The Twins Almanac for March 29th

• Happy Birthday, Mike Kingery and Billy Beane
• Twins Acquire Veteran Pinch Hitter
• Puckett Placed on DL

March 29
Happy Birthday, Mike Kingery

It’s the birthday of 1979 Atwater High School graduate Mike Kingery, born in Saint JamesMN in 1961. When he was six months old, the Kingerys moved to Atwater where Mike’s father was proprietor of the Atwater Bowling Center.

Kingery signed with the Royals as an amateur free agent on August 27, 1979. He made it to the majors seven years later, going 2-for-4 in his MLB debut on July 7, 1986 (age 25). 

He went on to play 819 major league games over 10 seasons with the Royals, Mariners, Giants, A’s, Rockies, and Pirates. 

A career .268 hitter, Kingery’s best season by far came at age 33 in Colorado during the strike-shortened 1994 season when he hit .349 over 105 games.

Interesting to note that the Rockies GM at the time was LambertonMN native and former Twins pitcher and front office executive Bob Gebhard, and the manager was 1987 World Series hero Don Baylor. (Dan Gladden later joined the Rockies as a scout from 1996 to 1998.)

Curious how Kingery did against the Twins? He hit .290 in 24 career games versus Minnesota, including a home run off Les Straker on July 29, 1987. That same season he hit two home runs off fellow Minnesota native Jack Morris.

Kingery and Blix Donnelly headlined the seven-member inaugural class of the West Central Baseball Hall of Fame in Willmar in 2014.

A handful of years ago now, Mrs. Almanac and I swung into the Moose Lake Dairy Queen and noticed a poster for “The Kingery Family,” a traveling singing and ministry troupe. Turns out Mike and his wife Chris are parents of EIGHT children. In addition to his minstrel work, Mike Kingery operates the Solid Foundation Baseball School in Grove CityMN.

March 29
Happy Birthday, Billy Beane

It’s the birthday of 1980 Mets first-round draft pick and longtime A’s general manager Billy Beane. He came to the Twins as part of a January 1986 trade that sent Tim Teufel to the Mets.

He had a heckuva game at Yankee Stadium on April 29, 1986. Entering the game with just three hits in 17 major league games dating back to 1984 (zero in his first four games with the Twins), Beane went 5-for-5 with a walk and his first career home run. (Twins lost 14-11.) Those five hits accounted for 7.6% of the just 66 hits Beane collected over parts of six major league seasons. He had fewer than five hits total in four of his six seasons.

He was a September call-up in 1987 and came up clutch in his first MLB plate appearance of the season. He entered as a defensive replacement in right field in the top of the 11th of a 1-1 game against the Brewers on September 4. He came to the plate with two out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the 12th and connected for a walk-off single to center off Dan Plesac, driving in Gary Gaetti. (Plesac made his first of three-straight All-Star appearances that season.) The win gave the Twins a three-game lead over Oakland in the AL West.

March 29, 1978
Morales Acquired from Expos

The Twins purchased the contract of José Morales from the Expos on this date in 1978. He had set a major league record with 25 pinch hits in 1976 (since broken). In his first season with the Twins, he led all DH’s with a .323 average and set a team record with 14 pinch hits (since broken by Chip Hale). His 36 pinch hits in a Twins uniform are fourth-most in team history.

He tied Jerry Terrell‘s team record by grounding into three double plays on May 17, 1980.

March 29, 1996
Puckett Placed on DL 

After doctors determined his blurry vision was caused by a partial blockage of a blood vessel in his right eye, the Twins placed Kirby Puckett on the 15-day disabled list for the first time in his career on this date in 1996.



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