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  1. Last full time position – Right Field – who fills out the rosters. For me Clemente epitomizes RF, the arm, the bat, the range so who do the Twins have? In 1961 Bob Allison was there 150 games. He was written about in LF so I will not go into details here. Allison dominated 1962 as well with Tuttle and George Banks getting the other games. In 1963 it was Allison, Jimmie Hall and Wally Post. 1964 Tony Oliva sent Allison to 1B. Tony Oliva was a dream. I loved to watch him. He was almost perfect in my eyes so my prejudice is showing. In 1965 he was backed up by Sandy Valdespino and Andy Kosco. In 1966 Hall and Allison picked up the games Oliva did not cover. 1967 Oliva still dominated. In 1968 Oliva had 126 games, Holt, Craig Nettles, Tovar and Kostro all had double figure appearances. Oliva was injured and missed 34 games. In 1969 he again joined the greats in the game leading the league in hits and doubles. Healthy in 1970 he played 154 games in RF and finished third for the batting title. He hit 325, with 23 home runs and 107 RBIs. He also led the AL in hits (204) for the fifth time, in doubles (36) for the fourth time, and finished second in MVP voting for the second time, this time to Baltimore's Boog Powell. In 1971, Oliva won his third AL batting title with a .337 average and led the league in slugging percentage (.546), but his knees began to ache and force him out of many games. Surgery took him off the field and Tovar took over RF in 1972 with Bobby Darwin. From there to the end he was DH. Oliva 15 years .304/.353/.476/.830 43.1 WAR 1138 games out of 1676 in RF. Bobby Darwin had the most starts in RF in 1973, Jim Holt had 21. Darwin had 142, Hisle 27 in 1974. In 1975 Lyman Bostock was there 55 games, Steve Brye 51, Bobby Darwin 27, John Briggs 16, Mike Poepping 13! Dan Ford was there 139 games in 1976 with Brye and Hisle getting 18 each. Dan was there 135 in 1977 with Glenn Adams and Rich Chiles getting 20+ each. In the 1978 season Ford switched to center and Hosken Powell took over right. Then in 1979 it was Powell, Bombo Rivera, Willie Norwood, Dave Edwards, Rick Sofield and Glenn Adams, obviously an unsettled position. After a career year in 1979, Powell spiraled down in BA. Powell held on to RF in 1980 on the strength of 1979. And Dave Engle got the most starts in an Engle/Powell tandem in 1981. Tom Brunansky was the number one RF starter in 1982 – 97 games, Engle and Gary Ward and Mickey Hatcher were all in more than 20 games. 1983 Brunansky 120, Hatcher 47. It was nearly all Brunansky in 1984, 1985, 1986, and in 1987 Brunansky was there 107 games, Randy Bush 73, Mark Davidson 33. In 1988 Brunansky was traded to the Cardinals for Tommy Herr. Big Mistake! Randy Bush took over right with Mark Davidson behind him . Tom Brunansky 7 years 163 HRs .250/.330/.452/.782 16.1 WAR Randy Bush had the most games in RF in 1989 – 88, john Moses 63, Carmelo Castillo 61, and Gene Larkin 31. It was an unsettled position. 1990 had six players with 19 or more games in RF – John Moses, Shane Mack, Gene Larkin, Randy Bush, Carmelo Castillo and Pedro Munoz. Shane Mack was equally in all three OF positions in 1991 with Gene Larkin, Pedro Munoz, Randy Bush, Jarvis Brown and Kirby Puckett having 19 or more games there and still we won the WS. 1992 saw Pedro Munoz in RF 117 games and Larkin, JT Bruett, Randy Bush and Jarvis Brown having 18 or more. 1993 was another of those years I call a scrum. Puckett moved over from CF for 47, Pedro Munoz 41, Dave McCarty 34, DAVE WINFIELD 31, and Gene Larkin 25. In 1994 Puckett was in RF 95 games, but I have to put him in CF for this exercise. Munoz 19. Kirby kept RF in 1995 and it was Pedro Munoz last year. Pedro Munoz 6 years .275/.316/.444/.760 minus -0.4 – I cannot rank him. 1996 saw four with more than 20 games starting with Matt Lawton and 60, Roberto Kelly, Denny Hocking, Ron Coomer. 1997 another mix – Lawton playing all three positions had 66 in RF, Roberto Kelly 57, Brent Brede 40, Rich Beckerr 14. 1998 Matt Lawton gave us a 100 game starter. Alex Ochoa and Orland Merced were next. Matt Lawton had 103 in 1999 and a big mix of 13+ by Marty Cordova, Coery Koskie, Jacque Jones, Torii Hunter, Denny Hocking. 2000 had Lawton bounce back and forth LF/RF with 83 games in RF, Midre Cummings 33, Brian Buchanan 24, Denny Hocking 19, Butch Huskey 15, and Chad Allen 13. Lawton continued was RF only 94 games in 2001 with Brian Buchanan and Bobby Kielty behind him. In conflict with the Twins over arbitration – “In February 2001, Twins general manager Terry Ryan stated that he did not plan on trading Lawton, contrary to other reports.[36] Furthermore, Twins manager Tom Kelley stated that he did not expect Lawton would be traded under any circumstances.[36] It was noted in spring training in 2001 that Lawton had gained 14 pounds (6.4 kg).[37] Lawton was taken out of the Twins starting lineup in May, due to lack of production.[38] As a member of the Twins that year, he batted .293 with 71 runs scored, 110 hits, 25 doubles, 10 home runs, 51 RBIs, and 19 stolen bases in 103 games played.” Wiki. In 2001 he was a Met. Matt Lawton 7 years .277/.379/.428/.808 11.3 WAR Dustin Mohr led in appearances in 2002 with Bobby Kielty, a Minnesota legend having 50, Cuddyer 25, Buchanan 24. Mohr and Kielty again in 2003 and Jacque Jones with Lew Ford in 2004. Jones, Cuddyer, and Ford – 2005, Cuddyer 142 in 2006 with Lew Ford 22. Cuddyer and Tyner in 2007. In 2008 Span had the most games in RF followed by Cuddyer and Kubel. Cuddyer was in 117 in 2009, Span 39 (playing mostly CF) and Kubel 30. Kubel then had 83 in 2010, Cuddyer 66, Repko 39. Cuddyer 77 in 2011, Kubel 50, Repko 27. Michael Cuddyer 11 years .272/.343/.451/.794 12.8 WAR 903/1427 appearances in RF. Ben Revere started 84 games in RF in 2012 which blows the great arm qualification. Mastroianni 34, Parmelee 18, Plouffe 15. Parmelee had 68 in RF in 2013 and Ryan Doumit 32 and Oswaldo Arcia 20 with Chris Herrmann 21. Looking at that group I can see why we were 66 – 96. Oswaldo Arcia had 100 games backed by Parmelee and Chris Colbello and Chris Herrmann in 2014 – yikes. Torii Hunter was the primary starter in 123 RF games in 2015, but he is in the CF rankings. Now we have Kepler and he does not fit in this ranking. In fact most of the names above do not; the best I can come up with is: 1. Oliva 15 years .304/.353/.476/.830 43.1 WAR 1138 games out of 1676 in RF. 220 HR. 2. Tom Brunansky 7 years 163 HRs .250/.330/.452/.782 16.1 WAR 3. Michael Cuddyer 11 years .272/.343/.451/.794 12.8 WAR 903/1427 appearances in RF. 4. Matt Lawton 7 years .277/.379/.428/.808 11.3 WAR
  2. Today we have turned to the Dominican Republic like we used to look to Cuba. Nelson Cruz, Miguel Sano, Alaberto Mejia, Michael Pineda, Jorge Polanco, Fernando Romero, and Ervin Santana. We also have three from Venezuela. Perhaps the best way to get past the border wall is to hit a ball over it. In the past it was Cuba that was the birthplace of ballplayers. In the 1930s, Cuba like the rest of the world was trying to fight the depression and Cuban baseball, a main stay of their nation and a feeder system for baseball elsewhere was hurting. President Gerardo was overthrown and the dictator Bautista came in to power. The Cuban League was hurting but this winter league had talent - Cuban native Martín Dihigo and Negro League stars Ray Brown, Ray Dandridge, Josh Gibson and Willie Wells. Then after a 1947 agreement with the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues American clubs sent their top prospects across the Gulf of Mexico for more seasoning in winter ball. Minnie Miñoso, Camilo Pascual and Zoilo Versailes, Negro League stars like Monte Irvin and Don Newcombe and fresh-faced American prospects Jim Bunning, Tommy Lasorda and Brooks Robinson created one of the most stacked collections of baseball talent anywhere in the world. This was Cuban baseball and to Cuba, it was not the winter league, it was the major league with four teams all playing in the same stadium and competing for the national championship. But, of course, history and politics intervened, and a different dynamic took place. Our most important Cuban connections were probably in our very first years as a Twins team when Camilo Pascual, Pedro Ramos, Zoilo Versalles and Tony Oliva made our Cuban Connection. They were lucky to get out of Cuba before the two countries became such enemies that a player could not sign and leave. Lucky for the Twins or the 1965 World Series would not have happened. Tony's father was a cigar roller in Cuba who promoted his sons movement to the US to play ball. On his immigration papers he was listed as his 18 year old bother Pedro instead of the 21 year old Tony. He came over and changed his middle name to Pedro. He came to the US during 1961 spring training and had 7 hits in 10 at bats in the final three games of the spring, but the Twins decided their rosters were full and let him go. Luckily he went to Charlotte to train with a friend and the Charlotte GM, Phil Howser, called and convinced the Twins to sign him. He led the league with a 410 average. Versalles was signed in 1958 – before the Cuban revolution. Camilo Pascual was in US Professional Baseball in 1951 and Ramos by 1955. All of them missed our hatred of Cuba and the communist government. Cuba has also contributed to the HOF with Cepeda and Perez, but has great stars like Canseco, Pascual, Campenaris, Palmeiro, Luque, Cuellar, Minoso, and Tiant ( a Twin in 1969). In 2014 a Twins Daily post looked at all the Minnesota Twins Cuban players – ”Once upon a time, when I was young, the Twins were a team that had a lot of Cuban players. In 1961, six Cuban natives saw time on the Twins' roster, including All-Star Camilo Pascual and future MVP Zoilo Versalles. In 1962, two more Cubanos played for the Twins, one of them being Twins Hall-of-Famer Tony Oliva. All of these players left Cuba before Cuba was closed off to the US by Castro. In recent years, the Twins have had only one Cuban-born player, Livan Hernandez, who lasted less than a year as a member of the Twins' rotation. Here is a list of all Cuban-born (169) major league ballplayers:\ http://www.baseball-...ce.php?loc=Cuba Here is my unofficial list of Cuban-born Twins: Julio Becquer, Leo Cardenas, Bert Cueto, Livan Hernandez, Hank Izquierdo, Marty Martinez, Tony Oliva, Camilo Pascual, Pedro Ramos, Jose Valdivielso, Sandy Valdespino, and Zoilo Versalles. All of this brings us to the Twins' newest acquisition, Kendrys Morales. He had been in the US long enough that I had forgotten that he was a Cuban defector. He would be the first position player from Cuba to play for the Twins in almost 40 years.” By stringer bell The revolution was understandable – Bautista was a terrible man and a terrible dictator and Castro was an unknown. “We heard bombs going off and we knew (Fidel) Castro was in the mountains, and Bautista was there,” said Brooks Robinson, a member of Cienfuegos in the winter of 1957, in an interview with the Hall of Fame, “but we would have a bomb go off in the city and then one went off behind the ballpark one time, so we knew there were some things happening.” https://baseballhall.org/discover/hall-of-famers-played-in-cuban-winter-league The Hall of Fame website recounts an part of Lasorta’s memoirs – THE ARTFUL DODGER, “When Castro took over the city on the first of January, me, Art Fowler and Bob Allison came out of a New Year's party with our wives, and it was 3:30 in the morning and I look up and three planes were flying overhead,” said Lasorda. “I said ‘Geez who in the world is flying at this time at night?’” The planes were carrying Batista and his cabinet as they fled the country. Then, Lasorda ended up having his own brush with Castro, when the new leader – a noted baseball aficionado – asked for a meeting with Almendares' star pitcher. “Howie Haak, the scout for the Pittsburgh Pirates, was with me at the time,” Lasorda recalled in a 2008 interview with Newsday, “So I said, ‘Come on Howie, you come with me.’ When we went into the Havana Hilton into his suite, Howie couldn't believe it. Castro was waiting to talk to me. We talked baseball. And Howie enjoyed that, as I did too. Everybody thought that he was the savior of the country. “When Castro came in, the people were celebrating because they thought he would be good for the country, and so did I,” Lasorda continued. “I found out I was wrong. I wanted to get out of there, but we continued playing baseball after the strike was over. It was a gorgeous country, until Castro took over.” Yes,, that was our Bob Allison, the muscular and talented outfielder of the Minnesota Twins. Following the revolution we found out that we could support a terrible dictator – Bautista, but not a communist – Castro, and so we entered a time when good players in Cuba had to turn to shady characters to get out of one country and into another. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_baseball_players_who_defected_from_Cuba - many of them are still active and thankfully may be the last to have to go through this political nightmare. The Twins have not had as many defectors as other teams, but Livan Hernandez and Kendry Morales both had a brief time with the team. Now MLB has a new accord with Cuban baseball and hopefully the flow of great players can escape the wall and politics and we can again enjoy the best in the world in our own leagues.
  3. It's a writer's clinic. Or, at least, one make-believe writer (that would be me) taking time out from the "Sano Show" to chat with a real writer, formerly of Bloomington, MN, on his views on some classic Twins players, good baseball books, and his disdain of Derek Jeter worship at "The Tovar Of Bloggers: A Chat With Erik Lundegaard" at Classic Minnesota Twins!
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