Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Looking at his numbers, his high walk rate really jumped off the page. In that 1973 season, he picked up 17 walks in just 84 plate appearances, turning an underwhelming .212 batting average into an exceptional .381 on-base percentage. For his big league career, his OBP sits .180 points higher than his batting average (.375 to .195). Looking deeper at Adams' career minor league statistics, he posted a career .413 OBP and .891 OPS.
With a .195 batting average in 152 career plate appearances, Mike Adams is about as anonymous as any 1970s big league ballplayer. I have to wonder, though, if he's a guy who simply slipped through the cracks.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Niemann was drafted by the Twins in 1975, but didn't sign. Twelve years later, the journeyman left-handed relief pitcher was coming off his best season (2-3, 3.79 ERA, a career high 31 appearances) for the 1986 World Champion New York Mets. Niemann didn't make the Twins out of spring training, but was recalled from Portland in early June. He spent a couple of weeks in Minnesota, winning one game. Since retiring, Niemann has put together a long coaching career, including time on the Major League staffs of the Mets and Boston Red Sox.
1) I remember watching a Cubs-Giants game when Roa was with San Francisco. When he entered the game, the great Harry Caray (as he was prone to do) loudly and proudly discovered, "His last name backwards is A-OAR!" I had watched hundreds of Cubs games on WGN from the mid-1980s until Harry's passing, and heard him do that with countless players. I can't recall if Roa was the last player whom I heard Harry pronounce backwards, but for some odd reason he always stuck with me.
2) While with the Phillies in 2003, Roa started the final home opener in Veterans Stadium history. Don't ask why I know that. It's just one of those facts that occupies space in my brain that could be used to program computers or trade stocks.
Anyway, Joe Roa signed with the Twins before the 2004 season and made the team as the long-man in the bullpen. He had arguably his finest big league season that year, appearing in a career high 48 games and going 2-3 with a 4.50 ERA and a career high 47 strikeouts. Despite spending the entire regular season with the Twins, Roa was left off the post-season roster. As rumor has it, he left the team, refusing to accompany them to New York for the Divisional Series against the Yankees. And that was that for Roa's big league career.
Sunday, June 15, 2014
He has done it all and been a tireless salesman for the sport and the state the entire time, but Lou Nanne is best remembered for his time with the North Stars. He was a part of the organization for 24 of its 26 seasons in Minnesota. Though he had a long career and a defenseman and wing, his legacy is as the GM. When he took over, the North Stars were the doormats of the NHL. In his first draft at the helm, he added Bobby Smith, Steve Payne, Steve Christoff, and Curt Giles to the roster. In his second, he picked up Craig Hartsburg, Tom McCarthy, and Neal Broten. In September of 1979, Nanne signed an undrafted free agent named Dino Ciccarelli. In the second round of the 1980 draft, he drafted a goaltender named Don Beaupre. By the end of that 1980-81 season, the North Stars were in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Nanne's track record as GM dropped off drastically from that point. He deftly maneuvered to acquire Brian Bellows in the 1982 draft, but no other draft choices made a major impact until Mike Modano in 1988. Fans are still upset over his trading away of Bobby Smith and his choice of Brian Lawton with the #1 overall pick in the 1983 draft (passing over the likes of future Hall of Famers Steve Yzerman and Pat LaFontaine, and two-time Stanley Cup winning goalie Tom Barrasso). It's hard to argue with the talent he acquired during his first five years on the job, though. Most of the great players in North Stars history were acquired by Lou Nanne.
Saturday, June 14, 2014
For much more on Sandy and his time with the North Stars, please read the interview I conducted with him in early 2013.
Monday, June 9, 2014
Saturday, June 7, 2014
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Bulldog began 1973 as the Twins' top fireman, but was released in June after posting a rough 6.09 ERA and 1.67 WHIP. After being claimed by Cleveland, he immediately found his game, picking up five wins and five saves to go with a sparkling 1.65 ERA for them over the rest of the season.