title by hitting .337. He also led the league with a .546 slugging percentage. Knee injuries cost him most of the 1972 season and lowered the trajectory of his career. He kept playing through the 1976 season. Your turn. Who would make your Twins 1970s All-Decade team? And what might that lineup look like? Click here to view the article
  18. The Twins came to Minnesota before the 1961 season and had a really good first decade. The team won 89 or more games in six of the nine seasons. They took the Dodgers to Game 7 of the 1965 World Series. They had some batting championship, Pitchers of the Year, lots of home runs and gave Twins baseball fans some great excitement. http://traffic.libsyn.com/sethstohs/GTKE_Podcast_Ep15_Dave_Mona.mp3 You may know Dave Mona from his great work at WCCO, hosting The Sports Huddle with Sid and Dave. But as you'll hear in this episode, he remains busy, working throughout the community. He has long been a huge supporter of all Minnesota sports. He worked at Met Stadium in the 1950s, when the Minneapolis Millers played there. He ended up at the Minneapolis Tribune and he was the Twins beat writer during the 1968 and 1969 seasons. In this episode, we discussed the top Twins hitters and pitchers of the 1960s. Mr. Mona has so many great stories from covering the team and from remaining in the sports media since then. He's got great stories of Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew, Tony Oliva, Ron Perranoski and most of the All-Decade team. And there are great stories regarding Billy Martin, and Reggie Jackson, and others. This was one of the most enjoyable conversations I have had,and I really believe you will enjoy the conversation. There were so many great Twins players in the 1960s, and Dave Mona tells some great stories! Please listen and discuss and comment below. http://traffic.libsyn.com/sethstohs/GTKE_Podcast_Ep15_Dave_Mona.mp3 You can subscribe to the Get to Know 'Em podcast on iTunes. or follow Libsyn for new episodes here as well. Please leave ratings or feedback. And did you know that you can listen to the Get To Know 'Em podcast by asking Alexa to "Listen to the Get To Know 'Em Podcast." PAST EPISODES Episode 1: Get to know Niko Guardado (Actor and son of Eddie Guardado) Episode 2: Get to know Pat Dean, Brent Rooker Episode 3: Get to know Royce Lewis, AJ Achter Episode 4: Get to know Devin Smeltzer Episode 5: Get to know Jaylin Davis, Tyler Wells Episode 6: Get to know: Travis Blankenhorn, LaMonte Wade Episode 7: Get to know: Matt Wallner (and Ten Minutes with Tyler Wells) Episode 8: Get to know: Caleb Hamilton, Austin Schulfer, Nick Anderson Episode 9: Get to know: Andy Young, Billy Boyer (and Ten Minutes with Tyler) Episode 10: Get to know: Wesley Wright (Twins Pro Scout) Episode 11: Get to know: John Manuel (Twins Pro Scout) Episode 12: Get to know: Marshall Kelner (Mighty Mussels broadcaster) Episode 13: Get to know: Dick Bremer (Twins broadcaster, author) Episode 14: Get to know: Anthony Slama (former Twins pitcher, entrepreneur) Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Not registered? Click here to create an account. To stay up to date, follow Twins Daily on Twitter and Facebook.
  19. This week, I have shared my choices for a Minnesota Twins All Decade Team, starting with the Hitters and then the Pitchers. To continue the discussion of the 1960s Twins, I was fortunate to spend about a little over an hour chatting with WCCOs Dave Mona about the players from the 1960s team. He was a Twins beat writer in 1968 and 1969.The Twins came to Minnesota before the 1961 season and had a really good first decade. The team won 89 or more games in six of the nine seasons. They took the Dodgers to Game 7 of the 1965 World Series. They had some batting championship, Pitchers of the Year, lots of home runs and gave Twins baseball fans some great excitement. You may know Dave Mona from his great work at WCCO, hosting The Sports Huddle with Sid and Dave. But as you'll hear in this episode, he remains busy, working throughout the community. He has long been a huge supporter of all Minnesota sports. He worked at Met Stadium in the 1950s, when the Minneapolis Millers played there. He ended up at the Minneapolis Tribune and he was the Twins beat writer during the 1968 and 1969 seasons. In this episode, we discussed the top Twins hitters and pitchers of the 1960s. Mr. Mona has so many great stories from covering the team and from remaining in the sports media since then. He's got great stories of Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew, Tony Oliva, Ron Perranoski and most of the All-Decade team. And there are great stories regarding Billy Martin, and Reggie Jackson, and others. This was one of the most enjoyable conversations I have had,and I really believe you will enjoy the conversation. There were so many great Twins players in the 1960s, and Dave Mona tells some great stories! Please listen and discuss and comment below. You can subscribe to the Get to Know 'Em podcast on iTunes. or follow Libsyn for new episodes here as well. Please leave ratings or feedback. And did you know that you can listen to the Get To Know 'Em podcast by asking Alexa to "Listen to the Get To Know 'Em Podcast." PAST EPISODES Episode 1: Get to know Niko Guardado (Actor and son of Eddie Guardado) Episode 2: Get to know Pat Dean, Brent Rooker Episode 3: Get to know Royce Lewis, AJ Achter Episode 4: Get to know Devin Smeltzer Episode 5: Get to know Jaylin Davis, Tyler Wells Episode 6: Get to know: Travis Blankenhorn, LaMonte Wade Episode 7: Get to know: Matt Wallner (and Ten Minutes with Tyler Wells) Episode 8: Get to know: Caleb Hamilton, Austin Schulfer, Nick Anderson Episode 9: Get to know: Andy Young, Billy Boyer (and Ten Minutes with Tyler) Episode 10: Get to know: Wesley Wright (Twins Pro Scout) Episode 11: Get to know: John Manuel(Twins Pro Scout) Episode 12: Get to know: Marshall Kelner(Mighty Mussels broadcaster) Episode 13: Get to know: Dick Bremer (Twins broadcaster, author) Episode 14: Get to know: Anthony Slama (former Twins pitcher, entrepreneur) Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Not registered? Click here to create an account. To stay up to date, follow Twins Daily on Twitter and Facebook. Click here to view the article
  20. As you know, the Twins came to Minnesota from Washington DC where they were known as the Senators. In 1961, they won just 70 games. Then they won 91 games each of the next two seasons. 1964 was disappointing as the team finished just below .500. In 1965, the Twins made it all the way to the World Series where they lost in seven games to the Dodgers. They won at least 89 games the next two seasons but then fell below .500 again in 1968. In 1969, under Billy Martin, they won 97 games. The 1960s was the Twins first decade in Minnesota. As you look through the top hitters below, you might want to ask yourself if the 1960s Twins All-Decade team might just be the best of the six decades. Share your thoughts. Who did I miss? Who would you name the player of the decade? THE HITTERS C - Earl Battey (1961-1967) 853 games, .278/.356/.409 (.765) with 115 doubles, 76 homers, 350 RBI. Battey spent parts of five seasons with the White Sox but came to the Senators in 1960. That season, he won his first Gold Glove Award. In his seven seasons in a Twins uniform, he was an All-Star in four seasons. He won two more Gold Gloves. He finished in the top ten in MVP voting twice. 1B - Harmon Killebrew - 1961-1969 1,305 games, .266/.388/.547 (.935) with 164 doubles, 362 homers, 933 RBI. When the Twins came to Minnesota, he had already spent parts of seven seasons with the Senators.In the ‘60s, he was an All-Star all but one year. His 362 homers were best in the organization by over 150 homers. He hit 39 or more homers in seven of the seasons and led the American League five times. He won the 1969 MVP award and finished in the Top 5 in MVP voting five times. 2B - Rod Carew - 1967-1969 387 games, .299/.346/.408 (.754) with 79 doubles, 17 homers, 149 RBI. Carew didn’t debut until 1967, but he made an immediate impact. He played in all three All-Star games. He was the 1967 AL Rookie of the Year. He led the league with a .332 batting average in 1969. It was just the beginning for the future Hall of Famer whom the American League batting championship is now named after. 3B - Rich Rollins - 1961-1968 888 games, .272/.333/.398 (.727) with 117 doubles, 71 homers, 369 RBI. Rollins was an All-Star (twice). He finished eighth in MVP voting. He had at least 40 extra-base hits each year from 1962 through 1964. As the decade advanced, he became more of a part-time, platoon player. SS - Zoilo Versalles - 1961-1967 1,065 games, .252/.299/.387 (.686) with 188 doubles, 86 homers, 401 RBI. Versalles had played parts of two seasons with the Senators. He became a regular in 1961. He was an All-Star and Gold Glove winner in 1963. In 1965, he was an All-Star, a Gold Glove winner, and the American League MVP. That season, he led the league in doubles (45) and triples (12). It was the third straight year he led the league in triples. LF - Bob Allison - 1961-1969 1,189 games, .255/.361/.482 (.843) with 162 doubles, 210 homers, 635 RBI. Allison debuted with the Senators in 1958 and was an All-Star and the AL Rookie of the Year in 1959. He was a starter throughout the 1960s. He was an All-Star in 1963 and 1964, his two best seasons. He hit over 30 homers twice and over 20 homers seven seasons in the decade. His .911 OPS led the American League. He was a leader of the 1965 World Series team and his catch is still one of the great highlights in World Series history. CF - Jimmie Hall - 1963-1966 573 games, .269/.334/.481 (.815) with 73 doubles, 98 homers, 288 RBI. Hall debuted as a 25 year old in 1963 and finished third in Rookie of the Year voting. He hit .260 with a career-high 33 homers. He was an All-Star in 1964 and 1965. A left-handed hitter, he started just two of the seven World Series games in 1965 because he didn’t play in the games started by Sandy Koufax or Claude Osteen. He hit 20 or more homers in all four of his Twins seasons before he was traded to California after the 1966 season. RF - Tony Oliva - 1962-1969 912 games, .308/.359/.500 (.859) with 213 doubles, 132 homers, 535 RBI. Oliva played in 16 games between 1962 and 1963. In 1964, he hit .323 and was the AL Rookie of the Year. He won batting titles his first two seasons. He was an All-Star in 1964 and for each season through the rest of the decade. He twice finished runner up in AL MVP voting, including to Versalles in 1965. He led the league in Hits four times during the decade and in Doubles four times. His 213 doubles was tops in the organization. DH - Cesar Tovar - 1965-1969 631 games, .271/.329/.371 (.700) with 108 doubles, 25 homers, 189 RBI. Obviously there wasn’t a designated hitter in the 1960s, but we are going to have one… because, well, why not? With the hitters in this lineup, Tovar likely wouldn’t be the regular DH in actual games. He would play all over the diamond with different guys DHing each game. Tovar debuted in 1965. In 1966, he became a regular. In 1967, he led the league with 164 games played (and plate appearances and at-bats). He received MVP votes each season from 1967 through 1971. What an impressive group of players, led by several Hall of Famers, Twins Hall of Famers and Baseball Hall of Famers. Check back tomorrow for the Twins Pitchers of the Decade of the 1960s.
  21. Over the coming weeks at Twins Daily, I will be digging into the history of the Minnesota Twins and presenting for you Twins teams of the decades. Tonight, we will start with my choices for the Hitters of the 1960s Twins. Tomorrow, I'll post the pitchers of that decade (five starters, five relievers).Finally, on Thursday night, I'll post a fun interview/podcast with someone who is very familiar with the Twins of the 1960s. Hopefully you are as interested in the Twins 60-year history and will discuss the players and the list.As you know, the Twins came to Minnesota from Washington DC where they were known as the Senators. In 1961, they won just 70 games. Then they won 91 games each of the next two seasons. 1964 was disappointing as the team finished just below .500. In 1965, the Twins made it all the way to the World Series where they lost in seven games to the Dodgers. They won at least 89 games the next two seasons but then fell below .500 again in 1968. In 1969, under Billy Martin, they won 97 games. The 1960s was the Twins first decade in Minnesota. As you look through the top hitters below, you might want to ask yourself if the 1960s Twins All-Decade team might just be the best of the six decades. Share your thoughts. Who did I miss? Who would you name the player of the decade? THE HITTERS C - Earl Battey (1961-1967) 853 games, .278/.356/.409 (.765) with 115 doubles, 76 homers, 350 RBI. Battey spent parts of five seasons with the White Sox but came to the Senators in 1960. That season, he won his first Gold Glove Award. In his seven seasons in a Twins uniform, he was an All-Star in four seasons. He won two more Gold Gloves. He finished in the top ten in MVP voting twice. 1B - Harmon Killebrew - 1961-1969 1,305 games, .266/.388/.547 (.935) with 164 doubles, 362 homers, 933 RBI. When the Twins came to Minnesota, he had already spent parts of seven seasons with the Senators.In the ‘60s, he was an All-Star all but one year. His 362 homers were best in the organization by over 150 homers. He hit 39 or more homers in seven of the seasons and led the American League five times. He won the 1969 MVP award and finished in the Top 5 in MVP voting five times. 2B - Rod Carew - 1967-1969 387 games, .299/.346/.408 (.754) with 79 doubles, 17 homers, 149 RBI. Carew didn’t debut until 1967, but he made an immediate impact. He played in all three All-Star games. He was the 1967 AL Rookie of the Year. He led the league with a .332 batting average in 1969. It was just the beginning for the future Hall of Famer whom the American League batting championship is now named after. 3B - Rich Rollins - 1961-1968 888 games, .272/.333/.398 (.727) with 117 doubles, 71 homers, 369 RBI. Rollins was an All-Star (twice). He finished eighth in MVP voting. He had at least 40 extra-base hits each year from 1962 through 1964. As the decade advanced, he became more of a part-time, platoon player. SS - Zoilo Versalles - 1961-1967 1,065 games, .252/.299/.387 (.686) with 188 doubles, 86 homers, 401 RBI. Versalles had played parts of two seasons with the Senators. He became a regular in 1961. He was an All-Star and Gold Glove winner in 1963. In 1965, he was an All-Star, a Gold Glove winner, and the American League MVP. That season, he led the league in doubles (45) and triples (12). It was the third straight year he led the league in triples. LF - Bob Allison - 1961-1969 1,189 games, .255/.361/.482 (.843) with 162 doubles, 210 homers, 635 RBI. Allison debuted with the Senators in 1958 and was an All-Star and the AL Rookie of the Year in 1959. He was a starter throughout the 1960s. He was an All-Star in 1963 and 1964, his two best seasons. He hit over 30 homers twice and over 20 homers seven seasons in the decade. His .911 OPS led the American League. He was a leader of the 1965 World Series team and his catch is still one of the great highlights in World Series history. CF - Jimmie Hall - 1963-1966 573 games, .269/.334/.481 (.815) with 73 doubles, 98 homers, 288 RBI. Hall debuted as a 25 year old in 1963 and finished third in Rookie of the Year voting. He hit .260 with a career-high 33 homers. He was an All-Star in 1964 and 1965. A left-handed hitter, he started just two of the seven World Series games in 1965 because he didn’t play in the games started by Sandy Koufax or Claude Osteen. He hit 20 or more homers in all four of his Twins seasons before he was traded to California after the 1966 season. RF - Tony Oliva - 1962-1969 912 games, .308/.359/.500 (.859) with 213 doubles, 132 homers, 535 RBI. Oliva played in 16 games between 1962 and 1963. In 1964, he hit .323 and was the AL Rookie of the Year. He won batting titles his first two seasons. He was an All-Star in 1964 and for each season through the rest of the decade. He twice finished runner up in AL MVP voting, including to Versalles in 1965. He led the league in Hits four times during the decade and in Doubles four times. His 213 doubles was tops in the organization. DH - Cesar Tovar - 1965-1969 631 games, .271/.329/.371 (.700) with 108 doubles, 25 homers, 189 RBI. Obviously there wasn’t a designated hitter in the 1960s, but we are going to have one… because, well, why not? With the hitters in this lineup, Tovar likely wouldn’t be the regular DH in actual games. He would play all over the diamond with different guys DHing each game. Tovar debuted in 1965. In 1966, he became a regular. In 1967, he led the league with 164 games played (and plate appearances and at-bats). He received MVP votes each season from 1967 through 1971. What an impressive group of players, led by several Hall of Famers, Twins Hall of Famers and Baseball Hall of Famers. Check back tomorrow for the Twins Pitchers of the Decade of the 1960s. Click here to view the article
  22. World Series Region After a Hall of Fame career and multiple heroic World Series moments, Kirby Puckett was named the tournament’s number one overall seed. Kent Hrbek was the number two seed in the region and these two seemed destined for an Elite Eight match-up. Both would advance before Puckett took out Hrbek to make the Final Four. Jack Morris might have been the one surprise in this region as he was able to defeat Tom Brunansky in the first round. Morris was the higher seed, but he only played one season in Minnesota. Still, his one season was a magical one and he pitched one of the greatest games in baseball history. It also helps that he has continued to have a media presence in the Twin Cities since retiring. Current Twins Region The Tournament Committee might have underestimated some of the players in the Current Twins Region. The biggest upset of the tournament happened in this region and it was the only region where a non-number one seed was able to make the Final Four. Nelson Cruz was given the number one seed in the region after being named the team’s MVP. Cruz made it all the way to the region final, but he was upset by Max Kepler, the region’s three seed. Kepler took out Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton along the way. The bracket’s biggest first round upset might have been Jose Berrios, the region’s number two seed, being taken out by Byron Buxton, a seven seed. Buxton’s Cinderella story ended in the next round, but he was able to handily beat the team’s two-time All-Star and scheduled Opening Day starter. Metrodome Region Of all the regions, this one might have included some of the biggest tournament snubs. Jacque Jones, Nick Punto, Doug Mientkiewicz and others were left out of the tournament with names like Lew Ford and Francisco Liriano beating them out. Joe Mauer was the easy selection as the number one and he had enough to beat out Justin Morneau and Torii Hunter to make the Final Four. The closest match-up in the entire tournament was between Johan Santana, the three seed, and Torii Hunter, the two seed. Heading into the final hour of voting it was deadlocked at 50-50. Hunter used a last-minute run to overtake Santana and head to the Elite Eight before eventually losing to Mauer. Early Twins Region Many fans on social media are far removed from the early Twins and their impact on this franchise. Harmon Killebrew earned the number one seed in the region and the number two overall seed and he seemed like the front-runner for the championship. He fell short of this goal, but it might have been connected to recency bias instead of his overall greatness. Minnesota has seven retired players eligible for this bracket and four of them made it through the first round. Realistically, the Mount Rushmore of Twins players includes multiple players from this region that wouldn’t be represented in the Final Four. Bert Blyleven and Tony Oliva weren’t able to upset the higher seeds and it set up a Killebrew vs. Carew final for the ages. Final Four Both semifinal matchups turned out to be no contests as the most recent legend in Twins history, Joe Mauer, beat out an all-time legend in Harmon Killebrew. Max Kepler, out of the Current Twins region, hasn’t made any big catches or hit any big home runs in the World Series, so it made sense for him to be demolished by Kirby Puckett. Puckett versus Mauer would be the final and it looked close at the beginning of the voting. After about eight hours of voting, both players were nearly tied for the top spot. Some on Twitter thought it would be atrocious for Mauer to beat-out Puckett, the World Series hero. Stronger heads prevailed and the top seed in the tournament, Puckett, cut down the nets. https://twitter.com/NoDakTwinsFan/status/1242161395157938176?s=20 MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  23. Harmon Killebrew Killebrew moved all over the field during his big-league career as the Twins shuffled him between the left field and both corner infield spots. He spent more time at first base than any other position. His fielding percentage at first was the best of any position (.992). His total zone rating in runs above average was -6, but at third he was a -51 and he was a -19 in left field. Like Killebrew, Sano is in the Twins line-up because he can put baseballs into orbit with his powerful swing. Unlike Killebrew, the designated hitter role could impact Sano as his career progresses. Killebrew was forced to play a defensive position because the DH didn’t exist until the tail-end of his career. If Sano struggles with the transition to first, he could move to DH after Nelson Cruz vacates that position for the Twins. Rod Carew While Killebrew and Sano share similarities, Rod Carew and Sano might be the furthest thing apart when it comes to body type and approach at the plate. Carew did not move full time to first base until his age-30 season and his lone MVP award came in his second full season at first base. He played three full seasons there before leaving for the Angels and he amassed an 18 total zone rating. His best season at first base actually came in 1982 when he posted an 18 total zone rating, a career high. With a .991 fielding percentage, he and Killebrew posted nearly identical marks for their careers. Like Carew, Sano started his professional career at another defensive position where he wasn’t exactly strong defensively. Carew provided a -3 total zone rating in nearly 9,500 innings at second base. This included a bad season (1971: -11 TZ) and a couple of good seasons (1969, 1975: 6 TZ). Sano had multiple seasons with a -10 TZ rating at third including last season. His best season (4 TZ) was in 2016 when he was limited to 42 games at third. Kent Hrbek Both players above made the Hall of Fame, but Kent Hrbek was Minnesota born and he was part of some of the most famous plays at first base in team history (See: Final out 1987, Ron Gant). Hrbek posted a .994 fielding percentage at first with a 16 TZ rating. He had multiple seasons with a TZ rating higher than five, but he also had two of his final five seasons with a -7 TZ. Arguably, his best defensive season was 1984 when he finished second for the AL MVP. Like Hrbek, the Twins hope Sano can provide a big target for infielders especially Minnesota’s current middle infield duo. Jorge Polanco and Luis Arraez are both below average on the defensive side of the ball. Last season, Polanco was saved multiple times by CJ Cron after throwing the ball in the dirt. With a big target at first, the team’s advice for this season is to throw it high because those types of throws will be easier for a less experienced first baseman. Joe Mauer Joe Mauer won multiple Gold Gloves in his career, but all of them came as a catcher which is considerably harder defensive position than first base. Most people thought his transition from catcher to first base would be smooth because of his athleticism, but it was a skill he had to improve. In his first three seasons at first, he combined for a -6 TZ ranking, but over his final two seasons he posted positive totals to end his career with an overall 0 TZ at first. He also combined to have a .996 fielding percentage, a higher total than any player mentioned above. Like Mauer, Sano has played his entire career in an advanced analytical age and this means more defensive data to gauge player effectiveness. SABR’s Defensive Index has been used to help pick the Gold and Platinum Glove winners in each league since 2013. Back in 2014, Mauer finished tied with Albert Pujols (3.8 SDI) for the top SDI ranking at first. He tied that SDI total in 2017, but it was only good enough to finish third overall at first base. Last season, only two players ranked worse than Sano (-6.8 SDI) at third base according to SDI. What do you remember about these different defenders? How good can Sano be at first? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  24. The 2020 season will be Dick Bremer's 37th season covering the Minnesota Twins on TV. It also marks the 60th season that the Twins will be play in Minnesota. To mark the occasion, Bremer has been working with Triumph Books on an autobiography of sorts. In his typical self-deprecating way, he wrote about his life with 108 "Stitches" or short stories, most of which somehow tie back to the game of baseball. I truly enjoyed chatting with Dick Bremer in the press box at Hammond Stadium earlier this month. His passion for the Twins comes through very clearly. His passion for the history of this organization overflows. His pride in working with some of the great players in Twins history over his career behind the mic, from Harmon Killebrew, to Tommy John, to Bert Blyelven, Roy Smalley and now Justin Morneau. If you are a fan of the Minnesota Twins and watch them on TV regularly, and if you enjoy the history of the organization, the book is a Must Read, and I think that this podcast is a Must Listen. http://traffic.libsyn.com/sethstohs/GTKE_Podcast_Ep13.mp3 Earlier this month, Bremer celebrated his birthday. He was born just a couple of years before the Twins moved to Minnesota. He grew up admiring Bob Allison. He wrote about growing up in west-central Minnesota and getting to a couple of games each year. Even when his family moved to Missouri, he was able to listen to Twins games late at night on the radio and remained a Twins fan even though the talented Cardinals were much closer. His family returned to Minnesota. He went to St. Cloud State. There are some fun stories from his years in Cedar Rapids that Kernels fans will certainly enjoy. He's got a bunch of stories about the team in the Metrodome. There are stories of the 1987 and 1991 Twins and the players we all remember so fondly. Sure, there were some lean years too, but there were still some fun stories. There are also some emotional stories from Bremer's life that he shared. The book is comprised of 108 short stories, making it great for the coffee table, or for a bathroom reader. So again, on Tuesday, March 17, Dick Bremer's Game Used: My Life in Stitches with the Minnesota Twins will be available at bookstores around the Upper Midwest as well as wherever you get your books online (where they are already available for pre-order). Join me in this fun, recent conversation with Dick Bremer about the book and about his life with the Minnesota Twins. We even talked about the 2020 Twins, though please note that this conversation took place just over a week before news came out about the delayed started to the season. If you haven't listened to a previous Get to Know 'Em podcast, this is the one to listen to. http://traffic.libsyn.com/sethstohs/GTKE_Podcast_Ep13.mp3 You can subscribe to the Get to Know 'Em podcast on iTunes. or follow Libsyn for new episodes here as well. Please leave ratings or feedback. And did you know that you can listen to the Get To Know 'Em podcast by asking Alexa to "Listen to the Get To Know 'Em Podcast." PAST EPISODES Episode 1: Get to know Niko Guardado (Actor and son of Eddie Guardado) Episode 2: Get to know Pat Dean, Brent Rooker Episode 3: Get to know Royce Lewis, AJ Achter Episode 4: Get to know Devin Smeltzer Episode 5: Get to know Jaylin Davis, Tyler Wells Episode 6: Get to know: Travis Blankenhorn, LaMonte Wade Episode 7: Get to know: Matt Wallner (and Ten Minutes with Tyler Wells) Episode 8: Get to know: Caleb Hamilton, Austin Schulfer, Nick Anderson Episode 9: Get to know: Andy Young, Billy Boyer (and Ten Minutes with Tyler) Episode 10: Get to know: Wesley Wright (Twins Pro Scout) Episode 11: Get to know: John Manuel (Twins Pro Scout) Episode 12: Get to know: Marshall Kelner (Mighty Mussels broadcaster) Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Not registered? Click here to create an account. To stay up to date, follow Twins Daily on Twitter and Facebook.
  25. On Tuesday (March 17), Dick Bremer's Game Used: My Life in Stitches with the Minnesota Twins will be released. It will be available at bookstores around the Midwest. At Hammond Stadium in Ft. Myers, I had the privilege to interview Bremer on the book, and his life as a Twins fan, and nearly 40 years as the voice of the Twins on TV.The 2020 season will be Dick Bremer's 37th season covering the Minnesota Twins on TV. It also marks the 60th season that the Twins will be play in Minnesota. To mark the occasion, Bremer has been working with Triumph Books on an autobiography of sorts. In his typical self-deprecating way, he wrote about his life with 108 "Stitches" or short stories, most of which somehow tie back to the game of baseball. I truly enjoyed chatting with Dick Bremer in the press box at Hammond Stadium earlier this month. His passion for the Twins comes through very clearly. His passion for the history of this organization overflows. His pride in working with some of the great players in Twins history over his career behind the mic, from Harmon Killebrew, to Tommy John, to Bert Blyelven, Roy Smalley and now Justin Morneau. If you are a fan of the Minnesota Twins and watch them on TV regularly, and if you enjoy the history of the organization, the book is a Must Read, and I think that this podcast is a Must Listen. Earlier this month, Bremer celebrated his birthday. He was born just a couple of years before the Twins moved to Minnesota. He grew up admiring Bob Allison. He wrote about growing up in west-central Minnesota and getting to a couple of games each year. Even when his family moved to Missouri, he was able to listen to Twins games late at night on the radio and remained a Twins fan even though the talented Cardinals were much closer. His family returned to Minnesota. He went to St. Cloud State. There are some fun stories from his years in Cedar Rapids that Kernels fans will certainly enjoy. He's got a bunch of stories about the team in the Metrodome. There are stories of the 1987 and 1991 Twins and the players we all remember so fondly. Sure, there were some lean years too, but there were still some fun stories. There are also some emotional stories from Bremer's life that he shared. The book is comprised of 108 short stories, making it great for the coffee table, or for a bathroom reader. So again, on Tuesday, March 17, Dick Bremer's Game Used: My Life in Stitches with the Minnesota Twins will be available at bookstores around the Upper Midwest as well as wherever you get your books online (where they are already available for pre-order). Join me in this fun, recent conversation with Dick Bremer about the book and about his life with the Minnesota Twins. We even talked about the 2020 Twins, though please note that this conversation took place just over a week before news came out about the delayed started to the season. If you haven't listened to a previous Get to Know 'Em podcast, this is the one to listen to. You can subscribe to the Get to Know 'Em podcast on iTunes. or follow Libsyn for new episodes here as well. Please leave ratings or feedback. And did you know that you can listen to the Get To Know 'Em podcast by asking Alexa to "Listen to the Get To Know 'Em Podcast." PAST EPISODES Episode 1: Get to know Niko Guardado (Actor and son of Eddie Guardado) Episode 2: Get to know Pat Dean, Brent Rooker Episode 3: Get to know Royce Lewis, AJ Achter Episode 4: Get to know Devin Smeltzer Episode 5: Get to know Jaylin Davis, Tyler Wells Episode 6: Get to know: Travis Blankenhorn, LaMonte Wade Episode 7: Get to know: Matt Wallner (and Ten Minutes with Tyler Wells) Episode 8: Get to know: Caleb Hamilton, Austin Schulfer, Nick Anderson Episode 9: Get to know: Andy Young, Billy Boyer (and Ten Minutes with Tyler) Episode 10: Get to know: Wesley Wright (Twins Pro Scout) Episode 11: Get to know: John Manuel(Twins Pro Scout) Episode 12: Get to know: Marshall Kelner(Mighty Mussels broadcaster) Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Not registered? Click here to create an account. To stay up to date, follow Twins Daily on Twitter and Facebook. Click here to view the article
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