Tag Archives: Tom Kelly

Happy Birthday–August 15

Charles Comiskey (1859)
Doggie Miller (1864)
Jack Warner (1872)
Bill Sherdel (1896)
Jim Snyder (1932)
Joey Jay (1935)
Jose Santiago (1940)
Cap Peterson (1942)
Duffy Dyer (1945)
Joe Lis (1946)
Billy Conigliaro (1947)
Tom Kelly (1950)
Joe Cowley (1958)
Randy Johnson (1958)
Jeff Huson (1964)
Scott Brosius (1966)
Chris Singleton (1972)
Oliver Perez (1981)
Jarrod Dyson (1984)

This would have been Mom and Dad A's seventy-fourth  wedding anniversary.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–August 15

Random Rewind: 1975, Game Sixty-nine


Date:  Friday, June 27.

Batting stars:  Dan Ford was 3-for-4 with a walk and three RBIs.  Jerry Terrell was 3-for-4 with two RBIs.  Lyman Bostock was 2-for-5 with two doubles and two runs.

Pitching star:  Vic Albury pitched 4.1 innings of relief, giving up an unearned run on one hit and no walks and striking out four.

Opposition star:  Roy Howell was 2-for-4 with two doubles and two runs.

The game:  The Twins took the lead in the first inning.  Bostock led off with a double, went to third on a pickoff error, and scored on a sacrifice fly to make it 1-0.  The Twins opened the second with two singles, but a strikeout/throwout double play took them out of the inning.  In the third, Glenn Borgmann led off with a triple and Bostock followed with a double.  Ford delivered a two-out single to put the Twins ahead 3-0.

The Rangers got on the board in the fourth when Cesar Tovar doubled and scored on a Mike Hargrove single.  Texas then took the lead in the fifth.  Tom Grieve led off with a single and scored from first on Howell's double.  Roy Smalley's RBI single tied it, and singles by Jim Sundberg and Mike Cubbage put the Rangers up 4-3.

The lead didn't survive the next half-inning, though.  Steve Braun walked, went to second on a ground out, and scored the tying run when Terrell singled.  Terrell went to second on the throw home, took third on a ground out, and scored on a wild pitch (Twins Baseball!) to give the Twins a 5-4 advantage.

Texas tied it in the seventh when Howell doubled and scored on an error.  It stayed 5-5 until the ninth.  With two out, Rod Carew walked, Steve Brye singled, and Eric Soderholm walked, loading the bases.  Ford then delivered a two-run single and Terrell had an RBI single to make the score 8-5.  The Rangers went down in order in the ninth, and in fact their last nine batters were retired.

WP:  Albury (5-4).  LP:  Jim Umbarger (4-4).  S:  None.

Notes:  Tom Kelly was at first base in place of John Briggs, who was out for a week or so.  Briggs had come over in a trade from Milwaukee a couple of weeks earlier.  Sadly, we did not hit the game in which Kelly hit his home run--he was 0-for-3.  He would go back to the minors about two weeks later.

Terrell was at third base in place of Soderholm.  Steve Braun, normally in left field, was the DH in place of Tony Oliva.  That moved Bostock from right to left and put Brye in right.

Soderholm pinch-hit for Braun in the seventh.  Danny Walton pinch-hit for Kelly in the eighth and stayed in the game at first base.  Luis Gomez came in for defense in the ninth, replacing Danny Thompson at short.

Carew was batting .369.  He would finish at .359.  Terrell was batting .327.  He would finish at .286.  Braun was batting .303.  He would finish at .302.  Larry Hisle would bat .314 in 255 at-bats.  The Twins batted .271, which was second in the league to Boston's .275.

Ford led the team with just 15 home runs.  Carew was right behind at 14 and Oliva was next with 13.  SoderholmBraun, and Hisle each had 11.  The Twins hit 121 home runs, which was eighth in the league.  Cleveland led with 153.  California was last with only 55 home runs.

Bert Blyleven led the staff, going 15-10, 3.00.  Jim Hughes was 16-14, 3.82--Twins fans really thought he was going to be something.  Having him throw 250 innings with 12 complete games at age 23 might not have been such a bright idea.  Dave Goltz, who started this game, went 14-14, 3.67.  The fourth starter spot was split between Ray Corbin and Albury, neither of whom got much accomplished.  Tom Burgmeier and Bill Campbell handled closing chores, and while they did fine they didn't get much help.  The Twins' team ERA was 4.05, tenth in the league.  Baltimore led at 3.17.  The Twins were ninth in WHIP at 1.40.  Baltimore led there, too at 1.23.

As you probably noticed, there are players with connections to the Twins playing for Texas:  Cesar Tovar, Mike Cubbage, Roy Smalley, and Bill Hands, who started the game for the Rangers.

The Twins lost the first game of the doubleheader 2-0.  This was one of only two wins out of eleven games.

Record:  The Twins were 32-37, in fourth place in the American League West, 12.5 games behind Oakland.  They would finish 76-83, in fourth place, 20.5 games behind Oakland.

The Rangers were 35-38, in third place in the American League West, 11.5 games behind Oakland.  They would finish 79-83, in third place, 19 games behind Oakland.

Random record:  The Twins are 59-52 in Random Rewind games.

1991 Rewind: Game Sixty-six


Date:  Wednesday, June 19.

Batting stars:  Mike Pagliarulo was 2-for-3 with a hit-by-pitch.  Kent Hrbek was 2-for-5 with a double.  Chili Davis was 1-for-5 with a three-run homer, his sixteenth.

Pitching star:  Jack Morris pitched a complete game, giving up four runs on six hits and three walks and striking out six.

Opposition stars:  Jeff Robinson pitched 7.2 innings, giving up three runs on five hits and no walks and striking out five.  David Segui was 2-for-3.  Leo Gomez was 1-for-2 with a two-run homer (his third), two walks, and two runs.

The game:  The Twins again jumped out to an early lead with a two-out first inning rally.  Kirby Puckett was hit by a pitch, Hrbek singled, and Davis hit a three-run homer to give the Twins a 3-0 lead.  The Twins threatened to blow it open early, as in the second they put men on second and third with one out, but a short fly ball and a strikeout ended the threat.  The failure allowed the Orioles to get back into the game, as Joe Orsulak drew a one-out walk in the bottom of the second and Gomez followed with a two-run homer, cutting the lead to 3-2.

Baltimore threatened to tie it in the fifth, as Gomez led off with a walk and Segui singled, but a long fly out and a double play ended the threat.  The Orioles did more than threaten in the seventh.  With one out Orsulak singled and Gomez walked.  Consecutive RBI singles by Segui and Ernie Whitt put Baltimore ahead 4-3.  The score remained there through eight innings.

But in the ninth the Twins came back, with plenty of help from the Orioles.  They began the inning with singles by Brian HarperGene Larkin, and Pagliarulo to tie it 4-4.  With one out, a wild pitch moved the runners to second and third, resulting in an intentional walk to Randy Bush.  A wild pitch-plus-error scored two runs and yet another wild pitch scored a third run, making the score 7-4.  Shane Mack then singled and scored from first on Puckett's single, making it 8-4.  Baltimore went down in order in the bottom of the ninth.

WP:  Morris (9-5).  LP:  Olson (0-3).  S:  None.

Notes:  Al Newman replaced Chuck Knoblauch at second base, and his .286 OBP was placed in the leadoff spot.  He went 0-for-4.  Mack was in left in place of Dan Gladden and batted second.  Pedro Munoz started in right.

The Twins made a bunch of changes in the ninth inning.  Gene Larkin pinch-hit for MunozKnoblauch then pinch-ran for Larkin and went to second base.  Gladden pinch-ran for Harper and stayed in the game in left field, with Mack moving to right.  Bush pinch-hit for Newman.

Harper was 1-for-4 and was batting .344.  Puckett was 1-for-4 and was batting .328.

As I go through Morris' games, I wonder if Tom Kelly was a little intimidated by him.  Maybe not, maybe Kelly just had that much confidence in him.  But Morris was allowed to stay in games much longer than any other pitcher would have been, even in 1991, and this is one example of that.  Morris had pitched well for six innings and the Twins led 3-2.  He struck out the first batter he faced, but then he gave up a hit.  Then he walked a batter.  His pitch count was approaching a hundred.  But he stayed in the game.  Then he gave up another hit, tying the score and putting men on first and third.  Still, he stayed in the game.  He gave up another hit, losing the lead.  Still, he stayed in the game.  He got a double play to end the inning, then cruised through the eighth and ninth.  The Twins came back and won, so it worked out, but there's no other pitcher who would've been allowed to stay in the game through the seventh inning.

This was Davis' seventh home run in June.  He would go on to hit ten in June, more than a third of his season total and twice as many as he would hit in any other month.  His other June numbers were not particularly outstanding--in June he batted .253/.345/.596, his season numbers were .277/.385/.507.  I don't know that we can contribute his June homers to anything but coincidence, but it's kind of interesting.

The Twins had now won seventeen of eighteen and twenty of twenty-two.

Record:  The Twins were 40-26, in first place in the American League West, 1.5 games ahead of Oakland.

1987 ALCS Champs’ Domecoming

I found this gem shortly after JeffA started his 1987 Rewind. This evening seemed like the appropriate time to share it. I didn't want to detract from Jeff's content, and in any case figured there were enough goodies that this would be worth its own post. Hope you don't mind, Chaps.

3 votes, average: 10.00 out of 103 votes, average: 10.00 out of 103 votes, average: 10.00 out of 103 votes, average: 10.00 out of 103 votes, average: 10.00 out of 103 votes, average: 10.00 out of 103 votes, average: 10.00 out of 103 votes, average: 10.00 out of 103 votes, average: 10.00 out of 103 votes, average: 10.00 out of 10 (3 votes, average: 10.00 out of 10)
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November 21, 1998: Random Day in Twins History

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?

February 21, 1993: Random Day in Twins History

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 1993.

On this date in 1993, pitchers and catchers had reported to Ft. Myers but position players were not expected for another four days. However, forty-one year old Dave Winfield, the big off-season acquisition for the Twins, reported to camp.  The only two regulars who were not in Ft. Myers by this point were Pedro Munoz (expected tomorrow) and Scott Erickson who was attending a wedding.

Winfield brought a first-basemen's mitt with him to camp despite having only played ten innings in his entire career - all in 1978 - at the position.  Tom Kelly told the media that he anticipated that Kent Hrbek would play 120 games at first base in 1993 with his other appearances being at DH while Winfield would play about 120 games at DH with his other games at either first base or right field.*  Winfield told reporters that he had not picked up a bat the entire offseason, but worked out often to remain in shape.

*Winfield would play just thirty-two innings at first base during the regular season.  Hrbek started 110 games at first base that year with David McCarty, Gene Larkin and Terry Jorgensen each making more appearances at first base than Winfield.

Winfield had driven in the game-winning run in Game 7 of the previous World Series for Toronto, and Kelly expected another strong offensive season from Winfield.  When asked if Winfield's performance would decrease because of his age, Kelly said, "If he had a decline last year from the previous year, then you might be able to say that. But he was in a good lineup and we feel we have pretty much the same kind of lineup, where he should be just as productive. Even if he does tail off a little bit, those would still be pretty good numbers."*

*While Winfield would record his 3,000th hit that season, his OPS dropped 100 points, his OPS+ dropped from 137 to 105, and his WAR dropped almost four wins to replacement level.

Besides the addition of Winfield, another hot topic was Tom Kelly's discussion about Kirby Puckett's future.  Kelly suggested that he might transition Puckett to right field over the course of the season.  In typical Kelly double-speak, he rambled, "I'd always consider it.  I'm going to talk to him about it.  If he wants to move I might move him.  But then I might not.  It wouldn't seem right.  It just doesn't seem like the Twins if you move him from there.  It's like a peanut butter sandwich - you're supposed to have jelly."*

*Kelly did eventually move Puckett to right field over the course of the season, and Puckett would start just three games in center field after 1993.  The move occurred over the All-Star Break as Puckett started just three games in centerfield over the next two months.  Curiously, he then shifted back to centerfield for his final sixteen starts in September.

The organization prided itself on its focus on simplicity and working hard.  Having won at least ninety games in each of the previous two seasons, and a World Series title, the Twins expected to compete in the AL West again.  Still, the front office conceded that its success hinged on young pitching.

"The top three [of Scott Erickson, Kevin Tapani, and Jim Deshaies] I think will be fine," VP of Player Personnel Terry Ryan said. "Whether or not the other three guys [Pat Mahomes, Willie Banks, and Mike Trombley] will provide us with solid fourth and fifth starters is the big question. If they give us consistency at that four spot then we're certainly going to be competitive. Any time you throw our offense out there, then we're going to be OK."

The team also planned to realign the left side of its infield as Scott Leius attempted to shift from third base to shortstop while Terry Jorgensen would start at third base.*  The Twins also suggested that they were attempted to acquire Dave Hansen from the Dodgers to work into the third base logjam.  Discussing the rotation and lineup, Ryan explained, "We have some question marks on the left side of our infield, and we are awfully righthanded, both on the mound and with our bats.  But I think we'll show that if you can hit, it doesn't matter whether you bat right or left."

*Leius only played in eight games that season and Pat Meares took over at SS during the year.  Jorgensen struggled at third while splitting time with Mike Pagliarulo and Jeff Reboulet.

June 27, 1988: Random Day in Twins History

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 1988.

Angels 16, Twins 7 - BR boxscore

In a game with an odd 5:10pm start time, the Angels hitters teed off against Minnesota pitchers.  The Twins pitchers combined to allow 24 baserunners in 7 innings.  A performance made all the more shameful when Dan Gladden pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning.  In fact, the Twins ended the game with the following defensive lineup:

P-Gladden; C-Brian Harper; 1B-Kelvin Torve; 2B-Steve Lombardozzi; 3B-Al Newman; SS-Greg Gagne; LF-Mark Davidson; CF-John Moses; RF-Randy Bush

Tony Armas managed to go 0-for-5 for the Angels even though the other eight players in their starting lineup all had scored at least one run and had at least one hit by the fourth inning.  Bob Boone had four hits while batting ninth for the Angels.  It was his first four-hit game in more than four years.  He may have been exacting revenge against the Twins for not signing his son, Bret, after they had drafted him in the 27th round the previous year.  Bret would ultimately get the last laugh with his comically inept cameo in a Twins uniform at the end of his career.

Kirk McCaskill "earned" the win by throwing 102 pitches while staggering through 5 innings and allowing 10 hits and 4 runs.  When asked after the game, McCaskill told reporters, "[T]oday I was pretty sorry."

The Angels 5-run third inning featured two walks and three different hits that made contact with Twins in the infield (Johnnie Ray singled off Torve's glove, Jack Howell singled off Lombardozzi's glove and Devon White singled off starter Fred Toliver's leg).

Torve hit his only Major League homerun in the seventh inning off future-Twins minor league coach Stew Cliburn.  Randy Bush reached base four times (including getting hit by his fifth pitch of the season) and the most important man in America had three hits, including a double.

Finally, reliever Jim Winn made his Twins debut allowing six hits in one inning of relief work after entering after Devon White's abovementioned third inning single with the game tied 3-3 and runners on the corner.  Winn had been a first round pick for the Pirates in 1981 (four spots after the Twins drafted Mike Sodders) and had been signed as AAA filler after getting cut at the end of Spring Training by the White Sox.  He stuck around with the Twins for a month, and then got another cup of coffee in September to end his Major League career.  Tom Kelly managed to use Winn nine times that season in relief and never brought him into another game UNLESS the Twins were already losing.  TK knew how to use a groundskeeper.

Randon Thing I Noticed While Researching This Date: In 1988, Tom Nieto had four singles and a walk in 62 plate appearances as a backup catcher.  If only the Twins could have someone of Brian Harper's ability to come up and replace Butters...

2011 Game 33: Red Sox 2, Twins 1 (11)

Weather: 60°F, cloudy
Wind: 16 mph, in from CF
Attendance: 37,276
Time: 3:55

Twins record: 12-21 (tied for last in AL Central, 10.0 GB)
Fangraphs boxscore | MLB Game Wrap


  • Highest WPA, hitter: Span .150 (2-4, R, BB) | Highest WPA, pitcher: Mijares .299 (2.0 IP, H, BB)
  • Outfield defense - Revere's diving catch and Span's sliding catch


  • Lowest WPA, hitter: Tolbert, -.346 (0-5, 1 SO) | Lowest WPA, pitcher: Hoey, -.350 (0.1 IP, H, BB, ER)
  • Tolbert: still batting second
  • MLB's continued employment of Angel Hernandez and Joe West

BOSTON -- The latest rumblings out of the Twins' clubhouse are something else indeed. General Manager Bill Smith accidentally ran his iPhone through the visitor's clubhouse washing machine in Chicago last week after spilling a Chicago-style hot dog on his pants. Smith immediately put the device in a box of rice, to no avail, and had to reluctantly borrow infielder Matt Tolbert's phone so he could make some calls and find a new catcher. Steve Holm wasn't quite Corky Miller bad in his brief appearance, but Bill Smith eventually figured out he wasn't an answer to any question worth asking. Tolbert reportedly told Smith he doesn't make enough for the Twins' GM to call 411 and ask for the Rangers' front office (more on this in a moment), but could swing a call to AAA Rochester as long as it happened on his plan's nights & weekends minutes.

Red Wings infielder Toby Gardenhire is apparently #3 on Tolbert's speed dial, right behind Voicemail (#1) and former teammate Nick Punto (#2). Smith accordingly placed his call to Gardenhire the Younger, who relayed the request for a catcher to Red Wings manager Tom Nieto. Nieto, himself a former Twin, initially volunteered his own services, but apparently requested a few days to iron the fungoes out of his swing, time that Smith just wasn't willing to waste.

In his first season with the Twins, Nieto briefly served as Tim Laudner's backup and outhit regular backup Sal Butera late in the season (.071/.188/.143 for Nieto vs. .063/.118/.125 for Butera in Sept/Oct) before being inexplicably left off the playoff roster. Nieto actually paced Twins catchers in hitting and on-base percentage that year, posting a .200/.276/.314 line to Laudner's .191/.252/.389 and Sal Butera's .171/.217/.243 mark. Overall, Nieto posted an OPS+ of 17 in his Twins career, which spanned 183 plate appearances between 1987-88. When reached for comment, Nieto said, "I out-hit Sal Butera in 1987, and I believe in the depths of my soul I can out-hit his son in 2011." Drew Butera currently owns a positively Buterian .172/.213/.251 line. "But the Twins value defense behind the plate," Nieto continued, "and I accumulated -0.2 dWAR in my Twins career, so Bill Smith elected to pursue other options."

So, that's why Rene Rivera is now with the Twins. But why Rivera instead of, say, Rangers catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli, who has only 63 at bats (but 6 HR) this season despite a career 119 OPS+ and a .238 ISO? Napoli, only 29, is likely still in his hitting prime, and despite whatever Mike Scioscia - Napoli's former manager - thinks, he appears to be a serviceable catcher. Unfortunately, Smith laundered his iPhone and apparently hasn't yet worked up the nerve to tell Jim Pohlad, Dave St. Peter, or Wade Navratil, the Twins' Senior Director of Technology. Of course, Smith could always look up Rangers GM Jon Daniels' number in his laptop's address book, or drop Daniels an email for that matter, but an unnamed source in the Twins' front office divulged that Smith has forgotten how to turn his laptop on. According to another source in the Twins' front office, former Twins GM Terry Ryan and former Twins manager Tom Kelly have offered to call former Twins GM Andy MacPhail, currently the Orioles' President of Baseball Operations, about the availability of Matt "Mauer with Power" Wieters, but Smith has repeatedly expressed the desire to put his own stamp on the club.


This week's View from the Ballpark:

photo by Flickr user LugoLounge
I know at least 5 6 7 10 Hall of Famers played here. | photo by Flickr user LugoLounge

Remember, no embiggening.