The Boston Red Sox have the lead in this year’s Fall Classic. If you’re tired of seeing the rich get richer, indulge me for a moment and let’s remember a time when a good Red Sox team had no answer for an up-and-coming Twins team.
The year is 1990. The Twins won it all in 1987 and finished strong in 1988 behind a runaway Oakland A’s team in the former AL West. But the Twins slipped a bit in ‘89 and ‘90.
Still, on May 25, the Red Sox, who featured Wade Boggs, Mike Greenwell, Ex-Twin Tom Brunansky, Tony Pena, Dwight Evans and Ellis Burks, rolled into the Metrodome and were flattened in two hours and twenty minutes before 31,000, according to Baseball-Reference.com.
The Twins scored three runs in the bottom of the first and were off and running to ultimately blast Beantown, 16-0.
The Twins scored 16 runs on 19 hits. Seven Twins had at least two hits, including Dan Gladden, Shane Mack, John Moses and Kirby Puckett.
No home runs were hit that day, but Puckett and Mack hit three triples (that’s the Metrodome for you). The Twins also hit better than .500 with runners in scoring position.
The win went to Roy Smith, who spent all of eight seasons in major league baseball, including five seasons with Twins. He pitched a complete game, four-hit shutout.
The Twins finished last in 1990, but won it all in 1991.
-Twins Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey and General Manager Thad Levine, otherwise known as Falvey & Co. on this blog, ended a 30-plus year tradition after they hired a new manager with no ties to the organization. The Twins last did that with Ray Miller in 1985.
The new manager is Rocco Baldelli, a former player and first-base coach for the Tampa Bay Rays, a team that came out of nowhere in 2018 to win 90 games in the AL East, baseball’s toughest division.
The Rays also grabbed major league baseball’s attention after they asked a reliever to start a game and triggered a trend called the “opener.” The thinking behind the opener is that the reliever will face the toughest part of the order and tee up the “primary pitcher” for an effective outing. The trend spread to the Twins and was ultimately used with some success.
Baldelli’s familiarity with analytics was a plus.
According to MLB.com:
Baldelli fits Minnesota’s desire for an analytically inclined manager — he said his experience in scouting and as a coach in Tampa Bay taught him to value information and the ability to effectively use it — and he stressed the importance of creating a positive environment in the clubhouse, an approach he said is key to his philosophy. He cited his experiences with Terry Francona, whom he played for in Boston, and Joe Maddon and Kevin Cash, Rays skippers during Baldelli’s Tampa Bay tenure, as influences on his managerial style.
-After Ray Miller was fired, the Twins’ next three managers had ties to the organization. They were Tom Kelly, Ron Gardenhire and Paul Molitor