The Twins Almanac for December

December 1, 1969
Giants Claim Sadek

The San Francisco Giants claim 1964 Richfield graduate and two-year Golden Gopher Mike Sadek from the Twins in the Rule 5 Draft. 

The Giants had actually originally drafted Sadek in the 12th round out of the University of Minnesota in 1966, but he did not sign, and was selected by the Twins in the fifth round in 1967 (the Twins also drafted 1967 Rothsay graduate Dave Goltz in the fifth round in 1967—14 spots after Sadek). 

Sadek got his first call-up in 1973, and got into 383 games altogether over eight seasons, starting 240. 

Bonus Facts: 

  • Sadek helped lead Richfield to the state title as a sophomore in 1962. 
  • He was teammates at the University of Minnesota with 1964 Anoka graduate Bob Fenwick, who was drafted by the Giants in 1967, and played briefly in the majors with the Astros and Cardinals.

December 2
Happy Birthday, Chip Hale

Former Twin Chip Hale was born in San Jose, CA on this date in 1964. He tied Jose Morales‘s team record with 14 pinch hits in 1995, and established a new record with 19 pinch hits in 1996.

His 51 total pinch hits in a Twins uniform are second-most to Randy Bush‘s 74.

December 2, 1966
Twins Get Chance

The Twins trade Jimmie Hall, Don Mincher, and Pete Cimino to the Angels for Dean Chance and Jackie Hernandez.

Hall and Mincher hit 174 home runs for the Twins between 1963 and ’66, with Hall accounting for 98 of those. His 33 homers in 1963 broke Ted Williams’ American League record for first-year players (31 in ’39). 

Cimino was a heckuva high school athlete in Bristol, PA. He scored 114 points in a basketball game, and pitched a perfect game and no-hitter four days apart.

Dean Chance pitched 17 no-hitters as a high schooler in Ohio, including eight straight.  He pitched the second no-hitter in Twins history on August 25, 1967. There would not be another until Scott Erickson in 1994.

I wrote a blog post about Dean Chance, summarizing his exploits:

December 2, 2005
Twins Trade for Castillo

The Twins acquire second baseman Luis Castillo from the Marlins in exchange for pitchers Scott Tyler and Travis Bowyer.

Tyler would never make it to the majors. Bowyer, who pitched in 8 games for the Twins in 2005, never pitched in the majors again.

December 3, 1966
Twins Trade Pascual

The Twins trade pitcher Camilo Pascual and second baseman Bernie Allen to the Washington Senators for pitcher Ron Kline.

I wrote a brief blog post about Pascual:

December 3, 1979
Twins Claim Corbett

The Twins acquire 26-year-old minor leaguer Doug Corbett from Cincinnati in the Rule 5 Draft.

Corbett was one of the best pitchers in baseball in 1980, and an All-Star in 1981. I wrote a very brief blog post about Corbett:

December 3, 2003
Twins Trade Milton for Punto, Silva, and Korecky

The Twins trade Eric Milton to the Phillies for piranha infielder Nick Punto, and pitchers Carlos Silva, and Bobby Korecky.

Milton pitched the fourth no-hitter in team history on September 11, 1999 (with 1980 New Ulm graduate and Golden Gophers all-time great Terry Steinbach behind the plate).

He got off to a heckuva start against the White Sox on April 15, 2001, striking out the side in the first, and eight of the first 10 batters he faced.

Korecky collected the only hit by a pitcher in Metrodome history while earning his first major league win in a 12-inning game on May 19, 2008.

Silva pitched an 11-hit shutout on August 3, 2004 (assisted by six double plays).

Silva threw a 74-pitch complete game on May 20, 2005. That season he set the record for fewest walks allowed per 9 innings in the Modern Era with an average of 0.43 BB/9 innings.

December 4, 1964
Twins Acquire Tovar

The Twins trade pitcher Gerry Arrigo to the Cincinnati Redlegs for César Tovar.

Arrigo took a no-hitter into the top of the ninth on June 26, 1964. The White Sox broke it up leading off the inning, but Arrigo completed the one-hit shutout for a 2-0 Twins win.

Tovar became the first player in Twins history with four extra-base hits in a game on May 21, 1967.

He played all nine positions on September 22, 1968, striking out Reggie Jackson in the first inning. 

He broke up two no-hitters in the ninth inning in 1969, both against the Orioles.

December 4, 1978
Twins Trade Ford for Goodwin and Jackson

The Twins trade outfielder “DiscoDan Ford to the Angels for catcher Danny Goodwin and first baseman RonPapa Jack” (or “Papa Up”) Jackson.

December 4, 1992
Puckett Re-Signs

The Twins sign free agent outfielder Kirby Puckett to a new five-year, $30 million contract.

“From now on, Christmas for me is December 4th.”

December 5, 1983
Twins Trade Kuntz

The Twins trade outfielder Rusty Kuntz to the Tigers for pitcher Larry Pashnick.

Kuntz—who the Twins had acquired from the White Sox earlier in ’83—only played in 31 games for the Twins, hitting .190. He played sparingly for the Tigers in ’84, collecting only 40 regular season hits, but came up big in Game 5 of the World Series, driving in the series-clinching run.

He earned a second World Series ring in 2015 as first base coach for the Kansas City Royals.

As for Pashnick, he appeared in only 13 games for the Twins in 1984, his final year in professional baseball.

December 5, 1990
Twins Acquire Cy Young Winner Bedrosian

The Twins acquire relief pitcher Steve Bedrosian from the San Francisco Giants for a player to be named later (pitcher Jimmy Williams).

Bedrosian saved a major league-leading 40 games with the Phillies in 1987 en route to winning the NL Cy Young Award.

December 6, 1886
Birthdate of Hap Morse

Hap Morse was born in St. Paul on this date in 1886. He went 0-for-8 with a walk in four games (two starts at shortstop) for the 1911 Cardinals.

December 6
Happy Birthday, Gary Ward

Twins outfielder Gary Ward was born in Los Angeles on this date in 1953. The Twins signed the Compton High School graduate as an amateur free agent in 1972. He didn’t make his major league debut until September 1979, at age 25, and did not exceed rookie limits until 1981.

In just his 14th major league game, Ward hit for the sixth cycle in Twins history on September 18, 1980. His son Daryle hit for the cycle with the Pirates on May 26, 2004, making the Wards the first father-son duo in major league history to do so (the Biggios joined the club when Cavan hit for the cycle on September 18, 2019).

He was an All-Star in 1983—his final season in Minnesota. He went on to play for the Rangers, Yankees and Tigers, making another All-Star team in ’85 as a Ranger.

December 6, 1973
Twins and Cubs Swap Catchers

The Twins swap catchers with the Cubs, trading George Mitterwald for Randy Hundley.

On April 17, 1974—only his fifth game as a member of the Cubs—Mitterwald had the best day of his career, going 4-for-4 with a walk, three home runs, a double, and eight runs batted in in a 18-9 win over the Pirates.

Following his playing career, Mitterwald had a long coaching career, including stints as manager of the Orlando Twins and Duluth-Superior Dukes.

December 6, 2012
Twins Trade Revere

The Twins trade center fielder Ben Revere to the Phillies for pitchers Vance Worley and Trevor May. The Twins had traded away fellow center fielder Denard Span seven days earlier, clearing room for the up-and-coming Aaron Hicks (who was subsequently traded to the Yankees for catcher John Ryan Murphy following the 2015 season to make room for Byron Buxton).

Fun Fact: Revere had two hits in the top of the first in San Francisco on June 21, 2011. The Twins reeled off eight-straight hits before Madison Bumgarner finally K’ed pitcher Carl Pavano.

December 7
Happy Birthday, Shane Mack

Former Twins outfielder Shane Mack was born in Los Angeles on this date in 1963. He played for the UCLA Bruins from 1982 to ’84, and was a member of the 1984 Silver Medal winning USA Olympic team.

The Padres drafted Mack with the 11th-overall pick in the first round of the 1984 draft. The Twins selected him in the 1989 Rule 5 Draft.

Mack played five seasons in Minnesota. His 5.0 WAR (Wins Above Replacement) was second only to Kevin Tapani on the 1991 World Series championship team. In 1992 his 6.5 WAR and .315 batting average were second only to Kirby Puckett.

The left fielder hit a leadoff home run and went 4-for-5 in the Twins’ very first home game after winning the 1991 World Series. Wanna hear something crazy? Left fielder Dan Gladden did the exact same thing in the 1988 home opener ⇨

Mack played for the Yomiuri Giants in 1995 and ’96, the Red Sox in ’97 and Athletics and Royals in ’98. Mack was inducted into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame in 2002. (Bonus Fact: Dan Gladden played for Yomiuri the year before Mack)

December 7, 1983
Twins Trade Ward

The Twins trade 1983 All-Star outfielder Gary Ward to the Rangers for pitchers Mike Smithson and John Butcher, and catcher Sam Sorce.

In just his 14th major league game, Ward hit for the sixth cycle in Twins history on September 18, 1980. His son Daryle hit for the cycle with the Pirates on May 26, 2004, making the Wards the first father-son duo in major league history to do so (the Biggios joined the club when Cavan hit for the cycle on September 18, 2019).

Ward made his second All-Star team with the Rangers in 1985.

Butcher pitched a remarkable 81-pitch, one hour and 55 minute three-hit shutout on April 21, 1985 (he faced only 28 batters thanks to a double play and caught stealing). The Twins had lost nine in a row, falling to 2-9 on the season entering the Sunday series finale in Oakland. Leadoff hitter Kirby Puckett went 3-for-5, driving in both Twins runs in the 2-0 victory. It was the beginning of a 10-game winning streak.

Mike Smithson had a one-hitter going through 8 1/3 innings in Chicago on June 29, 1985. Frank Eufemia came in and gave up two hits, but held one for a 1-0 Twins win.

Smithson started 20 games for the 1987 World Series champion Twins, going 4-7.

Fun Fact: Smithson wore both numbers 34 and 48 with the Twins.

Butcher’s connection to the ’87 team is a bit more roundabout. He was traded to Cleveland in 1986 for pitcher Neal Heaton, who was part of the six-player trade with Montreal that brought Jeff Reardon to the Twins prior to the 1987 season.

December 7, 1992
Taylor Taken By Padres

The San Diego Padres claim 1989 Roseau graduate Kerry Taylor from the Minnesota Twins in the Rule 5 Draft.

Taylor, who had signed with the Twins as an amateur free agent out of high school, made 36 appearances with the Padres in 1993, and one in 1994.

December 8, 1892
Birthdate of Ellis Johnson

Pitcher Ellis Johnson was born in Minneapolis on this date in 1892. He made his major league debut at age 19*, but only made eight appearances in total (two starts) over a six-year period with the White Sox and Philadelphia Athletics.

*July 6, 1912 in a 4-0 loss to the Tigers in Chicago. I didn’t find a box score, but Johnson faced 10 batters, two of whom would have been Hall of Famers Ty Cobb and Sam Crawford.

See Johnson’s page on Baseball Reference…

December 8, 1977
Rangers Trade Blyleven

After pitching a no-hitter in his final start of the season, the Rangers send Bert Blyleven to Pittsburgh as part of a four-team, 11-player trade.

Blyleven won his first World Series ring with the Pirates in 1979.

December 8, 1978
Twins Trade for Koosman

The Twins acquire West Central School of Agriculture (Morris, MN) graduate Jerry Koosman from the Mets for pitchers Greg Fields and Jesse Orosco

Koosman had the best season for a pitcher over 30 in Twins history in 1979, when, at age 36, he led the team with 20 wins. His 7.2 WAR that season is tied for seventh-best by a pitcher in team history (only Bert BlylevenJohan Santana, and Frank Viola have posted better single-season WARs). 

Koosman also led the team with 16 wins in 1980. 1967 Rothsay graduate Dave Goltz led the team in wins from 1976 to ‘78, meaning a Minnesotan led the Twins in wins for five straight seasons. 

Jesse Orosco eventually pitch for the Twins 25 years later, in 2003 at age 46. It was the 24th and final major league season for Orosco, who pitched in more games than anyone in major league history.

December 9, 2005
Twins Trade Romero for Casilla

The Twins trade pitcher J.C. Romero to the Angels for infielder Alexi Casilla.

Casilla would deliver one of the biggest clutch hits in Twins history—a 12th-inning walk-off single scoring Carlos Gómez to give the Twins a 6-5 win over Detroit in Game 163 on October 6, 2009.

Romero’s best season by far was 2002, in which he pitched 81 innings over 81 appearances, posting a 9-2 record with a 1.89 ERA, 1.210 WHIP, and 3.6 WAR (per Baseball Reference).

December 9, 2010
Twins Trade Hardy

The Twins give shortstop J.J. Hardy, infielder Brendan Harris, and $500,000 cash to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for pitchers Jim Hoey and Brett Jacobson.

Hoey would make 26 appearances for the Twins in 2011 before being placed on waivers following the season. He was claimed by Toronto, but never pitched in the majors again. Jacobson never made it to the majors.

The Twins had acquired 2007 All-Star Hardy from Milwaukee for Carlos Gómez following the 2009 season. Hardy had a down year in 2010—his only season in Minnesota. He rebounded in Baltimore, however, hitting 77 home runs in his first three seasons with the Orioles, making his second All-Star team in 2013, and winning three consecutive Gold Gloves from 2012 to ’14.

December 10
Happy Birthday, Bob Fenwick

1964 Anoka graduate and Golden Gophers all-time great Bob Fenwick was born in Okinawa, Japan on this date in 1946.

Fenwick was originally drafted by the San Francisco Giants in 1967. He made it to the majors with the Astros in 1972, getting into 36 games, starting 10 (nine at second base and one at third). He got into five games with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1973, two as a pinch hitter.

(Fenwick was teammates at the University of Minnesota with 1964 Richfield graduate and eight-year Giants catcher Mike Sadek).

Melanie Stoddard did a project on Fenwick, including an interview, when she was a sophomore at Cook County High School. Check it out ⇨

December 10, 1982
Twins Trade Cooper

The Twins trade pitcher Don Cooper to the Blue Jays for third baseman Dave Baker. Baker, who had played just nine games with Toronto in 1982, never made it back to the majors.

Cooper, though thoroughly underwhelming as a major league player, became one heckuva coach. He has been coaching in the White Sox organization since 1988, serving as their major league pitching coach since 2002.

Fun Fact: He wore number 34 with the Twins.

December 10, 2017
Morris Elected to Hall of Fame

1973 Highland Park graduate Jack Morris and longtime Tigers teammate Alan Trammell are elected to the Hall of Fame by the Modern Baseball Era Committee.

They were inducted on July 27, 2018 alongside Vladimir Guerrero, Trevor Hoffman, Chipper Jones, and former Twin Jim Thome.

December 11
Happy Birthday, Jay Bell

Former All-Star shortstop and second baseman Jay Bell was born in Pensacola, FL on this date in 1965. The Twins drafted him in the first round (eighth overall) out of high school in 1984. He was traded to Cleveland along with three others for veteran pitcher Bert Blyleven on August 1, 1985. 

Here’s the remarkable part: Bell made his major league debut facing Blyleven on September 29, 1986 and became the 11th player in history to homer on his first major league pitch (Eddie Rosario joined the club in 2015). The story gets even more interesting: It was the 47th home run Blyleven allowed on the season, breaking Hall of Famer Robin Roberts’ 30-year-old record. Blyleven finished the season with 50 home runs allowed (over a league-leading 271.2 innings pitched), and allowed 46 more in 1987. 

December 11
Happy Birthday, Frankie Rodriguez

Frankie Rodriguez was born in Brooklyn on this date in 1972. He came to the Twins as part of an in-game trade with the visiting Red Sox for Rick Aguilera on July 6, 1995. (A similar situation occurred when the Twins sent Doug Mientkiewicz to the Red Sox in a middle of a home series against them as part of a four-team trade on July 31, 2004).

Fun Fact: Rodriguez struck out four batters in his final major league inning with the Reds on July 22, 2001.

December 12, 1997
Twins Trade Becker

The Twins trade outfielder Rich Becker to the Mets for outfielder Alex Ochoa

Becker led major league center fielders with 11 assists in 1995 (tied with Kenny Lofton) and 16 assists in 1996. He led all major league outfielders with five double plays turned in 1995, and nine in ‘96. 

Batting second on July 13, 1996, he went 4-for-6 with two home runs, a triple, and a double in a 19-11 loss to Cleveland. Those four extra-base hits in one game are tied with César Tovar, Kirby Puckett (twice), Corey Koskie, and Michael Cuddyer for the most in team history. The 13 total bases are tied with Tim Teufel, Max Kepler, Eddie Rosario, and Byron Buxton for second-most in team history (Kirby Puckett hit for 14 total bases that one day in Milwaukee). 

Becker’s 4.3 WAR in 1996 was second-best behind Chuck Knoblauch’s 8.6 (as calculated by Baseball Reference). It would have led the team in 2018.

Alex Ochoa is the only player to hit for the cycle in both MLB and NPB (Japan).

December 13, 1999
Twins Acquire Santana

With the first pick in the Rule 5 draft, the Twins select Cleveland pitcher Jared Camp. With the second pick, the Marlins select 20-year-old Astros prospect Johan Santana.

Later that day the Twins traded Camp to the Marlins for Santana plus cash.

Camp never made it to the majors. Santana, on the other hand, posted a 93-44 record over eight seasons with the Twins. I wrote a post about him here ⇨

December 14, 2004
Koskie Signs with Toronto

After seven seasons with the Twins, Manitoba native Corey Koskie signs with the Blue Jays. The Star Tribune published a full-page thank you letter to Twins fans.

Koskie’s 6.3 WAR in 2001 (as calculated by Baseball Reference) was ninth-best in the American League.

December 15
Happy Birthday, Michael Wuertz

It’s the birthday of 1997 Austin High School graduate Michael Wuertz. Wuertz pitched in 426 major league games for the Chicago Cubs and Oakland Athletics between 2004 and 2011.

He struck out the first two batters he faced in his major league debut on April 5, 2004, pitching a 1-2-3 sixth inning in a Cubs win.

December 15, 2011
Twins Sign Willingham 

The Twins sign outfielder Josh Willingham to a three-year, $21 million contract.

Willingham’s first season in Minnesota was the best of his career, hitting 35 home runs, 30 doubles, driving in 110 runs, and scoring 85, compiling a 4.7 oWAR (but -2.0 dWAR).

December 16, 2002
Twins Release Ortiz

After playing parts of six seasons in Minnesota, the Twins release David Ortiz. Oopsy Daisy!

He would finish top-five in MVP balloting each of his first five seasons in Boston, averaging .302 with 42 home runs, 41 doubles, and 128 RBI per season over that stretch.

Altogether over his 14 seasons in Boston, Ortiz averaged .290 with 34 home runs, 37 doubles, and 109 RBI a season, while accumulating a 52.7 bWAR (Baseball Reference). He had five seasons with an OPS north of 1.000. He retired with 541 home runs.

December 17, 1938
Happy Birthday, Leo Cárdenas

Sixteen-year major league infielder Leo Cárdenas was born in Matanzas, Cuba on this date in 1938.

The Twins acquired Mr. Automatic from the Reds for pitcher Jim Merritt prior to the 1969 season. He spent three years in Minnesota, making his fifth and final All-Star team in 1971, and garnering MVP votes in 1969 and ‘71.

December 17, 2010
Twins Sign Nishioka

The Twins sign reigning NPB Pacific League batting champion Tsuyoshi Nishioka to a three-year, $9 million contract. Oopsy daisy!

December 18, 1940
Birthdate of Zoilo Versalles

Twins all-time great Zoilo Versalles was born in Havana on this date in 1940. He was the American League’s Most Valuable Player in 1965. Teammate Tony Oliva finished runner-up. Mudcat Grant came in sixth (there was one Cy Young for the majors, which Koufax won unanimously).

Share your favorite Zoilo Versalles facts/stats/trivia in the comments at the bottom of the page.

December 18
Happy Birthday, Drew Coble

Former major league umpire Drew Coble was born in Burlington, North Carolina on this date in 1947.

He had the testicular fortitude to make the correct call when Ron Gant’s momentum carried him off first base in Game 2 of the 1991 World Series, even though he knew the decision would be controversial.

December 18, 1996
Twins Sign Swindell

The Twins sign 1989 All-Star Greg Swindell. He led the team with a 3.58 ERA and 1.098 WHIP in 65 appearances (one start) in 1997.

December 19, 1900
Birthdate of Wally Gilbert

1920 Duluth Denfeld graduate Wally Gilbert was born in Oscoda, Michigan on this date in 1900. He played for the NFL Duluth Kelleys/Eskimos from 1923 to ‘26, and for the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1928 to ‘31, and Cincinnati Reds in 1932. He also played some professional basketball. 

He had a lung removed as a complication of working in a Duluth steel plant during World War II. He passed away in Duluth at age 57. 

Read Gilbert’s SABR bio written by Ray Luurs…

December 19, 2006
Radke Retires

Brad Radke—the third-winningest pitcher in Twins history—announces his retirement at age 34. 

No Twins pitcher has recorded at least 28 outs since Radke on September 21, 1997. He won 12 straight starts that season.

December 21, 1900
Birthdate of Doc Hamann

University of St. Thomas alumnus Doc Hamann was born in New Ulm on this date in 1900. 

Hamann pitched in one major league game with Cleveland, entering down 9-5 to the Red Sox in the top of the ninth on September 21, 1922. He gave up six runs on three hits, three walks, and a hit-by-pitch (the pitcher Jack Quinn) without recording an out. His career ERA is, therefore, “infinity” (or undefined).

Interestingly, the next player born in New Ulm to make it to the majors was Fred Bruckbauer with the Twins on April 25, 1961. He gave up three runs without recording an out in what turned out to be his only major league appearance, meaning he, too, has a career ERA of “infinity.” 

In the whole entire history of major league baseball, only 16 pitchers have career ERAs of “infinity.” Three were from Minnesota (1955 Minneapolis Washburn graduate Gordie Sundin joined the club with the Orioles in 1956). 

December 21
Happy Birthday, LaTroy Hawkins

1991 Twins seventh-round draft pick and 21-year major leaguer LaTroy Hawkins was born in Gary, Indiana on this date in 1972.

He set a major league record by successfully converting his first 23 career save opportunities. It was 1991 Twins first-round draft pick (third overall) David McCarty who finally handed him his first blown save.

December 22
Happy Birthday, Ken Landreaux

Former Twins center fielder Ken Landreaux was born in Los Angeles on this date in 1954. He put together a team record 31-game hitting streak from April 23rd to May 30th, 1981. He tied the modern (since 1900) major league record with three triples on July 3, 1980.

December 25, 1989
Martin Killed in Crash

Former Minnesota Twins fan-favorite player, coach, and manager Billy Martin is killed in a single-car crash on Christmas Day 1989 near his home north of Binghamton, New York. He was just 61 years old.

December 27, 1991
CBS Fires Buck

After much criticism of its telecasts of the 1991 World Series, CBS fires play-by-play announcer Jack Buck. His “and we’ll see you tomorrow night” call after Kirby Puckett‘s walk-off home run in Game 6 is one of the most iconic calls in sportscasting history.

“It’s a little slap in the face,” said Buck, “but I gave it my best shot, kid.”

December 28
Happy Birthday, Logan Shore

2013 Coon Rapids graduate Logan Shore was born on this date in 1994. The pitcher also lettered in hockey in high school. The Twins drafted him in the 29th round out of high school, but he chose to attend the University of Florida for three years before being drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the second round in 2016. He led the nation with 19 starts as a sophomore in 2015, and was the SEC pitcher of the year in 2016. He set a school career record with six NCAA postseason wins.

December 29
Happy Birthday, Jim Brower

It’s the birthday of 1991 Minnetonka graduate and Golden Gophers all-time great Jim Brower.

After receiving the University of Minnesota’s “Dave Winfield Pitcher of the Year” award in 1994, Brower began a 17-year professional career, which included parts of nine seasons in the majors with Cleveland, the Reds, Expos, Giants, Atlanta, the Orioles, Padres, and Yankees.

He led the majors with 89 appearances with the Giants in 2004. (Bonus Fact: 2008 Chaska graduate Brad Hand led the majors with 82 appearances with San Diego in 2016).

December 30, 1923
Birthdate of Harry Elliott

1942 Watertown graduate Harry Elliott was born in San Francisco on this date in 1923. The Golden Gophers all-time great had some prodigious minor league seasons, but missed his window of opportunity for a significant major league career, not signing his first professional contract until he was almost 27—after a brief stint as a touring jazz pianist, service in the Navy Air Corps, and attending the University of Minnesota on the G.I. Bill.

The stocky 5-foot-7, 175-pound Elliott possessed a quick bat, deceptive power to all fields, and a fiery competitive disposition. After getting a cup of coffee in 1953, he spent the entire 1955 season with the Cardinals, but his best years were already behind him.

For more about Harry Elliott, check out my blog post (it’s about an eight-minute read)⇨

December 30
Happy Birthday, Jose Morales

It’s the birthday of former Twin Jose Morales, born in the U.S. Virgin Islands in 1944. He set a major league record with 25 pinch hits for the Expos in 1976 (broken by Jon Vander Wal with 28 in 1995).

He played for the Twins from 1978 to ‘80. In 1978, he led the American League with a .323 average as a designated hitter (.314 overall), and set a team record with 14 pinch hits (since tied by Chip Hale in 1995, and broken by Hale with 19 in ‘96). Morales’s 36 pinch hits over three seasons with the Twins is fourth-most in team history.

He tied 1964 Waterville graduate Jerry Terrell’s 1975 team record by grounding into three double plays on May 17, 1980. He hit a grand slam off future Twin Dan Schatzeder on June 19, 1980 (Schatzeder was the winning pitcher in Game 6 of the 1987 World Series).

December 30, 2010
Killebrew Reveals Cancer Diagnosis

74-year-old Twins legend Harmon Killebrew issues a statement announcing that he has been diagnosed with esophageal cancer. He passed away just over five months later, on May 17, 2011.

December 31
Happy Birthday, Rick Aguilera

It’s the birthday of longtime Twins closer Rick Aguilera, born in San Gabriel, CA in 1961. The Twins acquired Aggie on July 31, 1989 in what was perhaps the greatest trade in team history, sending 1987 World Series MVP and ’88 Cy Young winner Frank Viola to the Mets for David West, Aguilera, Kevin Tapani, Tim Drummond, and Jack Savage (as a player to be named later on October 16).

Aggie saved 254 games for the Twins between 1989 and ’99, second only to Joe Nathan‘s 260. He saved 42 regular season games for the 1991 World Series Champion Twins.

Aggie, who hit three home runs with the Mets, pinch hit in the 12th inning of Game 3 of the World Series, becoming the first pitcher to do so since Don Drysdale pinch hit for Sandy Koufax versus Jim Kaat in Game 2 of the ’65 Series.

He was the winning pitcher in two of the most memorable Game 6’s in World Series history: 1986 (Buckner game), and 1991 (Puckett game).

Support for the Twins Almanac comes from Topps baseball cards.


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