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March 30, 1981
Twins Trade Landreaux to Los Angeles
The Twins trade Ken Landreaux to the Dodgers for Mickey Hatcher and minor leaguers Mathew Reeves and Kelly Snider. The Twins had acquired Landreaux from the Angels along with three other prospects just over two years earlier for Rod Carew.
Landreaux made Twins history twice during the 1980 season. He compiled a Twins record 31-game hitting streak from April 23 to May 30. Then, on July 3, he tied the modern major league record with three triples in a 10-3 home victory vs. Texas. Denard Span matched that record on June 29, 2010.
Landreaux made his lone All-Star team in 1980, despite having one of his least productive seasons according to Baseball Reference who calculates his 1980 WAR as -0.2.
Mickey Hatcher also appears in the Twins record book, and just for having the largest glove anyone has ever seen. On April 28, 1985 Hatcher went 4-for-5 in a 10-1 Twins win over Oakland at the Metrodome. He had gone 5-for-5 the previous day, giving him nine consecutive hits, tying Tony Oliva’s 1967 club record. Todd Walker matched the feat in 1998.
The Twins released fan-favorite Hatcher on March 31, 1987 to make room for Dan Gladden who they had acquired in a trade with the Giants for two minor league pitchers and a player to be named later, who would turn out to be Bemidji native and 2x Gophers Dave Winfield Pitcher of the Year Bryan Hickerson. Hatcher was still owed $650,000 for 1987 and a $100,000 buyout clause for the ‘88 season. At the time it was the most expensive contract the Twins had ever eaten.
The Twins Almanac for January 29-February 4
Twins Almanac’s First Birthday
The Twins Almanac was born in a Bellingham, WA apartment with the creation of the @TwinsAlmanc Twitter account on January 29, 2016. In the intervening year Molly and I moved to Minnesota where our daughter was born earlier this month.
The Twitter account was originally a way for me to feel like I was being productive, building an audience for the articles that were to follow. The articles on Twins Daily, however, became more and more sporadic over the course of the season, and I still haven’t gotten anywhere with TwinsAlmanac.com. The Twitter account, meanwhile, has attracted 6,298 followers in the first twelve months, and has been shared by Torii Hunter, Kent Hrbek, Frank Viola, LaTroy Hawkins, Eric Milton, Dave St. Peter, Patrick Reusse and others. It’s been fun for me, though also a distraction from writing the actual Almanac I’d originally envisioned. With a year’s worth of trivia in the Google Docs spreadsheet, though, I’m looking forward to a strong second season. I’ve lined up some exciting sponsorships in the last few weeks. Look forward to some giveaways from some bigtime equipment manufacturers, as well as FanHQ.
I look forward to nerding out with you over baseball history all season long. Maybe we’ll run into each other at a Halsey Hall SABR event or on a townball field.
January 29, 2016
Torii Hunter and John Gordon Elected to Twins Hall of Fame
Twins President Dave St. Peter announces that Torii Hunter and John Gordon will be the 27th and 28th members of the Twins Hall of Fame. Gordon spent 25 years in the Twins’ radio broadcast booth, originally joining Herb Carneal in 1987 and retiring at the end of the 2011 season.
Torii Hunter spent 12 of his 19 major league seasons with the Twins, originally coming up in August, 1997 at age 22. While in a Twins uniform Hunter won 7 of his 9 career Gold Gloves, made 2 of his 5 All-Star appearances, and hit 214 of his 353 home runs (6th most in Twins history). Hunter’s 3 grand slams in 2007 tied the team’s single season record (Bob Allison ’61, Rod Carew ’76, Kent Hrbek ’85, Kirby Puckett ’92). Hrbek and Hunter, incidentally, both hit their third on August 15. Don Mattingly set the MLB record with 6 grand slams in 1987.
Please enjoy John Gordon’s iconic call of Kirby Puckett’s 10th inning home run in Game 6 of the 1991 World Series:
Happy 30th Birthday to Caleb Thielbar
It’s the birthday of Randolph, Minnesota High School graduate Caleb Thielbar, born in Northfield, MN in 1987. Thielbar was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 18th round in 2009, released in December 2010 and, eight months later, signed by the Minnesota Twins on August 18, 2011. Thielbar had a very successful rookie season in 2013, not allowing a run in his first 17 big league appearances. In total he pitched 46 innings over 48 appearances, compiling a 3-2 record and 1.76 ERA. He appeared in 54 ballgames in 2014 with a 3.40 ERA, and just 6 games in 2015. He was claimed off waivers by the Padres in August 2015 but did not pitch in the majors for them. He signed with the Marlins this past November.
Happy 49th Birthday to Scott Erickson
Scott Erickson was born in Long Beach, CA in 1968. The Twins drafted Erickson in the 4th round in 1989 out of Arizona State. It was the fourth time he had been drafted. Erickson made it to the majors midway through the 1990 season, finishing strong with a 5-0 record in September. He went 12-2 with a 1.39 ERA in the first half off the ‘91 season. He was named the starting pitcher of the 1991 All-Star game but could not pitch due to injury, so manager Tony LaRussa handed the ball to fellow Twin Jack Morris in his stead. Morris wore black socks and his pants low in the style of Scott Erickson. Erickson wound up going 20-8 for the ‘91 World Series Champion Twins, tying for the major league lead in wins and finishing second to Roger Clemens for the American League Cy Young Award.
After a solid ‘92 season, Erickson lost a major league worst 19 games in 1993. ‘94 was arguably an even worse season for Erickson, though he did no-hit the Brewers at the Metrodome on April 27th. He rebounded after being traded to the Orioles during the ‘95 season, and would ultimately prove to be one of the more durable pitchers of the ‘90s, pitching an American League leading 251.1 innings in 1998, winning 73 games between 1995-’99.
February 2, 2008
Twins Trade 2x Cy Young Winner Santana
The Twins due the prudent thing and trade 2004 and ‘06 Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana to the Mets for outfielder Carlos Gomez, and three pitchers, all of whom were duds. Gomez showed sparks but never lived up to his potential in Minnesota, though he did score one of the most exciting runs in team history on October 6, 2009. Less than a month later he was traded to Milwaukee for former and future All-Star J.J. Hardy. Gomez, for his part, would go on to consecutive All-Star seasons for Milwaukee in 2013 and ‘14.
After three very good seasons in New York, Santana missed all of the 2011 season and has not pitched in the majors since 2012.
February 3, 1979
Twins Trade Rod Carew
The Twins trade seven-time American League batting champ Rod Carew to the Angels for Ken Landreaux, Dave Engle, Brad Havens and Paul Hartzell. It had become increasingly clear that team owner Calvin Griffith had no intention of ponying up for the future Hall of Famer. And even if Griffith could have afforded him, it was unlikely that Carew would have played for Griffith again after the owner had gone full Trump at a Lion’s Club dinner in Waseca on September 28. Griffith was quoted in the Star Tribune as having said “I’ll tell you why we came to Minnesota. It was when we found out you only had 15,000 blacks here… We came here because you’ve got good, hardworking white people here.”
Read the Star Tribune’s account of the whole debacle from October 1, 1978: http://www.startribune.com/templates/Print_This_Story?sid=95430139
February 3, 1987
Twins Acquire the Terminator
The Twins trade pitcher Neal Heaton, 1980 first round draft pick catcher Jeff Reed, 19-year-old future major league pitcher Yorkis Perez, and career minor league pitcher Afredo Cardwood to the Expos for backup catcher Tom Nieto and 1985 and ‘86 All-Star closer Jeff Reardon. Reardon would save 31 regular season games for the ‘87 Twins, plus three postseason games, including Game 7 of the World Series.
Reardon surpassed Rollie Fingers as major league baseball’s all-time saves leader in 1992 with his 342nd save. His 367 career saves currently rank 10th all-time. Stupid Jonathan Papelbon passed him in 2016.
Heaton, for his part, won a career-high 13 games for the Expos in 1987.
Please enjoy this video of Reardon saving the fifth and final game of the 1987 ALCS:
Happy 36th Birthday to Ben Hendrickson
It’s the birthday of Bloomington’s Thomas Jefferson High School graduate Ben Hendrickson, born in St. Cloud in 1981. Hendrickson pitched in 10 major league games for the Brewers in 2004, and another four games in 2006, compiling a 1-10 career record with a 7.41 ERA. With former Twin Todd Walker on base, Hendrickson gave up one of Sammy Sosa’s 609 career home runs on July 29, 2004. He held slugger Adam Dunn 0-for-5 with a walk and three strikeouts. Fringe Hall of Fame candidate Larry Walker was 1-for-6 with a walk and a strikeout vs. Hendrickson.
January 10, 1984
Harmon Killebrew is Elected to the Hall of Fame
In his fourth damn year of eligibility the Baseball Writers’ Association of America finally elects Harmon Killebrew to the Hall of Fame, along with Luis Aparicio (sixth ballot), and 1965 World Series nemesis Don Drysdale (tenth ballot). Veterans Committee selections Rick Ferrell and Pee Wee Reese will also be inducted with the class of ’84.
Twins in the Hall of Fame
(Bold indicates inducted as Twin)
|Player||Years Played with Twins|
|Bert Blyleven||1970-76, 1985-88|
January 8, 1991
Rob Carew Becomes 21st First Ballot Hall of Famer
The Baseball Writers’ Association of America elects Rod Carew, Gaylord Perry and Ferguson Jenkins to the Hall of Fame. Future-Hall of Famers Rollie Fingers, Jim Bunning, Orlando Cepeda, Bill Mazeroski, Ron Santo and Joe Torre come up short this time.
Rod Carew is the 21st player elected on his first ballot. There were no first ballot electees between the inaugural class of 1936 and Bob Feller and Jackie Robinson in 1962.
First Ballot Electees (through 2016)
|Ken Griffey, Jr.||2016|
|Cal Ripken, Jr.||2007|
January 7, 1982
Twins Acquire Mario Look-Alike
The Twins trade prospects Scotti Madison and Paul Voigt to the Dodgers for centerfielder Bobby Mitchell and pitcher Bobby Castillo, owner of one of the all-time Top 5 greatest mustaches in Twins history.
Madison and Voigt would never make it to the majors. Castillo, meanwhile, won 13 games for the Twins in 1982, six better than 2016 team leader Ervin Santana.
Happy Birthday, Bob Gebhard
Former Twins pitcher and front office exec. Bob Gebhard was born in Lamberton, MN on this date in 1943. The Twins drafted Gebhard out of the University of Iowa in the 44th round of the very first amateur draft in 1965.
Following his brief playing career, Gebhard began his front office career with the Montreal Expos before becoming an Assistant GM under Andy MacPhail in Minnesota from 1987 to ’91. Following the Twins’ 1991 World Series Championship season, Gebhard became the first General Manager of the expansion Colorado Rockies, where he would hire 1987 Twins slugger Don Baylor as the team’s first manager. Gebhard served as Rockies GM until his resignation on August 20, 1999. He later worked in the St. Louis Cardinals and Arizona Diamondbacks organizations.
Gebhard’s Major League Pitching Record
(from Baseball Reference)