I recently celebrated my 30th birthday. In recognition of my surviving more than 10,957 days on this crazy ball we call Earth, I figured I would throw together 30 top 30 lists. Why? Because I like to list things. It’s what I do. I also like to watch TV, read comic books and imagine what life would be like if I had toes on my hands instead of fingers. I assume opening jars of salsa would be more difficult.
You know what else is difficult? Staying focused long enough to put together one list of 30 things you are passionate about and providing brief write-ups of each. That being said, four months after I originally started writing this, I have come to the realization that this will likely be the only top 30 list of its kind. So, enjoy. Today’s topic: My all-time top 30 favorite forgettable Minnesota Twins.
Before we get started, a quick word on what exactly qualifies someone as a “Forgettable Minnesota Twin.” Generally these players fit into two categories: 1) Players who, while certainly and commendably good enough to make it to the majors, never really did anything to distinguish themselves. 2) Players who, while they may have had successful major league careers with other teams, contributed approximately diddly-squat during their time with my home town nine.
Two more quick pieces of boilerplate before we get to the list proper: 1) To make this list, I have to have seen these players or at least been cognizant of their existence on the team. 2) Due to my decidedly non-athletic-centeric state of mind during my pre-high school days, this list includes only those players who appeared in a regular season Twins game no earlier than 1999.
Also, this turned out to be pretty long. So I’m breaking it into a couple different posts. So, without further delay; here’s Part 1:
30. Bret Boone 2005: Perhaps one of the best examples of a potential low-risk/high-reward deal, Minnesota acquired Boone from the Seattle Mariners for minor league pitcher Andy Baldwin and cash. It turns out the M’s had non-tendered the three-time All-Star for a reason, as his production, which had dropped from 2003-04, fell completely off the map in 2005.
One of many men Jose Canseco has accused of steroid use, Boone lasted 14 games with the Twins batted .170 in 58 plate apperances and committed two errors in 77 chances.
29. Craig Monroe 2008: I have always been the type to get unnecessarily excited about Twins transactions. From Adam Everett to Rondell White, just about every time the Twinkees acquire new on-field talent, a little piece of me reacts like a 10-year-old at Christmas. Livan Hernandez? Loved it. Chris Gomez? Terry Mullholland? I’m on board. Henry Blanco? That worked out decently. Craig Monroe? Not so much. That’s right. Even I, the man who once said, “Awesome! The Twins just invited Ken Harvey to Spring Training!” cannot remember being excited about this deal.
Coming off a disappointing 79-83 season, the Twins needed to replace a certain seven-time Gold Glove winner, two-time All-Star and winner of the Best Outfield Smile Award from 1999-2003 and 2005-07 (2004 being a tie between Jacque Jones and Lew Ford). The team needed to find a slick fielding outfielder with power and speed who would serve as a clubhouse and community leader. So who would be the new Torii Hunter?
Of course Monroe wasn’t going to live up to the on- and off-field production of Hunter. I don’t think anyone with a firm grasp on reality expected him to. That being said, Monroe’s numbers in 58 games: eight homers, 29 RBI, no steals, and a 27% strike out rate. At least with no errors in 19 chances, his defense was OK.
28. Jim Hoey 2011: I was all ready to write a scathing blurb here about how poorly Hoey performed in 2011. I was going to talk about how much promise the hard-throwing righty had shown in the minors and how he posted the worst numbers of his career in his short time in the Twin Cities. Then I actually looked at the numbers. In 26 games with Minnesota, Hoey contributed 24.2 innings, a 5.47 ERA, a 4.7 BB/9 (walks per nine innings) rate and no hit batsmen. All career highs.
So, yes, it turns out that as far as Jim Hoey seasons go, 2011 was pretty good. Of course, he did produce the lowest strikeout rate of his short career (5.1 K/9), gave up four home runs and struck out only 14 in what was just a generally “blah” season all around. Plus it’s really hard to overlook the fact that he was basically all the team got in return for J.J. Hardy.
27. Casey Blake 2000-02: Casey Blake has been in the league for 13 seasons. He has 167 homers, 1,186 hits, 616 RBI, 445 walks and a .264 average. By no means is Casey Blake an all-time great. What Casey Blake is, however, is a solid major league ballplayer who has helped several teams, providing solid offense while playing every position except for pitcher, catcher and center field.
That being said, I challenge anyone to tell me one memorable thing he did while with the Twins. Game winning home runs? None. Game tying home runs? None. Meaningless, down by 12 runs with two outs in the ninth inning home runs? None. That’s right, Casey Blake did not hit a single home run for the Minnesota Twins. Of course, he only played 29 games with the big club, but still, not a one? No triples either. One interesting note, he recorded the same number of doubles as runs scored: four.
The most interesting thing to me is that, despite being primarily a third baseman, he played mainly first base during his sporadic Twins appearances. What would Doug Mientkiewicz’s career had looked like if Blake had done something impressive during those 29 games?
26. Philip Humber 2008-09: Were it not for a break-out 2011 season with the Chicago White Sox, Philip Humber would most likely be remembered by Twins fans and the greater baseball world alike as one of the three guys not named Carlos Gomez included in the Johan Santana deal. He certainly won’t be remembered for anything he actually did in a Twins uniform.
In 13 relief appearances for Minnesota, Humber had a 6.10 ERA and had almost the same number of strikeouts (15), walks (14) and earned runs (15) without tallying a single win, loss or save.