Test Your Twins Knowledge: Runs-batted-in

Over the years the Twins have had some prolific runs batted in producers.  Harmon Killebrew, Gary Gaetti, Kirby Puckett, and Justin Morneau just to name a few.  Let’s seehow you do trying to answer these qestions about productive Twins runs-batted-in leaders.

1.  Who holds the single season runs-batted-in record, and how many did this Twins player in his record setting season?    

 
2.  We all know Harmon Killebrew led the Twins in RBI in 9 different seasons.  But do you know who is second in leading the Twins in RBI for a season?  And how many seasons did this Twins lead the team?  
 
3.  When is the last time the Twins had two players drive in over 100 runs in a single seasn?  And name the two players?  
 
4.  True or False.  The Twins have never had three players drive in 100 or more runs in one season?  

 
5.  What rookie holds th record for most RBI in his first season with the Twins?   

6.  Just three players totaled over 1-thousand RBI in their Twins career.  Who are the three? 

 
See how you do trying to answer these 6 Twins Quiz Questions, and I’ll have another quiz for you coming up soon.

“Touch ’em All,”
 
John Gordon

The Answers: Twins Second Baseman Trivia

Here are the answers to last week’s second baseman trivia questions…

The Twins opened the season in early April in 1961 at Yankee Stadium.  Who was the Twins starting secondbaseman in that game?  Hint:  He later was one of the Twins Managers. 

 Billy Gardner

Everyone pretty much knows that Hall of Famer Rodney Carew started more games at second base for the Twins.  As a matter of fact he was the starter at second 9 different years.  But do you know who was second in ranking for Opening Day starts at second?  

Chuck Knoblauch-7

 

Over the years the Twins have had just one secondbaseman picked as number one in the June Free Agent Draft.  Name him?  Hint:  He was a star at LSU.  *Note:  When Chuck Knoblauch was drafted number one in 1989 he was drafted as a shortstop.

 Todd Walker

 

Let’s play Who Am I.  A) I was once a quarterback at Purdue University.   B) I started at secondbase for the Twins for four straight seasons.  C) I was traded after the l966 season to the Washington Senators.  Who am I?

Bernie Allen

 

This former Twins secondbaseman holds the record for the best fielding percentage in a season.  This player made just three errors in 120 games, and handled 575 chances, ending up with a .995 fielding percentage.  Who is this player?

Rob Wilfong, 6. 

 

 In all the Twins, in their history, have turned a grand total of 11 triple plays and seven secondbaseman have been involved in 7 of the triple plays.  See if you can name at least four of the “second-sackers?”

Cesar Tovar, Rodney Carew, John Castino, Tim Teufel, Steve Lombardozzi, Al Newman, and Luis Castillo  

 

In 1988 the Twins made one of their most celebrated trades.  They dealt a very popular player, Tom Brunansky, for a second baseman.  This player turned out to be a complete “dud.”  He lasted just one season with the Twins and then in 1989 he was traded away to the Philadelphia Phillies.  In the one season with the Twins he played in just 86 games and hit.263.  Who was this player?

Tommy Herr  
 
 

Twins Second Basemen Through the Years…

Hi Twins fans. 

I thought we would continue with the Twins Quiz concept and I was thinking about testing your knowledge on the Twins and secondbase. Let’s see how much you remember about past and present second-sackers.
 
We will post the answers later this week.
 
1.  The Twins opened the season in early April in 1961 at Yankee Stadium. Who was the Twins starting secondbaseman in that game? Hint: He later was one of the Twins Managers.
 
2.  Everyone pretty much knows that Hall of Famer Rodney Carew started more games at second base for the Twins. As a matter of fact he was the starter at second 9 different years. But do you know who was second in ranking for Opening Day starts at second? 
 
3.  Over the years the Twins have had just one secondbaseman picked as number one in the June Free Agent Draft. Name him? Hint:  He was a star at LSU.  *Note:  When Chuck Knoblauch was drafted number one in 1989 he was drafted as a shortstop.
 
4.  Let’s play Who Am I. A) I was once a quarterback at Purdue University.   B) I started at secondbase for the Twins for four straight seasons.  C) I was traded after the l966 season to the Washington Senators.  Who am I?
 
5.  This former Twins secondbaseman holds the record for the best fielding percentage in a season. This player made just three errors in 120 games, and handled 575 chances, ending up with a .995 fielding percentage. Who is this player?
 
6.  In all the Twins, in their history, have turned a grand total of 11 triple plays and seven secondbaseman have been involved in 7 of the triple plays. See if you can name at least four of the “second-sackers?”
 
and 7.  In 1988 the Twins made one of their most celebrated trades. They dealt a very popular player, Tom Brunansky, for a second baseman.  This player turned out to be a complete “dud.” He lasted just one season with the Twins and then in 1989 he was traded away to the Philadelphia Phillies.  In the one season with the Twins he played in just 86 games and hit.263.  Who was this player? 
 
Put your Twins thinking cap on fans, and see if you can come up with the correct answers.  We will post the answers later on this week.
 

All-Star Trivia Questions & Answers

Last week before the All-Star game (and what a game it was!) we presented a few Twins-related All-Star questions… And, below you will see those questions along with the answers!

How did you do??

 
1.  Name the Minnesota Twin who has started the most times in an All Star Game?
 
Answer:  Rod Carew.  Rodney was selected to 13 All Star games as a Twins and started in 12 of those 13 games.
 
2.  There have been three pitchers over the years who have started an AL All Star Game.  Name them?
 
Answer:  Dean Chance started the 1967 game, Frank Viola was the starter in the 1988 game, and Jack Morris drew the starting assignment in the 1991 game.
 
3.  Over the years the Twins have had 7 catchers named to the AL All Star team.  See if you can name 5 of the 7?
 
Answer:  Joe Mauer, Earl Battey, Tim Laudner, Dave Engle, AJ Pierzynski, John Roseboro, and Butch Wynegar. 
  
4.  In 2006, Torii Hunter made a great catch to take away a home run from a National League starter.  Who was that hitter.
 
Answer:  Barry Bonds
 
5.  Harmon Killebrew was an 11 time AL All Star.  But for some reason he started just a handful of game.  How many games did he start?
 
Answer:  Just four games in 1964, 67, 68, and 1970
 
6.  The Minnesota Twins have hosted two AL All Star games.  What were the years?
 
Answer:  1965 at Metropolitan Stadium, and 1985 at the Metrodome.
 
7.  Just two Minnesota Twins have hit home runs in All Star commpetition.  Who were the two?
 
Answer:  Harmon Killebrew hit three All Star home runs, and Kirby Puckett hit one.
 
8.  In the 1999 All Star game this Twins player caught the final out and he still has the ball to prove it.  Who was that player? 
 
Answer:  Ron Coomer.  He was playing first base. 
 
9.  Over the years the Twins have had one winning All Star pitcher and one losing All Star pitcher.  Name the winning pitcher and the losing pitcher? 
 
Answer:  Bert Blyleven was the losing pitcher in the 1973 game, and Frankie Viola was the winning pitcher in the 1988 game.
 
10.  Just once a Minnesota Twin was named the MVP of the All Star game.  Name that player and the year he won the award?
 
Answer:  Kirby Puckett, 1993 at Balimore’s Camden Yards.

Twins All-Star Trivia

Hi Twins Fans, 
 
The All Star Game (at Yankee Stadium) is just around the corner and the Twins will have three representatives. Joe Mauer will be the starting catcher, and Justin Morneau will be a reserve infielder. And Joe Nathan hopefully will get a chance to pitch as one of the closers. I thought I would give you a Twins All Star Quiz to see how much you remember about past Twins All Stars. Give yourself an All Star box seat if you answer all correctly.
 
1.  Name the Minnesota Twin who has started the most times in an All Star Game?
 
2.  There have been three pitchers over the years who have started an AL All Star Game. Name them?

3.  Over the years the Twins have had 7 catchers named to the AL All Star team. See if you can name 5 of the 7?
 
4.  In 2006, Torii Hunter made a great catch to take away a home run from a National League starter. Who was that hitter.
 
5.  Harmon Killebrew was an 11 time AL All Star.  But for some reason he started just a handful of game. How many games did he start?
 
6.  The Minnesota Twins have hosted two AL All Star games. What were the years?
 
7.  Just two Minnesota Twins have hit home runs in All Star competition. Who were the two?
 
8.  In the 1999 All Star game this Twins player caught the final out and he still has the ball to prove it. Who was that player? 
 
9.  Over the years the Twins have had one winning All Star pitcher and one losing All Star pitcher. Name the winning pitcher and the losing pitcher? 

10.  Just once a Minnesota Twin was named the MVP of the All Star game. Name that player and the year he won the award?

 

We will post the answers to the questions in a few days! 

Hi Twins fans, 
 
I am always intrigued when a Twins players comes up with a developing performance.  Like, when Jason Kubel unloaded with his second grand slam of the season on Sunday, May 25th, I got to wondering  how many Twins players have hit two grand slam home runs in one season.  And then what is the Twins record for most Grand Slam home runs in one season.  Come to find out five players have hit three Grand Slams in one season, and no players has ever hit four.  The five that have hit five are; Bob Allison (’61), Rodney Carew (’76), Kent Hrbek (’85), Kirby Puckett (’93) and Torii Hunter (’07).  So if Kubel hits another this season he will enter the Twin record book tying him with the five players mentioned.  And should Kubel come up with two more “Grand Salami’s” he would set a new record. 
 
So far the Twins have hit three Grand Slam home runs (Morneau has th other).  That’s a far cry from the Twins team record for most Grand Slams in a season.  In 1961, the Twins first year in the Twins Citiies, the Twins team hit eight.  Just two seasons ago, the Twins came close to tying the record when they hit seven.
 
And just in case you are wondering the record for most Grand Slam home runs in a season by an idividual is 6, held by Don Mattingly of the New York Yankees.  He accompolished that feat in 1987 and he did it in just 141 games.  In in 2000 the Oakland Athletics set the record for most team Grand Slam home runs when they hit an incredible 14.
 
In my next blog I am going to take a look at the Twins schedule for the next 50 games.  The Twins just finished playing their 50th game on Sunday, the 25th of May and their record was 25-25.  What will the next 50 games bring record-wise?  Well when you take a look at the schedule you will see the Twins have an excellent chance of improving on that .500 record in the first 50.
 
“Touch ’em All,”
 
John Gordon   
 

Hi Twins fans. 

 

Last week, Twins General Manager Billy Smith and I sat down for our weekly
“Inside Twins” Show and we took calls from the listeners  Here are some of their questions and comments that Billy made along with some of my thoughts on the different subject matters.
 
Question:  Twins injuries.
 
Billy Smith:  Generally pleased.  Thought spring training was very produtive and the Twins had very few injuries.  Just three players have been placed on the disabled list so far, Michael Cuddyer (finger), Kevin Slowey (sore bicep), and Adam Everett (shoulder). 
 
Gordon Comment:  As we all know injuries are part of the game.  The Twins have been relatively healthy so far this season.   Let’s hope it stays that way.  The Twins certainly missed Cuddyer’s bat during his stay on the DL, but the other injuries were not as costly.  When Slowey went down, Fancisco Liriano filled in for a couple of starts and then the Twins got a break with three off days in 8 days and didn’t need a fifth starter.  Nick Punto and Matt Tolbert filled in nicely during the absence of Everett. 
 
Question:  Umpires strke zone.
 
Billy Smith:  Talked about QuestTech, a system that tracks every pitch of the game and the umpires read the results after the game.  QuestTech is not in every ballpark, and  it does seem to have a positive affect.  New technology is being worked on and the system could get even better.
 
Gordon Comment:  I don’t understand why QuestTech is not in every ballpark.  Why is just some?  Doesn’t make sense to me.  Here’s my thought on umpires.  First of all they are human, just like everyone else, and they make mistakes, just like everyone else.  Secondly, umpires are differenet, like everyone else, and they call games different, just like everyone else lives differently.  By and large umpires do a teriffic job, and I very rarely see an umpire have a bad day.  I certainly wouldn’t judge an umpires ball/strike calls if I was watching the game on television.  The centerfield camera is not necessarily lined up directly behind the pitcher and the angle makes it difficult to say an umpire is having a good or bad night. 
 
Question:  Plan for rotation (given Baker’s status) and Liriano
 
Billy Smith:  Hopefully Baker will be ready to go.  I won’t worry about what we have to do until I see that Baker is not ready to go.  Liriano will continue to pitch at Rochester and we will monitor his progress.  Liriano was rushed and he needs to stay in Rochester and pitch every fifth day.
 
Gordon Comment:  First Liriano.  I would be surprised if he returns to theTwins rotation until maybe after the All Star break.  He needs work.  That was very evident in his two starts for the Twins.  His velocity on both his fastball and slider still is not there, and he doesn’t have command.  Check out his walks.  And also his pitch count and ball/strike ratio.  Hopefully Liriano will return to his ’06 form, but it looks like it is going to a while if and when he does.  Now, Baker.  Hopefully Baker will be ready to pitch, when his next start rolls around.  With the Twins off days this past week and one this week, the Twins have some leadway for their starters for the upcoming four game Red Sox series.  Blackburn, Hernandez, and Slowey are going to pitch the White Sox series  Baker could pitch Friday night in the opening game of the Red Sox series or they could hold him back until Saturday night.  Bonser (on his usual four days rest) would start the Red Sox opener.  Let’s wait and see what happens with Baker, since we have 5 days.  He will pitch a bullpen in Chicago and hopefully he will be pronouced fit and ready to pitch either Friday or Saturday.  The rotation at Rochester includes Glen Perkins, Brian Duensing, and Kevin Mulder as possible candidates to be called up if Baker has to miss starts and go on the DL.  Also RHP Anthony Swarzak (the organization’s April pitcher of the month) who is pitching very well at AA-New Britain. 
 
That’s enough for this week folks.  I’ll have more comments from the fans questions on our “Inside Twins” Show next week. 
 
“Touch ’em All,”
 
JG

The Final Stretch…

Hi Twins fans, it?s been a while since I blogged.  So let me update and give you some thoughts on the Twins as they prepare for the final six weeks of the season.

36 TO GO! 

The Twins are in the final 36 games of the 2007 season and while their backs are not up against the wall, the Twins are starting to back up that way.  The Twins have been waiting to make ?that run? and so far ?that run? has not taken place. 

About the best the Twins have been able to do is five wins out of six (late May-early June) and just recently the Twins started a ?run? that produced four wins out of five games.  But that?s not enough.  The Twins need to put together a ?run? of wins that goes something like 10 out of 12 or 15 out of 18.  But time is running out.  Let?s say the Twins win 27 of their 36 games (a blistering .750 winning percentage), well the Tigers or Indians would only have to play a couple of games over .500 and the Twins still wouldn?t catch either team.  It?s going to be a tough challenge for the Twins, and I guess the only thing we (Twins fans) can do it hope for the best and see what happens.

MINOR LEAGUE POSITION PLAYER OF THE YEAR????? 

You know how I like to follow the Twins minor league fortunes.  Each Sunday we feature Jim Rantz on the Twins Pre Game Show ?The Line-up Card? and Kris Attebury updates the Twins minor league teams at least three times a week during the pre-game show.  Well I have been checking around and asking some of the top authorities and asking them ?Who is going to be the Twins Minor League Player of the Year??  And no one can come up with an easy answer.  Here are some of the leading candidates:

Rochester Red Wings:  C-Jose Morales (having a stellar season and his bat is carrying him); IF-Matt Tolbert (started strong, but has tapered off some late in the year); CF- Denard Span (having a much better second half than first)

New Britain RockCats:  SS-Trevor Plouffe (one of the leading candidates, it not the top leader Plouffe is having a steady season, and despite early problems in the field, he?s playing much better at SS)

Fort Myers Miracle:  OF Eric Lis (won a batting title last year at Beloit and if following up his ?06 season with a steady ?07 season)Beloit Snappers:  IF Brian Dinkleman (now playing at Fort Myers after his promotion, Dinkleman has put together a nice first full season in professional season)

Gulf Coast Twins:  OF Ben Revere (the Twins number one pick in the recent ?07 draft, Revere is doing quite well)

Elizabethton Twins:  IB Rene Leveret (one of the top two players for the E-Town Twins);  3B    Delbinson Romero (another top player for the E-Twins)                            

Stats on the Leading Candiates: 

Morales-.322ba, 2hr, 33rbi; Tolbert-.299ba, 5hr, 45rbi; Span-.253ba, 3hr, 49rbi; Plouffe-.280ba, 9hr, 50rbi; Lis-.279ba, 16hr, 90rbi; Dinkleman-.282ba, 13hr, 42rbi; Revere-.318ba, 0hr, 22rbi; Leveret-.302ba, 7hr, 61rbi; Romero-.309ba, 9hr, 50rbi.

Note:  Sometimes it?s tough for a short season team to have the position player or pitcher of the year.  Playing just 80 games these individuals have to have banner seasons to compete with the players (and pitchers) who have competed in a regular season 140 game season.

And a further note:  The Twins have a number of pitchers in line for the Jim Rantz Minor League Pitcher of the Year and in our next blog we will review the top pitching candidates.

Twins Quiz:  Just recently Johan Santana set a new strikeout record when he struck out 17 batters vs the Texas Rangers. The previous mark was 15, held by four different pitchers.  Who was the last pitcher to strike out 15 batters in a game and in what year did that pitcher perform this feat? 

That?s all for this time Twins fans, and I promise I will have another blog for you soon.

?Touch ?em All,?

John Gordon

20 Years Ago…

In just a few weeks, the Twins will be celebrating perhaps the greatest baseball season in the Upper Midwest when the 20th anniversary of the 1987 World Champion Twins will be held.  It should be a great event with everyone except the late Kirby Puckett and Joe Niekro expected to be there. 

During the weekend, we’ll all have flashbacks to certain plays, games or series that made the year so memorable.  Does it seem like 20 years ago to you that Puckett had the memorable weekend in Milwaukee?   Could it be that long ago that the post-ALCS rally turned into the largest pep rally ever held?  Or that it was 20 years ago Herb Carneal so dramatically, yet simply said, "Gaetti has it…over to Hrbek and the Twins are baseball’s World Champions!" 

Unfortunately, 2007 also marks the 40th anniversary of the most heartbreaking season in Twins history.  The Twins were in the driver’s seat heading into the final weekend of the year.  They simply needed to win one of two games in Boston to go to the World Series for the second time in three years.  Of course, they lost both games and Boston went on to the World Series only to lose it in seven games to Bob Gibson and the Cardinals.

I experienced the heartbreak from a unique perspective.  As a childhood Twins fan, I was uprooted and moved to central Missouri after the 1965 season.  My new baseball friends in Missouri reminded me regularly that the Cardinals had won the World Series as recently as 1964.  Through the 1966 season, I endured constant reminders that the Twins hadn’t won a World Series ever.  But in 1967, things were going to change.  The Cardinals had a great team(and a great broadcasting team….Harry Caray and Jack Buck…more on that another time).  It was apparent by late September that the Cardinals were the best team in the National League.  It was also clear that the Twins…my Twins!…were in decent position to represent the American League.  What better way to shut up the Cardinal fans than for the Twins to sweep the Cardinals in the World Series?  The Twins had a homerun champion in Harmon Killebrew…a rookie of the year in Rod Carew and a two-time batting champion in Tony Oliva.  I was sure the Twins were not only going to get to the World Series but blitz the Cardinals once they got there.  But, alas, it didn’t happen.  Lonborg and Yazstrzemski crushed my dreams and made life miserable for me in Missouri.  I won’t even tell you how bad it got for me as a Minnesota sports fan when the Chiefs crushed the Vikings in the Super Bowl a couple of years later.

But, fast forward 20 years later and, lo and behold, the Twins got back into the World Series against….the St. Louis Cardinals!  My memories of that season and Series will come later, but rest assured that when I shake hands with the members of that ’87 team in a few weeks, I’ll shake those hands a little more vigorously than some.  I might get a little more emotional than some.  After all, those players and that team allowed me to realize what I hoped would have happened 20 years earlier!

The All-Star Game for Me…

The All-Star game is fast approaching and at least three Twins are going to be there…Johan Santana, Justin Morneau and Torii Hunter.  Pat Neshek also has a chance on the last ballot.

I know that I’m in the minority, but the All Star game is still a big deal for me.  When I was growing up, the games were played in the middle of the day.  Regardless of what else was happening in my little world, it stopped or was put aside for awhile as I intently watched Mays, Killebrew, Koufax etc…compete for the claim of baseball’s best league. 

Back in those days, the National League won almost every year to the point where it became a ritual.  Back then, they did have superior talent and it showed.  Ask Joe Torre what his biggest thrill as a player was and he’ll tell you it was catching the entire 1965 All Star game at Metropolitan Stadium and catching Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Bob Gibson and Juan Marichal in the same game.  Four Hall of Famers pitched against the American League in the same game!  No wonder the National League won.

The National League dominance extended into the early 80’s.  In 1982, in Montreal to cover Kent Hrbek’s All Star appearance for a local station, I heard first hand why the National League held the edge for all those years.  At the press conference the day before the game, the American League captain, Carlton Fisk was asked about the superiority of the National League.  He said that there was no imbalance of talent and that the American League approached the game as an exhibition and downplayed the significance of the outcome.  The National League captain that year was Pete Rose.  When it was his turn at the microphone, he didn’t even have to be asked a question before stating that the National League WAS better and that they intended to prove it the next night and that "losing ******!"  Of course, Pete epitomized the intensity the National League brought to the All Star game.  In fact, I ran into Ray Fosse at our hotel the other night…sorry bad pun.  After chatting for awhile and going off on our separate ways, I couldn’t help identifying Fosse to my family as the guy Pete Rose flattened in the All Star game a long time ago.

Now, both leagues treat the game as an exhibition.  Lately, the American League has won most the of the games.  While I won’t be going to San Francisco( I have gone to six All Star games as a fan), I will be there intently watching.  I’ll be hoping Johan pitches a couple of shutout innings…that Justin clubs a homerun and that Torii robs Barry again!!!!

**** Bremer

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