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  1. A Minnesota Twins Christmas Carol - Part 1 Jim Pohlad enters one of his many estates, muttering to himself about the nerve of his employees trying to ‘extort’ him for pitching. He hands Rudy his fur coat and takes the elevator up to his bedroom. “125 million dollars for a pitcher… not in this lifetime,” Pohlad says as Rudy helps him into his silk pajamas. “What do they expect me to do? Sell my Porsche dealership? One of my many houses,” Pohlad asks while Rudy silently nods in agreement. Pohlad puts on his nightcap and tucks himself into the covers. Pohlad falls asleep but is quickly awoken by the sound of cleats on the marble floor in his bedroom. He grabs his smartphone to turn on the lights, but before he can find the app his room is aglow with a backlit figure standing in the doorway. “Rudy? Is that you?,” Pohlad asks. “No, Jim, I am not Rudy,” the figure replies as Pohlad squints to adjust his eyes to the glowing figure in his cavernous bedroom. “I am the Ghost of Twins’ Christmas Past.” Then it becomes clear who is standing at the foot of the bed. It is, unbelievably, Kirby Puckett. “Kirby! It can’t be! I thought you were….well….,” Pohlad stutters. “Dead? Remember Jim, there's heroes and there's legends: Heroes get remembered, but legends never die,” Puckett said. “I am here to show you the error of your ways.” Puckett and Pohlad suddenly appear on Chicago Avenue during the Twins 1991 World Championship parade. Chili Davis and Jack Morris roll by in floats while the fans celebrate and cheer. “You see, Jim, this town LOVED the Twins and all it took was a few big free agents to complete the puzzle,” Puckett said. “You could have OWNED this state if you could have kept the momentum. But you stopped spending.” Suddenly a montage plays out in front of Puckett and Pohlad. Disappointing seasons in ’92 and ’93. The 1994 strike and Kent Hrbek’s retirement. Puckett’s glaucoma. The awful, awful seasons from ’95-2000. Puckett reaches out and takes Pohlad by the hand. Suddenly, the room begins to spin and spin until they find themselves inside the Hubert H Humphrey Metrodome. It is 2001. On the field, the Twins are playing against the White Sox. It is an exciting young Twins team featuring up-and-coming players like Torii Hunter and Corey Koskie. Although the crowd is sparse, it is far better than even three seasons ago. Fans seem to be getting interested in the team again after a dark decade of losing. Puckett and Pohlad find themselves in the offices in the bowels of the stadium. “Is that my dad?” Pohlad nervously asks. “Who is that man he is sitting with?” Puckett laughs and gives Pohlad a dumbfounded look. “You know who that is, the Commissioner of baseball Bud Selig,” Puckett says incredulously. Selig and Carl Pohlad are looking over some documents while lawyers observe from the background. Suddenly, Selig smiles and begins to speak. “There we have it, Carl, your team will officially be contracted before next season. The owners will buy out your stake and there will no longer be Major League Baseball in Minnesota,” Selig said. A single tear fell from Puckett’s eye as he watched Carl Pohlad sign the contract. Jim Pohlad instantly became defensive. “You don’t understand, the state wouldn’t buy us a new stadium! Our family simply couldn’t afford to pay for our own ballpark, we needed the charity of the citizens of Minnesota,” Jim Pohlad said. “Ah, so you admit, you NEED the fans,” Puckett asked. “Is that what you are trying to say?” “No, we need the fans’ MONEY. We don’t care what the fans actually think about the team as long as they are giving us their MONEY…. can’t you understand that?” Jim Pohlad seethed. Suddenly, after climbing about 6,000 stairs, Puckett and Pohlad are in the Twins clubhouse. Players are hearing the news of contraction and calling their families confused and scared about what the future may hold. Employees are being encouraged to find employment elsewhere in case there is no team in 2002. “That’s IT. I’ve seen enough of this and I DEMAND to go back home,” Pohlad yelled. “As you wish,” Puckett said, and suddenly Jim Pohlad was back in his California king-sized bed. Part 3 is coming soon! A Minnesota Twins Christmas Carol - Part 1
  2. In Part 2 of this adaptation of a Dickens classic, Jim Pohlad finds himself awoken by, well, you're going to have to read on to find out. A Minnesota Twins Christmas Carol - Part 1 Jim Pohlad enters one of his many estates, muttering to himself about the nerve of his employees trying to ‘extort’ him for pitching. He hands Rudy his fur coat and takes the elevator up to his bedroom. “125 million dollars for a pitcher… not in this lifetime,” Pohlad says as Rudy helps him into his silk pajamas. “What do they expect me to do? Sell my Porsche dealership? One of my many houses,” Pohlad asks while Rudy silently nods in agreement. Pohlad puts on his nightcap and tucks himself into the covers. Pohlad falls asleep but is quickly awoken by the sound of cleats on the marble floor in his bedroom. He grabs his smartphone to turn on the lights, but before he can find the app his room is aglow with a backlit figure standing in the doorway. “Rudy? Is that you?,” Pohlad asks. “No, Jim, I am not Rudy,” the figure replies as Pohlad squints to adjust his eyes to the glowing figure in his cavernous bedroom. “I am the Ghost of Twins’ Christmas Past.” Then it becomes clear who is standing at the foot of the bed. It is, unbelievably, Kirby Puckett. “Kirby! It can’t be! I thought you were….well….,” Pohlad stutters. “Dead? Remember Jim, there's heroes and there's legends: Heroes get remembered, but legends never die,” Puckett said. “I am here to show you the error of your ways.” Puckett and Pohlad suddenly appear on Chicago Avenue during the Twins 1991 World Championship parade. Chili Davis and Jack Morris roll by in floats while the fans celebrate and cheer. “You see, Jim, this town LOVED the Twins and all it took was a few big free agents to complete the puzzle,” Puckett said. “You could have OWNED this state if you could have kept the momentum. But you stopped spending.” Suddenly a montage plays out in front of Puckett and Pohlad. Disappointing seasons in ’92 and ’93. The 1994 strike and Kent Hrbek’s retirement. Puckett’s glaucoma. The awful, awful seasons from ’95-2000. Puckett reaches out and takes Pohlad by the hand. Suddenly, the room begins to spin and spin until they find themselves inside the Hubert H Humphrey Metrodome. It is 2001. On the field, the Twins are playing against the White Sox. It is an exciting young Twins team featuring up-and-coming players like Torii Hunter and Corey Koskie. Although the crowd is sparse, it is far better than even three seasons ago. Fans seem to be getting interested in the team again after a dark decade of losing. Puckett and Pohlad find themselves in the offices in the bowels of the stadium. “Is that my dad?” Pohlad nervously asks. “Who is that man he is sitting with?” Puckett laughs and gives Pohlad a dumbfounded look. “You know who that is, the Commissioner of baseball Bud Selig,” Puckett says incredulously. Selig and Carl Pohlad are looking over some documents while lawyers observe from the background. Suddenly, Selig smiles and begins to speak. “There we have it, Carl, your team will officially be contracted before next season. The owners will buy out your stake and there will no longer be Major League Baseball in Minnesota,” Selig said. A single tear fell from Puckett’s eye as he watched Carl Pohlad sign the contract. Jim Pohlad instantly became defensive. “You don’t understand, the state wouldn’t buy us a new stadium! Our family simply couldn’t afford to pay for our own ballpark, we needed the charity of the citizens of Minnesota,” Jim Pohlad said. “Ah, so you admit, you NEED the fans,” Puckett asked. “Is that what you are trying to say?” “No, we need the fans’ MONEY. We don’t care what the fans actually think about the team as long as they are giving us their MONEY…. can’t you understand that?” Jim Pohlad seethed. Suddenly, after climbing about 6,000 stairs, Puckett and Pohlad are in the Twins clubhouse. Players are hearing the news of contraction and calling their families confused and scared about what the future may hold. Employees are being encouraged to find employment elsewhere in case there is no team in 2002. “That’s IT. I’ve seen enough of this and I DEMAND to go back home,” Pohlad yelled. “As you wish,” Puckett said, and suddenly Jim Pohlad was back in his California king-sized bed. Part 3 is coming soon! A Minnesota Twins Christmas Carol - Part 1 View full article
  3. Fresh off his infamous 10 inning shutout performance in game seven, 1991 World Series MVP Jack Morris appears on Late Night with David Letterman. Presented in partnership with TC Media Now. View full video
  4. Fresh off his infamous 10 inning shutout performance in game seven, 1991 World Series MVP Jack Morris appears on Late Night with David Letterman. Presented in partnership with TC Media Now.
  5. 1991. Whitney Houston, jean shorts, and the Minnesota Twins pitching staff. In the eyes of many Twins fans, the pinnacle of Twins pitching may have coincided with the franchise’s most recent World Series Championship. The ‘91 had the full package. While Jack Morris will always be remembered for his Game seven heroics, the team may not have made it there if not for stellar seasons by fellow starters Scott Erickson, Kevin Tapani, and rock-solid Rick Aguilera in the bullpen. The world was not yet plagued by the bane of existence in 1991; that wasn’t until 1997. On the bright side, I spent more time in college watching 1991 game reruns than I did doing homework (my apologies to the Concordia College WIFI operators). Let’s take a look at some of the key components of the 1991 pitching staff, how they contributed, and who was perhaps the most valuable? Kevin Tapani Tapani was an absolute workhorse for the Twins in the 1991 season, pitching 244 innings in 34 starts; the most of his career. Coming off a successful campaign in 1990 where he finished fifth in AL Rookie of the Year voting, Tapani stormed through 1991 with a 16-9 record and team-leading 2.99 ERA. Tapini finished the season 7th in Cy Young voting, just three spots behind teammate Jack Morris and five behind Scott Erickson. The Des Moines native (and now Minnesota resident) didn’t necessarily pitch his best baseball in the 1991 postseason. In the ALCS against Toronto, Tapani went 0-1, starting games’ two and five. Tapani lasted 6 1/3 innings in game two, giving up four runs on eight hits and two walks in a 5-2 Blue Jays win. The series decider wasn’t much different for Tapani, who gave up five runs on eight hits in four innings. The Twins rebounded and won game five 8-5 thanks to three run innings in the sixth and eighth frames. Tapani reset in game two of the World Series, mounting a stellar eight inning performance that knocked off Tom Glavine’s Braves by a score of 3-2. He wasn’t as lucky in game five. After a scoreless three innings the Braves teed off on Tapani, putting up a four-hole and taking him out of the game. While Tapani’s postseason numbers didn’t reflect his gem of a regular season, it’s important to remember that 1991 was only his second full season in the league! All in all, not too bad of a campaign for a young buck. Scott Erickson Kevin Tapani wasn’t the only young star on the Twins ‘91 rotation. A young man by the name of Scott Erickson mounted a career season in 1991 just one year after breaking into the Major Leagues. A 1989 Twins draft pick out of the University of Arizona, Erickson rocketed through the minors and made his MLB debut after just 27 minor league starts. At just 23 years old in ‘91, Erickson led the league with 20 wins and finished the season with All-Star honors and was runner-up in the Cy Young race only to Roger Clemens. In a season where he started 32 games, the young righty crafted a 20-8 record with a 3.18 ERA. Similar to Tapani, Erickson’s 1991 postseason didn’t necessarily correlate with his electric regular season. Erickson started game three of the 1991 ACLS against Toronto, receiving a no-decision in a four inning outing where he gave up two runs on two hits. Minnesota won that game in 10 innings. Erickson’s World Series starts were both competitive, as the Long Beach, CA native earned no decisions in game three and game six. Erickson was in line for a game six win after pitching a solid six innings, giving up only two runs on five hits. Yet after a Mark Lemke single, Erickson was removed in the seventh. Later on in the inning Ron Gant singled off of Twins reliever Carl Willis to tie the game and rid Erickson of a win. While Erickson’s leash may have been shorter than Morris and Tapani’s, the young star rose to the occasion and pitched well enough to put his team in a position to win two of the three playoff games that he started. Erickson went on to have a long career with multiple teams. There’s no doubt that the highlight of it was his outstanding performance in the 1991 regular season. Rick Aguilera There’s a short list of Minnesota Twins relievers that have been as dominant as Rick Aguilera was for the ‘91 Twins. Finishing the year tied for fourth most saves in the league with 42, Rick was a 1991 All-Star who finished 18th in the American League for MVP voting. Wait, MVP? That’s right. The San Gabriel, CA native was the lead vote receiver for relievers and the only pitchers he finished behind were Roger Clemens (10th and Cy Young), Jack Morris (13th), and Scott Erickson (17th). Pitchers don’t win the MVP and the thought of a reliever even being in the top 20 is rare. Aguilera was special. Similar to Morris, Aguilera’s most valuable asset to the ‘91 Twins was his postseason dominance. In the ALCS he was nearly perfect, racking up three saves and giving up only one hit. Aguilera continued his dominance in games one and two of the World Series, racking up two more saves. His only falter of the postseason came in game three when he faced the heart of the Braves lineup in the bottom of the 12th. After giving up a single and stolen base to David Justice, Mark Lemke singled to left to score Justice and walk off the Braves. Aguilera would cancel out his one loss on the postseason a few days later in game six thanks to a stellar 11th inning and a guy named Kirby Puckett. Aggie may not have gotten the hype of Morris, Puckett, or Hrbek. Yet his success on the bump late in games played a crucial role in the Twins putting together a stellar season. Jack Morris While John Scott Morris’ time in Minnesota was brief, his 1991 game seven performance cemented his legacy in Twins and baseball history for an eternity. It’s important to remember that while his name is associated with the postseason, the guy had a pretty damn good 1991 regular season, leading the team with 163 strikeouts to top off an All-Star season that landed him fourth in Cy Young voting. Morris’ most valuable asset may have been his consistency in the 1991 postseason. In a rotation filled with young stars and a lack of solidity at the bottom, Morris was a seasoned veteran. It showed. In five postseason starts Morris was a stellar 4-0 with a 4.05 ERA in the ALCS and 1.17 ERA in the Fall Classic. The only start he didn’t win still consisted of a six inning outing in game three of the World Series where the vet gave up one run on six hits. 1991 wasn’t Jack Morris’ best season; but it would be difficult to not call it his most iconic. The hometown kid comes back to his own backyard to guide a young pitching staff to a title, capped off with the master himself sealing the deal. It doesn’t get much better. So, what’s the order? They’re all valuable in unique ways but if I had to order them based on the value they provide to the Twins winning a World Series, I’d do this: 4. Scott Erickson (Although he arguably had the best season) 3. Kevin Tapani 2. Rick Aguilera 1. Jack Morris Think I completely missed the ball on this one and that I’m some young punk who doesn’t know what a World Championship team looks like? Drop a comment below! [link to image license]
  6. Chris Bosh, LeBron and D-Wade? More like Scott Erickson, Kevin Tapani and Jack Morris. The 1991 Twins pitching staff showed up in arguably the greatest World Series in the history of baseball. And while it was a team effort, who was the best? Let’s dig in.1991. Whitney Houston, jean shorts, and the Minnesota Twins pitching staff. In the eyes of many Twins fans, the pinnacle of Twins pitching may have coincided with the franchise’s most recent World Series Championship. The ‘91 had the full package. While Jack Morris will always be remembered for his Game seven heroics, the team may not have made it there if not for stellar seasons by fellow starters Scott Erickson, Kevin Tapani, and rock-solid Rick Aguilera in the bullpen. The world was not yet plagued by the bane of existence in 1991; that wasn’t until 1997. On the bright side, I spent more time in college watching 1991 game reruns than I did doing homework (my apologies to the Concordia College WIFI operators). Let’s take a look at some of the key components of the 1991 pitching staff, how they contributed, and who was perhaps the most valuable? Kevin Tapani Tapani was an absolute workhorse for the Twins in the 1991 season, pitching 244 innings in 34 starts; the most of his career. Coming off a successful campaign in 1990 where he finished fifth in AL Rookie of the Year voting, Tapani stormed through 1991 with a 16-9 record and team-leading 2.99 ERA. Tapini finished the season 7th in Cy Young voting, just three spots behind teammate Jack Morris and five behind Scott Erickson. The Des Moines native (and now Minnesota resident) didn’t necessarily pitch his best baseball in the 1991 postseason. In the ALCS against Toronto, Tapani went 0-1, starting games’ two and five. Tapani lasted 6 1/3 innings in game two, giving up four runs on eight hits and two walks in a 5-2 Blue Jays win. The series decider wasn’t much different for Tapani, who gave up five runs on eight hits in four innings. The Twins rebounded and won game five 8-5 thanks to three run innings in the sixth and eighth frames. Tapani reset in game two of the World Series, mounting a stellar eight inning performance that knocked off Tom Glavine’s Braves by a score of 3-2. He wasn’t as lucky in game five. After a scoreless three innings the Braves teed off on Tapani, putting up a four-hole and taking him out of the game. While Tapani’s postseason numbers didn’t reflect his gem of a regular season, it’s important to remember that 1991 was only his second full season in the league! All in all, not too bad of a campaign for a young buck. Scott Erickson Kevin Tapani wasn’t the only young star on the Twins ‘91 rotation. A young man by the name of Scott Erickson mounted a career season in 1991 just one year after breaking into the Major Leagues. A 1989 Twins draft pick out of the University of Arizona, Erickson rocketed through the minors and made his MLB debut after just 27 minor league starts. At just 23 years old in ‘91, Erickson led the league with 20 wins and finished the season with All-Star honors and was runner-up in the Cy Young race only to Roger Clemens. In a season where he started 32 games, the young righty crafted a 20-8 record with a 3.18 ERA. Similar to Tapani, Erickson’s 1991 postseason didn’t necessarily correlate with his electric regular season. Erickson started game three of the 1991 ACLS against Toronto, receiving a no-decision in a four inning outing where he gave up two runs on two hits. Minnesota won that game in 10 innings. Erickson’s World Series starts were both competitive, as the Long Beach, CA native earned no decisions in game three and game six. Erickson was in line for a game six win after pitching a solid six innings, giving up only two runs on five hits. Yet after a Mark Lemke single, Erickson was removed in the seventh. Later on in the inning Ron Gant singled off of Twins reliever Carl Willis to tie the game and rid Erickson of a win. While Erickson’s leash may have been shorter than Morris and Tapani’s, the young star rose to the occasion and pitched well enough to put his team in a position to win two of the three playoff games that he started. Erickson went on to have a long career with multiple teams. There’s no doubt that the highlight of it was his outstanding performance in the 1991 regular season. Rick Aguilera There’s a short list of Minnesota Twins relievers that have been as dominant as Rick Aguilera was for the ‘91 Twins. Finishing the year tied for fourth most saves in the league with 42, Rick was a 1991 All-Star who finished 18th in the American League for MVP voting. Wait, MVP? That’s right. The San Gabriel, CA native was the lead vote receiver for relievers and the only pitchers he finished behind were Roger Clemens (10th and Cy Young), Jack Morris (13th), and Scott Erickson (17th). Pitchers don’t win the MVP and the thought of a reliever even being in the top 20 is rare. Aguilera was special. Similar to Morris, Aguilera’s most valuable asset to the ‘91 Twins was his postseason dominance. In the ALCS he was nearly perfect, racking up three saves and giving up only one hit. Aguilera continued his dominance in games one and two of the World Series, racking up two more saves. His only falter of the postseason came in game three when he faced the heart of the Braves lineup in the bottom of the 12th. After giving up a single and stolen base to David Justice, Mark Lemke singled to left to score Justice and walk off the Braves. Aguilera would cancel out his one loss on the postseason a few days later in game six thanks to a stellar 11th inning and a guy named Kirby Puckett. Aggie may not have gotten the hype of Morris, Puckett, or Hrbek. Yet his success on the bump late in games played a crucial role in the Twins putting together a stellar season. Jack Morris While John Scott Morris’ time in Minnesota was brief, his 1991 game seven performance cemented his legacy in Twins and baseball history for an eternity. It’s important to remember that while his name is associated with the postseason, the guy had a pretty damn good 1991 regular season, leading the team with 163 strikeouts to top off an All-Star season that landed him fourth in Cy Young voting. Morris’ most valuable asset may have been his consistency in the 1991 postseason. In a rotation filled with young stars and a lack of solidity at the bottom, Morris was a seasoned veteran. It showed. In five postseason starts Morris was a stellar 4-0 with a 4.05 ERA in the ALCS and 1.17 ERA in the Fall Classic. The only start he didn’t win still consisted of a six inning outing in game three of the World Series where the vet gave up one run on six hits. 1991 wasn’t Jack Morris’ best season; but it would be difficult to not call it his most iconic. The hometown kid comes back to his own backyard to guide a young pitching staff to a title, capped off with the master himself sealing the deal. It doesn’t get much better. So, what’s the order? They’re all valuable in unique ways but if I had to order them based on the value they provide to the Twins winning a World Series, I’d do this: 4. Scott Erickson (Although he arguably had the best season) 3. Kevin Tapani 2. Rick Aguilera 1. Jack Morris Think I completely missed the ball on this one and that I’m some young punk who doesn’t know what a World Championship team looks like? Drop a comment below! [link to image license] Click here to view the article
  7. Jack Morris Region Game 7 of the 1991 World Series is widely considered one of the best games in baseball history. It capped off a tremendous back-and-forth World Series that might be the best World Series in history (See Kirby Puckett Region below). Jack Morris pitched 10-shutout innings on the way to winning the World Series MVP and this game was the logical choice as the number one overall seed. After a Twitter request, many important games in Twins history were identified and placed throughout the tournament. Johan Santana dueling with Jamie Garcia back in 2005, Minnesota tying for the AL West lead in 1987, and clinching the AL title back in 1965 were all great moments that some fans might have forgot. In the end, fans appreciated the 2002 Twins and their defeat of the Oakland A’s featured in the book and movie Moneyball. Kent Hrbek Region Kent Hrbek, a native of Bloomington, famously caught the final out of the 1987 World Series as the Twins were champions for the first time in franchise history. While the 1991 World Series is thought of as one of the best in history, the 1987 World Series was also strong as it went a full seven games and featured plenty of memorable moments. Johan Santana’s best strikeout performance, Jason Kubel taking out the game’s best closer, and Francisco Liriano’s no-hitter were not match for the team’s first championship. One of the most important games in Twins history got beat out in the first round of this bracket. Back in 1965, Harmon Killebrew walked off the New York Yankees in the days leading into the All-Star Game. It propelled the team to their first World Series run. Alexi Casilla Region Alexi Casilla certainly does not fit in with the other big names for this bracket’s regions, but he did provide one of the biggest hits in one of the team’s greatest games. Game 163 back in 2009 gave the Metrodome a send-off for the ages (we will just gloss over the Yankees series in the ALDS). For the younger generation of Twins fans, Game 163 is their World Series moment, because the club has not won a playoff series since 2002. One of my favorite games to attend was also in this bracket. Game 162 in 2006 saw Joe Mauer secure his first batting title, but the best moment of the day took place after the game. Twins players stayed in the dugout and fans stayed in the stands to watch the Tigers and Royals play on the big screen. Kansas City was able to upset the Tigers and the Twins players stormed the field and did a victory lap after clinching the AL Central. Kirby Puckett Region Kirby Puckett told the team to get on his back and he made sure to follow through with his end of the bargain. Puckett’s first big moment in the game was a leaping catch as he scaled the Plexiglass wall that occupied the Metrodome’s outfield fence. Later in the game, Puckett provided quite possibly the signature moment in Twins history with his extra-inning walk-off home run to push the series to a decisive seventh game. Puckett had another big moment that was part of this region. In 1987, he had a perfect 6-for-6 day at the plate that still stands as the team record for hits in one game. Jim Thome hit the first walk-off at Target Field and his 600th home run came a season later. Neither of these games survived the first round. Minnesota is the only club to turn two triple-plays in one game, but that game got beat out by Scott Erickson’s no-hitter. Final Four All four number one seeds qualified for the Final Four, but it was really no contest to get into the championship game. The 1991 World Series provided so many memorable moments that Game 163 and the team’s first championship clinching game did not stand much of a shot. It would come down to a battle for the ages between Game 6 and Game 7 from the 1991 World Series. In the end, it came down to two games that were separated by one night. Kirby Puckett provided a masterpiece with a defensive play for the ages and an iconic home run. On the other side of the coin, Jack Morris provided a pitching performance for the ages. Both games were epic, but Game 7 of the 1991 World Series might be the best game that has ever been played and that is the champion of this bracket. https://twitter.com/NoDakTwinsFan/status/1250115733633236994 MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  8. Nelson Cruz (2019) Baseball Reference WAR: 4.0 Cruz has smashed almost every designated hitter record in Twins history. He became only the third player in franchise history to hit 40 home runs following in the footsteps of Harmon Killebrew and Brian Dozier. He set the team’s DH records for home runs and RBIs and will add to those totals with a handful of games remaining this season. The influence of Cruz goes well beyond the numbers he has put up on the field as he has served in a mentor role to many players on the Twins roster. There’s no doubt in my mind that Miguel Sano wouldn’t have hit 30 home runs this season if not for the mentorship provided by Cruz. Josh Willingham (2012) Baseball Reference WAR: 3.3 Willingham doesn’t get as much reignition for his impact because he played on a pair of bad Twins teams. However, his 2012 campaign was one of the best in franchise history for a free agent signing. His defense was atrocious in the outfield, but he clubbed 35 home runs and collected 110 RBI, both career highs. He’d be out of the league after two more seasons, but it doesn’t take anything away from his first year in a Twins uniform. Like Cruz, he was credited with being a mentor to other players and he helped Brian Dozier turn in to a power-hitting threat in the years that followed his signing. Jim Thome (2010) Baseball Reference WAR: 3.6 At his signing,Thome was near the end of a career that led him to be enshrined in Cooperstown, but he had a little magic left in the tank during Target Fields’ first season. He hit 25 home runs, but it sure felt like a lot more with his foul pole shot and walk-off hits to help the club. Target Field was packed on a nightly basis and Thome was certainly helping the club on their way to the AL Central title. Heck, even Sports Illustrated did a story on him that season and it takes a lot for them to make their way to Minnesota. He hit his 600th home run while in a Twins uniform, but his impact on the club was felt long after he had left the city. Jack Morris (1991) Baseball Reference WAR: 4.3 Jack Morris only played one season in a Twins uniform, but it was certainly a memorable one. He went on to be an All-Star that season and pitched one of the greatest games in baseball history. At age 36, it would be his last All-Star appearance and it would be the last season he pitched over 245 innings. He led the American League in games started for only the second time in his career and he had 10 complete games to his credit by season’s end. He was a workhorse on a team that needed starting pitching help to reach the ultimate goal. Other pitchers like Kevin Tapani and Scott Erickson were able to outperform expectations that season and maybe Morris and his example were able to play a role in helping the team. These are just a few of the team’s best free agent signings. Who was left off the list? Who would you rank as the team’s best free agent signing? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  9. Nelson Cruz clocked his 40th home run over the weekend and in the process became a member of the 400-home run club. Earlier in the year, I wrote about his unlikely quest for 400 home runs with the biggest caveat being that he didn’t hit his first home runs until he was 26 years old. Now he’s on the brink of one of the best seasons ever for a 39-year old player and it certainly looks like the Twins stole him on the free agent market. So how does Cruz stack up against the other top free agents in Twins history?Nelson Cruz (2019) Baseball Reference WAR: 4.0 Cruz has smashed almost every designated hitter record in Twins history. He became only the third player in franchise history to hit 40 home runs following in the footsteps of Harmon Killebrew and Brian Dozier. He set the team’s DH records for home runs and RBIs and will add to those totals with a handful of games remaining this season. The influence of Cruz goes well beyond the numbers he has put up on the field as he has served in a mentor role to many players on the Twins roster. There’s no doubt in my mind that Miguel Sano wouldn’t have hit 30 home runs this season if not for the mentorship provided by Cruz. Josh Willingham (2012) Baseball Reference WAR: 3.3 Willingham doesn’t get as much reignition for his impact because he played on a pair of bad Twins teams. However, his 2012 campaign was one of the best in franchise history for a free agent signing. His defense was atrocious in the outfield, but he clubbed 35 home runs and collected 110 RBI, both career highs. He’d be out of the league after two more seasons, but it doesn’t take anything away from his first year in a Twins uniform. Like Cruz, he was credited with being a mentor to other players and he helped Brian Dozier turn in to a power-hitting threat in the years that followed his signing. Jim Thome (2010) Baseball Reference WAR: 3.6 At his signing,Thome was near the end of a career that led him to be enshrined in Cooperstown, but he had a little magic left in the tank during Target Fields’ first season. He hit 25 home runs, but it sure felt like a lot more with his foul pole shot and walk-off hits to help the club. Target Field was packed on a nightly basis and Thome was certainly helping the club on their way to the AL Central title. Heck, even Sports Illustrated did a story on him that season and it takes a lot for them to make their way to Minnesota. He hit his 600th home run while in a Twins uniform, but his impact on the club was felt long after he had left the city. Jack Morris (1991) Baseball Reference WAR: 4.3 Jack Morris only played one season in a Twins uniform, but it was certainly a memorable one. He went on to be an All-Star that season and pitched one of the greatest games in baseball history. At age 36, it would be his last All-Star appearance and it would be the last season he pitched over 245 innings. He led the American League in games started for only the second time in his career and he had 10 complete games to his credit by season’s end. He was a workhorse on a team that needed starting pitching help to reach the ultimate goal. Other pitchers like Kevin Tapani and Scott Erickson were able to outperform expectations that season and maybe Morris and his example were able to play a role in helping the team. These are just a few of the team’s best free agent signings. Who was left off the list? Who would you rank as the team’s best free agent signing? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. Click here to view the article
  10. First World Series Run Since the club moved to Minnesota, the 1965 squad was the lone team to win over 100 games. With a 102-60 record (.630 W-L%), the team also has the highest winning percentage of any Twins team. During the 2019 campaign, the Twins have a .692 W-L%. It seems unlikely for the club to continue on that pace but it seems like they could get to 103 wins. Minnesota’s line-up that season featured greats like Harmon Killebrew, Tony Olivia, Bob Allison, and Earl Battey. Shortstop Zoilo Versalles would be named the AL MVP. The rotation consisted of some strong arms as well. Mudcast Grant, Jim Kaat and Jim Perry all had sub-3.30 ERAs, while Kaat and Grant combined to pitch over 534 innings. The Twins ran into the Dodgers and Sandy Koufax in the World Series, which stopped the club from being a champion. Still the 1965 team, might be one of the best teams from top to bottom. Baltimore Blues Teams Two of Minnesota’s best team contenders also fell short of their World Series goal. Both the 1969 and 1970 squads were able to qualify for the ALCS. Unfortunately, the Baltimore Orioles made quick work of the Twins in both years. Jim Perry was in quite the two-year stretch for being in his age-33 and age-34 seasons. He led the team in WAR in 1969 but he was actually awarded the AL Cy Young in 1970. In these two seasons, he combined to have a 44-18 record with a 2.93 ERA and 1.16 WHIP. He averaged 270 innings pitched and along with 160 strikeouts per season. Tony Oliva’s best professional season was in 1970. He 7.0 WAR led the team. He also led the American League in hits and doubles. Killebrew was also in the prime of his Hall of Fame career. Between the two seasons, he hit 90 home runs. Killebrew would take home the 1969 MVP. Oliva would finish second in the MVP voting one year later. World Series Wins Minnesota’s first World Series winning club didn’t exactly have a stellar regular season. The 1987 Twins finished the regular season at 85-77, which was two games better than the Royals. If the Twins were in the AL East that year, their record would have placed them fifth. The Tigers had trounced through the AL East that year with a 98-64 record, but the Twins were able to dispose of them in five games. Minnesota had to go to seven games against the Cardinals, but they won every game in the Metrodome to clinch the title. Frank Viola was the MVP and a poor regular season record was long forgotten. Minnesota’s second World Series winning club managed a better regular season than the first. They finished the year at 95-67, which was the best record in the American League. Do you know who lead the team in WAR that year? According to Baseball Reference, Kevin Tapani, Shane Mack, and Scott Erickson were the team’s top three players. For many, the 1991 World Series is considered the best Fall Classic of all-time. There were three extra-inning games including both games six and seven. Five of the seven games were decided by one run or less. All Twins fans know how this one ended. Puckett ended Game 6 and Morris dominated in Game 7. Metrodome Era Minnesota won the division five times from 2002-2009 with Ron Gardenhire at the helm. The 2002 club was deemed “The Team that Saved Baseball.” While that club shocked many by making the ALCS, the 2006 club might have been the best club in the Metrodome era. On the mound, Minnesota had the best one-two punch in the game. Johan Santana was in a stretch of being the best pitcher in the game. To join him, a young Francisco Liriano was showing he had the stuff to be among the league’s best. Liriano tried to pitch through pain in August but by November he was scheduled for Tommy John surgery. It’s hard to imagine any team that would have been able to beat Santana and Liriano multiple times in a seven-game series. Not to mention, Joe Nathan was anchoring the backend of a solid bullpen. At the plate, Joe Mauer was putting it all together at the big-league level. He won his first batting title, his first Silver Slugger, and he was an All-Star for the first time. Justin Morneau would be named the American League MVP as he beat out the likes of Derek Jeter, David Ortiz, and Frank Thomas. For many, Liriano’s injury cost the Twins a shot at World Series title. How good is the current team? Is it better than the 2006 squad? Is it better than the World Series clubs? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  11. John Bonnes I've followed the Twins since 1972, and in my mind, there is no doubt that Kirby Puckett has had the biggest impact. It wasn't just the World Series championships or the postseason heroics. Indeed that was just a small fraction of what he brought, as was his performance on the field. His personality, specifically his childlike enthusiasm and joy, separated him from any other athlete I've witnessed. He was also fortunate enough to have his career fall into the perfect media landscape: media was ubiquitous, but not chaotic and social. I wasn't able to witness first-hand the greatness on and off the field that Harmon Killebrew embodied, but I have trouble imagining that any player from the 60s could impact an organization and community the way Puckett did in the 80s and 90s. Nick Nelson For me personally, it’d have to be Kirby Puckett. He was easily the team’s biggest star while I was growing up, and had a major impact on my fledgling affinity for Twins baseball at the time. However, given that Kirby’s playing career was relatively brief (by HoF standards) and his greatness somewhat overstated (*ducks*) I’ve gotta go with Harmon Killebrew. I didn’t have the privilege of watching him play, but the numbers speak for themselves: to still own essentially all the franchise’s power-hitting records 30-plus years after retiring is nothing short of incredible. Plus, Killebrew stuck around as a fantastic ambassador for the organization many years after his playing career ended, whereas Kirby faded from the spotlight unceremoniously. Puckett’s legacy is ultimately a complicated and checkered one, but Killer’s is rock-solid through and through. He arrived along with the team from Washington in 1961, on the front end of a legendary run, and will forever be emblazoned in my mind as the eternal face of the franchise. Cody Christie When looking at the organization, Tony Oliva, a player not in the Hall of Fame, might have had the greatest impact on the organization. He’s been a great ambassador for the game and an asset for the organization. However, other players elected to Cooperstown like Kirby Puckett, Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew, and Bert Blyleven have impacted the organization in different ways. Puckett brought multiple titles to the Twin Cities. Killebrew was the heart and soul of the organization’s first pennant winning team. Carew and his Heart of 29 campaign have brought him back into the fold in Minnesota. Even Blyleven and his terrible announcing have left an impact on the organization. If I am picking one player, it has to be Killebrew. His on and off the field impacts have touched every generation of Twins fans. Puckett was my idol growing up but his post career life was filled with various demons. Killebrew wasn’t perfect but his reach goes far beyond Twins Territory. Steve Lein Just to point this out while I go into my why: this is a tough question for me (for reasons discussed below and others I won’t). I grew up as a little kid loving baseball and my home/favorite team won two world series before I was ten years old. My views may be a little skewed because of that and the vivid memories I still have (one of those World Series was the first time I can remember my parents letting me stay up late). Since I’ve grown up and sought to learn much more about the franchise’s history, I know the name Harmon Killebrew should top a lot of our writer’s lists. I don’t know if you could find a Hall of Famer anywhere that without a doubt could be called a better human being. Because of that, while I was in a vintage store this past weekend I was very tempted to drop far too much money on an okay-condition Killebrew baseball card from 1958, while still in a Senators jersey. But as far as impact on the organization for me, the answer to this question will likely always be Kirby Puckett. He’s unquestionably the reason why you came to the Metrodome during his star-studded career, his joy playing the game was apparent every day with his smile, and his charisma was known throughout the major leagues. He also led his teams to those two World Series Championships, so he’s my pick. SD Buhr Given my advanced age, it’s not surprising that I’m going to go with Harmon Killebrew. Many fans may not have an appreciation for just how sorry the Washington Senators franchise was at the time Calvin Griffith moved the team to Minnesota. Washington won the AL pennant in 1933. From that point until the franchise landed in Minnesota, the Senators had three seasons in which they finished in the top half of the A.L. standings (two were during the talent-challenged World War II era). They finished dead last in the standings in four of their final six seasons in Washington. That is the legacy that Calvin Griffith brought to Minnesota. Fortunately, he also brought Harmon Killebrew to Minnesota. With Killebrew as the face of the franchise, the Twins quickly became one of most successful teams of the 1960s.They finished 6th in their debut season of 1961, but finished 2nd in 1962, 3rd in 1963 and won the franchise’s first A.L. pennant in 32 years in 1965. They were runners-up in 1966 and 1967 and then won the first two Western Division pennants of the Divisional era in 1969 and 1970. Under Griffith’s frugal ownership, the Twins became an also-ran during the following decade and a half, until Griffith sold the team to Carl Pohlad. Killebrew was the virtual embodiment of “Minnesota Nice” off the field, while being a cold blooded “killer” when he stepped into the batter’s box. If the Twins had continued their Senators legacy of being the league doormats, it’s not hard to imagine that Griffith would have been forced to sell his team much sooner than he did and who knows whether there would have been much local interest in even trying to keep the team in Minnesota. Thanks to Killebrew and his friends, the Twins were still around when Kirby and his buddies won their Championships. Andrew Thares Now batting, number 34, Kirbyyyyyyyyyyyyy Puckett! In the history of the Minnesota Twins, there isn’t a single player who has had a greater impact on the organization than Kirby Puckett. It would be easy to talk about him being the best player on both World Series winning teams, or reminisce on his brilliant preforming in Game 6 of the 1991 World Series, but really it was how Kirby played the game that left the lasting impact on the organization. As a Twins fan who isn’t old enough to remember Kirby Puckett before he retired, I think it speaks volumes to the fact that he is still my favorite baseball player of all time. Ted Schwerzler While Harmon was a man that has been gone from baseball for quite some time now, I think it's safe to say his impact has been felt over multiple generations. He was consistently a figurehead for the Twins organization even after his playing days, and his instruction towards young players is still disseminated today. He instilled a way in which to go about doing things that has been bought into by players like Torii Hunter, and consistently passed down as those guys give back to the organization today. If you missed any of the most recent roundtable discussions, here are the links: Baseball in 2028 Floundered Second Half Star Sell, Sell, Sell? Fixing the Offense
  12. February 4 Happy 37th Birthday, Ben Hendrickson It's the birthday of 1999 Bloomington Jefferson grad and former Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Ben Hendrickson, born in St. Cloud in 1981. Milwaukee chose Hendrickson in the 10th round of the ’99 draft. He was the second of three Jefferson Jaguars drafted out of high school, and the first of those high school draftees to make it to the majors… so far. 2015 graduate Jake Irvin was drafted by the Twins in the 37th round, but opted to attend the University of Oklahoma. The 6’6” pitcher is currently a junior. The Twins drafted Kent Mariska out of Jefferson in the 40th round of the 1974 draft. The speedster didn't advance past Appalachian League rookie ball, though. Though not drafted out of high school, another Jefferson alumnus has made it to the majors. Steven Edlefsen was taken by the San Francisco Giants in the 16th round of the 2007 draft out of the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Edlefsen made it to the majors with the Giants in 2011 and 2012, appearing in 27 games overall. I always find people’s paths to the majors interesting. Despite being drafted out of high school, Hendrickson doesn’t exactly dominate the Bloomington Jefferson record books. He tied the school record with 17 strikeouts in a game vs. Eagan in 1998. His 71 strikeouts in 1998 and 65 in ’99 are third and fifth-best in school history. His 1998 ERA of 2.01 is eleventh-best in school history. There have been four no-hitters and 13 one-hitters in school history; none by Hendrickson. He did, however, pitch a two-hitter vs. Bloomington Kennedy in 1998. He also had two career shutouts: one vs. Eagan in 1997, and another vs. Wayzata in 1998. Ben Hendrickson made his major league debut in Los Angeles on June 2, 2004 at age 23. He gave up four runs on seven hits over five innings, picking up the loss. He made nine starts and one relief appearance that season, finishing with a 1-8 record. His only major league win came in Milwaukee on September 4, 2004, when he held the Cincinnati Reds to two runs on seven hits over six innings. Hendrickson spent the entire 2005 season at triple-A where he went 6-12. He made it back to the majors in 2006, making three starts and one relief appearance. He made his final major league appearance on May 20, 2006 in Milwaukee vs. his hometown Minnesota Twins. After giving up a leadoff single to Lew Ford and walking Luis Castillo, he gave up consecutive RBI hits to Joe Mauer, Torii Hunter, Michael Cuddyer, and Justin Morneau before he was pulled, having given up five runs without recording an out. A sixth run was charged to him before the inning was over. Hendrickson hung around pro ball for three more seasons, spending time in the Royals and Rays organizations before being signed by the Twins on February 17, 2009. He made nine relief appearances for triple-A Rochester, giving up nine runs on 18 hits and nine walks over 10.1 innings before being released on June 19. A few noteworthy things jumped out at me while perusing Hendrickson’s Baseball Reference page: • With former Twin Todd Walker on base, Hendrickson gave up one of Sammy Sosa’s 609 career home runs on July 29, 2004. • He held slugger Adam Dunn 0-for- 5 with a walk and three strikeouts. Dunn was elected to the Reds Hall of Fame this past November. • Larry Walker was 1-for- 6 with a walk and a strikeout vs. Hendrickson. Walker appeared on 34.1% of Hall of Fame ballots in 2018, his eighth year of eligibility. • Hendrickson got two major league hits, the first coming off the Cubs’ Carlos Zambrano on July 29, 2004. February 5 Happy 89th Birthday, Al Worthington It's the birthday of former Twins stopper Al Worthington, born in Birmingham, AL in 1929. The Twins purchased the 35-year-old pitcher's contract from the Reds on June 26, 1964, the same day that Twins pitcher Gerry Arrigo took a no-hitter vs. Chicago into the ninth at Met Stadium. Arrigo would complete a one-hit shutout of the Sox. Worthington, meanwhile, would appear in 41 of the Twins’ 81 remaining games, posting a 1.37 ERA. Worthington was the first Twin to save 20+ games, going 10-5 with 21 saves and a 2.13 ERA during the team's 1965 American League championship season. Worthington was the first Twin to lead the league in saves with 18 in 1968 at age 39. The others to do so were Ron Perranoski in 1969 and 1970, Mike Marshall in 1979, and Eddie Guardado in 2002. (Note: saves weren't an official stat until 1969) With the Twins hosting the Senators on August 9, 1967, Worthington was involved in what must be one of the greatest relief pitcher duels in major league history. The Twins pieced together a 7-0 lead through six innings, but Washington tied it in the seventh with a two-out, seven-run rally. Worthington and Senators reliever Darold Knowles both entered in the eighth. Worthington went 8.2 scoreless innings, allowing just two singles and two walks, at one point retiring 17 consecutive Senators. For the sabermetrically inclined, Worthington’s performance scored a WPA (Win Probability Added) of 1.176, the most valuable relief performance in Twins history (per Chris Jaffe's August 27, 2012 Hardball Times article). Knowles, meanwhile, pitched 10 scoreless innings, allowing three singles and two walks while striking out 10. The walks came back-to-back with one out in the 11th to the pitcher Worthington and Zoilo Versalles, putting the winning run on second with César Tovar and Tony Oliva coming up. Knowles, however, got Tovar to fly out to center, and Oliva to pop out to the catcher. Knowles performance scored a WPA of 1.231, the most valuable relief performance in Senators/Rangers history. Despite a combined 18.2 innings of relief work, neither pitcher factored in the decision. After the Senators scored two in the top of the 20th, Sandy Valdespino led off the bottom of the inning with a single. As remarkable of a game as this was, here’s my favorite part: with two out in the bottom of the 20th, pitcher Jim Kaat pinch-hit for shortstop Jackie Hernandez, representing the tying run! Kaat flew out to deep right to end the game, but still, when’s the last time you heard of a pitcher pinch-hitting in a situation like that? February 5 Happy 31st Birthday, Mark Hamburger It’s the birthday of 2005 Mounds View High School graduate and Mesabi Range Community and Technical College alumnus Mark Hamburger, born in St. Paul in 1987. Hamburger was signed by the Twins as an amateur free agent on June 19, 2007, and was traded to Texas for “Everyday” Eddie Guardado on August 25, 2008. Guardado had previously pitched for the Twins from 1993 to 2003. Including the nine games in 2008, Guardado pitched in 648 games for the Twins, the most in team history by a mile. Rick Aguilera is next on the list, 158 games back. Guardado loves to say that he was “traded for Hamburger.” Hamburger made his major league debut on August 31, 2011 at age 24, pitching a perfect ninth inning in a 4-1 loss vs. Tampa Bay. Overall, Hamburger pitched eight innings over five appearances with the Rangers, giving up four runs on five hits and three walks while striking out six. He earned his only major league win in his final game, on September 26, 2011. Leading the Angels 1-0 in Los Angeles, Hamburger replaced C.J. Wilson to start the bottom of the third. After three scoreless innings, he gave up a one-out double to Torii Hunter in the sixth. After getting Vernon Wells to pop out for the second out, Hamburger was replaced by Darren Oliver. Mike Trout singled home Hunter, and Oliver walked Bobby Abreu with the bases loaded before getting out of the inning, with the Rangers still clinging to a 3-2 lead and Hamburger in line for the win. The Rangers went on to win 4-3 with Neftali Feliz earning the save. After struggling at triple-A Round Rock in 2012, the Rangers put Hamburger on waivers. He was claimed by the Padres on June 25, 2012, but didn’t fare much better at triple-A Tucson, so was put on waivers again and claimed by the Astros on July 21. He was released by Houston the following winter. Hamburger pitched for the St. Paul Saints in 2013, starting 21 games, going 6-8 with a 3.26 ERA and 1.403 WHIP. He averaged seven innings per start. The Twins signed him on September 4, 2013. The Twins had previously signed Saints pitcher Caleb Thielbar following the 2011 season. The Twins probably felt particularly good about signing a Saints pitcher in September 2013, as Thielbar had been sensational for them that season, not allowing a run in his first 17 major league appearances, ultimately going 3-2 over 48 appearances (46 innings pitched), with a 1.76 ERA and 0.826 WHIP. After two seasons at triple-A Rochester, however, the Twins granted Hamburger free agency on November 6, 2015. Hamburger returned to the Saints, where he went 12-6 in 2016, and 13-6 in 2017. He is expected to pitch for the Saints again in 2018. He also pitched for the Melbourne Aces in the Australian Baseball League during the winter of 2016-’17, and 2017-’18. He has previously pitched in the Puerto Rican, Venezuelan, and Mexican Pacific Winter Leagues. February 5, 1991 Twins Sign Morris The Twins sign free agent pitcher Jack Morris to a one-year, $3.7 million contract, making the 1973 Highland Park grad the second-highest paid player, and highest paid pitcher in the American League. Morris had previously been the highest paid pitcher in the league in 1987 and ‘88, and would be again in 1993. The uncharacteristic opening of the purse strings paid dividends for the Pohlads, as Morris won 18 regular season games, and four more in the postseason, including the legendary 10-inning shutout of Atlanta in Game 7 of the World Series. 1991 was his only season as a Twin. He signed with the Blue Jays on December 18. Morris was elected to the Hall of Fame alongside former Tigers teammate Alan Trammell by the Veterans Committee on December 10, 2017. The Tigers drafted Trammell in ‘75, and Morris in ‘76. They both made their major league debuts in 1977. Morris was the fourth Minnesotan elected to the Hall of Fame, and the third from St. Paul. The three St. Paul Hall of Famers all graduated from local high schools within six years of each other: Dave Winfield (St. Paul Central, 1969), Morris (Highland Park, 1973), and Paul Molitor (Cretin, 1974). February 6, 1998 Twins Trade Chuck Knoblauch The Twins trade All-Star second baseman Chuck Knoblauch to the New York Yankees for minor leaguers Eric Milton, Cristian Guzman, Brian Buchanan, Danny Mota and three million dollars of George Steinbrenner’s cold hard cash. There had been speculation for several years that the struggling Twins would deal hot commodity Knoblauch, and eventually he himself demanded to be traded to a contender. Knoblauch was coming off a stretch of four sensational seasons in which he made three All-Star teams, hitting .318 and stealing 188 bases. His 127 OPS+ over that stretch was three points better than Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar. The trade would ultimately go down as a win-win. Knoblauch was uneven as a Yankee. We all know about his struggles throwing the ball to first base. He continued to swing a solid stick, though, and the Yankees won the World Series in each of his first three seasons in New York. Cristian Guzman, meanwhile, was the Twins’ starting shortstop for six seasons, leading the league in triples three times. He never realized his full potential, but Twins fans sure saw some sparks from the speedster. Milton jumped straight into the starting rotation, giving the Twins five solid seasons, highlighted by a no-hitter on September 11, 1999. Another highlight came on April 15, 2001 when Milton struck out eight of the first 10 White Sox he faced. Buchanan played 143 games with the Twins between 2000 and 2002. He hit one of the Twins' five home runs on Opening Day, April 1, 2002. The Twins are the most recent of five American League teams to hit five home runs on Opening Day. The previous four were the Yankees in 1932, Red Sox in 1965, Brewers in 1980, and Cleveland in 1995. The Mets set the major league record with six Opening Day home runs in 1988. Mota made four relief appearances for the Twins late in the 2000 season, his only stint in the majors. February 8, 1925 Birthdate of Milt Nielsen It’s the birthdate of Milt Nielsen born 93 years ago in Tyler, MN (in Lincoln County, between Marhsall, MN and Brookings, SD). He started three games in center for Cleveland in 1949, going 1-for-11 with one run scored. He played in 16 games for Cleveland in 1951, pinch-running ten times, and pinch-hitting six times, going 0-for-6. He didn’t play in the field at all. Nielsen played a total of nine professional seasons from 1946 to 1954, all in the Cleveland organization. He passed away in Mankato on August 1, 2005 at age 80, and was laid to rest at Resurrection Cemetery in St. Peter. February 9, 1902 Birthdate of Julie Wera It's the birthdate of 1927 Yankees bench player Julie Wera, born 116 years ago in Winona, MN. Wera joined Winona’s top amateur baseball team, the Peerless Chains, sponsored by the Peerless Tire Chain Company, in July 1921, when he was just 16 years old. The 5-foot-7, 155-pound speedster was recruited to play semi-pro ball in Wausau, WI in 1924, where he caught the attention of the St. Paul Saints. On December 21, 1926, the Saints traded Wera to the New York Yankees for $40,000 and two players to be named later (per Baseball Reference). Wera was the only rookie to make the Yankees out of camp in 1927. The 25-year-old made his major league debut on April 14, 1927, pinch-hitting for Hall of Famer Waite Hoyt versus Hall of Famer Lefty Grove. He grounded out. Perhaps the most memorable moment of Wera’s career came on the Fourth of July in an auspicious doubleheader at Yankee Stadium. A crowd of 74,000—the largest crowd ever to attend a baseball game to that point—saw the Yanks demolish the second-place Senators, winning the first game 12-1 and the second 21-1. Wera replaced Joe Dugan at third base in the seventh inning of Game 2, and in the bottom of the inning he clouted a two-run homer off Nats lefty Bobby Burke, a rookie like Wera. It would be the only homer of Wera’s major league career. The ‘27 Yankees are regarded by many as the greatest baseball team ever assembled. 32-year-old Babe Ruth swatted 60 home runs, while the team went 110-44 (.714), winning the American League pennant by a margin of 19 games. Wera, for his part, got into 38 games (19 starts), going 10-for-42 (.238) with a walk, eight RBI, and seven runs scored. He suffered a gnarly knee injury in a late-season play at home, and was not a part of the World Series, in which the Yankees swept the Pirates. He did, however, receive the same $5,782 portion of the winners’ purse as Ruth, Gehrig, and the rest of the gang. Nice bonus, considering that Wera’s 1927 salary was $2,400. Hampered by the knee injury, Wera was back in the minors with St. Paul in 1928. He did make it back to the Yankees for five games in 1929, going 5-for-12 (.417). In total, Wera played 13 seasons of professional baseball, wrapping up his career in 1937 with the Crookston (MN) Pirates, a St. Louis Cardinals affiliate in the class-D Northern League. Julie Wera died of a heart attack at his home in Rochester, MN on December 12, 1975. He was 73 years old. Jerome Christenson wrote a great, succinct profile of Wera for the Winona Daily News on October 13, 2016 (click here). For a more thorough picture, including a great anecdote about Lou Gehrig making a surprise visit to the Rochester Piggly Wiggly to see his old friend Wera, read J.G. Preston’s SABR BioProject essay (click here). February 10 Happy 25th Birthday, Max Kepler It's the birthday of Twins outfielder Max Kepler, born in Berlin, Germany in 1993. Playing Cleveland at Target Field on August 1, 2016, Kepler became the fifth player in Twins history to hit three home runs in a game. The previous four were Bob Allison (1963), Harmon Killebrew (1963), Tony Oliva (1973), and Justin Morneau (2007). Kepler’s three-home run game opened the floodgates. Brian Dozier joined the club on September 5, 2016, Eddie Rosario on June 13, 2017, and Byron Buxton on August 27, 2017. So while the first four three-home run games in Twins history came over a span of 8,875 games, the next four came over a span of just 188. Kepler's three-home run game was the beginning of a historic three-game stretch for the team as a whole. Mired in the worst season in franchise history, the Twins hit a team record 19 extra-base hits over a two-game span. They set a milestone in the third game of the series by putting up 10 runs in three straight games against the same team for the first time. The Twins had scored 10 runs in three straight games before, but never against the same team. They would lose the fourth game of the series 9-2. Keep in touch with @TwinsAlmanac on Twitter and Facebook.
  13. With the Super Bowl in town, it feels like as good a time as ever to revisit some of the greatest World Series performances by Twins players. There are a lot of ways someone could attempt to compile such a list, but I’m going to be using a stat called Win Probability Added.WPA tries to put into context an individual play’s impact on a team's odds of winning. So while Kent Hrbek’s grand slam in Game 6 of the 1987 World Series was a great accomplishment, his performance in that game doesn’t crack the top 10. The slam was Hrbek’s only hit in that game, it came in the sixth inning and the Twins were already ahead by a run. That was no doubt a massive play, but the Twins have had some huge performances among their 21 World Series contests. For more on WPA, check out the FanGraphs glossary. I also like MLB.com’s one-sentence explanation: "Its best use is for deciphering the impact of a specific player or play on a game's outcome." It’s a fun stat, but it has its limitations. For example, fielders don’t get any credit for WPA from key defensive plays. 10. Chili Davis, 1991 Game 3, .303 WPA Chili only had one plate appearance in this game, but it was a big one. With the Twins trailing 4-2 in the top of the eighth inning, Brian Harper led things off by reaching on an error. Davis came off the bench to pinch hit for the pitcher and Atlanta countered by bringing in Alejandro Pena to face him. Davis swatted a laser beam for an opposite-field homer to tie the game. Unfortunately, the Twins would eventually fall in the 12th inning. 9. Carl Willis, 1991 Game 6, .334 WPA Willis became the third Twins pitcher to appear in the seventh inning of this game after starter Scott Erickson was lifted and Mark Guthrie, the first man out of the pen, got into some further trouble. The first man Willis faced hit into a force out that scored the tying run from third base. Willis then struck out David Justice to end the seventh and worked scoreless frames in both the eighth and ninth innings to keep the game tied, helping set the stage for ... we'll get to that in a minute. 8. Kevin Tapani, 1991 Game 2, .335 WPA This was a great bend-but-don’t-break performance from Tapani. He gave up a pair of runs over eight innings, but got outs when he needed them most. He also may have gotten a little help from his first baseman. Wait, let me rephrase that, Tapani was bailed out by Ron Gant, who inexplicably just fell right off first base. Atlanta scratched across runs on sacrifice flies in the second and fifth innings. Scott Leius led off the eight with a go-ahead homer before Rick Aguilera nailed down the save in the ninth. 7. Les Straker, 1987 Game 3, .372 WPA Straker pitched six shutout innings before exiting this game with a 1-0 lead. He gave up four hits and two walks while tallying four strikeouts. Straker’s position on this list surprised me, but six shutout innings goes a long way toward helping a team win and this was a tight ballgame. Unfortunately, the Cardinals got to Juan Berenguer for three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning and cruised to victory from there. 6. Frank Viola, 1987 Game 7, .378 WPA Viola gave up a pair of runs in the second inning, but it was all sweet music from there. He struck out seven Cardinal batters over eight innings while limiting St. Louis to six hits and did not walk a batter. From the end of that shaky second frame forward, he retired 11 consecutive batters. Viola exited the game with a 4-2 lead and Jeff Reardon pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning to close out the victory. 5. Jim Kaat, 1965 Game 2, .393 WPA Sandy Koufax was incredible in this series, but Kaat managed to outduel him in this one. It was 0-0 until the bottom of the sixth inning when the Twins tallied a pair of runs off Koufax. Kaat gave up his only run of the game in the top of the seventh, but the Twins scored three more runs against the Dodgers’ bullpen to win 5-1. Kaat pitched a complete game, giving up seven hits, all of them singles. He also had a two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the eighth inning to score the team’s final two runs. 4. Mike Pagliarulo, 1991 Game 4, .399 WPA This is the highest WPA game that came in a Twins loss. Pagliarulo opened the scoring with an RBI single off John Smoltz in the second inning. He added another base hit in the fourth before hitting a go-ahead solo homer in the seventh. So that’s a 3-for-3 day off a future Hall of Famer in which Pags drove in the team’s only two runs of the contest. He was pulled in the ninth inning to avoid a lefty-lefty matchup against Mike Stanton and the Braves won it on a walk-off sac fly in the bottom half of that inning. 3. Mudcat Grant, 1965 Game 6, .420 WPA (pitching + hitting) What a performance. Mudcat not only pitched a complete game, but he also socked a three-run dinger. Grant didn’t even give up a hit until the top of the fifth inning, after Bob Allison already secured him a two-run lead with a home run in the previous frame. Grant was just the seventh pitcher to homer in a World Series game and only six more hurlers have gone deep in the Fall Classic since. The last to do it was Joe Blanton (Phillies, 2008). 2. Kirby Puckett, 1991 Game 6, .593 WPA The big moment here was Kirby’s walk-off home run in the 11th inning, but he had an incredible game leading up to that moment. In his first at-bat, Puckett drove in Chuck Knoblauch on a triple. He later scored on a Shane Mack base hit. Puckett then made that incredible catch up against the plexiglass in the third inning (not accounted for by WPA), and delivered a game-tying sacrifice fly in the fifth. With the game still tied at 3-3 in the eighth inning, Puckett recorded a single and stole second base, though was stranded there. The next time he came up was in the 11th. And we will see you tomorrow night. Speaking of which ... 1. Jack Morris, 1991 Game 7, .845 WPA Of course it’s Morris, and it’s not even close. A 10-inning shutout in which the score was tied 0-0 the entire time he was on the mound? We’ll probably never see anything like it again. Atlanta got a runner to second base with one out in both the second and third innings. They got a man there with two down in the fourth. In the fifth, they had a runner at third with one out. In the eighth inning, they had a man on third with nobody out (hat tip to some Knoblauch deception on that one). Morris got out of every jam. When he needed a strikeout, he got one. The one moment when he desperately needed a double play, he got it. Morris would not be beaten on that day. Click here to view the article
  14. WPA tries to put into context an individual play’s impact on a team's odds of winning. So while Kent Hrbek’s grand slam in Game 6 of the 1987 World Series was a great accomplishment, his performance in that game doesn’t crack the top 10. The slam was Hrbek’s only hit in that game, it came in the sixth inning and the Twins were already ahead by a run. That was no doubt a massive play, but the Twins have had some huge performances among their 21 World Series contests. For more on WPA, check out the FanGraphs glossary. I also like MLB.com’s one-sentence explanation: "Its best use is for deciphering the impact of a specific player or play on a game's outcome." It’s a fun stat, but it has its limitations. For example, fielders don’t get any credit for WPA from key defensive plays. 10. Chili Davis, 1991 Game 3, .303 WPA Chili only had one plate appearance in this game, but it was a big one. With the Twins trailing 4-2 in the top of the eighth inning, Brian Harper led things off by reaching on an error. Davis came off the bench to pinch hit for the pitcher and Atlanta countered by bringing in Alejandro Pena to face him. Davis swatted a laser beam for an opposite-field homer to tie the game. Unfortunately, the Twins would eventually fall in the 12th inning. 9. Carl Willis, 1991 Game 6, .334 WPA Willis became the third Twins pitcher to appear in the seventh inning of this game after starter Scott Erickson was lifted and Mark Guthrie, the first man out of the pen, got into some further trouble. The first man Willis faced hit into a force out that scored the tying run from third base. Willis then struck out David Justice to end the seventh and worked scoreless frames in both the eighth and ninth innings to keep the game tied, helping set the stage for ... we'll get to that in a minute. 8. Kevin Tapani, 1991 Game 2, .335 WPA This was a great bend-but-don’t-break performance from Tapani. He gave up a pair of runs over eight innings, but got outs when he needed them most. He also may have gotten a little help from his first baseman. Wait, let me rephrase that, Tapani was bailed out by Ron Gant, who inexplicably just fell right off first base. Atlanta scratched across runs on sacrifice flies in the second and fifth innings. Scott Leius led off the eight with a go-ahead homer before Rick Aguilera nailed down the save in the ninth. 7. Les Straker, 1987 Game 3, .372 WPA Straker pitched six shutout innings before exiting this game with a 1-0 lead. He gave up four hits and two walks while tallying four strikeouts. Straker’s position on this list surprised me, but six shutout innings goes a long way toward helping a team win and this was a tight ballgame. Unfortunately, the Cardinals got to Juan Berenguer for three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning and cruised to victory from there. 6. Frank Viola, 1987 Game 7, .378 WPA Viola gave up a pair of runs in the second inning, but it was all sweet music from there. He struck out seven Cardinal batters over eight innings while limiting St. Louis to six hits and did not walk a batter. From the end of that shaky second frame forward, he retired 11 consecutive batters. Viola exited the game with a 4-2 lead and Jeff Reardon pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning to close out the victory. 5. Jim Kaat, 1965 Game 2, .393 WPA Sandy Koufax was incredible in this series, but Kaat managed to outduel him in this one. It was 0-0 until the bottom of the sixth inning when the Twins tallied a pair of runs off Koufax. Kaat gave up his only run of the game in the top of the seventh, but the Twins scored three more runs against the Dodgers’ bullpen to win 5-1. Kaat pitched a complete game, giving up seven hits, all of them singles. He also had a two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the eighth inning to score the team’s final two runs. 4. Mike Pagliarulo, 1991 Game 4, .399 WPA This is the highest WPA game that came in a Twins loss. Pagliarulo opened the scoring with an RBI single off John Smoltz in the second inning. He added another base hit in the fourth before hitting a go-ahead solo homer in the seventh. So that’s a 3-for-3 day off a future Hall of Famer in which Pags drove in the team’s only two runs of the contest. He was pulled in the ninth inning to avoid a lefty-lefty matchup against Mike Stanton and the Braves won it on a walk-off sac fly in the bottom half of that inning. 3. Mudcat Grant, 1965 Game 6, .420 WPA (pitching + hitting) What a performance. Mudcat not only pitched a complete game, but he also socked a three-run dinger. Grant didn’t even give up a hit until the top of the fifth inning, after Bob Allison already secured him a two-run lead with a home run in the previous frame. Grant was just the seventh pitcher to homer in a World Series game and only six more hurlers have gone deep in the Fall Classic since. The last to do it was Joe Blanton (Phillies, 2008). 2. Kirby Puckett, 1991 Game 6, .593 WPA The big moment here was Kirby’s walk-off home run in the 11th inning, but he had an incredible game leading up to that moment. In his first at-bat, Puckett drove in Chuck Knoblauch on a triple. He later scored on a Shane Mack base hit. Puckett then made that incredible catch up against the plexiglass in the third inning (not accounted for by WPA), and delivered a game-tying sacrifice fly in the fifth. With the game still tied at 3-3 in the eighth inning, Puckett recorded a single and stole second base, though was stranded there. The next time he came up was in the 11th. And we will see you tomorrow night. Speaking of which ... 1. Jack Morris, 1991 Game 7, .845 WPA Of course it’s Morris, and it’s not even close. A 10-inning shutout in which the score was tied 0-0 the entire time he was on the mound? We’ll probably never see anything like it again. Atlanta got a runner to second base with one out in both the second and third innings. They got a man there with two down in the fourth. In the fifth, they had a runner at third with one out. In the eighth inning, they had a man on third with nobody out (hat tip to some Knoblauch deception on that one). Morris got out of every jam. When he needed a strikeout, he got one. The one moment when he desperately needed a double play, he got it. Morris would not be beaten on that day.
  15. Baseball’s election process for the Hall of Fame isn’t perfect. Strong candidates get skipped over. Top level players are left off ballots because of the 10 vote limit per ballot. Twins fans are well aware of the flawed process with players like Bert Blyleven, who eventually got in, and Tony Oliva, who is still waiting for the call. In order to address some of these flaws, MLB has created what some call a “back door” into the Hall of Fame. The 16-member Eras Committee (formerly known as the Veterans Committee) considers players from baseball’s different eras. This year’s ballot includes 10 names from the Modern Era (1970-1987).Candidates must receive 12 of the 16 votes in order to get elected. Each member of the committee can vote for a maximum of five candidates. Since 2009, only two players have been elected through this process, Ron Santo and Deacon White. Will Morris Get His Call? Some fans who grew up watching the Modern Era are surprised that Jack Morris isn’t already in the Hall. Morris topped out at 67% of the vote on his 14th time on the BBWAA ballot. Morris left his mark on the Twins organization with his 10 inning shutout in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series. Other than that, his resume is lacking. He has a career 3.90 ERA and his career WAR of 43.8 doesn’t exactly scream Hall of Fame. Morris was part of three World Series winners and he had the most wins in the 1980’s (for what that’s worth). There are worse players in the Hall and I think other players feel like he should be part of their elite group. Are There Other Deserving Names? Alan Trammell and Marvin Miller also have a chance at being elected. Trammell has similar stats to Barry Larkin who was elected on his third BBWAA ballot. He has the eight-best WAR among shortstops which is the highest WAR total for an eligible shortstop candidate who hasn’t been elected. Miller, the former head of the MLB Players Association, missed being elected by one vote in 2010. With Bud Selig’s election last year, it should pave the way for Miller to be enshrined. Unfortunately, he has passed on since his last time on the ballot. Who Was Missed? With nine players and Miller on the ballot, there wasn’t much room for other non-players. In previous years, George Steinbrenner and Billy Martin were on the ballot. Don Mattingly made the ballot while Keith Hernandez was left off. Even though Hernandez accumulated a WAR total that is 18 points higher than Mattingly. Other names that were missed were players like Dwight Evans, Bobby Grich, Willie Randolph, and Lou Whitaker. All of these players accumulated a WAR of over 65. Some of the other names on the ballot just don’t stack up when compared to those left off the ballot. What are your thoughts? Will Morris finally get the call? Who was the biggest snub? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. Click here to view the article
  16. Candidates must receive 12 of the 16 votes in order to get elected. Each member of the committee can vote for a maximum of five candidates. Since 2009, only two players have been elected through this process, Ron Santo and Deacon White. Will Morris Get His Call? Some fans who grew up watching the Modern Era are surprised that Jack Morris isn’t already in the Hall. Morris topped out at 67% of the vote on his 14th time on the BBWAA ballot. Morris left his mark on the Twins organization with his 10 inning shutout in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series. Other than that, his resume is lacking. He has a career 3.90 ERA and his career WAR of 43.8 doesn’t exactly scream Hall of Fame. Morris was part of three World Series winners and he had the most wins in the 1980’s (for what that’s worth). There are worse players in the Hall and I think other players feel like he should be part of their elite group. Are There Other Deserving Names? Alan Trammell and Marvin Miller also have a chance at being elected. Trammell has similar stats to Barry Larkin who was elected on his third BBWAA ballot. He has the eight-best WAR among shortstops which is the highest WAR total for an eligible shortstop candidate who hasn’t been elected. Miller, the former head of the MLB Players Association, missed being elected by one vote in 2010. With Bud Selig’s election last year, it should pave the way for Miller to be enshrined. Unfortunately, he has passed on since his last time on the ballot. Who Was Missed? With nine players and Miller on the ballot, there wasn’t much room for other non-players. In previous years, George Steinbrenner and Billy Martin were on the ballot. Don Mattingly made the ballot while Keith Hernandez was left off. Even though Hernandez accumulated a WAR total that is 18 points higher than Mattingly. Other names that were missed were players like Dwight Evans, Bobby Grich, Willie Randolph, and Lou Whitaker. All of these players accumulated a WAR of over 65. Some of the other names on the ballot just don’t stack up when compared to those left off the ballot. What are your thoughts? Will Morris finally get the call? Who was the biggest snub? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  17. May 16 Happy 62nd Birthday, Jack Morris It’s the birthday of 1973 Highland Park High School graduate Jack Morris, born in St. Paul in 1951. Morris was selected in the Fifth Round of the '76 Draft out of Brigham Young. The Tigers had drafted Alan Trammell in the 2nd Round, and Lou Whitaker in the 5th Round a year earlier. All three would make their major league debuts in 1977, with Trammell and Whitaker debuting in the same game. Morris was the Tigers’ Opening Day starter in 1980, beginning a major league-record streak of 14 consecutive Opening Day starts (1980-1993). Morris won his first of four World Series in 1984 as the Tigers beat the Padres in five games. Morris pitched complete game victories in Games One and Four. Morris won more games in the 1980s (162) than any other pitcher. On February 5, 1991 Jack Morris signed a one-year, $3.7 million contract with the Twins, making him the highest paid pitcher in the American League, a distinction which he previously held in 1987 and ‘88, and would hold again in 1993. Morris won 18 games during the regular season and another four in the postseason, including the legendary 10-inning shutout of the Atlanta Braves in Game 7 of the World Series. 1991 would be Morris’s only season with the Minnesota Twins. On December 18, 1991 he signed with the Toronto Blue Jays, against whom he had just won two games in the American League Championship Series. Morris led the league with 21 wins in 1992 and the Blue Jays went on to win the World Series, beating the Braves in six games. The Blue Jays won the Series again in 1993, though Morris pitched poorly, accumulating a 7-12 record with a 6.19 ERA before his season was cut a month short by injury. Fellow St. Paul native Paul Molitor was MVP of the '93 Series. Morris pitched for Cleveland in 1994 but was released in August just prior to the strike. The following spring he unsuccessfully attempted a comeback with Cincinnati. In 1996, the 41-year-old Morris went 5-1 with a 2.69 ERA in 10 starts with the St. Paul Saints before retiring for good. May 16, 1928 It’s the Birthdate of Billy Martin Twins player, coach, and manager Billy Martin was born in Berkeley, California on this date in 1928. Martin, who won four World Championships as a member of the 1950s New York Yankees, was traded by the Milwaukee Braves to Minnesota on June 1, 1961, where he played out his final major league season. Martin served as a Twins scout from 1962-’64, and rejoined the major league team as third base coach in 1965. He was sent down to Triple-A Denver midway through the 1968 season where he served as manager. He succeeded Cal Ermer as manager of the Twins in 1969, winning the American League West in his only season at the helm. Martin was hugely popular as a Twins coach and manager, and instrumental in the development of Cesar Tovar, and, to a lesser extent, Rod Carew. Martin went on to manage 16 major league seasons, including five stints with the Yankees who he led to a World Series Championship in 1977. Martin died in a single-car crash on Christmas, 1989. He was 61 years old. May 16, 2010 Jason Kubel Hits Grand Slam Off Mariano Rivera The Twins had not beaten the Yankees since August 13, 2008. They had been swept by the Yankees in both the 2009 regular and postseason. Now, trailing 3-1 in the third game of a series at Yankee Stadium, the Twins loaded the bases against Joba Chamberlain in the eighth. With two out and the bases full of Twins, manager Joe Girardi brought in Mariano Rivera to face Jim Thome. Rivera had converted his last 51 home save opportunities, tying the Dodgers’ Eric Gagne’s all-time record. Rivera walked Thome, forcing in Orlando Hudson. Trailing now by just one run, Jason Kubel hit Rivera’s 1-0 pitch into the right field seats for a grand slam. The Twins went on to an improbable 6-3 victory, with Jon Rauch converting his 10th save of the season. Keep in touch with the @TwinsAlmanac on Twitter.
  18. The Twins drafted the 6’4” Canadian in the third round in 1999, behind B.J. Garbe and Rob Bowen, neither of whom made it to the majors. Morneau hit cleanup in his major league debut in June, 2010, hitting a two-strike line drive single to center in his first at-bat and going 2-for-4 on the day. He hit 19 home runs in just 74 major league games in 2004, and another 22 with Rochester. In 2006, just his second full season in the majors, Morneau hit .321 with 34 HRs and 130 RBI en route to being voted the American League’s Most Valuable Player. Morneau was hitting .345 midway through 2010 when he suffered a season-ending concussion sliding into second. Though Twins fans saw glimpses over the next three seasons, Morneau never fully returned to all-star form before being traded in August 2013 to Pittsburgh, in the heat of a pennant race. Prior to the 2014 season, Morneau signed with the Colorado Rockies, where he won the National League batting championship with a .319 average. Former Twins teammate, Michael Cuddyer, had won the NL batting crown with the Rockies the previous season, hitting .331. Morneau, currently a free agent, will be out until at least midseason 2016 as he recovers from elbow surgery. May 15, 1969 Cesar Tovar Breaks Up No-Hitter With one out in the bottom of the ninth and Baltimore’s Dave McNally pitching a no-hitter, Cesar Tovar singled to left-center. Rod Carew then grounded into a 4-6-3 double play as McNally completed the one-hit shutout for a 5-0 Orioles win. This was the first of two times that Tovar would break up a no-hitter in the ninth inning in 1969. Tovar is tied with Eddie Milner for the major league record of breaking up five no-hitters in his career. Tovar broke up four no-hitters as a Twin, and another as a Ranger when he broke up Catfish Hunter’s no-hit bid in 1975. May 15, 1991 Paul Molitor Hits for the Cycle vs. the Twins Paul Molitor led off the game at the Metrodome with a triple on Kevin Tapani’s first pitch. He promptly put the Brewers up 1-0 on a Jim Gantner groundout. Molitor singled in the third, doubled in the fifth, and, leading off the seventh, homered off of Tapani to complete the cycle. Reliever Steve Bedrosian finally retired Molitor in the ninth. He went 4-for-5 in the Brewers’ 4-2 win. The Twins went on to have a good season. May 16 It’s the Birthday of Billy Martin Twins player, coach and manager, Billy Martin, was born on this date in 1928 in Berkeley, California. Martin, who won four World Championships as a member of the 1950s New York Yankees, was traded by the Milwaukee Braves to Minnesota on June 1st, 1961, where he played out his final major league season. Martin served as a Twins scout from 1962-’64, and rejoined the major eague team as third base coach in 1965. He was sent down to Triple-A Denver midway through the 1968 season, where he served as manager. He succeeded Cal Ermer as manager of the Twins in 1969, winning the American League West in his only season as manager. Martin was hugely popular as a Twins coach and manager, and instrumental in the development of Cesar Tovar, and, to a less extent, Rod Carew. Martin went on to manage 16 major league seasons, including five stints with the Yankees, who he led to a World Series championship in 1977. Martin passed away in 1989 at the age of 61. May 16 Happy Birthday, Jack Morris It’s the birthday of Jack Morris, born in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1951. Morris attended Highland Park High School in St. Paul and Brigham Young University, and was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 5th round in 1976. The Tigers had drafted Alan Trammell in the second round, and Lou Whitaker in the fifth round a year earlier. All three would make their major league debuts in 1977, with Trammell and Whitaker debuting in the same game. Morris was the Tigers’ opening day starter in 1980, beginning a major league record streak of 14 consecutive opening day starts (1980-1993). Morris won his first of four World Series in 1984 as the Tigers beat the Padres in five games. Morris pitched complete game victories in Games 1 and 4. Morris won more games in the 1980s (162) than any other pitcher. On February 5th, 1991, Jack Morris signed a one-year, $3.7 million contract with the Twins, making him the highest paid pitcher in the American League, a distinction which he previously held and 1987 and ‘88, and would hold again in 1993. Morris won 18 games during the regular season and another four in the postseason, including the legendary 10-inning shutout of the Atlanta Braves in Game 7 of the World Series. 1991 would be Morris’s only season with the Minnesota Twins. On December 18, 1991, he signed with the Toronto Blue Jays, against whom he had just won two games in the American League Championship Series. Morris led the league with 21 wins in 1992 and the Blue Jays went on to win the World Series, beating the Braves in six games. The Blue Jays won the Series again in 1993, though Morris pitched poorly, accumulating a 7-12 record with a 6.19 ERA before he season was cut a month short by injury. Fellow St. Paul-native, Paul Molitor, was be the 1993 World Series MVP. Morris pitched for Cleveland in 1994 but was released in August just prior to the strike. The following spring he unsuccessfully attempted a comeback with Cincinnati. In 1996, the 41-year-old Morris went 5-1 with a 2.69 ERA in 10 starts with the St. Paul Saints before retiring for good. May 16, 2010 Jason Kubel Hits Grand Slam Off Mariano Rivera The Twins had not beat the Yankees since August 13, 2008. They had been swept by the Yankees in both the 2009 regular and postseason. Now, trailing 3-1 in the third game of a series at Yankee Stadium, the Twins loaded the bases against Joba Chamberlain in the eighth. With two out and the bases full of Twins, manager Joe Girardi brought in Mariano Rivera to face Jim Thome. Rivera had converted his last 51 home save opportunities, tying the Dodgers’ Eric Gagne’s all-time record. Rivera walked Thome, forcing in Orlando Hudson. Trailing now by just 1 run, Jason Kubel hit Rivera’s 1-0 pitch into the right field seats for a grand slam. The Twins went on to an improbable 6-3 victory, with Jon Rauch converting his 10th save of the season. May 17, 1963 Bob Allison Hits 3 Home Runs Bob Allison became the first Minnesota Twin to hit three home runs in a game in an 11-4 Twins win in Cleveland. He was 3-for-5 on the day with 6 RBI. His batting average at the end of the day was .330. He finished his all-star ‘63 season with a .271 average, 35 HRs and 91 RBI. Harmon Killebrew and Zoilo Versalles also hit home runs in the game. Pitcher Jim Perry, who had played for Cleveland the previous season, was 2-for-3 with a walk and scored on Allison’s first home run. May 17, 1998 David Wells Pitches a Perfect Game 50,000 fans, including Billy Crystal, came out to Yankee Stadium for Beanie Baby Day, and what turned out to be the fifteenth perfect game in major league history. David Wells threw 120 pitches, striking out 11. The last perfect game at Yankee Stadium was pitched in game 5 of the 1956 World Series by Don Larsen, who attended the same high school as Wells, Point Loma High in San Diego. Don Larsen actually threw out the first pitch before baseball’s next perfect game, pitched by David Cone in 1999 on Yogi Berra Day at Yankee Stadium. Cone threw only 88 pitches in his perfect game. The major leagues’ first two perfect games were pitched in 1880, just five days apart. The next perfect game wasn’t pitched until 1904 by the Boston Americans’ Cy Young. The most recent perfect game was pitched by the Mariners’ Felix Hernandez on August 15th, 2012. May 17, 2011 Harmon Killebrew Passes Away On May 17th, 2011, the greatest Minnesota Twin passed away at his home in Scottsdale, Arizona. He was 74. May 18, 1969 Rod Carew Steals Second, Third and Home With the Billy Martin-managed Twins trailing 2-0 in Detroit, Cesar Tovar led off the bottom of third with a single off of Mickey Lolich. Then, with Rod Carew at the plate, Tovar was balked to second and stole third. Perhaps distracted by Tovar, Lolich walked Carew. Then, with Harmon Killebrew at the plate, the Twins executed a double steal, with Carew swiping second as Tovar stole home. With Killebrew still at bat, Carew stole third and home to tie the game. Killebrew ultimately struck out, and the Twins went on to lose the game 8-2. They would, however, go on to win the division but were beat in the League Championship Series by Baltimore. Forty players have stolen second, third and home consecutively a total of 50 times in MLB history, 11 since 1940. The feet was accomplished four times in the '80s, twice in the '90s, once in the '00s, and, most recently, by Dee Gordon in 2011. Paul Molitor pulled it off in the first inning versus Oakland on July 26, 1987. May 19, 1990 Tom Brunansky’s Big Day The Twins had an ugly day at Fenway. The Red Sox’s Tom Brunansky drew first blood, driving in Wade Boggs with a one-out double in the first. The Red Sox went on to score five runs on five hits in the first off of Twins starter, Allan Anderson, who only lasted ⅔ of an inning. Brunansky went 5-for-5 with 2 HRs, 7 RBI and 3 runs scored as the Red Sox pummeled the Twins 13-1. Tom Kelly called upon outfielder John Moses to pitch the bottom of the eighth. He gave up just one run on two hits in his second pitching appearance for the Twins. His previous appearance had also come at Fenway, in 1989, as he pitched a scoreless eighth inning, not allowing a hit but walking one. He would pitch a third time for the Twins in July, 1990. Keep in touch with the Twins Almanac by following @TwinsAlmanac on Twitter.
  19. May 15th Happy Birthday, Justin Morneau It’s the birthday of 2006 American League MVP, Justin Morneau, born on this day in 1981 in New Westminster, British Columbia.The Twins drafted the 6’4” Canadian in the third round in 1999, behind B.J. Garbe and Rob Bowen, neither of whom made it to the majors. Morneau hit cleanup in his major league debut in June, 2010, hitting a two-strike line drive single to center in his first at-bat and going 2-for-4 on the day. He hit 19 home runs in just 74 major league games in 2004, and another 22 with Rochester. In 2006, just his second full season in the majors, Morneau hit .321 with 34 HRs and 130 RBI en route to being voted the American League’s Most Valuable Player. Morneau was hitting .345 midway through 2010 when he suffered a season-ending concussion sliding into second. Though Twins fans saw glimpses over the next three seasons, Morneau never fully returned to all-star form before being traded in August 2013 to Pittsburgh, in the heat of a pennant race. Prior to the 2014 season, Morneau signed with the Colorado Rockies, where he won the National League batting championship with a .319 average. Former Twins teammate, Michael Cuddyer, had won the NL batting crown with the Rockies the previous season, hitting .331. Morneau, currently a free agent, will be out until at least midseason 2016 as he recovers from elbow surgery. May 15, 1969 Cesar Tovar Breaks Up No-Hitter With one out in the bottom of the ninth and Baltimore’s Dave McNally pitching a no-hitter, Cesar Tovar singled to left-center. Rod Carew then grounded into a 4-6-3 double play as McNally completed the one-hit shutout for a 5-0 Orioles win. This was the first of two times that Tovar would break up a no-hitter in the ninth inning in 1969. Tovar is tied with Eddie Milner for the major league record of breaking up five no-hitters in his career. Tovar broke up four no-hitters as a Twin, and another as a Ranger when he broke up Catfish Hunter’s no-hit bid in 1975. May 15, 1991 Paul Molitor Hits for the Cycle vs. the Twins Paul Molitor led off the game at the Metrodome with a triple on Kevin Tapani’s first pitch. He promptly put the Brewers up 1-0 on a Jim Gantner groundout. Molitor singled in the third, doubled in the fifth, and, leading off the seventh, homered off of Tapani to complete the cycle. Reliever Steve Bedrosian finally retired Molitor in the ninth. He went 4-for-5 in the Brewers’ 4-2 win. The Twins went on to have a good season. May 16 It’s the Birthday of Billy Martin Twins player, coach and manager, Billy Martin, was born on this date in 1928 in Berkeley, California. Martin, who won four World Championships as a member of the 1950s New York Yankees, was traded by the Milwaukee Braves to Minnesota on June 1st, 1961, where he played out his final major league season. Martin served as a Twins scout from 1962-’64, and rejoined the major eague team as third base coach in 1965. He was sent down to Triple-A Denver midway through the 1968 season, where he served as manager. He succeeded Cal Ermer as manager of the Twins in 1969, winning the American League West in his only season as manager. Martin was hugely popular as a Twins coach and manager, and instrumental in the development of Cesar Tovar, and, to a less extent, Rod Carew. Martin went on to manage 16 major league seasons, including five stints with the Yankees, who he led to a World Series championship in 1977. Martin passed away in 1989 at the age of 61. May 16 Happy Birthday, Jack Morris It’s the birthday of Jack Morris, born in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1951. Morris attended Highland Park High School in St. Paul and Brigham Young University, and was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 5th round in 1976. The Tigers had drafted Alan Trammell in the second round, and Lou Whitaker in the fifth round a year earlier. All three would make their major league debuts in 1977, with Trammell and Whitaker debuting in the same game. Morris was the Tigers’ opening day starter in 1980, beginning a major league record streak of 14 consecutive opening day starts (1980-1993). Morris won his first of four World Series in 1984 as the Tigers beat the Padres in five games. Morris pitched complete game victories in Games 1 and 4. Morris won more games in the 1980s (162) than any other pitcher. On February 5th, 1991, Jack Morris signed a one-year, $3.7 million contract with the Twins, making him the highest paid pitcher in the American League, a distinction which he previously held and 1987 and ‘88, and would hold again in 1993. Morris won 18 games during the regular season and another four in the postseason, including the legendary 10-inning shutout of the Atlanta Braves in Game 7 of the World Series. 1991 would be Morris’s only season with the Minnesota Twins. On December 18, 1991, he signed with the Toronto Blue Jays, against whom he had just won two games in the American League Championship Series. Morris led the league with 21 wins in 1992 and the Blue Jays went on to win the World Series, beating the Braves in six games. The Blue Jays won the Series again in 1993, though Morris pitched poorly, accumulating a 7-12 record with a 6.19 ERA before he season was cut a month short by injury. Fellow St. Paul-native, Paul Molitor, was be the 1993 World Series MVP. Morris pitched for Cleveland in 1994 but was released in August just prior to the strike. The following spring he unsuccessfully attempted a comeback with Cincinnati. In 1996, the 41-year-old Morris went 5-1 with a 2.69 ERA in 10 starts with the St. Paul Saints before retiring for good. May 16, 2010 Jason Kubel Hits Grand Slam Off Mariano Rivera The Twins had not beat the Yankees since August 13, 2008. They had been swept by the Yankees in both the 2009 regular and postseason. Now, trailing 3-1 in the third game of a series at Yankee Stadium, the Twins loaded the bases against Joba Chamberlain in the eighth. With two out and the bases full of Twins, manager Joe Girardi brought in Mariano Rivera to face Jim Thome. Rivera had converted his last 51 home save opportunities, tying the Dodgers’ Eric Gagne’s all-time record. Rivera walked Thome, forcing in Orlando Hudson. Trailing now by just 1 run, Jason Kubel hit Rivera’s 1-0 pitch into the right field seats for a grand slam. The Twins went on to an improbable 6-3 victory, with Jon Rauch converting his 10th save of the season. May 17, 1963 Bob Allison Hits 3 Home Runs Bob Allison became the first Minnesota Twin to hit three home runs in a game in an 11-4 Twins win in Cleveland. He was 3-for-5 on the day with 6 RBI. His batting average at the end of the day was .330. He finished his all-star ‘63 season with a .271 average, 35 HRs and 91 RBI. Harmon Killebrew and Zoilo Versalles also hit home runs in the game. Pitcher Jim Perry, who had played for Cleveland the previous season, was 2-for-3 with a walk and scored on Allison’s first home run. May 17, 1998 David Wells Pitches a Perfect Game 50,000 fans, including Billy Crystal, came out to Yankee Stadium for Beanie Baby Day, and what turned out to be the fifteenth perfect game in major league history. David Wells threw 120 pitches, striking out 11. The last perfect game at Yankee Stadium was pitched in game 5 of the 1956 World Series by Don Larsen, who attended the same high school as Wells, Point Loma High in San Diego. Don Larsen actually threw out the first pitch before baseball’s next perfect game, pitched by David Cone in 1999 on Yogi Berra Day at Yankee Stadium. Cone threw only 88 pitches in his perfect game. The major leagues’ first two perfect games were pitched in 1880, just five days apart. The next perfect game wasn’t pitched until 1904 by the Boston Americans’ Cy Young. The most recent perfect game was pitched by the Mariners’ Felix Hernandez on August 15th, 2012. May 17, 2011 Harmon Killebrew Passes Away On May 17th, 2011, the greatest Minnesota Twin passed away at his home in Scottsdale, Arizona. He was 74. May 18, 1969 Rod Carew Steals Second, Third and Home With the Billy Martin-managed Twins trailing 2-0 in Detroit, Cesar Tovar led off the bottom of third with a single off of Mickey Lolich. Then, with Rod Carew at the plate, Tovar was balked to second and stole third. Perhaps distracted by Tovar, Lolich walked Carew. Then, with Harmon Killebrew at the plate, the Twins executed a double steal, with Carew swiping second as Tovar stole home. With Killebrew still at bat, Carew stole third and home to tie the game. Killebrew ultimately struck out, and the Twins went on to lose the game 8-2. They would, however, go on to win the division but were beat in the League Championship Series by Baltimore. Forty players have stolen second, third and home consecutively a total of 50 times in MLB history, 11 since 1940. The feet was accomplished four times in the '80s, twice in the '90s, once in the '00s, and, most recently, by Dee Gordon in 2011. Paul Molitor pulled it off in the first inning versus Oakland on July 26, 1987. May 19, 1990 Tom Brunansky’s Big Day The Twins had an ugly day at Fenway. The Red Sox’s Tom Brunansky drew first blood, driving in Wade Boggs with a one-out double in the first. The Red Sox went on to score five runs on five hits in the first off of Twins starter, Allan Anderson, who only lasted ⅔ of an inning. Brunansky went 5-for-5 with 2 HRs, 7 RBI and 3 runs scored as the Red Sox pummeled the Twins 13-1. Tom Kelly called upon outfielder John Moses to pitch the bottom of the eighth. He gave up just one run on two hits in his second pitching appearance for the Twins. His previous appearance had also come at Fenway, in 1989, as he pitched a scoreless eighth inning, not allowing a hit but walking one. He would pitch a third time for the Twins in July, 1990. Keep in touch with the Twins Almanac by following @TwinsAlmanac on Twitter. Click here to view the article
  20. May 15th Happy Birthday, Justin Morneau It’s the birthday of 2006 American League MVP, Justin Morneau, born on this day in 1981 in New Westminster, British Columbia. The Twins drafted the 6’4” Canadian in the 3rd round in 1999, behind B.J. Garbe and Rob Bowen, neither of whom made it to the Majors. Morneau hit cleanup in his Major League debut in June, 2010, hitting a two-strike line drive single to center in his first at-bat and going 2-for-4 on the day. He hit 19 home runs in just 74 Major League games in 2004, and another 22 with Rochester. In 2006, just his second full season in the Majors, Morneau hit .321 with 34 HRs and 130 RBI en route to being voted the American League’s Most Valuable Player. Morneau was hitting .345 midway through 2010 when he suffered a season-ending concussion sliding into second. Though Twins fans saw glimpses over the next three seasons, Morneau never fully returned to all-star form before being traded in August 2013 to Pittsburgh, in the heat of a pennant race. Prior to the 2014 season, Morneau signed with the Colorado Rockies, where he won the National League batting championship with a .319 average. Former Twins teammate, Michael Cuddyer, had won the NL batting crown with the Rockies the previous season, hitting .331. Morneau, currently a free agent, will be out until at least midseason 2016 as he recovers from elbow surgery. May 15, 1969 Cesar Tovar Breaks Up No-Hitter With one out in the bottom of the ninth and Baltimore’s Dave McNally pitching a no-hitter, Cesar Tovar singled to left-center. Rod Carew then grounded into a 4-6-3 double play as McNally completed the one-hit shutout for a 5-0 Orioles win. This was the first of two times that Tovar would break up a no-hitter in the ninth inning in 1969. Tovar is tied with Eddie Milner for the Major League record of breaking up five no-hitters in his career. Tovar broke up four no-hitters as a Twin, and another as a Ranger when he broke up Catfish Hunter’s no-hit bid in 1975. May 15, 1991 Paul Molitor Hits for the Cycle vs. the Twins Paul Molitor led off the game at the Metrodome with a triple on Kevin Tapani’s first pitch. He promptly put the Brewers up 1-0 on a Jim Gantner groundout. Molitor singled in the third, doubled in the fifth, and, leading off the seventh, homered off of Tapani to complete the cycle. Reliever Steve Bedrosian finally retired Molitor in the ninth. He went 4-for-5 in the Brewers’ 4-2 win. The Twins went on to have a good season. May 16 It’s the Birthday of Billy Martin Twins player, coach and manager, Billy Martin, was born on this date in 1928 in Berkeley, California. Martin, who won four World Championships as a member of the 1950s New York Yankees, was traded by the Milwaukee Braves to Minnesota on June 1st, 1961, where he played out his final Major League season. Martin served as a Twins scout from 1962-’64, and rejoined the Major League team as third base coach in 1965. He was sent down to Triple A Denver midway through the 1968 season, where he served as manager. He succeeded Cal Ermer as manager of the Twins in 1969, winning the American League West in his only season as manager. Martin was hugely popular as a Twins coach and manager, and instrumental in the development of Cesar Tovar, and, to a less extent, Rod Carew. Martin went on to manage 16 Major League seasons, including five stints with the Yankees, who he led to a World Series championship in 1977. Martin passed away in 1989 at the age of 61. May 16 Happy Birthday, Jack Morris It’s the birthday of Jack Morris, born in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1951. Morris attended Highland Park High School in St. Paul and Brigham Young University, and was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 5th round in 1976. The Tigers had drafted Alan Trammell in the 2nd round, and Lou Whitaker in the 5th round a year earlier. All three would make their Major League debuts in 1977, with Trammell and Whitaker debuting in the same game. Morris was the Tigers’ opening day starter in 1980, beginning a Major League record streak of 14 consecutive opening day starts (1980-1993). Morris won his first of four World Series in 1984 as the Tigers beat the Padres in 5 games. Morris pitched complete game victories in games one and four. Morris won more games in the 1980s (162) than any other pitcher. On February 5th, 1991, Jack Morris signed a one-year, $3.7 million contract with the Twins, making him the highest paid pitcher in the American League, a distinction which he previously held and 1987 and ‘88, and would hold again in 1993. Morris won 18 games during the regular season and another four in the postseason, including the legendary 10-inning shutout of the Atlanta Braves in game 7 of the World Series. 1991 would be Morris’s only season with the Minnesota Twins. On December 18, 1991, he signed with the Toronto Blue Jays, against whom he had just won two games in the American League Championship Series. Morris led the league with 21 wins in 1992 and the Blue Jays went on to win the World Series, beating the Braves in six games. The Blue Jays won the Series again in 1993, though Morris pitched poorly, accumulating a 7-12 record with a 6.19 ERA before he season was cut a month short by injury. Fellow St. Paul-native, Paul Molitor, would be the 1993 World Series MVP. Morris pitched for Cleveland in 1994 but was released in August just prior to the strike. The following spring he unsuccessfully attempted a comeback with Cincinnati. In 1996, the 41-year-old Morris went 5-1 with a 2.69 ERA in 10 starts with the St. Paul Saints before retiring for good. May 16, 2010 Jason Kubel Hits Grand Slam Off Mariano Rivera The Twins had not beat the Yankees since August 13, 2008. They had been swept by the Yankees in both the 2009 regular and postseason. Now, trailing 3-1 in the third game of a series at Yankee Stadium, the Twins loaded the bases against Joba Chamberlain in the eighth. With two out and the bases full of Twins, manager Joe Girardi brought in Mariano Rivera to face Jim Thome. Rivera had converted his last 51 home save opportunities, tying the Dodgers’ Eric Gagne’s all-time record. Rivera walked Thome, forcing in Orlando Hudson. Trailing now by just 1 run, Jason Kubel hit Rivera’s 1-0 pitch into the right field seats for a grand slam. The Twins went on to an improbably 6-3 victory, with Jon Rauch converting his 10th save of the season. May 17, 1963 Bob Allison Hits 3 Home Runs Bob Allison became the first Minnesota Twin to hit 3 home runs in a game in an 11-4 Twins win in Cleveland. He was 3-for-5 on the day with 6 RBI. His batting average at the end of the day was .330. He would finish his all-star ‘63 season with a .271 average, 35 HRs and 91 RBI. Harmon Killebrew and Zoilo Versalles also hit home runs in the game. Pitcher Jim Perry, who had played for Cleveland the previous season, was 2-for-3 with a walk and scored on Allison’s first home run. May 17, 1998 David Wells Pitches a Perfect Game 50,000 fans, including Billy Crystal, came out to Yankee Stadium for Beanie Baby Day, and what turned out to be the fifteenth perfect game in major league history. David Wells threw 120 pitches, striking out 11. The last perfect game at Yankee Stadium was pitched in game 5 of the 1956 World Series by Don Larsen, who attended the same high school as Wells, Point Loma High in San Diego. Don Larsen actually threw out the first pitch before baseball’s next perfect game, pitched by David Cone in 1999 on Yogi Berra Day at Yankee Stadium. Cone threw only 88 pitches in his perfect game. The major leagues’ first two perfect games were pitched in 1880, just five days apart. The next perfect game wasn’t pitched until 1904 by the Boston Americans’ Cy Young. The most recent perfect game was pitched by the Mariners’ Felix Hernandez on August 15th, 2012. May 17, 2011 Harmon Killebrew Passes Away On May 17th, 2011, the greatest Minnesota Twin passed away at his home in Scottsdale, Arizona. He was 74. May 18, 1969 Rod Carew Steals Second, Third and Home With the Billy Martin-managed Twins trailing 2-0 in Detroit, Cesar Tovar led off the bottom of third with a single off of Mickey Lolich. Then, with Rod Carew at the plate, Tovar was balked to second and stole third. Perhaps distracted by Tovar, Lolich walked Carew. Then, with Harmon Killebrew at the plate, the Twins executed a double steal, with Carew swiping second as Tovar stole home. With Killebrew still at bat, Carew stole third and home to tie the game. Killebrew ultimately struck out, and the Twins went on to lose the game 8-2. They would, however, go on to win the division but were beat in the League Championship Series by Baltimore. Forty players have stolen second, third and home consecutively a total of 50 times in MLB history, 11 since 1940. The feet was accomplished four times in the '80s, twice in the '90s, once in the '00s, and, most recently, by Dee Gordon in 2011. Paul Molitor pulled it off in the 1st inning versus Oakland on July 26, 1987. May 19, 1990 Tom Brunansky’s Big Day The Twins had an ugly day at Fenway. The Red Sox’s Tom Brunansky drew first blood, driving in Wade Boggs with a one-out double in the first. The Red Sox went on to score five runs on five hits in the first off of Twins starter, Allan Anderson, who only lasted ⅔ of an inning. Brunansky went 5-for-5 with 2 HRs, 7 RBI and 3 runs scored as the Red Sox pummelled the Twins 13-1. Tom Kelly called upon outfielder John Moses to pitch the bottom of the eighth. He gave up just 1 run on 2 hits in his second pitching appearance for the Twins. His previous appearance had also come at Fenway, in 1989, as he pitched a scoreless eighth inning, not allowing a hit but walking one. He would pitch a third time for the Twins in July, 1990. Keep in touch with the Twins Almanac by following @TwinsAlmanac on Twitter.
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