Tag Archives: Minnesota Twins

1991 Rewind: Game Twelve

MINNESOTA 4, CALIFORNIA 3 IN CALIFORNIA

Date:  Sunday, April 21.

Batting stars:  Chili Davis was 2-for-3 with a two-run homer (his third) and a walk.  Gene Larkin was 2-for-4 with a double.  Dan Gladden was 2-for-5 with a double and a stolen base.  Kirby Puckett was 1-for-4 with a home run, his second.

Pitching stars:  Scott Erickson pitched 7.1 innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and two walks and striking out five.  Rick Aguilera pitched a perfect inning and struck out one.

Opposition stars:  Luis Polonia was 2-for-4.  Donnie Hill was 2-for-4.  Mark Langston struck out eight in 6.1 innings, giving up three runs on six hits and five walks.  Mark Eichhorn pitched 2.2 scoreless innings, giving up an unearned run on two hits and no walks.  He struck out one.

The game:  Puckett started the scoring with a two-out homer in the first inning, the first time in quite a while the Twins had a lead.  They threatened in the second, as Larkin got a two-out double and Scott Leius walked, but Al Newman was caught looking to end the threat.  The Twins got two in the third, though, as Gladden led off with a double and Davis hit a two-out home run to make the score 3-0.

The Angels came back in the fourth.  Donnie Hill led off with a single and scored on Dave Parker's two-out double.  A passed ball sent Parker to third and an infield single by Junior Felix brought him home.  Jack Howell walked and Max Venable singled to tie the score 3-3.

In the fifth, Gladden singled, stole second, and went to third on a ground out, but Davis watched strike three go by to end the inning.  A pair of walks put men on first and second with one out in the seventh, but a double play ended that inning.

The Twins took the lead back in the eighth.  Davis singled and pinch-hitter Kent Hrbek hit into a force out.  Hrbek then stole second and scored on a Junior Ortiz single-plus-error to put the Twins up 4-3.  It would stand up.  Polonia led off the bottom of the eighth with a double, but was thrown out trying to stretch it to a triple.  California did not threaten after that.  The losing streak was finally over.

WP:  Erickson (1-2).  Eichhorn (0-1).  S:  Aguilera (2).

Notes:  Carmelo Castillo started in right field, with Puckett in center and Shane Mack on the bench.  Mack came in for defense in the eighth, playing center, with Puckett moving to right.  With Erickson pitching, Ortiz was behind the plate instead of Brian Harper.  Larkin started at first base with Hrbek on the bench.  Hrbek stayed in the game after his pinch-hitting appearance and played first.  Newman started at second base, with Chuck Knoblauch on the bench.  After Mike Pagliarulo pinch-hit for Leius in the ninth, Knoblauch came in to play second, with Newman moving to third.

Larkin was 2-for-4 and was batting .429.  Puckett was batting .326.  If he was upset about being moved to right field, he wasn't allowing it to affect his batting.

This was Castillo's first start of the season.  He went 0-for-3 and was hitless in six at-bats on the year.  Gladden raised his average to .083.  Ortiz was 1-for-3 with a walk and was also batting .083.  Newman was 0-for-3 with a walk and was also batting .083.  Hrbek was 0-for-1 and was batting .122.  Leius was 0-for-2 with a walk and was batting .133.  Erickson had an ERA of 2.86.  Aguilera had an ERA of 1.80.

This was one of four stolen bases Hrbek had on the season.  He was also caught stealing four times.  He had thirty-seven stolen bases for his career and was caught stealing twenty-six times.

Ortiz had just twenty-eight hits for the season and just eleven RBIs.  He did not get an RBI here, as there was an error involved.  Hrbek stealing a base and Ortiz getting a hit to bring him home, even with an error, had to be one of the most unusual ways possible for the Twins to finally win a game.

I'm not going to do a full bio, but it seems like people have forgotten what a fine pitcher Mark Langston was.  He was second in Rookie of the Year voting to teammate Alvin Davis in 1984.  He made the all-star team four times, won five Gold Gloves, and finished in the top six in Cy Young voting twice.  He led the league in strikeouts three times.  He made thirty-two to thirty-six starts every year from 1986 to 1993 and pitched 223 to 271 innings each of those seasons.  His career numbers are 179-158, 3.97 in almost 3000 innings (457 games, 428 starts).  I'm not nominating him for the Hall of Fame, but you would certainly want a pitcher like that on your team.

Record:  The Twins were 3-9, in seventh (last) place in the American League West, five games behind the White Sox, They were 2.5 games behind sixth-place Texas.

1991 Rewind: Game Nine

SEATTLE 4, MINNESOTA 3 IN SEATTLE (11 INNINGS)

Date:  Wednesday, April 17.

Batting stars:  Chili Davis was 2-for-4 with a walk.  Brian Harper was 2-for-5 with two doubles.

Pitching stars:  Kevin Tapani struck out seven in seven innings, giving up three runs on six hits and no walks.  Steve Bedrosian pitched two shutout innings, giving up two hits and a walk and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Edgar Martinez was 3-for-5.  Ken Griffey, Sr. was 2-for-4 with a double.  Jay Buhner was 1-for-4 with a home run (his second) and a walk.  Scott Bankhead pitched 6.2 innings, giving up three runs (two earned) on nine hits and two walks and striking out three.  Mike Jackson pitched 3.2 scoreless innings, giving up only a walk.

The game:  The Twins put two on with two out in the first, but nothing came of it.  In the second, Haper doubled and scored on a Mike Pagliarulo single.  Pagliarulo was thrown out trying to stretch it to a double, but Shane Mack doubled, went to third on an error, and scored on a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0.  The Twins added to their lead in the fifth.  Chuck Knoblauch singled, took second on a ground out, and scored on a two-out single by Kent Hrbek to make it 3-0.

Unfortunately, that was as good as it would get for Minnesota.  Buhner led off the bottom of the fifth with a home run.  With one out, Dave Valle singled, Jeff Schaefer doubled, a ground out made it 3-2, and Griffey, Sr. singled to tie the score.

The Twins had chances.  They got a two-out double from Randy Bush in the seventh and a one-out double from Harper in the eighth, but neither man advances past second.  Seattle loaded the bases with one out in the eighth, but a strikeout and a fly out turned them aside.

Neither team threatened again until the eleventh.  Davis led off with a single and was pinch-run for by Henry Cotto, who stole second.  Buhner walked, Pete O'Brien struck out, and Scott Bradley delivered an RBI single to win the game for the Mariners.

WP:  Jackson (1-1).  LP:  Rick Aguilera (0-1).  S:  None.

Notes:  Bush was again in left in place of Dan Gladden.  Gladden pinch-ran for Bush in the seventh and remained in the game in left field.  Mack was again in center and Kirby Puckett in right.

Harper raised his average to .381.  Puckett was 1-for-4 with a walk and was batting .371.  Knoblauch was 1-for-4 and was batting .313.  Greg Gagne was 0-for-3 and was batting .300.  Tapani had an ERA of 1.64.  Bedrosian had an ERA of 2.84.  Aguilera pitched 1.1 innings, giving up a run on two hits and two walks and striking out two.  His ERA was 2.25.

At the other end, Carmelo Castillo was 0-for-1 as a pinch-hitter and was batting zero.  Gladden was 0-for-1 and was batting .042.  Al Newman pinch-hit for Gagne, went 0-for-2, and was batting .111.  Hrbek was 1-for-4 with a walk and was batting .118.  Mack was 1-for-5 and was batting .160.  Scott Leius was 0-for-1 and was batting .182.

It was the fifth consecutive loss for the Twins and gave them sole possession of last place.  They had the worst record in all of baseball.  Given that they had finished last in 1990 this probably wasn't a huge surprise, but it must have been a disappointment.  They added Jack MorrisChili Davis, and Steve Bedrosian, they still had Kirby Puckett and Kent Hrbek, and yet they seemed to be the same old last-place Twins.

This was only the third game for Aguilera.  He had saved the Twins' first win, and was used in a mopup role in one of their losses to California.

If you're wondering, this is the same Mike Jackson who would pitch for the Twins in 2002.  He was twenty-six at this time, and would play until he was thirty-nine.

Record:  The Twins were 2-7, in seventh (last) place in the American League West, six games behind Oakland.

1991 Rewind: Game Eight

SEATTLE 3, MINNESOTA 0 IN SEATTLE

Date:  Tuesday, April 16.

Batting stars:  None.  The Twins had five hits, all singles.

Pitching stars:  Scott Erickson pitched 7.2 innings, giving up three runs on nine hits and five walks and striking out six.

Opposition stars:  Brian Holman pitched a complete game shutout, giving up five hits and two walks and striking out three.  Ken Griffey, Jr. was 2-for-2 with two walks and a stolen base.  Alvin Davis was 2-for-3 with a walk.  Jeff Schaefer was 2-for-4.  Pete O'Brien was 1-for-4 with a home run.

The game:  Chili Davis and Mike Pagliarulo opened the second with singles, but Davis was picked off second.  Shane Mack followed with a single, but the Twins did not get anyone past second.  Three of the Twins' five hits came in the same inning, but they still did not score and would not threaten again.

The Mariners got on the board in the third.  They had one-out singles by Schaefer and Harold Reynolds and two-out singles by Griffey, Jr., and Edgar Martinez to take a 2-0 lead.  They added a run in the eighth on O'Brien's two-out home run.  And that was that.

WP:  Holman (1-1).  LP:  Erickson (0-2).  S:  None.

Notes:  Randy Bush was in left field, replacing Dan Gladden.  Junior Ortiz was behind the plate, replacing Brian Harper.  Al Newman was at short, replacing Greg Gagne.  Shane Mack remained in center, with Kirby Puckett in right.

As I recall, Ortiz served as Erickson's catcher in 1991.

Puckett was 1-for-4 and was batting .387.  Chuck Knoblauch was 0-for-4 and was batting .321.  Erickson's ERA was 2.45.

Ortiz was 0-for-2 with a walk and was 0-for-9 on the season, so his batting average was the same as his uniform number.  Kent Hrbek was 0-for-4 and was batting .100.  Mack was 1-for-3 to raise his average to .150.  Bush was 1-for-4 to raise his average to .182.

I hadn't remembered that the Twins got off to such a slow start.  They were in a stretch of "when we hit we can't pitch and when we pitch we can't hit".  As you can see, they had a lot of good batters who were not hitting.  They also had some pitchers who were not pitching well.  The schedule didn't do them any favors, either, not so much because of the teams but because of the travel.  Train in Florida, open with three in Oakland, come home for three with California, then back to the west coast for three in Seattle and three in California.  That's a lot of travel and a lot of time-zone changes.  Yes, they're professional ballplayers and they have to deal with it, but they're still human beings, and that's not easy.

Brian Holman was a fairly good pitcher for four seasons.  He came up with Montreal at mid-season of 1988 and went 4-8, but with an ERA of 3.23.  He was traded to Seattle in late May of 1989 with Gene Harris and Randy Johnson for a player to be named later (Mike Campbell) and Mark Langston.  He was in the Mariners rotation through 1991 and went 32-35, 3.73 over 80 starts.  He was only twenty-six at that point and looked like he would be around for a long time.  Unfortunately, he tore his rotator cuff and would never pitch again.  He went through a lot of rehab, but finally gave up in 1994.  He does not seem to have let it get him down, however, as he has had a successful career as a financial advisor, a motivational speaker, and a high school baseball coach.

Record:  The Twins were 2-6, tied for sixth with Seattle in the American League West, five games behind the White Sox.

Happy Birthday–October 16

Art Devlin (1879)
Goose Goslin (1900)
Boom-Boom Beck (1904)
Matt Batts (1921)
Dave DeBusschere (1940)
Tim McCarver (1941)
Don Hood (1949)
Brian Harper (1959)
Kevin McReynolds (1959)
Billy Taylor (1961)
Darren Reed (1965)
Josias Manzanillo (1967)
Jonathan Schoop (1991)
Bryce Harper (1992)

Goose Goslin was a star for the franchise in the 1920s, when it played in Washington.

Better known as a basketball player, Dave DeBusschere pitched for the White Sox from 1962-1963.

We would also like to wish a very happy birthday to spookymilk’s daughter, Sour Cream.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–October 16

1991 Rewind: Game Seven

SEATTLE 8, MINNESOTA 4 IN SEATTLE

Date:  Monday, April 15.

Batting stars:  Brian Harper was 3-for-4.  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-3 with a walk.  Shane Mack was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer.

Pitching stars:  Larry Casian pitched 4.1 innings of relief, giving up two runs (one earned) on three hits and two walks and striking out two.  Terry Leach pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit and a walk and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Harold Reynolds was 2-for-3 with a double, two walks, and two RBIs.  Edgar Martinez was 2-for-4 with a home run (his second), a walk, two runs, and three RBIs.  Tracy Jones was 2-for-4 with a home run and two runs.  Dave Valle was 2-for-4.  Randy Johnson pitched a complete game, giving up four runs on seven hits and four walks and striking out six.  He threw 126 pitches.

The game:  The Mariners jumped on Twins starter Allan Anderson right away.  Reynolds and Jones led off with singles and Martinez followed with a three-run homer to give Seattle a 3-0 lead after the first three batters of the game.  The Twins got on the board in the third.  Chuck Knoblauch doubled and Mack homered to cut the margin to 3-2.

The Mariners regained control in the bottom of the third.  Jones led off with a home run.  Martinez singled and Ken Griffey walked.  The next two batters went out, but RBI singles by Pete O'Brien and Valley made the score 6-2.

The Twins again tried to come back.  In the fourth, Chili Davis led off with a walk and Harper singled, putting men on first and third.  A run scored on a ground out, there was a balk, and a sacrifice fly brought the lead down to two at 6-4.

That was as good as it would get, though.  With one out in the sixth, Valle and Jeff Schaefer singled and Reynolds delivered a two-run double to make the score 8-4.  The Twins never really threatened after that, never getting a man past second base.

WP:  Johnson (1-1).  LP:  Anderson (1-1).  S:  None.

NotesMack remained in center, with Puckett in right.  Dan Gladden was dropped to the seventh spot in the batting order, with Knoblauch leading off and Mack batting second.

Puckett raised his average to .407.  Knoblauch was 1-for-4 and was batting .375.  Harper raised his average to .375.  Greg Gagne was 0-for-5 and was batting .353.

Gladden was 0-for-2 with a walk and was batting .043.  Kent Hrbek was 0-for-3 and was batting .115.  Mack raised his average to .118.

Anderson pitched just 2.2 innings, allowing six runs on eight hits and a walk and striking out one.  His ERA was 6.30.

I suspect the attitude of most Twins fans at this point of the season was "same old Twins".  They were scoring runs, but couldn't score as many as their pitchers could give up.  They'd try to come back, but no sooner would they get back into a game than their pitchers would take them out of it again.  This, of course, would change.

Another guy I have no memory of is Tracy Jones.  A corner outfielder, he came up with Cincinnati in 1986. Unfortunately for him, the Reds had Eric Davis and Dave Parker manning their corner outfield spots, so he only got 92 plate appearances.  He made the most of them, batting .349 with an OPS of .860.  In 1987 the Reds moved Davis to center, but Jones had to split time with Kal Daniels in left.  He again hit well, batting .290 with an OPS of .771.  He was again a reserve in 1988 when he was traded to Montreal.  That didn't do him much good, either, as the Expos had Tim Raines and Hubie Brooks at corner outfield positions.  He bounced around the rest of his career, playing for San Francisco, Detroit, and Seattle.  1991 would be his last major league season.  For his career, he batted .273/.329/.388 in 1434 plate appearances over six seasons.  Not a bad career, really.  Had he been able to play center he might have had a much better career, but as he only played fifty-two games there it's clear that teams didn't think he was good enough to do that.  He had a radio talk show for a while--his b-r.com biography says that his approach was "if you haven't played the game then you don't understand it enough to talk about it", which would've made it hard for him to have conversations with callers.  He apparently lost that gig in 2017 and is now the owner of Tracy Jones Financial, a financial planning firm.  I don't know whether he tells people that if they haven't played the markets then they don't understand them enough to talk about them.  His brother Terry was a minor league infielder for California and Kansas City.  His son Hunter has been in the minors since 2010 and spent last season with AA Harrisburg in the Washington organization.

Record:  The Twins were 2-5, fifth in the American League West, four games behind the White Sox.

1991 Rewind: Game Six

CALIFORNIA 9, MINNESOTA 4 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Sunday, April 14.

Batting stars:  Chuck Knoblauch was 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, and two runs.  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-4 with a double.

Pitching stars:  Gary Wayne pitched a scoreless inning.  Rick Aguilera pitched a perfect inning and struck out one.

Opposition stars:  Luis Polonia was 3-for-4 with a walk, three stolen bases (his second, third, and fourth), three runs, and two RBIs.  Dick Schofield was 2-for-3 with a walk and a stolen base.  Ex-Twin Gary Gaetti was 2-for-4 with four RBIs.  Lance Parrish was 2-for-5 with a home run (his second) and two RBIs.

The game:  The Angels got on the board in the first inning when Polonia singled, stolso-ce second, went to third on a ground out, and scored on Gaetti's sacrifice fly.  In the second Jack Howell doubled, went to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a ground out to make it 2-0.  California added two more in the third when Polonia walked and stole second, Donnie Hill got an infield hit, and Gaetti and Parris had RBI singles.  In the fourth, Junior Felix got an infield hit, stole second, and scored on Polonia's single to make it 5-0.

The Twins finally got on the board in the fifth on back-to-back doubles by Knoblauch and Puckett.  The got back into the game in the sixth.  Shane Mack led off with a triple and scored on a ground out.  Scott Leius and Greg Gagne walked.  With two out, Knoblauch singled to cut the lead to 5-3.

And just like yesterday, they were quickly back out of the game again.  In the sixth, Max Venable doubled, Schofield got an infield hit, and Polonia delivered an RBI single.  With two out, a double steal put men on second and third and Gaetti drove them both home with a single.  It was 8-3 and the game was gone.  Parrish homered leading off the seventh to make it 9-3 and the Twins added one in the eighth when Knoblauch walked, went to second on Puckett's single, and scored on a pair of ground outs.  And that was it.

WP:  Chuck Finley (2-0).  LP;  Jack Morris (0-2).  S:  None.

Notes:  Puckett was back in right field with Mack in center.  Puckett moved to center in the ninth after Randy Bush pinch-hit for Mack.  Junior Ortiz caught in place of Brian Harper.

Gagne was 1-for-2 with a walk to raise his average to .429.  Knoblauch went up to .400 and Puckett improved to .375.  Chili Davis was 0-for-4 to drop below .300 at .286.

Dan Gladden was 0-for-4 and dropped his average to .048.  Mack got his first hit of the season, a triple, going 1-for-2 with a walk to make his average .077.  Ortiz was still batting zero (0-for-7).  Kent Hrbek was 0-for-4 and was batting .130.

Morris pitched 5.2 innings, giving up eight runs on thirteen hits and two walks.  He did strike out six.  Five of the hits were infield singles, which indicates some bad luck.  Still, in his first two starts as a Twin, Morris had an ERA of 9.58.  Twins fans must have wondered what was going on with their so-called ace, who had been signed with much ballyhoo over the off-season.  It's doubtful too many people were upset about the 2-4 start, though.  The team had finished in last place the year before, and Morris or not, very little was expected of them this season.

People have forgotten what a fine pitcher Chuck Finley was.  Not Hall of Fame worthy, but a solid starter for many years.  His best years were 1989-1990, when he went 34-18, 2.48 in 435.2 innings.  He made the all-star team in both of those years and finished seventh in Cy Young voting in 1990.  He didn't keep that up, but he was a steady contributor from 1991-2000.  He had double-digit wins each of those years except 1992 and posted an ERA between 3.80 and 4.43 in each year but two, when he did considerably better (3.15 in 1993 and 3.39 in 1998).  He was with the Angels through 1999, then went to Cleveland through July of 2002, when he finished the season (and his career) with St. Louis.  He was still effective over those last couple of months, going 7-4, 3.80, 1.16 WHIP in fourteen starts.  For his career, he was 200-173, 3.85, 1.38 WHIP.  He pitched 3197.1 innings and appeared in 524 major league games, 467 of them starts.  That's a career to be proud of.  He is a member of the Angels Hall of Fame, and he certainly should be.

Record:  The Twins were 2-4, fifth in the American League West, three games behind the White Sox.

Happy Birthday–October 14

Joe Start (1842)
Paul Radford (1861)
Ivy Olson (1885)
Oscar Charleston (1896)
Harry Brecheen (1914)
Ken Heintzelman (1915)
Tom Cheney (1934)
Tommy Harper (1940)
Frank Duffy (1946)
Al Oliver (1946)
Ed Figueroa (1948)
Kiko Garcia (1953)
Willie Aikens (1954)
Jesus Vega (1955)
Joe Girardi (1964)
Midre Cummings (1971)
Ryan Church (1978)
Boof Bonser (1981)
Carlos Marmol (1982)
Willians Astudillo (1991)

Outfielder Oscar Charleston is considered by some to have been the greatest player in Negro League history.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–October 14

1991 Rewind: Game Five

CALIFORNIA 15, MINNESOTA 9 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Saturday, April 13.

Batting stars:  Chuck Knoblauch was 3-for-3 with two walks, a stolen base, and two runs.  Greg Gagne was 2-for-4 with a double.  Brian Harper was 2-for-4 with a double.  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-5 with a home run, two runs, and three RBIs.  Kent Hrbek was 1-for-5 with a two-run homer.

Pitching star:  Steve Bedrosian struck out three in two shutout innings, giving up a hit and a walk.

Opposition stars:  Dave Winfield was 5-for-6 with three home runs, a double, four runs, and six RBIs.  Ex-Twin Gary Gaetti was 4-for-6 with a double.  Wally Joyner was 3-for-5 with a double, a walk, three runs, and three RBIs.  John Orton was 2-for-4 with a double.  Scott Bailes struck out two in two shutout innings, giving up one hit.

The game:  With two out in the first inning, Joyner singled, Winfield homered, and Lance Parrish homered to put the Angels up 3-0.  The Twins responded in the bottom of the first, as Knoblauch drew a one-out walk and Puckett hit a two-run homer, cutting the margin to 3-2.

California seemed to take control of the game in the third.  Dick Schofield led off with a single and Luis Sojo followed with an RBI triple.  With one out, Winfield hit a two-run homer.  It did not kill the rally, as Parrish walked, Gaetti doubled, and Junior Felix had an RBI single to make the score 7-2 Angels.  Winfield homered again leading off the fifth, and California led 8-2.

The Twins got back into the game in the bottom of the seventh.  With one out, Gagne doubled and scored on a Dan Gladden single-plus-error.  Knoblauch had an RBI single, went to second on a wild pitch, and scored on Puckett's single.  Hrbek then hit a two-run homer, and the Twins trailed by just 8-7.

But as quickly as the Twins got back into the game, they were back out of it.  Orton led off the sixth with a single and went to second on a wild pitch.  With one out, Donnie Hill doubled to score Orton and Joyner singled to score Hill.  Winfield followed with a double, Parrish was intentionally walked, Gaetti drove in a run with a single, and Felix hit a sacrifice fly.  The Angels were back up by five at 12-7.

The Twins again tried to come back.  Harper doubled to lead off the bottom of the sixth.  Randy Bush walked.  Gagne had an RBI single to make it 12-8.  A double play threatened to take them out of the inning, but Knoblauch walked and a wild pitch made it 12-9.  Puckett grounded out, however, and the inning ended.

That was the last threat the Twins would have.  California added three in the ninth, as Dave Gallagher had a bunt single, Hill drew a two-out walk, Joyner delivered a two-run double, and Winfield added an RBI single.

WP:  Bailes (1-0).  LP:  Mark Guthrie (0-1).  S:  None.

Notes:  Puckett was in center field.  Bush was in right, replacing Shane Mack.

Gagne raised his average to .417.  Chili Davis was 1-for-4 and was batting .353.  Knoblauch raised his average to .353.  Puckett was batting .350.  Scott Leius pinch-hit and was 0-for-1, making his average .333.

On the other end, Gladden got his first hit of the season and was batting .059.  Hrbek was batting .158.  Bush was 0-for-2 with a walk and was batting .167.

Guthrie pitched just 2.1 innings, giving up six runs on seven hits.  He did not walk anyone (maybe he should have) and struck out three.  This would be his last year as a starter, and by the end of June he would become a full-time reliever.  He went on to have a long career in the bullpen, lasting through 2003.  In addition to the Twins, he played for the Dodgers, Boston, the Cubs, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Oakland, the Mets, and the Cubs again.  He would reach the post-season five times.

I have zero memory of John Orton.  He was a backup catcher for parts of five seasons, all with the Angels.  He appears to have been your standard no-hit backup backstop.  In AA he batted .230/.314/.406.  In AAA he batted .230/.315/.354.  In the majors he batted .200/.265/.274.  His career spanned 1989-1993.  In his five big-league years, he appeared in 156 games and had 448 plate appearances.  He stayed in baseball after his playing career ended, managing in the White Sox organization from 2001-2005.  He became the Sox' minor league catching coordinator in 2011 and continues to hold that position.

Record:  The Twins were 2-3, in fifth place in the American League West, 2.5 games behind California.

1991 Rewind: Game Four

MINNESOTA 6, CALIFORNIA 0 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Friday, April 12.

Batting stars:  Kirby Puckett was 3-for-4 with a double and two runs.  Scott Leius was 2-for-4 with a triple.  Chili Davis was 2-for-4.

PItching star:  Kevin Tapani struck out nine in a complete game shutout, giving up seven hits and no walks.  He threw 113 pitches.

Opposition stars:  Luis Sojo was 2-for-4.  Floyd Bannister pitched two perfect innings of relief.

The game:  The Twins took the lead in the first inning.  With one out, Chuck Knoblauch walked, Puckett doubled, and Davis had an RBI infield single, putting the Twins up 1-0.  In the second, back-to-back triples by Leius and Greg Gagne made it 2-0.

The Angels put me on first and third with one out in the third, but Sojo lined to second and Wally Joyner struck out.  The Twins opened the bottom of the third with singles by Puckett and Davis, who went to second on an error.  Brian Harper hit a sacrifice fly which also advanced Davis to third, and a ground out made the score 4-0.  The Twins added two more in the fifth.  Knoblauch and Puckett singled, a one-out intentional walk to Harper loaded the bases, and with two out Kent Hrbek delivered a two-run single, increasing the Twins lead to 6-0.  California never threatened to get back into the game.

WP:  Tapani (1-0).  LP:  Jim Abbott (0-1).  S:  None.

Notes:  Shane Mack remained in center with Puckett in right.

Leius was batting .400.  Davis was batting .385.  Gagne was 1-for-3 and was batting .375.  Puckett was batting .333.

On the other end of the scale  Dan Gladden and Mack were both batting zero.  Harper was at .125.  Hrbek was at .143.

Floyd Bannister was near the end of a pretty good career.  He broke in with Houston in 1977 and finished fourth in Rookie of the Year voting (behind Andre Dawson, Steve Henderson, and Gene Richards).  He was traded to Seattle after the 1978 season, and in four seasons there he went 40-50, 3.75, 1.29 WHIP.  He made the all-star team in 1982, when he led the league in strikeouts with 209.  He became a free agent after that season and signed with Chicago, where he played for five seasons.  He was 66-60, 4.05, 1.29 WHIP in those seasons.  The 1983 season was probably his best:  16-10, 3.35, 1.21 WHIP.  He had another good year in 1987, but was traded to Kansas City after that season.  He had a poor season in 1988, missed more than half of 1989 due to injury, pitched in Japan in 1990, then came back to pitch for the Angels.  He again missed time with injuries, although he did okay when he was able to pitch.  He had a poor year with Texas in 1992, then was done.  For his career, he was 134-143, 4.06, 1.33 WHIP in 2388 innings (431 games, 363 starts).  His son, Brian, was a major league pitcher from 2006-2010.  At last report, Floyd Bannister was managing Brian's professional photography studio in Phoenix.  He was inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008, a Hall of Fame class that also included ex-Twin Eddie Bane.

Record:  The Twins were 2-2, in fifth place in the American League West, 1.5 games behind the White Sox.

1991 Rewind: Game Three

OAKLAND 3, MINNESOTA 0 IN OAKLAND

Date:  Thursday, April 11.

Batting stars:  None.  The Twins had five hits, all singles, and no Twin had more than one.

Pitching star:  Scott Erickson pitched seven innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on eight hits and a walk and striking out three.

Opposition stars:  Joe Slusarski pitched seven shutout innings, giving up five hits and three walks and striking out two.  Dennis Eckersley pitched two perfect innings and struck out one.  Mike Gallego was 2-for-3 with a triple.  Jamie Quirk was 2-for-4.

The game:  The Athletics threatened in the second, as Willie Wilson reached on an error and Quirk singled him to third, but a strikeout and a ground out ended the threat.  The Twins mounted a small threat in the fourth.  Randy Bush led off with a single but was erased on a double play.  With two out, Kent Hrbek singled and Chili Davis walked, but Mike Pagliarulo lined out to end the inning.

Oakland broke through in the fourth, scoring when Mark McGwire doubled, went to third on a ground out, and scored on a passed ball.  They got singles from Gallego and Ernie Riles in the fifth, but could not add to the lead.  The Twins had their biggest threat in the seventh.  Davis led off with a walk, went to second on a ground out, and reached third with two out on a wild pitch.  Junior Ortiz then walked, but Al Newman hit back to the pitcher for the third out.

The Athletics got insurance runs in the eighth and ninth.  Quirk led off the eighth with a single and scored on Gallego's triple.  In the ninth, Jose Canseco walked and scored from first on a Harold Baines double.  The Twins did not get a baserunner after the seventh.

WP:  Slusarski (1-0).  LP:  Erickson (0-1).  S:  Eckersley (1).

Notes:  Bush was in left, replacing Dan Gladden.  Yes, it was a day game.  Gene Larkin was in right, replacing Shane Mack, with Kirby Puckett playing center.  Gladden pinch-ran for Larkin in the fifth and took over in left, with Bush moving to right.  Larkin was apparently injured running the bases, as he would not play again until April 20.

Ortiz was behind the plate in place of Brian Harper.  Newman was at short in place of Greg Gagne.  In addition to this being a day game, TK always liked to get his bench players into a game within the first few days of the start of the season, which makes good sense to me.

Davis was 0-for-2 with two walks, making his average 333.  Newman was 1-for-3 and so was also batting .333.

Rickey Henderson was caught stealing in the third inning.  For the series he was 1-for-3 in stealing bases.

It has also been many a year since I thought about Joe Slusarski.  This was his major league debut, and A's fans must have thought they really had something.  They didn't.   He pitched well through April, but he finished 5-7, 5.27, 1.58 WHIP.  It was the only year in which he pitched more than a hundred innings or made more than fifteen starts.  He started 1992 in the Oakland rotation but was sent back to the minors in late June and would never be part of a major league rotation again.  He bounced around, playing in the organizations of Philadelphia, Cleveland, Milwaukee, California, and Milwaukee again, appearing in two major league games for Oakland in 1993 and twelve for Philadelphia in 1995.  He was moved to the bullpen in 1995 and stayed there the rest of his career.  He played in Taiwan in 1997, then came back to sign with Houston for 1998.  He got three games with the Astros in 1999 and was actually in the majors for most of 2000, appearing in 54 games and going 2-7, 4.21, 1.33 WHIP.  He would appear in twelve more games in 2001, eight for Houston and four for Atlanta, then his playing career was over. He was a minor league pitching coach from 2003-2009.  For his career, he was 13-21, 5.18, 1.53 WHIP in 305.2 innings (118 games, 34 starts).  It sounds like he was often trying to pitch through injuries, and that it worked about as well as it usually does.  At last report, Joe Slusarski was living in Austin, Texas and working in contract sales.

Record:  The Twins were 1-2, in fifth place in the American League West, two games behind California.