Tuesday, January 13, 2009

MINNESOTA TWINS - ALL TIME HOME GROWN TEAM vs. ALL TIME ACQUIRED TEAM


The quest to list the best All Time Home Grown Team versus the best Acquired Team continues today with the Minnesota Twins.

It's a strange franchise that always seemed teetering on the verge of either leaving for Florida or contracted...

And yet since coming to Minnesota they have had three pockets of success.
In the mid to late 1960s they were annual contenders.

Then they had their magical seasons of 1987 and 1991.

And with the reaper looming over the franchise, they turned around and won division titles in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2006 and narrowly missed in 2008.

They've had the best hitter of one era, the most beloved of another and the best pitcher of this century.

And they are doing all of this playing in an ugly stadium that I defended.

As always the rules for the rosters are found here.

Keep in mind I am also including members of the Washington Senators, which is how they were known before the move to Minnesota.

Wait a second, you say.
Weren't the TEXAS RANGERS the Senators originally?

Yes they were.
They both were.
It's confusing...

Best to just let it be and read on.


ALL TIME HOME GROWN TWINS TEAM

STARTING CATCHER
JOE MAUER

I don't think it is too early to put Joe Mauer on a team like this.
I've looked up the history of the Twins and the Senators and I haven't found a native Minnesotan catcher with a batting title and two MVP caliber seasons.

All four of his full seasons in the bigs, he has been either the best or one of the best offensive catchers and picked up his first Gold Glove in 2008.

Now don't get hurt!!!




STARTING FIRST BASEMAN
KENT HRBEK

Would it have killed one of his ancestors to stick a vowel between the H and the R when they went through Ellis Island?

Oh never mind. The combination of Kirby and Herbie in the lineup gave the Twins two lovable sluggers... one with a big butt the other with the big belly and each better fielders than their Beer League bodies would suggest.

And Hrbek got the highlight that the franchise had been waiting for since 1924... the final put out in the World Series.

(Let's never mind that interesting play with Ronnie Gant during the 1991 World Series, shall we?)





STARTING SECOND BASEMAN
ROD CAREW

Lots of hitters make the cover of Sports Illustrated.
How many make the cover of Time Magazine?

When I started collecting baseball cards in 1978, I just always assumed when I got the "Team Leader" card that Rod Carew would be the league leader in hitting.

I remember when I got the 1980 card that listed Fred Lynn as the batting champ I thought "Not Carew?"
In 1983 when I heard an uncle of mine say that Wade Boggs was the best hitter in the American League I said "Not better than Carew."

Carew was the standard I held for "the best hitter." 7 batting titles will do that.


STARTING SHORTSTOP
ZOILO VERSALLES

Versalles was already a Gold Glove winning All Star shortstop heading into the 1965 season. But that was the year he put it all together.

He hit for power leading the American League with 76 extra base hits. He stole 27 bases. He picked up another Gold Glove and was named the MVP of the American League as the Twins went to the World Series... the franchises first since the 1933 Senators.

His first name is tough to spell. I misspelled it.
And the Topps company spelled it ZORRO in 1961.


STARTING THIRD BASEMAN
HARMON KILLEBREW

He could have qualified as a first baseman or an outfielder, but when he won the MVP in 1969, he started most of his games at third base.

Averaged 38 homers a season over 22 years. Not peaked... averaged in a pitchers era with bigger ballparks 3 homers.


There is an urban legend that the silhouette on the MLB logo is Killebrew.
MLB denies that legend.
I believe it is Jerry West holding a baseball bat.


STARTING LEFT FIELDER
GOOSE GOSLIN

The Hall of Famer was one of the top hitters for the Senators when they won the 1924 World Series and 1925 and 1933 AL Pennant. He also was a regular contender for the batting title.

In 1928 he was neck and neck with the Browns' Heinie Manush for the batting title. It was so close that in his last at bat of the season, if he got a hit he'd win it and if he made an out, he'd lose it.

If he sat it out, he'd win it but his teammates guilted him into taking the at bat.
He got two strikes called and tried to get ejected to negate the at bat.
Didn't work.
Then he got a base hit and won the batting title.

Lucky S.O.B.




STARTING CENTER FIELDER
KIRBY PUCKETT

Well, we found out that off the field he was not the wonderfully positive and intensely lovable guy we all thought he was.

But the Late Kirby Puckett on the field was everything great about baseball.
Clutch, put up great numbers, loyal to the team, made the players around him better, a two time World Champion...

And I'll say it... the single most fun player I have EVER seen.
I didn't say the best.
I didn't say the most exciting.

But nobody made me smile bigger than Kirby when I saw him on the field.
I rooted for the Twins in the 1987 and 1991 World Series because of Kirby.

None of this excuses what he did off the field.
But I am here to praise his on field performance. (Besides, I am going to honor Ty Cobb twice!)



STARTING RIGHT FIELDER
TONY OLIVA

If not for his bad knees, legs, shoulders and who knows what else... Oliva would be in the Hall of Fame.
The 1964 Rookie of the Year had 20 home run power, a consistent .300 hitter and along with Killebrew and Carew gave the Twins a formidable lineup. But his greatness was concentrated in an 8 year period before his ailments slowed him down.

His peers believe he is a Hall of Famer. Better start kissing the Veteran Committees butt!




STARTING DESIGNATED HITTER
JUSTIN MORNEAU

Let me get this off of my chest.
I don't think Morneau should have won the MVP in 2006. I think Derek Jeter should have won it.
Please note that if you think all I do is bash the Yankees.

I don't think Morneau was the second best TWIN in 2006!

I would have voted for Joe Mauer or Johan Santana ahead of Morneau.
But enough hating.
Morneau is a terrific all around hitter who came a few votes short of winning the MVP again last year.

Plus he's the first Canadian to win the Home Run Derby.
Great... more jobs going to foreigners!


THE STARTING ROTATION

WALTER JOHNSON

Is Walter Johnson the greatest pitcher of all time?
Who knows?
He pitched in a different era where 320 innings pitched didn't raise an eyebrow...
These days 36 starts would be a solid season. Johnson WON 36 games in 1913.

He was second only to Cy Young in career victories and doing it for mainly horrible Washington teams.
Now he also pitched in the Dead Ball era and it was before integration so the talent pool was shallow.. Who knows what Bob Gibson or Satchel Paige would have done in the Dead Ball era.

So he may or may not be the greatest pitcher of all time.
But one thing I do know is he earned a spot on this roster!



BERT BLYLEVEN

I'm late to the party for Blyleven's Hall of Fame candidacy but as I wrote this weekend I am trumpeting his cause as loudly as anyone possibly can.

There are no locks for the Hall of Fame in next year's vote. (Roberto Alomar is the closest to a sure thing.)
Maybe with no Ripken, Gwynn or Henderson dominating the vote, the writers would take a look at his stats and realize what I realized:

That Bert Blyleven was one of the elite pitchers of the 1970s and 1980s.


JIM KAAT

And when they are done looking at Blyleven, look at Kitty as well!

The 25 year veteran was a three time All Star and won 16 consecutive Gold Gloves.

He was also one of my favorite announcers and thank Goodness TBS coaxed him out of retirement.
Maybe he'll get in with the Ford Fricke Award.




FRANK VIOLA

How much of a non factor were the Twins going into the 1987 season? Frank Viola was going to be the best man at his brother's wedding which was scheduled for mid October.

The concept that Frank would be pitching Game 1 of the World Series I guess never came up!

Well he did better than deliver a toast... he won the game and game 7 for good measure.
I wonder if they had a World Series MVP on their registry.

Either way, Viola was the 1988 Cy Young winner and when they traded him to the Mets the next year, the haul from New York helped lay the foundation for the 1991 Championship pitching staff.

Another gift.


BRAD RADKE

How he won 20 games for a miserable 1997 Twins team will be something I will never understand.
The All Star pitcher played all 12 seasons in Minnesota and stayed there in time to see some of the good times in the 2000s.

In fact when the staff at Sully Baseball awarded retroactively the Division Series MVPs, Radke was declared the Division Series MVP for 2002 with his 2-0, 1.54 ERA performance against the heavily favored A's.

Oakland would exact revenge, beating him in the 2006 Division Series clincher, his last ever start.
But a hat must be tipped to a solid innings eater who stayed put in Minny through bad times and good.



THE BULLPEN

FIRPO MARBERRY

Firpo!!!
Frederick Marberry decided to not go by Fred and go play the Firpo card.

He was a relief specialist in a time when there was no such definition for relievers.
He was the first person to reach 100 saves. He picked up 15 saves for the 1924 World Champion Senators and 15 saves for the 1925 AL Champs and then got 22 saves for the 1926 team.

This was an era when not going 9 innings in a game was as manly as wearing a sundress on the mound.
He picked up 2 saves in the 1924 World Series.

And it is safe to say is the greatest pitcher ever named Firpo.



EDDIE GUARDADO

The Twins closer in their revival in the early 2000's, he is as of this writing the last Twins reliever to clinch a post season series. (The 2002 upset over the A's).

He left Minnesota for the riches of Seattle after 2003 and his career collapsed.
I am hoping he finds his old touch.

The coolest nickname of the current players is "Everyday Eddie!"


BILL CAMPBELL

I am not a big fan of coddling pitchers, but I guess "Soup" would be an interesting cautionary tale.
He was the Rolaids Relief Man after throwing 167 2/3 innings all in relief in 1976.

He went 17-5 and saved 20 games as well.

I of course first remember him as a member of the Red Sox where Don Zimmer dragged Soup's tired carcass for 140 innings, 13 more wins, 31 more saves and another Rolaids award.

And then he was never the same pitcher. He pitched over 10 more seasons and played in the 1985 World Series with St. Louis... but he was never the stud he was then.

For those of you who hate free agency, he was the first to use what was called the The Free Agent Draft to switch teams.
Don't hate the Soup!


LaTROY HAWKINS

He never did seem to click as the closer. But as a set up man, he gave the Twins great depth in the pen for their 2002 playoff push.

He went 6-0 with a 2.13 ERA over 65 games in 2002.
He followed that up in 2003 with a 9-3 season and a 1.86 ERA.

The Cubs and Giants then tried to turn him into a closer.
It didn't work. People don't learn.




J. C. ROMERO

Romero was part of the stunningly deep bullpen that made it to the 2002 ALCS.

Romero went 9-2 in 81 games that year with a 1.89 ERA.
He also held the A's scoreless in his three appearances in the Division Series.
No word if the liquid he is splashing on himself in this picture has been banned.


THE BENCH

RESERVE INFIELDER
GARY GAETTI

My friend Chris DeLuca, the brilliant writer of What Sucks, felt there should be a special All Star team of players who were great when they were hell raisers and then sucked when they became Born Again Christians.

Gary Gaetti would be the captain of the team.
As a hell raiser he was an All Star Thirdbaseman, a Gold Glover and the ALCS MVP.

Then he found Christ and his production plummeted.

His production came back up in his late thirties when he played under Tony LaRussa and then played with Sammy Sosa.
Not implying anything.
He found Jesus.




RESERVE INFIELDER
CHUCK KNOBLAUCH

It might make Yankee fans tremble to see Knoblauch's name... but when he was playing for Minnesota he was putting together an All Star career.

And believe it or not he was a Gold Glover and a clutch hitter.
In Game 7 of the 1991 World Series, he and shortstop Greg Gagne pulled a decoy play that froze the Braves' Lonnie Smith and prevent a run from scoring. The Twins would win 1-0.

Later in New York he lost the ability to throw properly while his muscle mass grew.
I'm not implying anything.
(His inclusion in the Grimsley allegations and the Mitchell Report imply something.)


RESERVE OUTFIELDER
TORII HUNTER

In his 9 plus seasons in Minnesota, Hunter did a little bit of everything. He hit, he hit with power and he ran.
He also got post season hits, being one of the few shining stars in the Twins quick exits. He homered in the '03, '04 and '06 playoff lossses.

He also provided the best answer to those who hated Barry Bonds getting all of those homers.

In the 2002 All Star Game he reached right up and pulled one of Bonds' homers right back into an out.
For some people he needed to do that 755 more times.




RESERVE OUTFIELDER
SAM RICE

Speaking of snatching away homers...

Sam Rice created a legend that could not happen today with modern technology.
He was a Hall of Fame career .322 hitter with 2,987 career hits (13 shy of 3,000!) and in an era of big home run hitters, he mastered the stolen base. And he helped lead the Senators to the 1924 World Series title.

But the legend and mystery about Rice came about from a catch he made in the 1925 World Series.
In Game 3, the Senators had a 4-3 lead in the 8th inning. Reliever Firpo Marberry was going for the save and give the Senators a 2-1 lead in the series. Pirates catcher Earl Smith hit a long drive to right field that looked like a game tying homer.

Rice, playing right field, leaped up, caught the ball and fell over the fence out of view of anyone.
He emerged holding the ball and Smith was called out.

Of course if he lost control at any point when he was over the fence and out of view the Pirates would have tied the game.
He was evasive when asked if he maintained control and for years was asked about it and even offered big money to tell what happened. He loved the mystery.

When he died a letter was ordered to be opened. In it, Rice claimed he never lost control of the ball.
Today they would have had 15 camera angles and 38,000 camera phones showing the proof.




RESERVE CATCHER
TIM LAUDNER

When people pointed out how bad a team the playoff 1987 Twins were, many pointed to Tim Laudner.

He batted a mere .191 and clearly wasn't calling a good game as the team's pitching staff was mediocre at best.

Well Tim surprised his critics just as the Twins surprised the baseball world.
Laudner's two out, two run double in Game 2 of the ALCS off of Jack Morris put the Twins up for good and allowed them to go to Detroit up 2-0.

In the 1987 World Series Laudner batted .318 and in game 2 went 2-3 with a home run, a walk and 3 RBI.

The next year he made the All Star team.
Not bad for a .191 laughing stock.


25TH MAN
GENE LARKIN

Oh I am sure I can do some more research and find a better player than Gene Larkin.
Heck Larkin was never really a starter and was probably considered to be kind of a disappointment.

But come on Twins fans... how can I NOT include the man whose single ended the single greatest World Series any of us have ever seen?




Holy cow that is an amazing line up filled with batting champs and MVPs.
Oh yeah, a pitching staff anchored by Walter Johnson isn't so bad either.

Let's see how they picked up players







ALL TIME TWINS ACQUIRED TEAM

STARTING CATCHER
EARL BATTEY

A four time All Star (and a starter three of those years) and a Gold Glove catcher, Battey also had some pop, peaking with 26 homers in 1963.

Along with mentoring the pitchers, Battey also spoke fluent Spanish and took a young and shy Tony Oliva under his wing as well. When a lot of players were keeping Latin players at arm's distance, Battey was a good guy... and the Twins benefitted.



STARTING FIRST BASEMAN
DAVID ARIAS

In 1996, the Twins dealt Dave Hollins to the Mariners for a farm hand named David Arias.
The Twins projected him to be a decent first baseman.
He turned into a power hitter and when the Twins won the AL Central in 2002 and was one of their top power hitters.

He got 20 homers but the Twins didn't see him as a major offensive force.
The Red Sox signed him after the 2002 playoffs.

Oh yeah, the Mariners made a mistake listing him on the roster.
His actual name was David Ortiz.

He did OK in Boston.



STARTING SECOND BASEMAN
LUIS CASTILLO

The Twins plucked him from the Marlins and while he didn't last long, he did start for the 2006 Central Champs.

He batted .296 with 25 steals in 142 games with the 2006 Twins.

The Twins dealt him to the Mets and one of the guys they got back was Drew Butera... son of Sal Butera, back up catcher for the 1987 World Champion Twins.

Share that bit of info with your friends.


STARTING SHORTSTOP
JOE CRONIN

Cronin, the owner's nephew in law, was already a terrific run producing shortstop before 1933.
How good? Well in 1932 he drove in 116 runs and only had 6 homers. Now THAT is getting hits with runners in scoring position.

In 1933, Uncle Clark Griffith made him manager. He did OK. They won the American League pennant in his first year.
Uncle Clark dealt him to Boston where he continued his Hall of Fame Career and managed the Sox to the 1946 pennant.

Washington never won another pennant.
Nice job, Uncle Clark.





STARTING THIRD BASEMAN
MIKE PAGLIARULO

Pags was a beloved New York Yankee. He had a great Italian name and was a home grown product with power and a great glove who took over for Graig Nettles.

He never saw post season play in the Bronx but ultimately won his World Series ring as the slick fielding third baseman of the 1991 Twins and hit a game winning homer in the playoffs against the Blue Jays.

That's right, players had to leave the Bronx then to experience post season play.
It was a different time.


STARTING LEFT FIELDER
DAN GLADDEN

A quick glance at Gladden's stats wouldn't be that impressive.
He was never an All Star and never an MVP candidate.

But he was the spark plug leadoff hitter for the two World Series winners in Minnesota.
His grandslam in game 1 of the 1987 World Series set the tone for what was thought to be a St. Louis romp.
And then he singled to lead off the 10th inning of Game 7 of the 1991 World Series... and came home with the World Series ending run after Gene Larkin singled him home.

Plus he was on the cover of Sports Illustrated... twice.



STARTING CENTER FIELDER
LARRY HISLE

Hisle could do a little bit of everything.
He hit for a good average. He had solid power and even stole 31 bases in 1976.

His 119 RBI led the AL in 1977 and he hit for the cycle in 1976.

A solid player who turned out to be an even better man as he is now head of the community outreach program for the Milwaukee Brewers.


STARTING RIGHT FIELDER
SHANE MACK

What exactly were the Padres thinking when they left him unprotected before the 1990 season?
Well whatever it was, the Twins took advantage of it and got a .300 hitter in right field for a few seasons including the 1991 World Series team.

And according to Kirby Puckett's book I Love This Game, he had a high threshhold for eating spicy food.



STARTING DESIGNATED HITTER
CHILI DAVIS

I really wanted to have Charles Theodore Davis as part of my Giants Home Grown vs. Acquired team but I just couldn't find room for him.

Well here he is where he spent two seasons... only one of note.
But he hit 29 homers and 93 RBI and homered twice in 1991 World Series.

And why was the first Jamaican born player named Chili?
Because he once had a terrible haircut as a kid and he was teased with the name "Chili Bowl."
He shortened it to Chili.

And I've ALWAYS loved that story!


THE STARTING ROTATION



JOHAN SANTANA

Kudos to the Florida Marlins scouting department.
They found an unprotected gem of a prospect in the Houston Astros organization named Johan Santana.
When the Rule 5 draft took place, the pitcher who would go on to win 2 Cy Young awards and probably will win several more into the next decade became a member of the Florida Marlins.

He would be part of the Marlins for less than one day.

The Marlins would deal his rights to the Twins for Jared Camp.

Who?

Exactly.


JACK MORRIS

He pitched 10 innings of shutout baseball to win Game 7 of the World Series.

I can write lots of things heaping praise on Morris in his one year with the Twins.
I can say "World Series MVP!"
I can say "All Star Game Starter!"
I can say 18 wins and 246 2/3 innings pitched.

But I can tell you nothing will come close to just repeating that first sentence.
He pitched 10 innings of shutout baseball to win Game 7 of the World Series.

10 innings to win game 3 of the World Series would be impressive.
Giving up 2 runs in 10 innings would be amazing.

10... shutout... innings... in Game 7... of the World Series.

I remember when it was happening I was sitting in my dorm room at New York University and I felt like I was watching an event from a previous era. This is something Christy Mathewson would do.

BUT HE DIDN'T!!!
Nobody did.

Just Jack Morris.
Needless to say it made an impression.
What made an impression?

He pitched 10 innings of shutout baseball to win Game 7 of the World Series.



JIM PERRY

James Perry of Williamston, North Carolina had two sons.
One he named after himself and James Jr was better known as Jim.

The other he called Gaylord.

I guess it is safe to say we know which one was dad's favorite.

Gaylord would be a tough name for a kid anywhere. I can't imagine it being pleasant in 1940s North Carolina.

Well Jim Jr went out into the world and became a solid major league pitcher. Won the Cy Young Award and picked up 215 wins.

Gaylord won two Cy Youngs, won 300 games and was elected to the Hall of Fame.

I guess Gaylord toughened himself up a little.






KEVIN TAPANI

Part of the haul from the Mets for Frank Viola, Tapani proved to be a more than capable #2 or #3 starter.
He went 12-8 in his rookie year for a lousy Twins team.
He then won 16 games each of the next two seasons including the 1991 World Series winner.

He won game 2 of the 1991 World Series out dueling Tom Glavine over 8 innings.



MUDCAT GRANT

Baseball needs to bring back the lost art of nicknames.
How awesome is the nickname Mudcat?
Almost as awesome as Mudcat who came over from Cleveland and went 21-7 for the 1965 AL Champs.

He also was a singer and had a tendency to be surrounded by white women.
Cal Griffith, the owner of the Twins told him to stop. Mudcat told him to trade him and Griffith obliged.

Mudcat wrote a poem called Life.
It's worth reading.



THE BULLPEN

JEFF REARDON

There was a time when a team like the Minnesota Twins would actually acquire a player from a small revenue team.

The 1986 Twins had some talent but a horrific bullpen.
So they dealt off some prospects to Montreal for Reardon, their All Star closer.

Suddenly close games didn't slip away and the Twins were contenders... and Reardon got the biggest save of all.
He closed out Game 7 of the World Series.

And let's hope the Terminator, who would leave Minnesota for the Red Sox in 1990, finds some peace in a very turbulent retirement.



RICK AGUILERA

When Rick Aguilera was with the Mets, he had trouble cracking the starting rotation. They had Doc Gooden, Sid Fernandez, Ron Darling, Bobby Ojeda and David Cone all in front of him. So he effectively moved between spot starting and long relief, picking up a World Series ring along the way.

The Twins traded for him in the Frank Viola deal and no doubt he felt he was heading to the rotation.
Instead in his first full season with the Twins, Tom Kelly made him the closer and the results were three straight trips to the All Star Game, tens of millions of dollars and a second World Series ring.

Safe to say he didn't mind the move.


JOE NATHAN

When Armando Benitez was in the middle of his reign of terror on the hearts of sanity of San Francisco Giants fans, the collective exasperation was increased by the fact that Joe Nathan was kicking butt in Minnesota.

He was a long reliever for the 2003 NL West champs (who blew leads in games 2, 3 and 4 of the Division Series) and was dealt (along with 2006 phenom Francisco Liriano) for A. J. Pierzynski... who was non tendered at the end of the season.

So the Twins got a Cy Young caliber closer and the Giants were left grinding their teeth watching Benitez warm up.
Good move.



JUAN BERENGUER

The Tigers let go the hefty Panamanian reliever and spot starter after the 1985 season.
Big mistake!

The Twins picked up up for the 1987 season and made him the top set up man for newly acquired closer Jeff Reardon.
He would go 8-1 but save his best moment for October against his old club.

In Game 2 of the ALCS, the Twins were on the verge of a stunning 2-0 lead, but the heavily favored Tigers were charging. Lou Whitakers homer off of Bert Blyleven made the score 6-2 and after a Darrell Evans single, the heart of the Tigers lineup was coming up.

Berenguer relieved Blyleven and struck out Kirk Gibson and got Alan Trammell to ground out.
Sensing the drama, manager Tom Kelly didn't turn to Jeff Reardon to close the game. He let Berenguer do it... and he struck out Matt Nokes, Chet Lemon and Pat Sheridan... all swinging.




RON PERRANOSKI

When the Twins dealt away Mudcat Grant because Cal Griffith didn't like seeing him with so many white women, they didn't just dump him off.

The Twins pried away relief specialist Ron Perranoski who gave Minnesota two outstanding seasons.
Billy Martin used him for 119 2/3 innings of pure relief, winning 9 and saving 31 as the Twins won the 1969 Division.
He also saved 34 for the 1970 division champs before all of those innings finally caught up with him and he broke down.

I'm guessing he never wrote a poem called "Life."


THE BENCH


RESERVE INFIELDER
ROY SMALLEY

I'm sure when the Twins traded Bert Blyleven to the Rangers for a package of players including the manager's nephew, it looked like a strange piece of nepotism at work.

Well it turns out the nephew was an All Star Shortstop who hit 24 homers in 1979 at a time when shortstops were expected to field, not hit.

In his second time round with the Twins hit 20 homers in 1986 and his last game played was Game 7 of the 1987 World Series. He drew a walk in his last at bat and got to leave the game a Champion.

Not bad for the manager's nephew.



RESERVE INFIELDER
GREG GAGNE

The Yankees of the 1980s were constantly trying to win RIGHT NOW! And often that meant dealing away any prospects in exchange for established players.

The Yankees coveted the Twins Roy Smalley and sent young Greg Gagne off to get him.
The Twins got a player with surprising pop and had a 47 errorless game streak at shortstop.

He also came up big in the postseason. He hit 3 homers in the 1987 postseason and drove in the winning run of game 7 of the '87 World Series.

His 3 run shot won game 1 of the 1991 World Series.
He won two World Series rings with the Twins. The Yankees of the 1980s won none.


RESERVE OUTFIELDER
CESAR TOVAR

Tovar was a terrific player with speed, hit for a decent average and had some pop in his bat.

He also was a bit of a Jack of All Trades as he played in the infield as well as the outfield. Billy Martin would shift him from left field to second base in the middle of a game to give him some flexibility.

In fact he became the first player to play all 9 positions in a 9 inning game, striking out Reggie Jackson in the process.

He also was part of some MVP voting controversy.
When Carl Yastrzemski won the Triple Crown in 1967 and basically carried the Red Sox over the finish line to the AL pennant, he was clearly the MVP.

He got all but one first place vote. The other first place vote went to Tovar.
Tovar batted .267, 6 HRs, 47 RBI, stole 19 bases and led the league in the always sexy categories of Games and At Bats.
Clearly superior to the Triple Crown winner.

The person who voted for him was a Minneapolis writer. Ahhh the stupid habits of voting writers.


RESERVE OUTFIELDER
SHANNON STEWART

Stewart came over to the Twins from Toronto midway through the 2003 season and gave the team a huge spark.
He batted .322 in 65 games for the Twins and wound up finishing 4th in the MVP voting as the Twins outlasted the White Sox to win the Division.

He would then bat 400 in a losing cause against the Yankees in the Division Series.
Injuries kept him down the next three seasons, but he was a clear impact acquisition.

And for you pervs, I am not referring to the model... but I welcome your traffic.




RESERVE CATCHER
MUDDY RUEL

Infield grooming used to be a lot different back in the 1920s.
In game 7 of the 1924 World Series, the Senators tied the game in the 8th inning (4 outs from losing the Series) when a Bucky Harris grounder eluded future Hall of Famer Freddie Lindstrom because it hit a rock.

Can you imagine that happening today?
Let's just say the grounds crew would be out there raking the field down pretty intensely.

Guess what happened in the bottom of the 12th of a tied game 7 of the World Series?
ANOTHER ball hit a rock that eluded Lindstrom. And it looked like it would win the World Series.

The only problem was the winning run was at second and the slowest man in the game at the time, Muddy Ruel, was carrying it.

He lumbered around third and according to Shirley Povich in Ken Burns' Baseball that all of Washington held their breath as Ruel lumbered home.

When he scored, Washington had what they never had before and never had again... A World Series winner.

I wanted to tip my cap to Ruel, who had a fine career in Washington... and also to direct everyone to this wonderful write up of the 1924 Series by the incomparable Povich.

You are welcome.



25TH MAN
BRIAN HARPER

I could probably dig up another name... but his .311 average in 1991 was sweet... his .381 World Series average was sweeter...

And this guy gave up his body to win that World Series for the Twins.

I had to find him some love on this team.





WHO WOULD WIN A HEAD TO HEAD SERIES?

It's tough to pick against a team that has Santana and Morris going 1 and 2...
But which team has Carew, Kirby, Mauer, Oliva and Hrbek?

And I don't think a rotation of Big Train Johnson, Blyleven, Kitty and Sweet Music needs much relief... but if they do they have Everyday Eddie, Soup and Firpo out of the pen.


VERDICT: TOO MUCH POWER ON THE HOME GROWN TEAM... AND RICE WILL HOLD TO THE BALL WHEN HE FALLS OVER THE RAILING!

CLICK HERE TO GET BACK TO HOME PAGE

Another one down.

That's the Twins
And The Orioles
And the A's
And the Astros
And the Giants
And the Rockies
And the Mets
And the Rangers
And the Marlins
And the Yankees
And the Red Sox

19 to go.

NEXT ALL TIME HOME GROWN VS. ACQUIRED TEAM:
THE SAN DIEGO PADRES

18 comments:

  1. thanks for the insight. entertaining and informative...i have to say "cool blog"...keep the thoughts coming!!!
    keep up the good work.
    check my music/culture blog www.peaceandrhythm.com

    how about great baseball nicknames?!?!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sully,

    Few comments:
    1. This statement: "it was before integration so the talent pool was shallow" is actually a fallacy. The color barrier was shameful, but it does not mean the talent pool was more shallow than today. In the first half of the 20th century baseball was THE American game. Today great athletes may play baseball. However, they have a lot of other choices than they had back then. There was no professional football or basketball to speak of at that time.

    2. My mother's maiden name was Knoblauch, so Chuck is some kind of distant relative. Or at least that's what I told my kids. :-)

    3. Every time I think of the Pierzinski deal I'm amazed how much the Giants gave up. What a steal!

    ReplyDelete
  3. LargeBill... you know I think the world of you...
    But before integration the talent pool was so shallow that an asterix needs to be put next to all the numbers

    Or was it a coincidence that so many of the players considered to be the greatest of all time just happened to have shown up at once

    I wrote about this very subject in 2007

    http://sullybaseball.blogspot.com/2007/04/jackie-robinson-and-todays-talent-pool.html

    As for the Knoblauch's, let's hope your kids inherit his fielding skills in Minnesota, not New York!!

    As for the Pierzinski (sp?) trade... my dad is a Giants fan. We don't talk about that in front of him

    ReplyDelete
  4. To make my point about integration a little clearer...
    Let's say you are a talented pitcher like Walter Johnson and you are facing major league hitters.

    It's a little easier to get them out once you exclude:

    Alex Rodriguez
    Albert Pujols
    Manny Ramirez,
    David Ortiz
    Carlos Delgado
    Ryan Howard
    Hanley Ramirez
    Adrian Gonzalez
    Prince Fielder
    Carlos Beltran
    Derek Lee
    Jose Reyes
    Miguel Cabrera
    Vlad Guerrero
    Jermaine Dye
    Ken Griffey Jr
    Milton Bradley
    Raul Ibanez
    and Ichiro Suzuki


    Now if you are going to counter argue by saying "YES! But he'd have to face Peyton Manning, Michael Phelps and Alex Ovechkin" I would respond "There WERE great baseball players available to play... they just weren't allowed to."

    And by definition that is a pathetically waterdown product

    ReplyDelete
  5. Holy crap, this is a great blog! Thanks for the heads up on it. I'll be back regularly.

    ReplyDelete
  6. This is fun to read.

    Grist for the mill -- homegrown backup catcher....Timmy Laudner or Butch Wynegar?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anonymous12:23 PM

    Before you give too much grief to Gaetti about his "born again" status, I think you should take another look at his numbers when he landed in KC. He redeemed himself, and in '95 I'm pretty sure he was drinking and smoking again...

    ReplyDelete
  8. marker10:16 PM

    More grist for the mill: Lyman Bostock,Jr. as a home-grown OF; Dean Chance acquired in 1967 for the starting rotation; Al Worthington came to the Twins from Cincinnati in 1964 and made a huge difference for our bullpen; Paul Molitor did more as a DH for us than Chili (who is very much appreciated for his 1987 contributions); Camilo Pascual was a home-grown starter who is one of only two Twins pitchers to win 20 games twice in his career for us... also led the league in strikeouts three times.
    There are others, but these guys jumped out at me after I read this entertaining compilation.

    ReplyDelete
  9. How were Ken Sanders (relief pitcher?) and Bob Busch associated with this June 22, 1970 game? I have a ball signed by both of them with this date and game notation Twins 4 vs Brewers 3. Please contact me if you have any information: salem@maine.rr.com Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Anonymous9:06 PM

    i loved it but a bit of a typo on Killabrew's average of 38 homers over 22 years, that's like 836 homers... move over Barry Bonds.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Great blog, keep it up the great work!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Anonymous2:11 PM

    I would have soon-to-be 600 HR future Hall of Famer Jim Thome as 25th man for the aquired team rather than Harper. Thome led the Twins in homeruns and had fewer AB's than most of the team last year. Had he been able to play an entire season, he would have hit 30-35 HRs this season without a doubt.

    ReplyDelete
  13. If you checked the date of when I wrote this, you'd see I wrote it in January of 2009.

    Thome hadn't played one game with the wins at that point.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Great post! Keep it up the good work and also keep posting.

    ReplyDelete
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