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On Monday, voting began at TwinsBaseball.com for the 2012 Twins Hall of Fame. Voting will continue through midnight on Wednesday, January 4. The 2012 inductee(s) will be announced in conjunction with Twins Fest in late January. The voting is done by a 54-member committee made up of local and national baseball writers, Twins broadcasters, Twins Hall of Fame members, local TV and radio media, select Twins front office personnel and the fans.
Since we are all fans of the Twins, I thought it would be fun take a look at the 18 players on the ballot, learn a little about each and then show what my vote would look like, if I had one. Of course, then I will go to TwinsBaseball.com’s HOF page and vote for the player(s) that I think should join the 23 people already in the Twins Hall of Fame. Hopefully you enjoy this and will comment your votes and discuss in the comments.
Why Are These Guys on the Ballot?
- John Castino (1979-84) – Castino was the co-AL Rookie of the Year in 1979. The now-57 year old played in 666 games for the Twins and hit .278/.329/.398 in 2,578 plate appearances. He had 86 doubles, 34 triples and 41 home runs. He stole 22 bases. For his career, he posted an OPS of 96, but he had a WAR (Wins Above Replacement) of 13.1. Obviously injuries will always leave the question of what could have been.
- Jeff Reardon (1987-89) – Came to the Twins right before the 1987 season and was credited for helping the Twins to their World Series title. In reality, he posted an ERA that season that was higher than Matt Capps’ 2011 ERA with the Twins. He was terrific in 1988 but struggled again in 1989. During his three years with the Twins, he accumulated 104 saves and was an All Star in 1988. His ERA+ during those three seasons was 116 while his WAR was just 4.3. Reardon is 56 years old.
- Dave Boswell (1964-70) – Boswell posted 20 wins for the Twins in 1969, and is probably best known for his fight with manager Billy Martin. In his time with the Twins, the 66-year-old went 67-54 with a 3.49 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP. He posted a WAR of 8.7 and an OPS+ of 101. In 1,036.1 innings, he averaged 7.5 strikeouts per nine innings and 4.0 walks per nine.
- Dan Gladden (1987-91) – Yes, Gladden was the left fielder and leadoff hitter of the 1987 and 1991 World Series championship teams. In his five seasons with the Twins, the leadoff hitter posted a .318 on-base percentage and hit .268. In 2,698 at bats and 645 games, he had an OPS+ of 90 and a WAR of 13.0. He had 117 doubles, 26 triples and 38 home runs. He stole 116 bases. The 54-year-old has been on the Twins radio broadcast team for over a decade now. My guess is that he’ll eventually get in to the Twins Hall of Fame, and I won’t be able to understand it.
Hall of Pretty Good
- Mudcat Grant (1964-47) – He was one of the Twins stars of their 1965 World Series team when he went 2-1 against the Dodgers and even homered once. The 76-year-old has also been in the Twins spotlight in recent years, singing his rendition of What a Wonderful World at the memorial services for Kirby Puckett and Harmon Killebrew. 21 of his 50 wins with the Twins came in that 1965 season. He went 50-35 with the Twins with a 3.35 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP. He posted a 4.6 WAR in his 780.2 innings. He walked just 1.9 batters per nine innings and struck out just 4.3 per nine.
- Dean Chance (1967-69) – The second Twins pitcher to throw a no-hitter was actually very good with the Twins. In his three years with them, his ERA+ was 126 and he accumulated a tremendous 11.2 WAR. He was an All Star in 1967 when he won 20 games. He went 41-34 with a 2.67 ERA and even added two saves. He is 69 years old. The Twins acquired him in December 1966 in exchange for Jimmie Hall and two others. He was traded in December 1969 with three other players in exchange for Luis Tiant and Stan Williams.
- Eddie Guardado (1993-2003, 2008)– “Everyday” Eddie represented the Twins in the All Star game in 2002 and 2003. In 2002, he led the American League with 45 saves. After being a failed starter, Guardado found his niche in the bullpen for the Twins, and although he made us all nervous, he usually got the job done. The 41-year-old pitched in 648 games for the Twins, making just 25 starts. In 1,284.2 innings, he walked 3.4 per nine and struck out 7.8 per nine. Overall, he went 37-48 with 116 saves, an ERA of 4.53 and a WHIP of 1.34. His OPS+ was 105 and his WAR accumulation was 8.4.
If Greg Gagne Got in…
- Al Worthington (1964-69) – Worthington came to the Twins in June of 1964 from the Reds. He went on to pitch in 327 games for the Twins including the 1965 World Series and in the 1969 ACLS against Baltimore. In 473.1 innings, he walked 3.5 per nine and struck out 7.6 per nine. He was 37-31 with 88 saves. He posted an ERA of just 2.62 and a WHIP of 1.19. His ERA+ was a remarkable 134, and he was a 7.0 WAR. He will turn 83 years old in February.
- Tom Brunansky (1982-88) – “Bruno” came to the Twins after the 1981 season in exchange for Doug Corbett and Rob Wilfong. Over the next six seasons, he hit 163 home runs. In 916 games and 3,760 plate appearances, he hit .250/.330/.452 with 154 doubles, 13 triples and 163 home runs. He had an OPS+ of 109 and a WAR of 14.6. In April of 1988, he was sent to the Cardinals for 2B Tommy Herr in a deal still referred to as the worst trade in Twins history. In 2010, he came back to the Twins as an instructor with the GCL Twins. The 51-year-old became the hitting coach for the Twins in 2011, and will be the hitting coach for AAA Rochester in 2012.
- Kevin Tapani (1989-95) – Tapani came to the Twins from the Mets in the 1989 Frank Viola trade. He proved to be very good for the Twins. In 180 starts, he went 75-63 with a 4.06 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP. A pitcher with impeccable control, he walked just 2.0 per nine innings and struck out 5.6 per nine. In 1,171.1 innings, he had a WAR of 17.5. In July of 1995, he was traded with Mark Guthrie to the Dodgers in exchange for Ron Coomer and three others.
- Brian Harper (1988-93) – He may have not been a very good catcher, but Brian Harper could hit for average! In 730 games and 2,691 plate appearances, Harper hit .306/.342/.431 with 156 doubles, six triples and 48 home runs. His OPS+ was 110 and his WAR was 12.3. He hit .381 in the 1991 World Series.
- Larry Hisle (1973-77) – If you’re looking for a vastly underrated player in Twins history, look no further than Hisle. The 64-year-old played in 662 games for the Twins. In 2,764 plate appearances, he hit .286/.354/.457 with 109 doubles, 23 triples and 87 home runs. He also stole 92 bases. His OPS+ was a terrific 127 and he accumulated 17.5 WAR before leaving as a free agent to the Milwaukee Brewers.
- Roy Smalley (1976-82, 1985-87) – The 59-year-old FSN Twins analyst was a pretty good big league shortstop for a long time. In 1,148 games over two stints with the Twins, he hit .262/.350/.401 with 184 doubles, 21 triples, 110 home runs and 15 stolen bases. His OPS+ was 104, and he built up 18.3 WAR. In the 1987 World Series, he went 1-2 with two walks and a double and promptly retired after winning a ring with the Twins. He was initially brought to the Twins in a deal that sent Bert Blyleven and Danny Thompson to the Rangers in 1976. In April of 1982, he was traded to the Yankees for Greg Gagne and Ron Davis. The Twins then acquired Smalley before the 1985 season from the White Sox.
Should Get In Someday
- Cesar Tovar (1965-72) – Tovar is best known for having played all nine positions in a 1968 game, but he was much more than that. In 1,090 games and 4,595 at bats, the Cuban utility player hit .281/.337/.387 with 193 doubles, 45 triples and 38 home runs. He also stole 186 bases. His OPS was just .714 (OPS+ 102), but he posted an incredible 25.8 WAR. He received MVP votes in five seasons with the Twins. In 1967, he led the league with 164 games played. In 1970, he led the league in doubles and triples. Tovar passed away in 1994 from cancer.
- Corey Koskie (1998-2004) – When Corey Koskie came up to the Twins in 1998, he played some right field because he was so bad at third base. He became one of the best defensive third basemen in the game. And, he was a vastly underrated offensive player. In 816 games and 3,950 plate appearances, he hit .275/.376/.458 with 223 doubles, 13 triples and 124 RBI. His career OPS+ was 113, and he added 21.1 WAR. In 2001, he scored and drove in 100 runs, and although he wasn’t a speed burner, he stole 27 bases in 33 attempts. He had 71 stolen bases with the Twins. Koskie signed with the Blue Jays after the 2004 season, and unfortunately, concussions ended his career prematurely. He is still just 38 years old.
- Dave Goltz (1972-79) – The Rothsay, MN, native signed with his home state team and spent eight years with the team. He made 247 appearances for the Twins and 215 of them were starts. He went 96-79 with the Twins with a 3.48 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP. In 1,638 innings, he averaged 2.7 walks per nine innings while striking out 4.9 per nine innings. His career ERA+ with the Twins was 112 and he accumulated 23.7 WAR. He won 20 wins in 1977. He left after the 1979 season as a free agent and signed with the Dodgers. He is now 62 years old and lives in Minnesota.
The Definite Twins Hall of Famers
- Camilo Pascual (1961-66) – Pascual is an obvious choice as a Twins Hall of Famer when you just look at the six seasons in which he pitched in a Twins uniform. If you wanted to add in the 59 wins he had with the Washington Senators before they moved to Minnesota, you certainly can to make the case even stronger. But just focusing on the six seasons with the Twins, Pascual went 88-57 with a 3.31 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP. He won at least 20 games in 1962 (20) and 1963 (21), and 15 games in 1961 and 1964. He made 179 starts for the Twins and in 1,284.2 innings, he walked 3.0 per nine and struck out 7.0 per nine. His curveball was said to be the best curveball before Blyleven’s. He will turn 78 in January.
- Chuck Knoblauch (1991-97) – Yes, Knoblauch’s time with the Twins ended on a sour note. He asked to be traded, and when he was, the Twins got a nice haul from the Yankees. Yes, he has had some personal and professional issues since leaving the Twins (throwing problems, steroid allegations, family issues). But for the seven seasons that Knoblauch played for the Twins, he was an elite ball player. In 1,013 games and 4,571 plate appearances with the Twins, he hit .304/.391/.416 with 210 doubles, 51 triples and 43 home runs. He also stole 276 bases. His OPS+ was 114, and he accumulated 35.4 WAR. He was the 1991 Rookie of the Year. He was an All Star in 1992, 1994, 1996 and 1997. He won two Silver Slugger awards and one Gold Glove award which is more impressive when you consider he played the same position, in the same league, as Roberto Alomar. In the 1991 ALCS, he hit .350 and followed that up by hitting .308 in the World Series. I think it’s about time for Chuck Knoblauch to start getting some of the recognition from Twins fans that the 43-year-old deserves.
Voters can vote for up to five. If I were to vote for five, and I might, I’d vote Knoblauch, Pascual, Goltz, Koskie and Tovar. But I think that since generally only one player (sometimes two) gets in each year, I’d probably just vote for Knoblauch and Pascual.
Let me ask you this though… How is it possible that Shane Mack is not on this ballot? He spent five seasons with the Twins from 1990 through 1994. In that time, he played in 633 games. In 2,434 plate appearances, he hit .309/.375/.479 with 119 doubles, 24 triples and 67 home runs. He posted an OPS+ of 130. He stole 71 bases. He played terrific defense, wherever he played in the Twins outfield. He accumulated 18.5 WAR.
Now it’s your turn. Who gets your vote? Click here to vote for the Twins Hall of Fame. Feel free to comment.