December 21, 2015

Former MLB pitcher Philip Humber turns 33 today. Happy birthday, Phil.

Despite winning only 16 games in eight seasons, Philip Humber, who happens to turn 33 today, will be remembered for throwing the 21st perfect game in Major League history. He accomplished that feat for the Chicago White Sox on April 21, 2012, beating the Seattle Mariners 4-0.

Humber threw 96 pitches over nine innings and struck out nine, according to Baseball-Reference.com.

Before that, though, Humber was once a highly touted prospect out of Rice University, who later became a footnote in a trade with the Twins for former Cy Young award winner Johan Santana.

AAAA8462_Philip_Humber
Phil Humber with the Twins.

Humber was all that and more at Rice University, finishing his pitching career for the Owls with a record of 35-8 and a 2.80 ERA. He also struck out 422 batters in 354 innings pitched.

Those heady numbers made him the target of the New York Mets who selected him 3rd overall in the 2004 amateur draft. But professional sports are filled with the stories of talented athletes who never become stars at the next level. That applied to Humber who appeared in five games for the Mets over two seasons.

The Twins, meanwhile, knowing that they will be outbid for Johan Santana’s talents in the free-agent market, decide to trade him to the Mets for four players: Humber, Carlos Gomez, Deolis Guerra and Kevin Mulvey. How did that deal work out for the Twins? Not so well.

The incredibly fast Gomez is the only player to amount to anything, but he now plays for the Milwaukee Brewers. Gomez likely will be best remembered in Minnesota for scoring the winning run against the Detroit Tigers in Game 163 of the 2009 season. The Twins and Tigers were tied after 162 games played, which required that they play one more. Sports Illustrated voted it the best regular-season game of the decade.

Humber was on that 2009 team as well, but it would be his last with the Twins. In two seasons, he appeared in 13 games, but didn’t figure in any wins or losses. His ERA with the Twins was 6.10.

Humber’s Major League totals: a win-loss record of 16-23, a 5.31 ERA, one complete game (the perfect game) and 371 innings pitched for the Mets, Twins, Royals, White Sox and Astros.

Photo credit: By Keith Allison on Flickr (Originally posted to Flickr as “AAAA8462”) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

December 16, 2015

Thirteen years ago this month the Twins released David Ortiz

All professional sports teams have their share of bad personnel moves: paying too much for a free agent, getting stuck on the wrong end of a bad trade or letting go of a player who becomes a much improved player elsewhere. Some teams (see the Seattle Mariners) struggle with their personnel moves more than other... Continue Reading »

December 13, 2015

Michael Cuddyer says farewell to playing baseball on The Players’ Tribune

After suddenly announcing his retirement, Michael Cuddyer, a former member of the Twins for 11 seasons, explained his decision Saturday on The Players’ Tribune. It’s a nice piece called “Play Hard and Dream Big” that touches on the game, his approach to it and the path to becoming a professional and professionalism — something the... Continue Reading »

December 12, 2015

Winter Meetings come and go for Twins with no deals; team loses relief pitcher Zack Jones to Rule 5 draft; Cuddyer retires

The Winter Meetings in Nashville have come and gone for the Twins with no deals, including the decision to pass on this year’s Rule 5 draft. The team, though, left relief pitcher Zack Jones unprotected and he was taken by the Milwaukee Brewers. Jones, according to MLB.com, was ranked as the Twins’ No. 23 prospect.... Continue Reading »

December 9, 2015

Report: Twins trying to trade pitcher Ricky Nolasco

Starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco, who has been a disappointment for the Twins, apparently is the subject of trade talks, according to the Pioneer Press. Trade destinations include the San Diego Padres for pitcher James Shields, or the Milwaukee Brewers for pitcher Matt Garza. That would make for an interesting swap because the Twins drafted Garza... Continue Reading »

December 7, 2015

Pitcher Mike Pelfrey, formerly with the Twins, signs $16M deal with Detroit Tigers

No tears were shed Sunday after pitcher Mike Pelfrey, formerly with the Twins, signed as a free agent with the Detroit Tigers, agreeing to $16 million over two seasons. I’m not going to go so far as to say good riddance, but he won’t be missed. Pelfrey struggled with the Twins the past three seasons,... Continue Reading »

December 5, 2015

Inquiring minds want to know: Which position will Miguel Sano play?

Soon after the Twins signed and introduced Korean slugger Byung Ho Park, the questions started. Chief among them: If Park plays DH, where do you put Miguel Sano? Sano, the 22-year-old slugger-in-the-making, who hit 18 home runs over 80 games for the Twins last season, stands six-foot-four and weighs around 260 pounds. That’s probably perfect... Continue Reading »

December 2, 2015

Twins strike deal with Korean slugger Byung Ho Park

Well, that was fast. Two days after Korean slugger Byung Ho Park arrived in Minnesota, the Twins and Park have a deal, with Park agreeing to a four-year, $12 million contract, with a club option for 2020, according to MLB.com. All Park has to do now is live up to his end of the bargain... Continue Reading »

December 1, 2015

From South Korea to Minnesota: Will Byung Ho Park sign with the Twins?

Byung Ho Park, the Korean slugger who hit 53 home runs last season for the Nexen Heroes of the Korea Baseball Organization, has landed in Minnesota, according to a published report, and now the Twins and Park will try and strike a deal before a Dec. 8 deadline. The Twins won the right to negotiate... Continue Reading »

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.