A blog about baseball cards... and the Padres

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Other 29: Twins

As a countdown to the 2013 season, I'll be doing a feature on each Major League team.  This has been done before - probably better - in other places by other people.  I'll try to mix it up as much as I can though.  I am listing the teams in order of proximity to my current location; central Texas.  I'll be doing one of these posts (hopefully) every other day, with the last post featuring the Padres on Opening Day. Enjoy!

The distance from my house surprises me again.  I would’ve figured that a place like Minneapolis would be much farther away than Chicago, but since it’s more of a straight shot (north and south) than Chicago is, it’s only five miles farther away than Wrigley Field.  So much useless knowledge.

By the way, chalk the Twins name up to another one that it took me a long time to finally understand.  Named after the Twin Cities?  Presently, I kinda like it, but as a kid, I wondered why baseball team names always seemed less intimidating than the other sports.  Just for fun, here’s a hardly researched, thrown together list of the least intimidating names in the three major sports.  Sorry hockey (and just when it seemed like the Maple Leafs might’ve won something)

1. White Sox/Red Sox/Reds (or Redlegs)
2. Browns
3. Jazz
4. Nets
5. Dolphins
6. Angels
7. Saints
8. Padres
9. Athletics
10. Twins

Ok, well, that wasn’t as baseball dominated as I thought it was going to be at first, but baseball grabs the top spots (all named after footwear), as well as four of the last five.  Don't call me biased if I chose your team, because mine's in the #8 spot.

THE DISTANCE?
1,142 miles.

DO I LIKE ‘EM?
Meh.

SHARE MY FEELINGS?
I was lucky enough to go to the All-Star FanFest in 1992.  I was eight at the time, and since it was held in San Diego, it was right in my own backyard.  I don’t remember a ton of details, but I do remember getting some autographs of some “old people” (I guess they call them “Hall of Famers”, but I knew that they hadn’t played for a while; looking back, I wish I’d known/remembered more about them, I think one of them was Ralph Branca).  One thing I do remember was being asked by somebody addressing the audience what my favorite team was.  It was of course, the Padres, but I think we had just been in a gift shop and I had seen a Minnesota Twins shirt that I liked, so I said “the Twins”.  I remember my dad giving me a weird look.  It sounds weird, but I wish I could take it back, since it seems kind of like a lie.  Anyways, I guess I’m not the biggest Twins fan, but at one point I was a fan of some of their merchandise.

FRIAR CONNECTIONS?
I am aware of very few players who have played in both Minnesota and San Diego.  Mike Pagliarulo was an infielder for the Padres for a few years before signing as a free agent to play for the Twins, and Pat Neshek, one of the few players who still collects baseball cards, also spent time in both cities.  As far as I can tell, pitcher Kevin Correia is the only current Twinkie who also played for the Friars.  Count Shane Mack as well.  There are probably more...

FAVORITE PLAYERS?
Former: Brian Harper, though it should probably be Harmon Killebrew or Jack Morris.

Current: Kevin Correia, even though I thought he was still playing in Pittsburgh

LEAST FAVORITE PLAYERS?
Former: Jason Kubel, just because he's a current Diamondback.

Current: Jamey Carroll, just because he's a former Dodger.

FAVORITE CARDS?
My fascination with Brian Harper stems from (seemingly) always getting his cards when I was a kid.  That, and my daughter's name is Harper, so I love finding Brian Harper cards.

Moustache + catcher's gear = awesome.

Some black-bordered goodness, both from sets that I've collected (and almost completed).

The aforementioned Mr. Neshek.  I really liked this '12 Rookie Stars card because it featured all Twins.  As far as I know, the rest of the cards all featured multiple teams.  This is my only Harmon Killebrew card, but you gotta love Harmon Killebrew.

These are two definite favorites, especially when viewed side by side.  Both are card number 91, one from 2012 Topps Heritage (Hendriks), the other from 1963 Topps (Stigman).  As I posted about here, I got this Stigman card as a free bonus from an eBay seller and it turns out that Stigman also pitched for the Pacific Coast League Padres.  Pretty cool.

Some glaring holes in my collection of Twins cards (which is purposefully small) are Jack Morris, a clutch World Series performer, Dan Gladden, who I modeled my hair after as a kid, and some original Harmon Killebrew cards.  Low priority, but if I stumbled upon them, I'd hold onto 'em.

PREDICTIONS?
The Twins finished last in the NL Central in 2012, 22 games behind the Tigers.  In the bottom half of that division, I think that Cleveland has improved, and the young Royals should be getting better as they gain experience.  I'd like to envision a way that they won't finish last again, but I can't.

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