I used a random number generator to pick a season from the past with the idea that I would quickly highlight the Twins history that occurred today in that year. The generator sent me to the year 1998.
The Twins concluded a sixth-consecutive losing season in 1998 and began to finally embrace a full rebuild. Relatively cheap veterans Greg Swindell, Bob Tewksbury, Mike Morgan, Otis Nixon, and Orlando Merced were all traded during the season or allowed to leave as free agents. Paul Molitor finally retired.
The STrib's John Millea noted, "Don't be surprised if the 1999 season is Tom Kelly's last as manager of the team. The payroll is getting smaller, the players are getting younger, and Kelly's patience continues to wear thin. He is at his best when the clubhouse is full of veterans who have been through the wars and earned their stripes. Kelly is not exactly the fatherly type when it comes to youngsters, and sometimes that has resulted in strained relationships that can hinder the ballclub's progress."
Well, that wasn't entirely true. 1999 wasn't Kelly's last season with the team, although the payroll did get smaller and the roster got younger. Who knows how Kelly's patience wore. The sentence about striped veterans is the type of non-factual, journalistic mumbo-jumbo that would make Ken Tremendous a cult hero within years.
On this date, Terry Steinbach had filed for free agency and the Twins were mulling whether to bring him back. Their internal candidates were Javier Valentin and A.J. Pierzynski, and the team did not believe either was fully ready for the next season. Still, the team had been disappointed with Steinbach's production behind the plate the previous two years.
Postscript: On January 4, the Twins finally re-signed Steinbach. Despite being nearly ready, it would take Pierzynski two more years to become the starting catcher mainly due to some, um, maturity issues. One wonders at the official number of "wars" Pierzynski has endured in his career.
Did You Know that David Ortiz played in 86 games, and Torii Hunter played in 6 games that season? On the mound, Eric Milton started 32 games that year. Hunter has been retired for one season, and Ortiz just retired. Milton was just 105 days older than Ortiz, and just 122 days older than Hunter, but has not played in a game since June 27, 2009 even though he earned more than $47 million in his career.
Did You Also Know that the winning pitcher in Milton's last game was King Felix?
Furthermore, Did You Know that the final hitter Milton faced was Junior Griffey?