Sunday, August 31, 2014


Juan Rincon came up with the Twins in 2001 and became a bullpen mainstay in 2003.  For four years, he was one of the most reliable set-up men in all of baseball.  From 2003 to 2006, he consistently ranked among the league's best relievers in appearances, holds, and ERA (even in spite of a 10-game slap on the wrist for testing positive for HGH in 2005).  Then, in 2007, the wheels fell off.  By 2008, the Twins released him.  He's bounced around for several years now, last appearing in the majors for the Rockies in 2010.  He has spent 2014 with the independent Somerset Patriots of the Atlantic League.


Felton Spencer was the Timberwolves second-ever first round draft pick.  Taken sixth overall in 1990, he was named to the All-Rookie Second Team, but that wasn't enough to keep the Wolves from drafting another center (Luc Longley) with the following year's lottery pick.  Even though he became a symbol for Timberwolves draft mis-steps, Felton managed to carve out a solid twelve-year NBA career.

Saturday, August 30, 2014


From Jan Stenerud and Paul Coffman to Brett Favre, Ryan Longwell, and Greg Jennings, there is a long history of Packers greats who have finished their careers with the Vikings.  Carroll Dale was one of the first Green Bay legends the hang up his cleats while wearing purple.  The star deep threat of the '60s Packers dynasty joined the Vikings in 1973.  In his final season, he caught fourteen passes for the NFC Champions.


The Vikings drafted Asher Allen in the third round in 2009 out of Georgia.  He became a starter as a rookie and for three years he held his own as a decent cover cornerback.  After three seasons, at the age of 24, he suddenly retired, citing concussions and a decision to focus on his volunteer ministry.


Lefty Matt Maloney made the Twins' Opening Day roster in 2012 after a fine spring.  After struggling to the tune of an 8.18 ERA in eleven relief innings, he was shipped to Rochester.  By summer, he was undergoing Tommy John surgery.  He's still working his way back from that procedure, and spent most of this season with the independent Somerset Patriots.

Saturday, August 23, 2014


Neal Broten is the greatest player in Minnesota hockey history.  But you already know that.  In case you ever find yourself arguing his case, though, here's a handy cheat sheet of accomplishments.
  • Three consecutive appearances in the Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament with Roseau High School.
  • WCHA Rookie of the Year as a freshman in 1978-79.
  • Winner of NCAA National Championship in 1979.  Broten scored the title-winning goal.
  • Gold Medalist with the 1980 "Miracle On Ice" U.S. Olympic team.
  • First-ever winner of the Hobey Baker Award in 1981.  The award has been given every year since to the top player in U.S. collegiate hockey.
  • 98 points as an NHL rookie in 1981-82.  It's a Minnesota/Dallas franchise record for a rookie and the eighth highest scoring rookie campaign in NHL history.
  • First U.S. born player in NHL history to score 100 points in a season (105 in 1985-86).
  • Minnesota North Stars all-time leader in points, assists, and games played.
  • Two-time NHL All-Star (1983 and 1986).
  • Stanley Cup Winner with the New Jersey Devils in 1995.  Broten scored two goals in the decisive game four, including the Cup clincher.  In doing so, he became the first American to ever be credited with a Stanley Cup winning goal.
  • Winner of the Lester Patrick Trophy for his contributions to United States Hockey in 1998.
  • Uniform #7 retired by the Dallas Stars organization in 1998.
  • Elected to the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 2000.
  • Fought Gretzky


Pete Mackanin displayed a productive bat while coming up through the Texas Rangers system in the mid 1970s, but it never developed into big league success.  He spent parts of nine years in the majors, but finished with a paltry .226/.263/.339 career slash line.  His last two major league years were with the Twins, as a serviceable utility infielder.

Mackanin has perhaps made his biggest mark in baseball as a coach and manager.  He has spent the last thirty years coaching in some capacity, and is currently the bench coach for the Phillies.  On two separate occasions, for the 2005 Pirates and 2007 Reds, he has been given an opportunity to finish the season as an interim manager.  Despite modest success in that capacity (the 2007 Reds were 31-51 when Jerry Narron was fired, but went 41-39 for Mackanin), a permanent big league managerial job has eluded him.

As for Mackanin's Twins career, he's probably best known for being the last player to wear uniform number 14 before Kent Hrbek.

Sunday, August 10, 2014


Mr. Twin.

There is no greater ambassador for the game of baseball and the Minnesota Twins than Tony-O.

Three batting championships, eight All Star Games, the 1964 AL Rookie of the Year... Tony has a Hall of Fame resume.  And he would be a Hall of Famer if not for having his career interrupted and eventually cut short by chronic knee problems.  There's still hope that he'll get in someday through the Veterans Committee.  I hope it happens in his lifetime.

Saturday, August 9, 2014


During his time with the Twins, Liam Hendriks was a textbook 4A pitcher.  He dominated for a couple of seasons in the minors at class AAA Rochester, but couldn't get anyone out over parts of three seasons with the big club.  That trend has continued this year.  Split between the AAA affiliates of the Blue Jays and Royals, Hendriks is (as I write this) 10-1 with a 2.50 ERA and 0.95 WHIP.  But in three games with the Blue Jays earlier this season, he posted a 6.08 ERA.  He is still only 25.  Perhaps he can finally catch on in Kansas City.