April 13, 2020

April 10, 1982, a date which will live in infamy (for Twins fans, that is)

The 39th anniversary of a fateful trade made by the Minnesota Twins came and went last week, a date that likely slipped past many Twins fans.

But not this fan. That’s because I’ll never forget sitting in the Kingdome with my father, watching the Twins increase their lead over the Seattle Mariners to 7-4 as both teams headed to the bottom of the ninth inning. It wasn’t long before the Mariners loaded the bases with Twins reliever, Ron Davis, on the mound, and it wasn’t long after that when the M’s Phil Bradley crushed a grand slam home run off Davis for an 8-7 win. And then the promotional M’s cap, which I had received at the gate, was removed from my head and cast into the night sky by my 16-year-old self, both in disbelief and disappointment that the Twins had lost.

That was in 1985. But the deal that brought Davis to Minnesota took place on April 10, 1982. The Twins sent Roy Smalley and Gary Serum to the New York Yankees in exchange for Davis, infielder Greg Gagne, who would win two World Series with the Twins, and pitcher Paul Boris.

There was reason for optimism. Davis was 14-2 with a 2.85 ERA in 1979 and a former all-star with the Yankees. But it didn’t take Davis long to establish a much different pattern with the Twins that first season. The Twins were terrible in 1982 and likely felt that Davis would go a long way in helping the Twins bullpen. It didn’t exactly work out that way.

Davis made a scoreless appearance for the Twins on April 14, 1982, and then it was mostly downhill from there. By May 28, he was 1-4 with three saves and an ERA of 4.02. On that same day, the New York Yankees came to town to play the first of two games at the Metrodome.

The Twins and Yankees battled to a 5-5 tie heading into the top of the ninth inning with Davis on the mound. Davis got one out in the eighth and was back to face the Yanks in the ninth. It wasn’t pretty. He allowed five runs, all earned, on four hits, including a grand slam off the bat of Yankee third baseman, Graig Nettles. The final was 10-5.

Davis finished 1982 with a record of 3-9, 22 saves, five blown saves and an ERA of 4.42.

April 6, 2020

Building Brad Radke, a history lesson

Forced to stay home during the outbreak, I finally took it upon myself to repair my Brad Radke bobblehead, which had been missing its left arm for years. It wasn’t like I had lost it, though. The left arm sat on the shelf next to the rest of the bobblehead, waiting to be reattached. Strange... Continue Reading »

March 30, 2020

The day Camilo Pascual struck out 15 on opening day, 1960

A season before the Washington Senators picked up stakes and moved to Minnesota, the Washington team kicked off its final season in D.C. in style, courtesy of a 26-year-old Cuban curveballer named, Camilo Pascual. Pascual’s pitching that day was good enough for inclusion on Baseball-Reference.com’s top opening day pitching performances. He won 17 games the... Continue Reading »

March 29, 2020

The day the Twins’ Brant Alyea went 4-for-4 in 1970

I wasn’t sure I was going to come up with a Twins-related nugget to write about this week as baseball sits on the sidelines, waiting, like we all are, for the curve of the coronavirus to flatten. But then the Baseball-Reference.com newsletter landed in my inbox and there it was: a little item about top... Continue Reading »

March 23, 2020

Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce, Mr. Phil Hughes (applause)

Former starting pitcher, Phil Hughes, who is perhaps best known as an ex-Yankee, was also long-coveted by the Twins. And he finally joined the Minnesota team as a free agent in 2013, then put together a record-setting season in 2014 on a club that lost 92 games. Hughes would win 16 games that season with... Continue Reading »

March 16, 2020

This season is about to suck, Twins fans

Spring training has been canceled, the regular season delayed and now the clock is ticking on whether the entire season will be cast aside to deal with a rapidly spreading coronavirus. What a shame that will be if the season is canceled because the Twins, after having one of the best offseasons in years (maybe... Continue Reading »

March 9, 2020

Twins veterans appear to get warmer with the weather

On a 75-degree Sunday, Twins starting pitcher Kenta Maeda turned in his best pitching performance of the spring, hurling four scoreless innings of two-hit baseball with no walks. He also struck out six of the 13 Boston batters he faced, in what would eventually be a 7-6, Red Sox win. Perhaps not lost on any... Continue Reading »

March 2, 2020

It’s Twins/Yankees again, folks (my favorite obsession)

Amid the business of spring training — lineups with lots of new faces and veterans slowly working their way back from the offseason — a tweet caught my eye. Yankee Stadium, 1967, a few short year before it would be totally reconfigured (1974-75). #Yankees pic.twitter.com/QYpxwdpiuS — MLBcathedrals (@MLBcathedrals) February 27, 2020 This time it was... Continue Reading »

February 24, 2020

I will not read too much into spring training, I will not read too much into spring training, I will not…

Three “spring” games are already in the books for your 2020 Minnesota Twins, including a win over the Pittsburgh Pirates and a 5-5 tie on Sunday versus the Toronto Blue Jays. A Twins lineup of youngsters and prospects also had no trouble against the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers, beating the college team 16-0. Baseball... Continue Reading »

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Hi, I’m Rolf Boone, Twins fan.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.