Twins History Lesson: May 17-23

UPDATE: I didn’t want to create a brand new post this morning, but as I was perusing through a few sites, I came across a couple of items that I thought others might enjoy. So, if you have a few minutes, check out:

This article by the PioneerPress’ Brian Murphy on Twins LOOGY, Ron Mahay. Did you know… Mahay came up through the Red Sox organization as an outfielder and made it to the Bigs in that capacity… and is one of two remaining “Replacement Players” who filled in during the strike of 1994-95… leading to him not being entitled to any licensing royalties from the MLBPA (and thus explaining the mysterious “Ryan Moss” in the Twins bullpen in the MLB 2K10 video game)… which led to him eventually having a closed-door “come-to-Jesus” meeting with Roger Clemens… which came shortly before throwing his first bullpen session (in Australia) and earning $20 bucks on a bet from his manager there (who promptly called the Sox and told them to make Mahay a pitcher)… leading to a nearly 10-year MLB career during which he’s played for 9 different teams, 5 of them (counting the Twins) twice. Yes, I know I’ve irritated some people by communicating my support for Mahay, but beware… after reading this article, I like the guy even more. Talk about persistence!

And over here in Curve for a Strike, we get to go along on a weekend’s worth of Twins games at the new Death Star, culminating in Kubel’s “cleansing breath” of a grand slam HR. Good stuff, along with accompanying pictures!

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This week sees the anniversaries of a few more Twins “firsts” as well as  several more noteworthy games in Twins history*.

May 17 has seen a couple of terrific performances over the years.

1963: Bob Allison became the first Twin to hit 3 home runs in one game. Hit hit a HR to LF, CF and RF in his final 3 ABs against the Tribe in an eventual 11-4 Twins win. Only 3 Twins have accomplished the same feat that Allison did. You may recognize their names: Killebrew, Oliva and Morneau.

1998: The Twins were on the wrong end when David Wells of the Yankees threw the 13th perfect game in MLB history against the twins in a 4-0 win for the Evil Empire.

Likewise, May 18 has witnessed a couple of impressive games:

1969: You couldn’t blame Tiger AllStar battery Mickey Lolich and Bill Freehan if they said the 3rd inning of their game vs. the Twins on this date was the worst inning in their respective careers. In that one inning, Rod Carew stole 2B, 3B and home… and Cesar Tovar stole 3B and home the same inning, tying a MLB record.

1983: The Twins defeated the A’s 16-5 as they rolled off 18 hits (including 6 doubles and a HR) off of A’s pitching in the first 6 innings of the game, behind Frank Viola (who hadn’t won a game since August of the prior season). A’s third baseman Wayne Gross pitched the final 2 1/3 innings for the A’s… holding the Twins scoreless.

May 19, 1961 saw the first grand slam home run hit by a Minnesota Twin when Dan Dobbek went yard with bases loaded off of Kansas City A’s pitcher Ed Rakow.

We could write an entire post just listing the interesting events that have taken place on May 20 over the years. With some difficulty, I’ve culled them down to the following:

1962: Relief pitcher Ray Moore became the first Twins pitcher to both win and lose a game on the same day as he took the loss in the first game of a double header at Yankee Stadium and got the W in the second game.

1970: Rod Carew became the first Twin to hit for the cycle in a 10-5 victory over the Royals.

1984: The Twins lost 5-4 to Boston. Roger Clemens K’d 7 Twins in 7 innings for his first MLB win. He would go on to win a few more.

1989: Two Twins entered the record books during a 19-3 win over the Rangers in Arlington. Dan Gladden had 7 plate appearances in a 9 inning game, tying a record, and Randy Bush tied a Twins record with 8 RBI.

1994: Scott Erickson’s hot start to the season hit a road bump when he was scratched from his start after developing a stiff back warming up. Rookie Carlos Pulido, who hadn’t pitched in 10 days, got the start and retired 9 of the first 10 RedSox he faced. Meanwhile, the Twins forged a 10-0 lead through 3 innings and added 11 more runs in the 5th inning, on the way to a 21-2 win. The Twins offense was led by Kirby Puckett, who knocked in a career high 7 RBI in just 3 ABs. The next night, the Twins beat the RedSox again, on a 1-0 score.

1995: Rookie Marty Cordova tied a record for rookies by hitting a home run in his fifth consecutive game.

2005: Carlos Silva used only 74 pitches in a complete game win over the Brewers.

Besides being the day when (in 1999) the Twins acquired Kyle Lohse from the Cubs for Rick Aguilera (there were a couple of other players included as well), May 21 is perhaps best remembered as the date the Twins took the field in 2009 at US Cellular Field for the final game of road trip that had seen them drop four straight (2 in Extra Innings) to the Evil Empire and two more to the BitchSox. The Twins released a week’s worth of frustration on the Tidy Whities in a 20-1 win that was the worst defeat for Chicago in the franchise’s history.

May 22 has been just marginally more eventful:

1981: After 8 straight losses, John Goryl was fired as manager of the Twins and replaced by Billy Gardner. The Twins celebrated with a 7-0 shutout of KC.

2002: In what could have been an eventful day in Twins history, Governor Jesse Ventura signed a bill in to law approving financing of a new open-air stadium for the Twins. The Twins were eventually unable to meet the terms laid out in the deal and it expired. Almost 8 years later, the Twins are finally playing in their new ballpark.

2009: Michael Cuddyer became the second Twin to hit for the cycle in the 2009 season as he went 4-5 in an 11-3 win over the Brewers.

The week winds down with a bit of a slow date in Twins history, with May 23:

1991: The Twins wasted a 6-hit game by Kirby Puckett in a 10-6 Extra Inning loss to the Texas Rangers.

2009: Anthony Swarzak became the first Twins starting pitcher to record 7 scoreless innings in his MLB debut.

So that’s this upc0ming week in Twins history! Let’s see if the 2010 team can generate a few highlights this week that we can look back on in future years!

-JC

*We pull this information from a few different sources, including (but not necessarily limited to) Dave Wright’s excellent book, “162-0, The Greatest Wins!”, as well as some  internet sites like “Twins Trivia” and “National Pastime”.

Crikket in the Club! (A Day in Target Field’s Legends Club)

Armed with tickets in Section C of the Legends Club at Target field, I took in my first regular season game of the year on Saturday. Sure, the game kind of sucked, with the Twins losing to the Orioles in game 1 of the split doubleheader, and the weather was on the chilly side (it has to be chilly for it to sleet, right?), but it was still a great time. I thought this off-day would be a good day to share a few pictures.

Walking up to the ballpark, we were greeted by the new Rod Carew statue (I’d seen the Killebrew and Puckett statues, but this was my first look at Carew’s).

The Rod Carew bronze statue outside Target Field

There are three lounges in the Legends Club.

The Killebrew Lounge is directly behind home plate…

The Killebrew mural inside the Killebrew Lounge

… the Carew lounge is on one side…

The wooden Carew mural above the bar

… and the Puckett Lounge is down the other side.

The wood mural behind the bar in the Puckett Lounge

A few pictures from inside the Legends Club:

Inside the Legends Club looking out toward the field

One of the Legends Club hallways

Inside the Legends Club

The Tony Oliva mural along one wall of the Legends Club

The Hot Chocolate line (mmmm with a little something added) and Hrbek mural

Nice pic above the condiments. (How many can you name?)

In the Puckett, Carew and Killebrew Lounges, there are several display cases filled with each player’s memorabilia (jerseys, shoes, bats and a number of more personal items, including various awards such as gold gloves, silver sluggers and even Puckett’s MVP and World Series rings). The picture of one of the Killebrew display cases below is just one example.

One of the display cases in the Killebrew Lounge (includes his contract below)

Yes, I did actually go sit outside and watch the game. To prove it, I’ll include a couple of pictures from Section C.

The view from row 6 of Section C

Cuddyer thought it was cold, too. Note the earflaps.

Morneau's HR was just about the only Twins highlight of the day.

Finally… can you identify all of these Twins Legends from their lifesize pictures adorning the Legends Club walls?

This Twins Legend served two tours with the club and is still hanging around

This lefty was a cornerstone of the Twins rotation in the 60s

This Twins Legend won an AL MVP award.

The Twins player who "exemplifies determination, hustle, tenacity, competitive spirit and leadership both on and off the field" wins an award named for this Twins Legend

I hope this helped feed your baseball addiction on the second off-day of the week. Tomorrow, the Twins take on the Evil Empire (aka the F’ing Yankees) on the road at the Death Star (aka F’ing Yankee Stadium). Let’s kick some F’ing Yankee butt! – JC

GameChat – Tigers @ Twins, 7:10 pm

Wow, it’s really nice to have the feeling that your team is coming home from a great roadtrip and not that feeling of “holy crap we better win at home cause we keep losing on the road…”  Yes, I still want my team to win but now that new ballpark is almost like a roadtrip in itself because our team is still learning it’s quirks, I can relax a little for these home games because they are doing so well on the road!!
Detroit @ Minnesota
Jackson, A, CF   Span, CF
Damon, DH   Hudson, O, 2B
Ordonez, RF   Morneau, 1B
Cabrera, M, 1B   Thome, DH
Boesch, LF   Cuddyer, RF
Inge, 3B   Kubel, LF
Raburn, 2B   Hardy, SS
Laird, C   Ramos, W, C
Santiago, SS   Punto, 3B
  Scherzer, P     Baker, S, P

 

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Detroit 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 1 4 9 0
Minnesota 4 3 0 0 3 0 0 0 x 10 12 1

 

THAT was a fun game to watch!!  Great start and just kept going!  For the second game in a row there are just so MANY options for BOD!  Consensus in the chat gives it to Cuddyer with an assortment of tasty pastries for Scott Baker and Wilson Ramos.  We have verbally agreed that we simply aren’t going to concern ourselves with the weight problem our fondness for baked goods might cause.

Michael Cuddyer is congratulated by Thome and Morneau following his HR vs the Rays.

GameChat – Cleveland @ Minnesota #2, 7:10pm

Mike Redmond, how I miss you.  *holds a burning lighter in the air*

Cleveland @ Minnesota
Cabrera, A, SS   Span, CF
Sizemore, CF   Hudson, O, 2B
Choo, RF   Mauer, C
Kearns, LF   Morneau, 1B
Hafner, DH   Cuddyer, RF
Grudzielanek, 2B   Kubel, DH
Peralta, J, 3B   Young, D, LF
LaPorta, 1B   Hardy, SS
Redmond, M, C   Harris, B, 3B
  Huff, D, P     Liriano, P

 

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Cleveland 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 0
Minnesota 0 3 0 0 0 1 0 2 x 6 6 0

 

Chat consens gives BOD to Francisco Liriano and shares assorted baked goods with Michael Cuddyer and Brendan Harris for completing the successful game circle of pitching, hitting and defense!  (maybe they’ll even share a cookie with RedDawg for old time’s sake!)

Spring Training Vacation Wrap Up

I’m heading out bright and early Thursday morning, but before I call it a night, I wanted to post one final “Spring Training Report.” (OK, it might not be the final one published, depending on whether a final ‘Jim Crikket Report’ makes an appearance in Howard Sinker’s “A Fan’s View From Section 219″ blog Thursday).

I can’t recommend highly enough this kind of spring vacation, if you’re a Twins fan or a fan of Major League Baseball at all. I’m sure Target Field will be terrific, but you don’t get opportunities to watch talent of this level as “up close and personal” anywhere but during spring training. And the opportunity to check out the Twins’ “future stars” on the minor league complex is a huge bonus, in my opinion.

With that, I’ll leave you with a few images from my last day at Twins 2010 Spring Training.

Outside Hammond Stadium, Spring Training home of your Minnesota Twins!

2008 first round pick Carlos Gutierrez gets some help with his change-up grip

Michael Cuddyer doing his Nick Punto impression... and he's SAFE!

Jim Thome and Jerry White doing... something... I don't think I wanna know what.

Anthony Slama... closer of the future?

Ben Revere. His time is coming... soon.

Hammond Stadium Mens Room... with "Take Me Out to The Ball Game" murals

TC Bear with a SuperSoaker... coming soon to an outdoor stadium near you!

Just another walk in the (ball)park

Spending the day at the Twins’ spring training complex, for me, involves spending a good bit of the morning on the minor league complex. I enjoy watching the coaches put the younger players through their drills and give a bit of instruction along the way. I thought this would be a good time to share a couple of pictures from my Sunday morning.

Twins pitching prospect David Bromberg gets some instruction.

Terry Ryan discusses the "Twins way" with prospect Ramon Santana... who tucked his jersey back in his pants.

Twins teen aged Dominican prospect Miguel Angel Sano gets in some work at 3B.

On the way back over to the Hammond Stadium, this familiar face was spotted on Field 5 (next to the stadium).

Joe Nathan signs autograph after a workout on the day he and the team announced he'll undergo TJ surgery.

Finally, a few shots taken during the Sunday afternoon game with the Rays. (No story today… nothing I could come up with would top the “story” of Joe Mauer signing a contract that will keep him a Twin for the next 9 years!)

Orlando Hudson turns a base hit in to an out vs. the Rays.

1B coach Jerry White congratulates Joe Mauer on his single vs. the Rays... or was it on the new contract?

Michael Cuddyer is congratulated by Thome and Morneau following his HR vs the Rays.

St. Patty’s day during Spring Training!

Submitted by fellow reader, Corey, who’s down enjoying Spring Training.
 
So, for my first day of Vacation, I headed over to the Cru Restaurant in Fort Myers to meet my friends Omar and Jeri-Lynn. (I went to art school with Omar in New Jersey back in the day.) The plan was to stay anchored at the bar at Cru and celebrate St. Patty’s Day.
 
I met Jeri at about 5:15 and we proceeded to enjoy the evening. Omar arrived about 30 minutes later and rapidly the bar was filling with other patrons. At about 8:30 or so, the bar was PACKED, shoulder to shoulder and I happened to notice three gentlemen walk (squeeze is a better word) past us all at the same time. I recognized the third one almost immediately, but I wasn’t totally sure (I was fairly “happy” at that point).
 
The three men took up a spot not 20 feet from where I was with my friends, and I just studied the their faces, knowing that I knew who they had to be…and it hit me. They were: Denard Span, Delmon Young, and Orlando Hudson of the Minnesota Twins. So I walked over, quickly introduced myself, shook their hands, gave them their props and politely asked for a photo.
 
About an hour later, three other men squeezed into the bar going the opposite direction. I knew exactly who they were, since they were a foot away: Joe Nathan, Michael Cuddyer, and Nick Punto. I acknowledged each of them, shook each of their hands, gave `em their props and they kept on a movin’, so I had no chance for a photo. They were polite, but curt. Of the three, Nick Punto seemed the one most genuinely happy about meeting a fan from Minnesota.
 
Thirty minutes later…former Twin (and current non-roster invitee to Spring Training) Jacque Jones walked in with another person I did not know. Again, I introduced myself as being a fan from Minny and gave Jacque his props and unfortunately again, no chance for a photo.
 
To randomly meet SEVEN Twins players in one hip bar in Fort Myers on St. Patty’s Day was quite unusual. But, memorable!!

Corey with Orlando Hudson, Delmon Young and Denard Span

Spring Training 2009, remembered

Michael Cuddyer

Cuddyer waits for a pitch

Just because it’s that time of year again and seeing a Twin in home white unform with the sun shining down on him is almost enough to make me forget the foot of snow still on the ground around here.

Just thought I’d post a picture (or two) from last year’s Spring Training.

Tom Kelly and Paul Molitor on the Minor League fields