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  1. It's hard to believe that the Twins won their second World Series championship 29 years ago! That was near the beginning of the 1990s. It was a very interesting decade for the organization in many ways, on and off the field. Today, we discuss an All-Decade Twins team, starting with the hitters. Tomorrow, we'll be back with the pitchers of the decade.First year of the decade (1990) - Worst team in the American League. Second year of the decade (1991) - Second World Series championship in five years. Third year of the decade (1992) - Won more games than that championship team. After that, well, it wasn't always pretty. However, there were still some great performances. Some of the top players of the 1980s were still playing well into the 1990s. A new star emerged in 1991 and was probably the best player of the decade. Dave Winfield, Paul Molitor and Terry Steinbach all came home. Today, we talk about the All-Decade team of hitters. Admittedly, some of the positions were harder to find greatness at than others, but the list is certainly enjoyable. Read through it and share your thoughts below. 1990s Twins All-Decade Hitters C - Brian Harper (1990-1993) 544 games, .304/.339/.428 (.767) with 121 doubles, 37 homers, 269 RBI. An argument could have been made that Harper should have been the Twins catcher of the ‘80s for the two years he played, but he continued to hit well for the Twins into the ‘90s and was a key piece of the 1991 Twins World Series championships. Harper went to the plate to hit. In 2097 plate appearances, he had just 67 non-intentional walks. He also struck out just 100 times over these four seasons. He hit at least .294 in each of these seasons (as well as 1988-89). 1B - Kent Hrbek (1990-1994) 591 games, .267/.365/.449 (.814) with 88 doubles, 92 homers, 362 RBI. Hrbek’s best years came in the 1980s but he was still a very productive player in the first half of the ‘90s as well. Even in the two seasons in which he hit under .250, he still had an on-base percentage over .350. He hit for power and doubles. His best season of the ‘90s was the championship 1991 team. He missed more time as he got older. He quietly retired during the 1994 strike. 2B - Chuck Knoblauch (1991-1997) 1,013 games, .304/.391/.416 (.807) with 88 doubles, 59 homers, 221 RBI. Knoblauch was easily the Twins top hitter of the 1990s. He was the team’s first-round pick in 1989 out of Texas A&M. He rose quickly and was the team’s opening day second baseman in 1991. He was the easy choice for American League Rookie of the Year and an instigator of the Twins World Series lineup, hitting second most nights. He was an All-Star four times in his seven seasons with the Twins. Despite playing in the same league at the same time as Roberto Alomar, “Knobby” won two Silver Slugger Awards and one Gold Glove Award.He posted OPS over .900 in 1995 and 1996. He was a doubles machine and led the league with 45 doubles in 1995. He led the league in triples in 1996. Knoblauch could hit, hit for extra base power, run, steal bases, play strong defense and other intangibles. He was traded to the Yankees after the 1997 season. 3B - Scott Leius (1990-1995) 476 games, .252/.327/.366 (.694) with 58 doubles, 26 homers, 155 RBI. Leius was the Twins 13th-round pick in 1986 out of Concordia College in Bronxville, NY. He debuted late in the 1990 season. In 1991, he platooned with Mike Pagliarulo and hit .286/.378/.417 (.795) with 14 extra base hits. He was also on the 1991 championship team. That was easily his best season. He played a career-high 129 games in 1992. He missed most of 1993, and he played a combined 214 games between 1995 and 1996. He later played for Cleveland (1996) and Kansas City (1998-99). This wasn’t a very strong position for the Twins in the 1990s. Other possible candidates include Ron Coomer, Jeff Reboulet, Pagliarulo and one-season stretches for Gary Gaetti and Corey Koskie. SS - Pat Meares (1993-1998) 742 games, .265/.301/.381 (.682) with 120 doubles, 41 homers, 303 RBI. Meares took over the Twins shortstop position in 1993 after Greg Gagne left via free agency. While Gagne was clearly the better fielder, Meares was a solid fielder who could hit a little bit more. He was the Twins 12th-round pick in 1990 from Wichita State and debuted less than two years later. In his six seasons with the Twins, he hit double-digit homers twice and had 19 or more homers in four of the seasons. He then played three seasons with the Pirates. LF - Shane Mack (1990-1994) 633 games, .309/.375/.479 (.854) with 119 doubles, 67 homers, 315 RBI. Mack remains one of the most underrated players in Twins history. He had been the top pick of the Padres in 1984 from UCLA but he just never got going in San Diego. In December 1989, he was the Twins Rule 5 draft. He spent the next five seasons hitting like crazy for the Twins. He hit between .310 and .333 in four of the five seasons. He got on base. He hit for power, lots of doubles and double-digit homers too. He had really good speed on the base paths and was really good out in the outfield. He was a key contributor to the 1991 championship. In 1994, he was hitting .333/.402/.564 (.966) with 21 doubles and 15 homers in 81 games when the strike hit. After the season, he signed a two-year deal to play in Japan before coming back to the States in 1997. CF - Kirby Puckett (1990-1995) 859 games, .312/.363/.485 (.848) with 217 doubles, 111 homers, 579 RBI. While Puckett was one of the top players of the 1980s, he continued to be a top player in the ‘90s. He was an All-Star all six seasons. He led the league in hits once. RBIs in 1994. Three more times he finished in the top 10 in AL MVP voting. He won two more Gold Glove Awards and two more Silver Sluggers. His career came to an abrupt end in spring training 1996. While he was 36 years old, he likely had three to five more seasons remaining. He played mostly center field through the 1993 seasons and then moved to right field the final two seasons. RF - Matt Lawton (1995-1999) 512 games, .264/.367/.416 (.783) with 94 doubles, 49 homers, 245 RBI. Lawton was the Twins 13th-round pick in 1991 out of Mississippi Gulf Coast CC. He debuted with 21 games in 1995 and was up for good midway through the 1996 season. He was an All-Star for the Twins, though that was in 2000 so not included here. However, he was a very solid all-around player. He was a quality right fielder with a strong arm. While he didn’t hit for average, except in 2000, he always found his way on base, getting on base via walk about 10% of the time. In 1998, he hit .278, got on base 39% of the time, and he hit 36 doubles, six triples and 21 homers. He also could steal bases. He remained in the Twins organization until the July deadline in 2001. DH - Paul Molitor (1996-1998) 422 games, .312/.362/.432 (.794) with 102 doubles, 23 homers, 271 RBI. Coin-flip… Paul Molitor (‘96-98) or Chili Davis (‘91-92)? I went with Molitor. The St. Paul native finished his Hall of Fame career with three seasons in a Twins uniform. In 1996, he hit .341 and drove in a career-high 113 runs despite just nine homers. He did have 41 doubles. At 39, he still stole 18 bases too. He hit .305 with 32 doubles and ten homers. He recorded his 3000th hit in 1997 with a triple. What do you think? Previous Installments Twins All-Decade Team, the '60s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team, the '60s (The Pitchers) Episode 15: Get t o Know the 1960s Twins (with Dave Mona) Twins All-Decade Team, the '70s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team, the '70s (The Pitchers) Episode 16: Get to Know the 1970s Twins (with Patrick Reusse) Twins All-Decade Team: the '80s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team: the '80s (The Pitchers) Episode 17: Get to know the 1980s Twins (with Howard Sinker) Click here to view the article
  2. First year of the decade (1990) - Worst team in the American League. Second year of the decade (1991) - Second World Series championship in five years. Third year of the decade (1992) - Won more games than that championship team. After that, well, it wasn't always pretty. However, there were still some great performances. Some of the top players of the 1980s were still playing well into the 1990s. A new star emerged in 1991 and was probably the best player of the decade. Dave Winfield, Paul Molitor and Terry Steinbach all came home. Today, we talk about the All-Decade team of hitters. Admittedly, some of the positions were harder to find greatness at than others, but the list is certainly enjoyable. Read through it and share your thoughts below. 1990s Twins All-Decade Hitters C - Brian Harper (1990-1993) 544 games, .304/.339/.428 (.767) with 121 doubles, 37 homers, 269 RBI. An argument could have been made that Harper should have been the Twins catcher of the ‘80s for the two years he played, but he continued to hit well for the Twins into the ‘90s and was a key piece of the 1991 Twins World Series championships. Harper went to the plate to hit. In 2097 plate appearances, he had just 67 non-intentional walks. He also struck out just 100 times over these four seasons. He hit at least .294 in each of these seasons (as well as 1988-89). 1B - Kent Hrbek (1990-1994) 591 games, .267/.365/.449 (.814) with 88 doubles, 92 homers, 362 RBI. Hrbek’s best years came in the 1980s but he was still a very productive player in the first half of the ‘90s as well. Even in the two seasons in which he hit under .250, he still had an on-base percentage over .350. He hit for power and doubles. His best season of the ‘90s was the championship 1991 team. He missed more time as he got older. He quietly retired during the 1994 strike. 2B - Chuck Knoblauch (1991-1997) 1,013 games, .304/.391/.416 (.807) with 88 doubles, 59 homers, 221 RBI. Knoblauch was easily the Twins top hitter of the 1990s. He was the team’s first-round pick in 1989 out of Texas A&M. He rose quickly and was the team’s opening day second baseman in 1991. He was the easy choice for American League Rookie of the Year and an instigator of the Twins World Series lineup, hitting second most nights. He was an All-Star four times in his seven seasons with the Twins. Despite playing in the same league at the same time as Roberto Alomar, “Knobby” won two Silver Slugger Awards and one Gold Glove Award.He posted OPS over .900 in 1995 and 1996. He was a doubles machine and led the league with 45 doubles in 1995. He led the league in triples in 1996. Knoblauch could hit, hit for extra base power, run, steal bases, play strong defense and other intangibles. He was traded to the Yankees after the 1997 season. 3B - Scott Leius (1990-1995) 476 games, .252/.327/.366 (.694) with 58 doubles, 26 homers, 155 RBI. Leius was the Twins 13th-round pick in 1986 out of Concordia College in Bronxville, NY. He debuted late in the 1990 season. In 1991, he platooned with Mike Pagliarulo and hit .286/.378/.417 (.795) with 14 extra base hits. He was also on the 1991 championship team. That was easily his best season. He played a career-high 129 games in 1992. He missed most of 1993, and he played a combined 214 games between 1995 and 1996. He later played for Cleveland (1996) and Kansas City (1998-99). This wasn’t a very strong position for the Twins in the 1990s. Other possible candidates include Ron Coomer, Jeff Reboulet, Pagliarulo and one-season stretches for Gary Gaetti and Corey Koskie. SS - Pat Meares (1993-1998) 742 games, .265/.301/.381 (.682) with 120 doubles, 41 homers, 303 RBI. Meares took over the Twins shortstop position in 1993 after Greg Gagne left via free agency. While Gagne was clearly the better fielder, Meares was a solid fielder who could hit a little bit more. He was the Twins 12th-round pick in 1990 from Wichita State and debuted less than two years later. In his six seasons with the Twins, he hit double-digit homers twice and had 19 or more homers in four of the seasons. He then played three seasons with the Pirates. LF - Shane Mack (1990-1994) 633 games, .309/.375/.479 (.854) with 119 doubles, 67 homers, 315 RBI. Mack remains one of the most underrated players in Twins history. He had been the top pick of the Padres in 1984 from UCLA but he just never got going in San Diego. In December 1989, he was the Twins Rule 5 draft. He spent the next five seasons hitting like crazy for the Twins. He hit between .310 and .333 in four of the five seasons. He got on base. He hit for power, lots of doubles and double-digit homers too. He had really good speed on the base paths and was really good out in the outfield. He was a key contributor to the 1991 championship. In 1994, he was hitting .333/.402/.564 (.966) with 21 doubles and 15 homers in 81 games when the strike hit. After the season, he signed a two-year deal to play in Japan before coming back to the States in 1997. CF - Kirby Puckett (1990-1995) 859 games, .312/.363/.485 (.848) with 217 doubles, 111 homers, 579 RBI. While Puckett was one of the top players of the 1980s, he continued to be a top player in the ‘90s. He was an All-Star all six seasons. He led the league in hits once. RBIs in 1994. Three more times he finished in the top 10 in AL MVP voting. He won two more Gold Glove Awards and two more Silver Sluggers. His career came to an abrupt end in spring training 1996. While he was 36 years old, he likely had three to five more seasons remaining. He played mostly center field through the 1993 seasons and then moved to right field the final two seasons. RF - Matt Lawton (1995-1999) 512 games, .264/.367/.416 (.783) with 94 doubles, 49 homers, 245 RBI. Lawton was the Twins 13th-round pick in 1991 out of Mississippi Gulf Coast CC. He debuted with 21 games in 1995 and was up for good midway through the 1996 season. He was an All-Star for the Twins, though that was in 2000 so not included here. However, he was a very solid all-around player. He was a quality right fielder with a strong arm. While he didn’t hit for average, except in 2000, he always found his way on base, getting on base via walk about 10% of the time. In 1998, he hit .278, got on base 39% of the time, and he hit 36 doubles, six triples and 21 homers. He also could steal bases. He remained in the Twins organization until the July deadline in 2001. DH - Paul Molitor (1996-1998) 422 games, .312/.362/.432 (.794) with 102 doubles, 23 homers, 271 RBI. Coin-flip… Paul Molitor (‘96-98) or Chili Davis (‘91-92)? I went with Molitor. The St. Paul native finished his Hall of Fame career with three seasons in a Twins uniform. In 1996, he hit .341 and drove in a career-high 113 runs despite just nine homers. He did have 41 doubles. At 39, he still stole 18 bases too. He hit .305 with 32 doubles and ten homers. He recorded his 3000th hit in 1997 with a triple. What do you think? Previous Installments Twins All-Decade Team, the '60s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team, the '60s (The Pitchers) Episode 15: Get t o Know the 1960s Twins (with Dave Mona) Twins All-Decade Team, the '70s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team, the '70s (The Pitchers) Episode 16: Get to Know the 1970s Twins (with Patrick Reusse) Twins All-Decade Team: the '80s (The Hitters) Twins All-Decade Team: the '80s (The Pitchers) Episode 17: Get to know the 1980s Twins (with Howard Sinker)
  3. This week's Almanac features notes on former Twins Dan Gladden, Kirby Puckett, Bob Allison, Ron Coomer, Drew Butera, Dean Chance, Roy Smalley, Greg Gagne, Shane Mack, Bob Casey, Pedro Ramos, Jim Kaat, Shannon Stewart, and Jim Perry, and Minnesotan major leaguers Dave Winfield, Julie Wera, and Walt Moryn. April 8, 1988 Gladden Has Hot Home Opener Dan Gladden goes 4-for-5 with two home runs, four RBI, and three runs scored including a steal of home for a 6-3 win over Toronto in the home opener. Gladden homered to lead off the Twins’ half of the first, and knocked out another in the eighth. With Kent Hrbek batting in the seventh, Gladden stole home off David Wells. It was the first of three times that Gladden would steal home in his career. He would do so again later in the 1988 season, and once more in 1989. He was caught trying to steal home five times in his career. Rod Carew stole home 17 times in his career. Paul Molitor stole home 10 times. Gladden had also gone 4-for-5 in the Twins’ previous game in New York. April 8, 1994 Puckett Collects 2,000th Hit After striking out in his first at-bat, Twins right fielder Kirby Puckett collects five-straight hits, including his 2,000th hit with an opposite-field single driving in Pat Meares in the bottom of the third. Trailing 8-4 in the bottom of the eighth and Oakland closer Dennis Eckersley on the mound, Chuck Knoblauch hit a two-run double, and Puckett a two-run single in consecutive at-bats to tie the game, giving Eckersley his first blown save of the season. After Oakland took a 10-8 lead in the top of the tenth, Puckett drove in Knoblauch with a double, but the Athletics held on for a 10-9 win. Altogether Puckett went 5-for-6 with a double, 4 RBI, and a run scored in the game. 1980 New Ulm graduate and Golden Gophers all-time great Terry Steinbach homered in the game for Oakland. Puckett retired with 2,304 hits, the most in Twins history. Joe Mauer will likely pass Rod Carew (2,085) for second in team history by the end of this season. April 9, 1995 Allison Passes Away Twins all-time great Bob Allison passes away from the effects of ataxia, a rare, incurable disease that affects nerve cells in the brain. He was just 60 years old. Read Gregory H. Wolf‘s SABR BioProject biography of Allison, which first appeared in the 2015 book A Pennant for the Twin Cities: The 1965 Minnesota Twins. April 9, 2000 Twins & Royals Go Back-to-Back-to-Back Already up 6-0 entering the top of the sixth in Kansas City, Corey Koskie leads off the inning with a single. Ron Coomer, Jacque Jones, and Matt LeCroy then proceed to hit three consecutive home runs on four total pitches. Coomer homered again in the seventh, again with Koskie on base. Eric Milton retired the first 20 batters in order and had a two-hit shutout going into the eighth. After retiring the first two batters, including former Twin David McCarty, Milton allowed two hits before being relieved by Eddie Guardado. Guardado gave up an RBI single and then back-to-back home runs to Carlos Beltran and Jermaine Dye before being relieved by Hector Carrasco who surrendered the Royals’ third consecutive home run to Mike Sweeney. It was the first game in major league history in which both teams hit back-to-back-to-back home runs. The Twins are one of seven teams to have hit four consecutive home runs, with Tony Oliva, Bob Allison, Jimmie Hall, and Harmon Killebrew doing so to start the top of the 11th in Kansas City on May 2, 1964. The Twins set an American League record by hitting five home runs in a single inning on June 9, 1966, also against Kansas City, but this time at home in Bloomington, with Rich Rollins, Zoilo Versalles, Tony Oliva, Don Mincher, and Harmon Killebrew homering off three different Athletics pitchers. Four National League teams have hit five home runs in an inning between 1939 and 2006, all four against the Cincinnati Reds. April 9, 2010 Drew Butera Makes MLB Debut Catcher Drew Butera makes his major league debut in Chicago, making him and his dad Sal the first father-son duo in Twins history. Drew went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts and a sac bunt in a 4-3, 11-inning Twins win. April 10, 1968 Chance Pitches Opening Day Shutout Dean Chance pitches a four-hit shutout, and Harmon Killebrew and Bob Allison hit solo homers off Senators pitcher Camilo Pascual for a 2-0 Opening Day win in Washington. April 10, 1971 Powell Homers for First MLB Hit In his first major league start, 1969 first-round draft pick Paul Powell hits an eighth-inning homer for his first hit, giving the Twins an insurance run in a 5-3 win in Chicago. It would be his only major league homer. Powell had gotten into two prior games as a pinch-runner, scoring both times. The Twins' Andre David hit a two-run home run on his first major league pitch against Jack Morris on June 29, 1984. Like Powell, his first major league hit was also his only home run. April 10, 1982 Twins Deal Smalley, Acquire Gagne The Twins trade Roy Smalley and 1975 Alexandria High School graduate Gary Serum to the Yankees for Ron Davis, Paul Boris, and Greg Gagne. Davis, who had been an All-Star in 1981, was one of the game’s first setup men, combining for a potent 1-2 punch with Hall of Famer Goose Gossage. Davis still holds the Yankees record for consecutive strikeouts in a game with eight on May 4, 1981. Doug Fister established a new American League record with nine consecutive K’s on September 27, 2012. The major league record belongs to Tom Seaver with 10 straight on April 22, 1970. Davis was never in All-Star form in Minnesota, however. He tied a single-season record with 14 blown saves in 1984, a dubious feat not matched since. Four pitchers had blown 14 saves in a season prior to Davis, including Hall of Famers Rollie Fingers in 1976, and Bruce Sutter in 1978. Hall of Famer Goose Gossage, incidentally, holds the record with six seasons with 10+ blown saves, followed by Rollie Fingers and Jeff Reardon with four each. Davis’s incompetence as Twins closer is often overstated, but there’s no denying that his struggles took a mental toll on the team. When he was traded to the Cubs in August 1986, a party broke out on the team’s charter flight from Anaheim to Seattle, led by Kirby Puckett. Kent Hrbek said it was like the team had been exorcised of a demon. Hrbie conceded in retrospect that the team didn’t handle the situation too well. He personally really liked Davis. Harmon Killebrew, who was on the flight as a TV analyst, said it was one of the strangest scenes he’d ever seen. Though Davis was the object of the Twins’ desire at the time, Greg Gagne would obviously emerge as the key figure in this transaction. He didn’t make his major league debut until 1983, and even then only played 12 games between the ‘83 and ‘84 seasons before becoming a fixture at shortstop from 1985 to 1992. He was a key component of the Twins’ 1987 and 1991 World Series Championships. The Twins had originally acquired Roy Smalley in the 1976 trade that sent Bert Blyleven and Danny Thompson to the Rangers. In July 1984 the Yankees offloaded Smalley to the White Sox in exchange for players to be named later, one of whom wound up being Doug Drabek, who, after just one season, the Yankees in turn shipped off to Pittsburgh where he would win the 1990 Cy Young Award. The White Sox traded Smalley back to Minnesota in 1985. He retired after the 1987 season. Gary Serum was born in Fargo, and grew up in Alexandria, MN. He played two and a half major league seasons with the Twins from 1977 to ‘79. Despite posting a 9-1 record between Double-A and Triple-A in the Yankees organization, 1982 was Serum’s final professional season. April 10, 1992 Mack Leadoff Homer in Home Opener In the Twins' first at-bat at the Metrodome since Gene Larkin's walk-off in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series, Shane Mack hits a leadoff home run. Altogether he went 4-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored in the 7-1 win over the Rangers (now featuring Al Newman). Mack posted a career-high 6.5 WAR in 1992, second on the team that season to Puckett’s career-high 7.1. Mack’s 3.6 WAR in 1991 was second-best to Kevin Tapani‘s 6.8. April 11, 1925 Birthdate of Bob Casey The inimitable Bob Casey was born in Minneapolis on this date in 1925. Casey was the only public address announcer in Twins history until his death in 2005. He also worked for the Minneapolis Millers, Lakers, and the Vikings. The decorated World War II veteran is buried at Fort Snelling National Cemetery. April 11, 1961 First Regular Season Game in Twins History In the first regular season game in Twins history, Pedro Ramos pitches a three-hit shutout versus Whitey Ford and the eventual 1961 World Series champions at Yankee Stadium. Ramos held Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, and Roger Maris to a combined 1-for-11, with Berra singling in the first. Maris, of course, would go on to establish a new single-season home run record with 61 that year. Moose Skowron and the pitcher Ford had the Yankees’ other two hits. Ramos did not allow a baserunner after the fifth inning. Ramos and Ford were locked in a scoreless duel until Bob Allison led off the seventh with the first home run in Twins history. Ramos himself drove in Earl Battey and Reno Bertoia with a single to center later that inning, knocking Ford out of the game. Bertoia homered in the eight, driving in Battey. Killebrew added a sac fly in the ninth, driving in Zoilo Versalles to give the Twins a 6-0 Opening Day win. They went 5-1 on the road before coming to Bloomington to play their first home game in front of a crowd already deep in the throes of pennant fever. They lost the home opener 5-3 to the new expansion Senators, and finished their inaugural season 70-90, seventh in the American League. 5-1 record before playing their first home game in front of a crowd already deep in the throes of pennant fever. They would lose their first game in Bloomington, however, 3-5 to the new Senators, and finish their inaugural season 70-90, 7th place in the America League. April 11, 1971 Kaat Pitches 11-Hit Shutout Jim Kaat pitches a shutout in Chicago despite giving up 11 hits and a walk. At the plate he went 2-for-4 with a double, two RBI, and a run scored. The Twins turned two double plays in the 6-0 win. The team record for hits in a shutout is 13 by Mudcat Grant on July 15, 1964. There have been two other 11-hit shutouts in Twins history: Rick Lysander on August 1, 1983, and Carlos Silva on August 3, 2004. April 11, 1975 Terrell Sets Double Play Record The Twins pull out a 12-3 win at the Kingdome in their first-ever game against the Mariners, despite 1964 Waterville graduate Jerry Terrell hitting into a team record three double plays. Jose Morales tied Terrell’s record on May 17, 1980. April 12, 1926 Birthdate of Walt Moryn It’s the birthdate of 1944 Harding High School graduate Walt Moryn, born in St. Paul in 1926. Moryn played 785 major league games over eight seasons with the Dodgers (1954–’56), Cubs (1956–1960), Cardinals (1960–’61), and Pirates (1961). His teammates included Jackie Robinson, Ernie Banks, Stan Musial, and Roberto Clemente. He hit 101 home runs, including six off Robin Roberts. He had nine multi-home run games. He hit three on May 30, 1958, including a walk-off home run against Sandy Koufax, who entered the game in the ninth. Moryn made his only All-Star team in 1958, though he did not get into the game. Moryn is best remembered by Cubs fans for making a dramatic shoestring catch in left for the final out of Don Cardwell’s no-hitter on May 15, 1960. Biographer Art Mugalian points out that Moryn had spoiled a no-hitter earlier in the season, hitting a two-out pinch-hit home run in the eighth off Sam Jones at Candlestick Park on April 16. Jones completed the one-hitter for a 6-1 Giants win. Moryn passed away on July 21, 1996 in Winfield, Il. He was 70 years old. Read Art Mugalian’s SABR BioProject biography of Walt Moryn. April 12, 1965 Home Opener Starter Airlifted Jim Kaat, Dick Stigman, Rich Rollins, and Bill Bethea are marooned at their homes in Burnsville—the wrong side of the flooded Minnesota River—and have to be taken by helicopter to and from Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington for the home opener versus the Yankees. Kaat gave up four runs on five hits and a walk over nine innings, and hit a two-RBI double. After Bob Allison got to third on an E7 leading off the 11th, the Yankees intentionally loaded the bases. They got to the first two outs on a shallow pop fly and strikeout, but César Tovar came through with a walk-off single to center off Pedro Ramos. Ramos started the first regular season game in Twins history, pitching a three-hit shutout against the Yankees in New York. April 12, 2005 Twins Win on Stewart Walk-Off After Torii Hunter drives in Jason Bartlett to tie the game in the eighth, the Twins beat the Tigers 5-4 on a Shannon Stewart walk-off ground-rule double off Troy Percival in the ninth. According to Halsey Hall SABR member John Swol‘s great site TwinsTrivia.com, Percival had not allowed an earned run versus the Twins in over 40 innings going back to 1995. April 12, 2010 First Regular Season Game at Target Field Carl Pavano and the Twins beat the Red Sox 5-2 in the first regular season game at Target Field. Red Sox leadoff hitter Marco Scutaro singled to center for the new stadium’s first regular season hit. With Dustin Pedroia batting, however, Scutaro was thrown out trying to steal second. Pedroia doubled on the next pitch (d’oh!). Pavano escaped the first unscathed. He gave up only one run in the game, on a David Ortiz RBI double in the fourth. After Jon Lester walked Denard Span leading off the bottom of the first, Orlando Hudson collected the Twins’ first hit at the new ballpark. After Mauer and Morneau made the first two outs, Michael Cuddyer collected the new stadium’s first RBI, driving in Span with a single to left. Jason Kubel then drove in Hudson, giving the Twins a 2-0 first-inning lead. Joe Mauer hit an RBI double in the second, and an RBI single in the fourth. Kubel hit Target Field’s first regular season home run leading off the seventh. Jon Rauch retired Kevin Youkilis, David Ortiz, and Adrian Beltre in order to save the 5-2 Twins win. April 13, 1858 Birthdate of Bill Barnes It’s the birthdate of former major league center fielder Bill Barnes, born in Shakopee in 1858. Barnes played for the St. Paul White Caps, who in 1884 played nine games as a replacement team in the Union Association, which, despite only existing for one season, is generally considered a major league. The White Caps played all of their Union Association games on the road. April 13, 1962 Home Opener Snowed Out In just the second year of major league baseball in Minnesota, the Twins’ home opener versus the Los Angeles Angels is cancelled due to six inches of snow. April 13, 1968 Perry Pitches Shutout, Hits Homer Jim Perry has a heckuva day, pitching a four-hit shutout, and hitting a ninth-inning home run in a 6-0 Twins win at Yankee Stadium. Jim Kaat pitched a shutout and hit a home run on July 24, 1963, and October 1, 1970. April 13, 1991 Winfield Has 5-Hit, 3-HR Game vs. Twins Playing for the Angels, 1969 St. Paul Central graduate and Golden Gophers all-time great Dave Winfield goes 5-for-6 with three home runs, a double, six RBI, and four runs scored in a 15-9 win at the Metrodome. Angels third baseman Gary Gaetti went 4-for-6 with a double and RBI. April 14, 1927 Wera Makes MLB Debut 25-year-old Winona native Julie Wera makes his major league debut with New York at Yankee Stadium, pinch-hitting for Hall of Famer Waite Hoyt against Hall of Famer Lefty Grove. He grounded out. Wera played 38 games at third base for the vaunted ‘27 Yankees. He hit his one and only big league homer during a doubleheader at Yankee Stadium on July 4, 1927 in front of a then-record crowd of 74,000. Wera did not play in the 1927 World Series in which the Yankees swept the Pirates. He did, however, receive the same $5,782 portion of the winners’ purse as the rest of his teammates, which included Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth. Nice bonus, considering that Wera’s ‘27 salary was reported to be $2,400. April 14, 1983 Snow Collapses the Dome The largest April snowstorm in Minneapolis’s history forces the postponement of a game versus the California Angels. The decision to postpone the game was made the night before out of concern that the Angels would not be able to arrive in Minnesota in time. Travel concerns were a moot point, however, as damage from the storm caused the Metrodome roof to collapse about twelve hours after the decision to postpone. The spring storm dumped over 13 inches of snow on the Twin Cities. April 14, 2016 Worst Start in Twins History The Twins are swept by the White Sox in their home-opening series, falling to 0-9 on the season, the worst start in the franchise’s 116-year history. It was the worst start by any major league team in 13 years, going back to the epically awful 2003 Tigers who finished 43-119. The Braves would also fall to 0-9 later that day, and finish the season 68-93. Minnesota, meanwhile, would finish 59-103, the worst record in Twins history. It was remarkably not the worst season in franchise history, however. The 1904 Washington Senators finished 38-113 (.252 winning %). Keep in touch with @TwinsAlmanac on Facebook and Twitter. I hear so many cool stories with great insights from you guys. Keep 'em coming. Click here to view the article
  4. April 8, 1988 Gladden Has Hot Home Opener Dan Gladden goes 4-for-5 with two home runs, four RBI, and three runs scored including a steal of home for a 6-3 win over Toronto in the home opener. Gladden homered to lead off the Twins’ half of the first, and knocked out another in the eighth. With Kent Hrbek batting in the seventh, Gladden stole home off David Wells. It was the first of three times that Gladden would steal home in his career. He would do so again later in the 1988 season, and once more in 1989. He was caught trying to steal home five times in his career. Rod Carew stole home 17 times in his career. Paul Molitor stole home 10 times. Gladden had also gone 4-for-5 in the Twins’ previous game in New York. April 8, 1994 Puckett Collects 2,000th Hit After striking out in his first at-bat, Twins right fielder Kirby Puckett collects five-straight hits, including his 2,000th hit with an opposite-field single driving in Pat Meares in the bottom of the third. Trailing 8-4 in the bottom of the eighth and Oakland closer Dennis Eckersley on the mound, Chuck Knoblauch hit a two-run double, and Puckett a two-run single in consecutive at-bats to tie the game, giving Eckersley his first blown save of the season. After Oakland took a 10-8 lead in the top of the tenth, Puckett drove in Knoblauch with a double, but the Athletics held on for a 10-9 win. Altogether Puckett went 5-for-6 with a double, 4 RBI, and a run scored in the game. 1980 New Ulm graduate and Golden Gophers all-time great Terry Steinbach homered in the game for Oakland. Puckett retired with 2,304 hits, the most in Twins history. Joe Mauer will likely pass Rod Carew (2,085) for second in team history by the end of this season. April 9, 1995 Allison Passes Away Twins all-time great Bob Allison passes away from the effects of ataxia, a rare, incurable disease that affects nerve cells in the brain. He was just 60 years old. Read Gregory H. Wolf‘s SABR BioProject biography of Allison, which first appeared in the 2015 book A Pennant for the Twin Cities: The 1965 Minnesota Twins. April 9, 2000 Twins & Royals Go Back-to-Back-to-Back Already up 6-0 entering the top of the sixth in Kansas City, Corey Koskie leads off the inning with a single. Ron Coomer, Jacque Jones, and Matt LeCroy then proceed to hit three consecutive home runs on four total pitches. Coomer homered again in the seventh, again with Koskie on base. Eric Milton retired the first 20 batters in order and had a two-hit shutout going into the eighth. After retiring the first two batters, including former Twin David McCarty, Milton allowed two hits before being relieved by Eddie Guardado. Guardado gave up an RBI single and then back-to-back home runs to Carlos Beltran and Jermaine Dye before being relieved by Hector Carrasco who surrendered the Royals’ third consecutive home run to Mike Sweeney. It was the first game in major league history in which both teams hit back-to-back-to-back home runs. The Twins are one of seven teams to have hit four consecutive home runs, with Tony Oliva, Bob Allison, Jimmie Hall, and Harmon Killebrew doing so to start the top of the 11th in Kansas City on May 2, 1964. The Twins set an American League record by hitting five home runs in a single inning on June 9, 1966, also against Kansas City, but this time at home in Bloomington, with Rich Rollins, Zoilo Versalles, Tony Oliva, Don Mincher, and Harmon Killebrew homering off three different Athletics pitchers. Four National League teams have hit five home runs in an inning between 1939 and 2006, all four against the Cincinnati Reds. April 9, 2010 Drew Butera Makes MLB Debut Catcher Drew Butera makes his major league debut in Chicago, making him and his dad Sal the first father-son duo in Twins history. Drew went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts and a sac bunt in a 4-3, 11-inning Twins win. April 10, 1968 Chance Pitches Opening Day Shutout Dean Chance pitches a four-hit shutout, and Harmon Killebrew and Bob Allison hit solo homers off Senators pitcher Camilo Pascual for a 2-0 Opening Day win in Washington. April 10, 1971 Powell Homers for First MLB Hit In his first major league start, 1969 first-round draft pick Paul Powell hits an eighth-inning homer for his first hit, giving the Twins an insurance run in a 5-3 win in Chicago. It would be his only major league homer. Powell had gotten into two prior games as a pinch-runner, scoring both times. The Twins' Andre David hit a two-run home run on his first major league pitch against Jack Morris on June 29, 1984. Like Powell, his first major league hit was also his only home run. April 10, 1982 Twins Deal Smalley, Acquire Gagne The Twins trade Roy Smalley and 1975 Alexandria High School graduate Gary Serum to the Yankees for Ron Davis, Paul Boris, and Greg Gagne. Davis, who had been an All-Star in 1981, was one of the game’s first setup men, combining for a potent 1-2 punch with Hall of Famer Goose Gossage. Davis still holds the Yankees record for consecutive strikeouts in a game with eight on May 4, 1981. Doug Fister established a new American League record with nine consecutive K’s on September 27, 2012. The major league record belongs to Tom Seaver with 10 straight on April 22, 1970. Davis was never in All-Star form in Minnesota, however. He tied a single-season record with 14 blown saves in 1984, a dubious feat not matched since. Four pitchers had blown 14 saves in a season prior to Davis, including Hall of Famers Rollie Fingers in 1976, and Bruce Sutter in 1978. Hall of Famer Goose Gossage, incidentally, holds the record with six seasons with 10+ blown saves, followed by Rollie Fingers and Jeff Reardon with four each. Davis’s incompetence as Twins closer is often overstated, but there’s no denying that his struggles took a mental toll on the team. When he was traded to the Cubs in August 1986, a party broke out on the team’s charter flight from Anaheim to Seattle, led by Kirby Puckett. Kent Hrbek said it was like the team had been exorcised of a demon. Hrbie conceded in retrospect that the team didn’t handle the situation too well. He personally really liked Davis. Harmon Killebrew, who was on the flight as a TV analyst, said it was one of the strangest scenes he’d ever seen. Though Davis was the object of the Twins’ desire at the time, Greg Gagne would obviously emerge as the key figure in this transaction. He didn’t make his major league debut until 1983, and even then only played 12 games between the ‘83 and ‘84 seasons before becoming a fixture at shortstop from 1985 to 1992. He was a key component of the Twins’ 1987 and 1991 World Series Championships. The Twins had originally acquired Roy Smalley in the 1976 trade that sent Bert Blyleven and Danny Thompson to the Rangers. In July 1984 the Yankees offloaded Smalley to the White Sox in exchange for players to be named later, one of whom wound up being Doug Drabek, who, after just one season, the Yankees in turn shipped off to Pittsburgh where he would win the 1990 Cy Young Award. The White Sox traded Smalley back to Minnesota in 1985. He retired after the 1987 season. Gary Serum was born in Fargo, and grew up in Alexandria, MN. He played two and a half major league seasons with the Twins from 1977 to ‘79. Despite posting a 9-1 record between Double-A and Triple-A in the Yankees organization, 1982 was Serum’s final professional season. April 10, 1992 Mack Leadoff Homer in Home Opener In the Twins' first at-bat at the Metrodome since Gene Larkin's walk-off in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series, Shane Mack hits a leadoff home run. Altogether he went 4-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored in the 7-1 win over the Rangers (now featuring Al Newman). Mack posted a career-high 6.5 WAR in 1992, second on the team that season to Puckett’s career-high 7.1. Mack’s 3.6 WAR in 1991 was second-best to Kevin Tapani‘s 6.8. April 11, 1925 Birthdate of Bob Casey The inimitable Bob Casey was born in Minneapolis on this date in 1925. Casey was the only public address announcer in Twins history until his death in 2005. He also worked for the Minneapolis Millers, Lakers, and the Vikings. The decorated World War II veteran is buried at Fort Snelling National Cemetery. April 11, 1961 First Regular Season Game in Twins History In the first regular season game in Twins history, Pedro Ramos pitches a three-hit shutout versus Whitey Ford and the eventual 1961 World Series champions at Yankee Stadium. Ramos held Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, and Roger Maris to a combined 1-for-11, with Berra singling in the first. Maris, of course, would go on to establish a new single-season home run record with 61 that year. Moose Skowron and the pitcher Ford had the Yankees’ other two hits. Ramos did not allow a baserunner after the fifth inning. Ramos and Ford were locked in a scoreless duel until Bob Allison led off the seventh with the first home run in Twins history. Ramos himself drove in Earl Battey and Reno Bertoia with a single to center later that inning, knocking Ford out of the game. Bertoia homered in the eight, driving in Battey. Killebrew added a sac fly in the ninth, driving in Zoilo Versalles to give the Twins a 6-0 Opening Day win. They went 5-1 on the road before coming to Bloomington to play their first home game in front of a crowd already deep in the throes of pennant fever. They lost the home opener 5-3 to the new expansion Senators, and finished their inaugural season 70-90, seventh in the American League. 5-1 record before playing their first home game in front of a crowd already deep in the throes of pennant fever. They would lose their first game in Bloomington, however, 3-5 to the new Senators, and finish their inaugural season 70-90, 7th place in the America League. April 11, 1971 Kaat Pitches 11-Hit Shutout Jim Kaat pitches a shutout in Chicago despite giving up 11 hits and a walk. At the plate he went 2-for-4 with a double, two RBI, and a run scored. The Twins turned two double plays in the 6-0 win. The team record for hits in a shutout is 13 by Mudcat Grant on July 15, 1964. There have been two other 11-hit shutouts in Twins history: Rick Lysander on August 1, 1983, and Carlos Silva on August 3, 2004. April 11, 1975 Terrell Sets Double Play Record The Twins pull out a 12-3 win at the Kingdome in their first-ever game against the Mariners, despite 1964 Waterville graduate Jerry Terrell hitting into a team record three double plays. Jose Morales tied Terrell’s record on May 17, 1980. April 12, 1926 Birthdate of Walt Moryn It’s the birthdate of 1944 Harding High School graduate Walt Moryn, born in St. Paul in 1926. Moryn played 785 major league games over eight seasons with the Dodgers (1954–’56), Cubs (1956–1960), Cardinals (1960–’61), and Pirates (1961). His teammates included Jackie Robinson, Ernie Banks, Stan Musial, and Roberto Clemente. He hit 101 home runs, including six off Robin Roberts. He had nine multi-home run games. He hit three on May 30, 1958, including a walk-off home run against Sandy Koufax, who entered the game in the ninth. Moryn made his only All-Star team in 1958, though he did not get into the game. Moryn is best remembered by Cubs fans for making a dramatic shoestring catch in left for the final out of Don Cardwell’s no-hitter on May 15, 1960. Biographer Art Mugalian points out that Moryn had spoiled a no-hitter earlier in the season, hitting a two-out pinch-hit home run in the eighth off Sam Jones at Candlestick Park on April 16. Jones completed the one-hitter for a 6-1 Giants win. Moryn passed away on July 21, 1996 in Winfield, Il. He was 70 years old. Read Art Mugalian’s SABR BioProject biography of Walt Moryn. April 12, 1965 Home Opener Starter Airlifted Jim Kaat, Dick Stigman, Rich Rollins, and Bill Bethea are marooned at their homes in Burnsville—the wrong side of the flooded Minnesota River—and have to be taken by helicopter to and from Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington for the home opener versus the Yankees. Kaat gave up four runs on five hits and a walk over nine innings, and hit a two-RBI double. After Bob Allison got to third on an E7 leading off the 11th, the Yankees intentionally loaded the bases. They got to the first two outs on a shallow pop fly and strikeout, but César Tovar came through with a walk-off single to center off Pedro Ramos. Ramos started the first regular season game in Twins history, pitching a three-hit shutout against the Yankees in New York. April 12, 2005 Twins Win on Stewart Walk-Off After Torii Hunter drives in Jason Bartlett to tie the game in the eighth, the Twins beat the Tigers 5-4 on a Shannon Stewart walk-off ground-rule double off Troy Percival in the ninth. According to Halsey Hall SABR member John Swol‘s great site TwinsTrivia.com, Percival had not allowed an earned run versus the Twins in over 40 innings going back to 1995. April 12, 2010 First Regular Season Game at Target Field Carl Pavano and the Twins beat the Red Sox 5-2 in the first regular season game at Target Field. Red Sox leadoff hitter Marco Scutaro singled to center for the new stadium’s first regular season hit. With Dustin Pedroia batting, however, Scutaro was thrown out trying to steal second. Pedroia doubled on the next pitch (d’oh!). Pavano escaped the first unscathed. He gave up only one run in the game, on a David Ortiz RBI double in the fourth. After Jon Lester walked Denard Span leading off the bottom of the first, Orlando Hudson collected the Twins’ first hit at the new ballpark. After Mauer and Morneau made the first two outs, Michael Cuddyer collected the new stadium’s first RBI, driving in Span with a single to left. Jason Kubel then drove in Hudson, giving the Twins a 2-0 first-inning lead. Joe Mauer hit an RBI double in the second, and an RBI single in the fourth. Kubel hit Target Field’s first regular season home run leading off the seventh. Jon Rauch retired Kevin Youkilis, David Ortiz, and Adrian Beltre in order to save the 5-2 Twins win. April 13, 1858 Birthdate of Bill Barnes It’s the birthdate of former major league center fielder Bill Barnes, born in Shakopee in 1858. Barnes played for the St. Paul White Caps, who in 1884 played nine games as a replacement team in the Union Association, which, despite only existing for one season, is generally considered a major league. The White Caps played all of their Union Association games on the road. April 13, 1962 Home Opener Snowed Out In just the second year of major league baseball in Minnesota, the Twins’ home opener versus the Los Angeles Angels is cancelled due to six inches of snow. April 13, 1968 Perry Pitches Shutout, Hits Homer Jim Perry has a heckuva day, pitching a four-hit shutout, and hitting a ninth-inning home run in a 6-0 Twins win at Yankee Stadium. Jim Kaat pitched a shutout and hit a home run on July 24, 1963, and October 1, 1970. April 13, 1991 Winfield Has 5-Hit, 3-HR Game vs. Twins Playing for the Angels, 1969 St. Paul Central graduate and Golden Gophers all-time great Dave Winfield goes 5-for-6 with three home runs, a double, six RBI, and four runs scored in a 15-9 win at the Metrodome. Angels third baseman Gary Gaetti went 4-for-6 with a double and RBI. April 14, 1927 Wera Makes MLB Debut 25-year-old Winona native Julie Wera makes his major league debut with New York at Yankee Stadium, pinch-hitting for Hall of Famer Waite Hoyt against Hall of Famer Lefty Grove. He grounded out. Wera played 38 games at third base for the vaunted ‘27 Yankees. He hit his one and only big league homer during a doubleheader at Yankee Stadium on July 4, 1927 in front of a then-record crowd of 74,000. Wera did not play in the 1927 World Series in which the Yankees swept the Pirates. He did, however, receive the same $5,782 portion of the winners’ purse as the rest of his teammates, which included Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth. Nice bonus, considering that Wera’s ‘27 salary was reported to be $2,400. April 14, 1983 Snow Collapses the Dome The largest April snowstorm in Minneapolis’s history forces the postponement of a game versus the California Angels. The decision to postpone the game was made the night before out of concern that the Angels would not be able to arrive in Minnesota in time. Travel concerns were a moot point, however, as damage from the storm caused the Metrodome roof to collapse about twelve hours after the decision to postpone. The spring storm dumped over 13 inches of snow on the Twin Cities. April 14, 2016 Worst Start in Twins History The Twins are swept by the White Sox in their home-opening series, falling to 0-9 on the season, the worst start in the franchise’s 116-year history. It was the worst start by any major league team in 13 years, going back to the epically awful 2003 Tigers who finished 43-119. The Braves would also fall to 0-9 later that day, and finish the season 68-93. Minnesota, meanwhile, would finish 59-103, the worst record in Twins history. It was remarkably not the worst season in franchise history, however. The 1904 Washington Senators finished 38-113 (.252 winning %). Keep in touch with @TwinsAlmanac on Facebook and Twitter. I hear so many cool stories with great insights from you guys. Keep 'em coming.
  5. On August 12, 1994 baseball went away. This week marked the 20th anniversary of the end of that season, a season that could have included many historical events. ESPN wrote earlier this week about Tony Gwynn's chase for .400, Matt Williams hunting down Roger Maris' home run record, and the Montreal Expos possible trip to the World Series. All of these events didn't take place because of the 1994 strike. The 1994 Twins also missed out on what could have been some important moments. Minnesota wasn't on their way to a World Series because the team was 14 games out of first place and seven games under .500 when play was halted. There were still other memorable moments taken away. Kent Hrbek's Farewell Season The Twins last game before the strike was on August 10th and this turned out to be the final game in Kent Hrbek's career. The slugging first baseman surprised a lot of fans by retiring as a 34-year old but he had accomplished all that he wanted to in the game. He had two World Series rings and he got to play his entire career in his home state. There had been some injuries over his last couple of seasons and he was ready to spend more time with his family. The strike took away the opportunity for fans to acknowledge all he had done in a Twins uniform. The Metrodome faithful would get this opportunity in 1995 when his number was retired but it would have been nice to salute him while he was still wearing a Twins uniform. Kirby Puckett's Shortened Career Puckett would play his last game in 1995 and he was in the midst of a very good offensive season just one year earlier. His 112 RBI were tops in the American League and only four behind Jeff Bagwell for the highest total in baseball. He was also near the top of the league in a variety of other offensive categories. He was in the top 10 in extra base hits (5th), doubles (5th), total bases (6th), and hits (7th). His defensive game wasn't too bad either as he led the leagues in assists as an outfielder. He would finish seventh in the MVP voting and won his sixth and final Silver Slugger award. No one could foresee the end of his career being a little over a year away and it would have been nice to have Puck on the field for a few more games. Shane Mack's Leaderboard Numbers Following the 1994 season, Shane Mack wouldn't put on a big league uniform until the 1997 season as he would be playing professionally in Japan. This takes nothing away from the kind of numbers he was producing for the Twins in 1994. The slugging outfielder was in his last year in Minnesota and he sat in the American League's top 10 in a variety of categories when the strike hit. He ranked seventh in batting average (.333), seventh in slugging percentage (.564), and eighth in OPS (.966). He did all of this while being limited to 81 games There was plenty of season left to play after August and it would have been interesting to see where Mack would have finished by the year's end. What else would you have liked to see from the 1994 Twins? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. For more from Cody Christie make sure to follow him on Twitter @NoDakTwinsFan and toread his other work at http://www.NoDakTwinsFan.com
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