The Minnesota Twins Story

This article was written by John Bonnes

This article was published in The National Pastime: Baseball in the North Star State (Minnesota, 2012)

The Minnesota Twins’ first home baseball game was played on April 21, 1961, but that 5–3 loss was the tip of a large and rocky iceberg. Minneapolis and St. Paul civic leaders, yearning for their metro area to be considered “big league,” had been chasing a major league team for almost a decade. It did not go smoothly.

The St. Louis Browns, Philadelphia Athletics, New York Giants, and Cleveland Indians had been wooed unsuccessfully. In their pursuit, the Twin Cities sibling rivalry flared up so that each built a major league  stadium—but neither had a major league team. Civic leaders went so far as to back a new major league, the Continental League, which was to begin play in 1961 along with New York, Denver, Houston, Toronto, and other frustrated metro areas. To short-circuit the new league, Major League Baseball responded by expanding by four teams, but even then it looked like Minnesota would miss the cut. 

When the expansion meetings ended, however, Minnesota had their team. They weren’t awarded one of the expansion teams, but the Washington Senators, owned by Calvin Griffith, were relocating to Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington. To ease the political backlash of that move—the American League owners rightfully feared the nation’s lawmakers retaliating with additional antitrust hearings or potentially punitive legislation—the D.C. area was awarded one of the two American League expansion teams. Griffith and the Twin Cities leaders had been talking about moving his franchise to the region for several years. In the face of pressure from minority owners and politicians, Griffith had never committed. However, with guarantees in place for attendance, moving expenses, and bank credit, the quest had finally been completed. 

The franchise which Minnesota adopted was a team on the rise, though not by a terribly high standard. The Senators had not finished higher than fifth in the American League since 1946. Their inaugural season as the Twins didn’t change that trend; the team finished 70–90 and in seventh place in 1961. It also led to manager Cookie Lavagetto being replaced by Sam Mele, who would manage into the 1967 season. 

But Mele inherited a solid core of players. Catcher Earl Battey’s work in the 1960 season had earned him Most Valuable Player (MVP) votes, and he would garner multiple Gold Gloves and All-Star Game appearances. Outfielder Bob Allison had been named Rookie of the Year just two years earlier, and would rank in the top ten in home runs eight times. Starting pitcher Camilo Pascual would win 20 or more games in 1962 and 1963 and be recognized as an All-Star five times. And 22-year-old Jim Kaat was beginning a career that would end with 283 wins and 16 Gold Gloves. Each was capable of doing significant harm to an opposing team, but they were joined by an absolute Killer.

Harmon “Killer” Killebrew was hardly a giant, just 5-foot-11 with a stocky build. That physique didn’t hide his power potential. He was valuable enough to be signed for a bonus above $4,000, qualifying Killebrew as a “bonus baby.” As a way of discouraging high bonuses, this classification required the young slugger to spend two years in the majors before being sent to the minors to begin his minor league training. His two-year stint riding the major league bench delayed Killebrew from playing full time in the majors until 1959, when he was 22 years old. When he returned to the majors, he burst on the scene with a league-leading 42 home runs. He would lead the league another five times before his career was over, and finish in the top five an astounding 12 times. He won the American League MVP in 1969 and received votes for the first 11 years of the Twins existence, with the exception of 1968, when he was hurt. 

Killebrew had a quiet demeanor. He was known as a listener, not a screamer, someone who wasn’t comfortable setting himself apart from the other guys. But his performance couldn’t help but do so, and he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984.

With that kind of talent, it wouldn’t be long before the Twins escaped the American League’s second division. The team won 91 games in both 1962 and 1963, climbing to second in 1962 and then finishing third in 1963. When the club slipped back to 79–83 in 1964, despite Tony Oliva’s Rookie of the Year award, the players, fans, and team management were all dissatisfied. That disappointment may have provided the fuel the team needed to finally reach the World Series.

In 1965, Mele and pitching coach John Sain were joined on the coaching staff by Billy Martin, and he is credited with helping shortstop Zoilo Versalles win the American League MVP. But the pennant the team won was certainly a group effort; so many players were injured that the success required contributions from all available hands. The best remembered hit was provided by Killebrew, who hit a two-out, two-run blast in the bottom of the ninth to beat the Yankees the day before the All-Star break. The Twins would not relinquish first place for the rest of the year. For 26 years that hit would be the considered the most dramatic home run in the organization’s history.

The World Series pitted the Twins against the favored Dodgers. The Twins won the first two games handily in Minnesota, but scored just two runs in three games as they were swept in Los Angeles. Mudcat Grant, who led the club with 21 wins, pitched a one-run complete game to tie up the series, three games apiece. But the Dodgers prevailed in Game Seven when Sandy Koufax outdueled Kaat, throwing a shutout on two days of rest. 

The next couple of years would feature lots of success, but no return to the World Series. Nineteen-sixty-six was a year of silver medals. Jim Kaat won 25 games—but lost to Koufax in the Cy Young voting, since there was only one award given between the two leagues. Meanwhile, Killebrew finished second in the American League in home runs and runs batted in, behind Frank Robinson who won the Triple Crown. The Twins also finished second, though they were never closer than nine games back after mid-June. 

Finishing second was a lot tougher to swallow in 1967. As of September 6, four teams—the Twins, White Sox, Red Sox, and Tigers—were in a virtual tie for the division lead. For the last month, those teams would battle in a ten-team league for the pennant. As the final weekend approached, the Twins held a one-game lead over Boston and Detroit with two games to play against Boston. But in the third inning, while holding a one-run lead, Kaat tore a tendon in his pitching elbow, and the Red Sox rallied to win 6–4, helped by a three–run home run from Carl Yastrzemski. The next day the Sox won the final game of the season 5–3, featuring more highlights from “Yaz.” The Twins finished second best again.

After a disappointing 1968 that included a hamstring injury to Killebrew in the All-Star game and a seventh-place finish, changes were made for 1969. Billy Martin, who had managed the AAA team in Denver the year before, was installed as manager. Martin’s aggressive style would make headlines on and off the field.

On the field, the Twins, a team known for its power, displayed a renewed interest in running wild on the bases. In the second game in which Martin managed, he had Rod Carew steal home. Carew would do so another six times that season, which at the time apparently tied a major league record. The Twins four triple steals that year did tie the major league record. In one game on May 18, both Carew and Cesar Tovar stole home in the same at-bat. More astounding? Killebrew was the batter.

Martin’s well-known aggression off the field boiled over in early August, when it was revealed that he had become involved in a bar fight in Detroit—against his own player. And not just any player, but Dave Boswell, who would go on to win 20 games that season. Both Boswell and Martin required stitches from the incident. But there is no question that the team responded to Martin. They finished with 97 wins, capturing the newly formed West Division by nine games.

The postseason was not as kind. In the first American League Championship Series, the Orioles swept the Twins, who lost two extra inning affairs in Baltimore. When they came back to the Met, Martin started journeyman Bob Miller over Jim Kaat. The Twins lost that game 11–2, and Martin was fired at the end of the exhilarating season amid media and fan outrage.

Replacing Martin was Bill Rigney, a former player and manager for the Minneapolis Millers. He could rely on several outstanding performances in his first year as manager. Oliva (.325 batting average) and Killebrew (41 home runs) finished secnd and third in 1970’s AL MVP voting and Jim Perry won the Twins first AL Cy Young award with a 24–12 record, throwing 278.2 innings with a 3.04 ERA. 

Together, they would lead the Twins to another division in 1970, despite several significant injuries. Most detrimental were the torn ligaments in Rod Carew’s knee, limiting him to just 51 games. A different injury led to the debut of a future Hall of Fame inductee. Bert Blyleven, only nineteen years old, was called up to replace the injured Luis Tiant in the rotation. Blyleven would win that first game (despite giving up a home run to the first batter he faced) and nine more that year while throwing 164 innings. It was the last time he would not throw 200 innings for the rest of the decade, and he exceeded 270 innings each year he was with the Twins until he was traded in 1976. He would retire 22 years later with 287 wins, a career ERA of 3.31, and the third most strikeouts in baseball history.

The Twins won the division comfortably by nine games, but again couldn’t take the pennant, which they lost in three games to the Orioles for the second year in a row. It wasn’t obvious at the time, but the team would not make another postseason appearance for 17 years. 

The Twins would remain marginally competitive over the next decade or so, but injuries and age would chip away enough to lower them from elite to mediocre. Killebrew turned 35 in 1971 and would never again hit even 30 home runs in a season. Oliva hurt his knee on a shoestring catch in June 1971 and would never again garner MVP votes, which he had done for eight straight years. Killebrew departed the Twins after the 1974 season and retired a year later. A year after that, Oliva played his last major league game. Rod Carew, however, bounced back from his 1970 injury and resumed his Hall of Fame career. He won batting titles every season from 1972 through 1978, except for 1976, when he missed it by two hits. He was an All-Star every year from his rookie year in 1967 through 1984.

The clubhouse was handed to manager Frank Quilici who guided the team to nearly a .500 record from 1972 through 1975, but they never finished higher than third in the division, and never fewer than eight games back. The results took their toll on attendance. The Twins did not break the 1,000,000 attendance mark for the first time in 1971, but it wouldn’t be the last. The Twins wouldn’t reach that mark again until 1977, thanks to Carew’s stellar season, a new manager, and a “Lumber Company.” The manager was Gene Mauch, a veteran manager from the National League who also happened to be a former member of the St. Paul Saints and Minneapolis Millers. He took over the Twins in 1976, and, despite the midseason trade of Bert Blyleven, the Twins posted a winning record.

The next year was even more exciting, and over 1,100,000 Twins fans watched it live. The Twins offense, known as the “Lumber Company,” scored 867 runs and featured career years from Larry Hisle (119 RBI) and Lyman Bostock (.336 batting average). That level of run support helped make a 20-game winner out of Dave Goltz, who posted a 3.36 ERA. On August 23, the Twins were 18 games above .500 and a game back of the Royals. A late season fade to fourth place and 84 wins didn’t tarnish the return of interest to the franchise.

That interest was further fueled by Carew’s remarkable 1977 season. He entered June hitting .365 but proceeded to gather hits in every June game save two of them. On July 1 he was hitting .411 and would keep his average above the .400 level through July 10, about the same time he was on the cover of Time magazine. He would not reach .400 again, but finished the year with a .388 average, eight hits shy of the magical mark. It would be the zenith of Carew’s career with the Twins. Things turned sharply downhill that offseason.

The roots of that decline could be traced back to late 1975, when an arbitrator’s ruling essentially struck down MLB’s reserve clause and granted players free agency at the expiration of their contracts. Griffith had a miserly reputation—the Twins built an advertising campaign around that very topic in 1976—and baseball’s new economic reality hit the Twins hard. Before the 1978 season, both Bostock and Hisle signed with other teams and the offense suffered to the tune of 200 fewer runs. The team finished 16 games under .500 and attendance fell with it, down to just 787,000, which perpetuated the problem of retaining premier players.

But even if the Twins had continued to draw fans, circumstances had deteriorated to the point where keeping a superstar like Carew with the club might have been impossible. For starters, Carew wanted more quality ballplayers around him to give the team a better chance at winning. Moreover, the relationship between Carew and the Twins became irreparable after Griffith made several off-color remarks—some of a racial nature—at a Lions Club function in Waseca, Minnesota. Carew, due to become a free agent following the 1979 season, was traded for four players to the California Angels, where he would finish his career. 

Without their superstar, the Twins competed in two of the next three years. They finished above .500 in 1979 and had a surprise run at a division title in the second half of the strike-impacted 1981 season. But the focus was shifting from the present to the future, which would include overwhelming changes for the franchise.

The first of those changes was a brand new indoor ballpark. The Metrodome was the result of a 1977 Minnesota Legislature stadium bill, but could only be built if the Vikings and Twins both signed 30-year leases. Griffith, skeptical of the facility but intrigued by an increase in outstate attendance due to no rainouts, negotiated an out-clause: if the team failed to average 1.4 million in attendance over three consecutive years (a level the Twins had not averaged over a three-year period in their history), he could break the lease.

When the new stadium opened in 1982, the honey-moon lasted exactly one night. In its inaugural home opener, the Metrodome drew 52,279 fans amid much pageantry. The next night the club drew 5,213. By the end of the season, attendance would fail to reach the 1,000,000 mark. And by the end of the first week, Griffith started dismantling the team for a youth movement, trading quality shortstop Roy Smalley to the Yankees. Two more trades would complete the fire sale by the middle of May. The 1982 team, in their brand new home, would finish with 102 losses.

But 1982 wouldn’t just be remembered for a record-setting number of losses for the Twins. It would also become known as the beginning of a new generation of Twins that would finally reach the mountaintop. Nineteen-eighty-two was the rookie season for Kent Hrbek (22 years old), Tom Brunansky (21) and Gary Gaetti (23), all of whom slugged at least 20 home runs. Starting pitcher Frank Viola (22) would also debut that season, pitching to battery-mate and rookie Tim Laudner (24). Griffith had put together the cornerstones of the next contending Twins team. But it wouldn’t be his Twins team. 

It was becoming clear that the 1.4 million attendance threshold included in the Metrodome lease was not going to be met, giving Griffith the option of breaking the lease and perhaps moving to another market. Local business leaders responded by mounting a ticket-buying campaign of the cheapest unused tickets available to artificially inflate the attendance. For instance, on May 16, 1984, the paid attendance was 51,863, but the number of fans present was closer to 8,700. Flirtations with other markets, particularly Tampa Bay, were made, but instead local banker and business executive Carl Pohlad purchased the team in the summer of 1984.

On the field, the team was growing—and experiencing growing pains. The promise of brighter days was apparent in 1984 when the Twins suddenly competed for the division, even though they had finished just 70-92 the year before. They led the AL West for all of August except two days and found themselves tied for first place as late as September 23. But six straight losses, including blowing a 10-run lead versus Cleveland in the last series of the year, left them in second place. 

Those brighter days were also personified by a rookie call-up. Center fielder Kirby Puckett made his debut just 32 games into the season, hit .296 and finished third in the Rookie of the Year balloting. The next year he would collect his first MVP vote. These were previews.

The feature presentation started in 1986 when Puckett hit .328 and added power to his resume, slugging 31 home runs. Over the next 10 years, he would finish in the top 10 of American League MVP voting seven times, make 10 straight All-Star teams, and win six Gold Gloves. His success endeared him to the fans, but not as much as his zeal for the game. The Twins would retire his number in 1997 and he was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2001, his first year of eligibility. 

While Puckett signified an apparently brighter future, the Twins struggled in 1985 and 1986, in part due to an explosive bullpen. Closer Ron Davis became the symbol for the team’s failings, both supported and reviled by Twins fans. In 1985, after several blown games, a sympathetic newspaper story led to “I believe in R.D.” T-shirts becoming fashionable in the Metrodome. But equally as popular was the trade that sent him and his 9.08 ERA to the Cubs in August of 1986. 

There were big changes off the field, too. The Pohlads hired 32-year-old Andy MacPhail in August of 1985 to be the vice-president of player personnel, eventually promoting him to general manager. Two years later, MacPhail pushed for 37-year-old Tom Kelly, who had been the interim manager in 1986, to take over fulltime for 1987. 

During the offseason, the team added a new closer, Jeff Reardon, and outfielder Dan Gladden. MacPhail also brought in utility infielder Al Newman and reliever Juan Berenguer, both of whom would prove useful additions. Blyleven and Smalley had also returned to the team in 1985. 

As they battled for their first postseason appearance in 17 years, the Twins were seemingly assisted by some magic in the Metrodome. During the regular season, the team finished 56–25 at home and just 29–52 on the road. They went on a 16–7 tear starting August 29 to move from a first-place tie to leading the AL West by six games. During that critical stretch, Puckett carried the team, hitting .407 with 10 home runs, 21 RBIs, and 18 runs. 

In the American League Championship Series the Twins faced the AL East’s 98-win Detroit Tigers, one of four AL East teams with more wins than the Twins’ 85. But the Twins were a more formidable playoff team than regular season team due to the one-two pitching punch of Frank “Sweet Music” Viola (2.90 ERA in 251.2 innings pitched) and Bert Blyleven (4.01 ERA in 267 IP). The Twins won their two at home and two more in Detroit, returning home to an impromptu gathering at a packed Metrodome, an emotional homecoming that many players still point to as the pinnacle of their Minnesota career.

In the World Series, the Metrodome and its “Homer Hankies” held serve once again, as the Twins won all four games played there, winning their first world championship. Throughout the playoff run, the noise that championship-starved Minnesotans generated under the Teflon-coated roof was a major story. That noise overflowed outside for a raucous celebration and into a parade a few days later. 

The sounds coming out of the Metrodome the next couple of years were not as harmonious. At the beginning of the 1988 season, fan favorite Tom Brunansky was traded away for second baseman Tommy Herr. Herr arrived and moped, mirroring the clubhouse’s somber reaction to losing “Bruno.” The Twins won six more games than the previous year, but never seriously threatened the 104-win Athletics for the division lead after the All-Star Break. They were led by 24-game winner Frank Viola, who also won the Cy Young Award. But that would lead to another discordant clash.

In 1989, Viola was in a free-agent year, and his contract negotiations with the team became public and sour. At the trade deadline, the Twins sent Viola to the New York Mets, where he received his multi-million dollar deal. A little over a year later, another core player would leave when Gary Gaetti signed with the Angels. While dealing with the departures, the Twins were also dealing with two losing seasons, including a last-place finish in 1990. 

All those departures meant MacPhail was busy securing new talent. Viola’s trade added pitchers Kevin Tapani and Rick Aguilera to the staff, and “Aggie” was converted to the team’s closer in 1990. To replace Gaetti’s glove at third base, the Twins signed Mike Pagliarulo, and to replace his bat they added designated hitter Chili Davis. In 1990, the Twins called up Scott Erickson to the rotation and he impressed, posting a 2.87 ERA in 17 starts. The Twins farm system produced another key contributor in 1991, second baseman Chuck Knoblauch, who would go on to win the Rookie of the Year award. And in February 1991, just a few weeks before spring training, the Twins added a veteran ace by signing St. Paul’s Jack Morris. 

The rebuilt Twins rotation, centered around Morris, Erickson, and Tapani, would sparkle in 1991. Each won at least 16 games, and Erickson won 20; in fact over his first 116.1 innings pitched through June 24, Erickson was 12–2 with a 1.39 ERA. For the season, the highest ERA was Morris’s 3.43. All three pitched over 200 innings. And all three finished in the top seven in the AL Cy Young voting. 

Nevertheless, on June 1, the club was two games below .500 and in fifth place in the AL West. But June started with a 15-game winning streak that lifted the team to first. They never again relinquished at least a share of that lead, finishing with 95 wins, and beating the Blue Jays in the ALCS.

The Twins AL pennant set the stage for the “worst to first” World Series versus the Atlanta Braves, who has also finished last in their division in 1990. It has been labeled as the greatest World Series ever by Sports Illustrated and ESPN, and anything shorter than a novel is probably not doing it justice. Five of the games were won by a single run. Four of the final five games were won on the last at-bat. 

The Twins again won the first two home games, just like in 1987, but again lost the next three games on the road. However, for Game Six the series returned to the Metrodome. In a 3–3 game, Puckett led off the bottom of the 11th inning with a solo home run, extending the series to a seventh game so announcer Jack Buck could see us all again “tomorrow night.”

The climactic seventh game did not disappoint. Morris and John Smoltz and the Braves bullpen pitched goose eggs through nine innings, although both teams had chances to score, especially in the eighth inning. Finally, in the bottom of the 10th inning, Dan Gladden broke his bat on a short fly ball to left field that he hustled into a leadoff double. He was sacrificed to third base, and Puckett and Hrbek were intentionally walked to load the bases. Pinch-hitter Gene Larkin lifted a high fly to left that fell behind the drawn-in outfield, and the Twins had their second world championship. 

The next season started with similar promise. Near the end of July the team was 60–38 and leading the AL West by three games over the second place Athletics. But the Athletics came to a packed Metrodome and swept the Twins, gaining a share of the division lead with a 5–4 win in which Eric Fox hit a three-run, ninth inning home run off of closer Rick Aguilera. The Twins limped to a 30–31 record the rest of the season and finished in second place.

Those doldrums extended into the rest of the decade. Gradually the core members from those championship teams departed. Morris had left after the 1991 season, shortstop Greg Gagne left after 1992, and Hrbek retired in 1994 after a couple of injury-plagued seasons. General manager Andy MacPhail accepted the president/CEO position with the Cubs in 1994 and was replaced by player personnel director Terry Ryan. Puckett’s 1995 season ended early when his jaw was broken by a fastball from Dennis Martinez. In spring training the next year, he awoke on March 28 without vision in his right eye. After three surgeries failed to restore his vision, he officially retired in July.

 From 1993 through 2000, the Twins never finished fewer than six games under .500. The teams were characterized by a low payroll, suspect pitching, and the signing of several native Minnesota veterans. During that decade St. Paul natives Dave Winfield and Paul Molitor both got their 3000th hits with the Twins, and Terry Steinbach from New Ulm also returned to play for his home state. As another bright spot, Knoblauch and starting pitcher Brad Radke turned in several excellent seasons and both of them would end up contributing to the Twins next postseason appearances. Knoblauch’s contribution, however, came in what the team received in a trade. After the 1997 season in which the Twins only won 68 games, Knoblauch demanded a trade and was sent to the Yankees for a package of players that included shortstop Cristian Guzman and pitcher Eric Milton. 

The two former Yankees prospects joined a nucleus of young Twins led by third baseman Corey Koskie, catcher A. J. Pierzynski, first-baseman Doug Mient-kiewicz and outfielders Jacque Jones and Torii Hunter. Terry Ryan’s rebuilt squad broke through in 2001. At the All-Star break, the Twins were 55–32 and leading the AL Central by five games. That lead faded fast in the second half of the season as the Twins posted a 30–45 record amidst a questionable trade that sent talented right fielder Matt Lawton to the New York Mets for pitcher Rick Reed, who posted a 5.19 ERA. Despite the fade, optimism reigned for the coming decade. It didn’t last long.

First, Tom Kelly, the manager with the most wins in Minnesota Twins history, retired within a week of season’s end. But a bigger shock came in November, when Commissioner Bud Selig announced that that the owners had approved a plan to reduce the number of major league teams by two. Reports indicated that one of those two teams would be the Twins. 

Thus, the 2002 season was in question until Hennepin County District Judge Harry Crump ruled that the Twins were required to honor their Metrodome lease through at least 2002. Plans for contraction were shelved for one year (and eventually dropped altogether), and the Twins brought in new manager Ron Gardenhire to lead their young roster. 

It would mark a turning point for the franchise. The Twins were in contention from the very beginning and grabbed first place for good by the end of May. They won their American League Division Series versus the “Moneyball” Oakland Athletics before losing the American League Championship Series to the Angels in five games. Maybe most importantly, attendance increased again, nearing the 2,000,000 mark. 

Attendance would hover around that mark for the next three years as the Twins continued their success. In 2003 the team overcame a slow start and won the division with a late-season charge fueled by a trade for outfielder and leadoff hitter Shannon Stewart. In 2004 they were led to their third straight division title by Johan Santana’s dominant year (2.61 ERA with 265 strikeouts), which earned him a unanimous American League Cy Young Award. However, in both years the team lost to the Yankees in four games in the first round of the playoffs. 

The Twins were back at the top of the division again two years later, led again by Santana, who won his second Cy Young Award. He was joined by Justin Morneau, who was voted the American League MVP, and Joe Mauer, who led the league in batting average. Together, they propelled the team to a 71–33 record over their last 104 games, winning the AL Central on the last day of the season. But again they were thwarted in the divisional series, being swept by the A’s. 

However, there was also a bigger victory for the organization than the division, Cy Young, MVP, and batting title combined. In May, after more than a decade of efforts, the Twins secured their funding from Hennepin County for a new ballpark to replace the Metrodome. Groundbreaking took place a year later. 

Hunter and Santana left for greener pastures following the 2007 season (Hunter as a free agent and Santana by a trade), and general manager Terry Ryan stepped down, being replaced by assistant GM Bill Smith. Over the next two years the Twins finished the 162-game schedule tied for the AL Central title. In 2008, they fell to the White Sox 1–0 in tie-breaking Game 163, narrowly missing out on their fifth divisional title of the decade. They would get it the next year, when an extra-inning hit by Alexi Casilla lifted them over the Tigers in another Game 163, the last regular-season game at the dome. As they were swept by the Yankees in the divisional series, it was also the last win by the Twins in the dome. 

The Twins’ new ballpark, Target Field, opened in 2010, earning rave reviews locally and nationally. The new venue drew over 3,000,000 fans and fueled a 94-win season and sixth Central Division crown. But once again, the team would fall in the playoffs to the Yankees without recording a win. The second year of the ballpark was significantly more somber, as injuries devastated the team, with only two Opening Day regulars finishing with even 100 games. The Twins fell to last in the division, narrowly missing only their second 100-loss season.

JOHN BONNES writes at with TwinsCentric. He is also owner/editor of GameDay Program and Scorecard, which provides the content for the Minnesota Twins Official Scorecard. You can follow him on Twitter at @TwinsGeek or hear his “Gleeman and the Geek” show on 100.3 KFAN.