Twins Top Moments of 2011

27 Dec

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99 losses. Confusing injuries and rehabilitation stories. Players traded, and players lost via free agency. 2011 was a really tough season for the Twins organization. However, there were a few positive moments during the season as well.

Blyleven to the Hall of Fame

  • Early in January, the Baseball Hall of Fame announced that Bert Blyleven was finally to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame. The Twins had some special nights for him, and in August he was inducted.

20 Year Anniversary of the 1991 World Series

  • Also in August, the Twins celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the greatest World Series of all-time, that 1991 thriller against the Atlanta Braves. Many of the Twins players from that roster were in attendance for the reunion. It’s always great to see so many of those players coming back.


  • On May 4 in Chicago, Francisco Liriano was wild, and yet he completed a no-hitter against the White Sox. The final out came on a line drive to Matt Tolbert off the bat of Adam Dunn. Liriano was pitching to stay in the rotation at the time, and despite all the walks, the no-hitter continued to show how good his stuff can be.
  • On July 6, Jeff Manship made his first start for the Rochester Red Wings. Due to injury, it was his first appearance in seven weeks. Manship threw four no-hit innings. He was followed by Jake Stevens who threw three no-hit innings. Kyle Waldrop gave up no hits in the 8th innings, and Jim Hoey finished the job with no hits in the 9th inning.
  • On July 16, Tim Shibuya, the Twins 23rd round pick a month earlier, started for the Elizabethton Twins. The right-hander threw seven no-hit innings. He was followed by 31st round pick, RHP Garrett Jewell, who threw a no-hit 8th inning. 7th round pick, lefty Steven Gruver, struck out two in a scoreless ninth inning to preserve the no-hitter.
  • September 3, Alex Wimmers tossed a seven-inning no hitter for the Ft. Myers Miracle. His season started with a six batter faced, six walk outing. He was shut down for a couple of months and brought back slowly. But to end the season in such fashion was a nice way to end a rough season.

Major League Debuts

  • April 1 – Tsuyoshi Nishioka went 1-4 on Opening Day against the Blue Jays.
  • April 28 – Rene Tosoni went 2-4 with an RBI in his debut against the Rays.
  • June 4 – Brian Dinkelman went 1-3 with a walk. In his first plate appearance, he was hit by a pitch. His walk was intentional. The Twins beat the Royals 7-2.
  • July 18 – Scott Diamond was called up for a spot start in the second game of a double header against Cleveland. He gave up four runs (3 earned) on seven hits and two walks in 6.1 innings.
  • September 5 – Kyle Waldrop gave up two runs on three hits and a walk in 1.2 innings against the White Sox. The first inning he pitched was scoreless.
  • September 6 – Joe Benson led off for the Twins and went 0-3 after walking in his first plate appearance in a 3-0 loss to the White Sox.
  • September 6 – Chris Parmelee batted fifth and went 2-4 in the same game.
  • September 6 – Liam Hendriks made the start for the Twins in this game. He gave up three runs on four hits and three walks in seven innings.

The Killebrew Tribute

  • Obviously one of the saddest moments during the 2011 season was the death of legendary Twins great Harmon Killebrew. However, listening and reading the stories of what a great man he was made us almost forget what a great baseball player he was. The Twins had a tribute for Killebrew on May 26. It was great to see so many former players there. Mudcat Grant was again amazing with his rendition of What a Wonderful World. However, the highlight had to be the speech of Nita Killebrew. Her poise and strength in that moment were amazing. Her words were inspirational. It was a great tribute to a great man.

Nathan Sets Twins Saves Mark

  • On August 10, Joe Nathan set the Twins all-time saves record by recording his 255th save. He surpassed Rick Aguilera’s mark of 254.

Thome Hits 600th Home Run

  • On August 15, the Twins traded Delmon Young to the Tigers in the afternoon. That was fairly big news that day, but fortunately, there was much bigger news coming later that night. Through his first two at bats, Jim Thome was 1-2 with a single. In the 6th inning, he hit home run #599 against the Tigers in Detroit. For many, it takes awhile to hit that 600th home run. Thome’s came just one inning later with two runners on against lefty Daniel Schlereth.

Draft Picks Sign

  • Within the final hour before the deadline for teams to sign their draft picks, the Twins signed all three of their first round picks. Levi Michael was the 30th overall pick and signed for $1.175 million (about $86,000 over slot). Supplemental first-rounder, Hudson Boyd, the 55th overall pick, signed for a $1 million bonus (about $350,000 over slot). Travis Harrison, the 50th overall pick in the draft, signed for $1.05 million (about $350,000 over slot). The Twins signed several other players with big potential on that final day, including Minnesota’s top high school player in 2011, LHP Austin Malinowski (the team’s 16th round pick).

Award Winners

  • Brian Dozier and Liam Hendriks were named the Twins minor league hitter and pitcher of the year, respectively.
  • Eddie Rosario was named the player of the year in the Appalachian League after putting up monstrous numbers including 21 home runs, one better than teammate Miguel Sano. Teammate Tim Shibuya was the pitcher of the year in the Appalachian League.

Terry Ryan Reclaims the GM Role

  • On November 7, the Twins announced the Bill Smith was being relieved of his duties as GM of the Twins and that former GM Terry Ryan would resume the duties in an interim role. The question is how long “interim” might be.

It was a tough year, and when trying to come up with positives from 2011, it was quite difficult to make it even this lengthy. I’m certain I missed some things. Were there any other positives from the 2011 Twins season that you can think of? Help me out here!!

TwinsCentric Notes


9 Responses to “Twins Top Moments of 2011”

  1. Brad Beneke December 27, 2011 at 4:10 am #

    You forgot Whimmer’s no hitter

    For me the greatest highlight of the season was getting to take my uncle to his first game at Target Field, and getting to see Joe Nathan set the Save’s record for the Twins. (My uncle bought me my first glove, took me to my first game, and bought my first packs of baseball and football cards for me.)

    My proudest moment was seeing the fans’ reaction in Thome’s first game back as an Indian. That was the single classiest thing I’ve ever seen from Minnesota fans towards an opponent in all of my years as a sports fan.

    The most underrated moves of 2011 regaining Krivky in our front office and the two Reds relievers we signed. I think those two will both make our pen in 2012.

    • Seth December 27, 2011 at 11:35 am #

      I have added a note on Nathan setting the saves mark and on the Wimmers no hitter. Thank you very mcuh for bringing them to my attention!!!

  2. roger December 27, 2011 at 9:54 am #

    Tough year when many of the biggest moments happen ‘off the field.’ On to next year!

    Hope you’re feeling better Seth!

  3. dadandrusko December 27, 2011 at 12:03 pm #

    Pretty slim pickings.

  4. Greg December 27, 2011 at 3:11 pm #

    It has been lost in the terrible start and disasterous finish, but June and July actually provided some hope.

    After losing on June 1st, the Twins were 17-37, 16.5 games out. They then won 15 of 17 to get within 6.5 games of first, but gave back much of what they gained by losing 6 in a row. Then they started to win again and got up to 46-51 and only 5 games out. Given the recent history of comebacks and the fact that Mauer seemed to be healthy and hitting for average at least – he had raised his average from .223 to .297 over the previous two week – there was reason for optimism.

    After treading water for a little over a week, they made their run, but it was in the wrong direction. They lost 3 straight, 9 of 10, then 7 straght later in August and 18 of 20 through most of September before winning 3 of 4 to avoid 100 losses.

    The end and beginning were so ugly that it made it seem like one continuous season of losing, but as late as July 29th they were still in the race and I was optimistic that they could pull it out again.

  5. Liz December 28, 2011 at 11:53 pm #

    Great job on this! One thing that stood out to me this season (along with everything mentioned) was the breakout defensive play of Ben Revere (& his offense during that amazing stretch in June). For a guy that wasn’t even on the big league club to create the buzz he did, is impressive. 3 or 4 appearances in the MLB network top defensive plays of 2011, the #1 overall defensive play on MLB Network’s countdown, and the fan vote for the Gibby’s, is pretty outstanding! The kid showed why he wasn’t just the “signable” pick like all the so-called experts said when he was selected. He has the ability to really impact a game in so many ways, on defense, offense (somersault triple?) and just with his energy and attitude. He still has a lot to learn on offense, and his arm is weak, but he was definitely a highlight in this painful season!

    • mike wants wins December 30, 2011 at 12:37 pm #

      I’m not sure how good of a hitter he is, but Ben Revere’s defense is a highlight of the year, agreed.

  6. Laurel January 3, 2012 at 12:05 pm #

    One of my favorite moments was seeing Michael Cuddyer pitch—it was a bright spot in a horrible game.


  1. Friday Links-N-Thinks | Minnesota Sports Zone - December 30, 2011

    […] Seth Stohs ranked the Twins Top Moments of 2011. […]

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