Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Top 10 Twins Pitchers of the '80s
Good Morning! It has been almost three weeks since we last did this, but I am back today with another Top Ten list for you to (hopefully) enjoy! Previously, we have looked at the Top 10 Twins Hitters of the decades (1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. In terms of pitchers, we have now seen the Top 10 Pitchers of the 1960s and the 1970s. Today, we will take a look at the Top 10 Twins Pitchers of the 1980s. Although the list of names will likely be more recognizable, the list isn't all that impressive. There are several relievers (both famous and infamous) and several who only pitched for the Twins for two to three years. However, once you get toward the bottom of the list, there are some good names, including a should-be Hall of Famer. and a Cy Young Award winner. Hopefully these names bring back some good memories for some of you. If nothing else, it is never a bad idea to learn a little of our favorite team's history. So, let's get to it.
*Note - all stats only include the 1980-1989 seasons.
**Note 2 - it is really hard to find pictures of a lot of these guys, so I am going to use some old baseball cards. Each picture will be linked to the great Twins Cards website, to their individual page. Be sure to check them out!
#10 Ken Schrom, RHP
Ken Schrom was actually the Twins 10th round pick in June of 1973. However, he did not sign. He was a Quarterback at the University of Idaho. In 1976, he was drafted by the California Angels. Following the 1982 season, he signed with the Twins as a free agent. He was the Twins pitcher of the year in 1983 when he went 15-8 with a 3.71 ERA. He pitched 196.3 innings, he struck out just 80... and walked 80. He then went 14-23 over the next two seasons. After the 1985 season, the Twins traded Schrom and Bryan Oelkers to the Cleveland Indians in exchange for Ramon Romero and Roy Smith. Schrom is still working in baseball. He works for Nolan Ryan as the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the Corpus Christi Hooks.
For the '80s, Schrom ranks tied for 6th in Games Started (75), 6th in Wins (29), 6th in Losses (31), 7th in Innings Pitched (494), and tied for 5th in Complete Games (15).
#9 Juan Berenguer, RHP
Juan Berenguer was one of the better Twins bullpen guys. Either that or he was the original Vulture. He signed with the Twins as a free agent before the 1987 season. He became a great set up man and went 8-1 with a 3.94 ERA. In 112 innings, he struck out 110 batters. In 1988, he went 8-4 with a 3.96 ERA. He struck out 99 in 100 innings. In 1989, he was 9-3 with a 3.48 ERA. In 106 innings, he struck out 93. So yes, he was a combined 25-8 during the '80s with the Twins. The native of Panama stayed with the Twins through the 1990 season when he left as a free agent. Teammates called him Pancho Villa or more notably with the Twins Senor Smoke. Of course, the current generation will be impressed by his music video, The Berenguer Boogie.
For the decade of the '80s, Berenguer ranks 4th in Games (160), 5th in Games Finished (57), 7th in Wins (25), 1st in Win Percentage (.758), 6th in Saves (9), 5th in ERA (3.79), 1st in Strikeouts per nine innings (8.55) and 7th in Home Runs per nine innings.
#8 Albert Williams, RHP
In January of 1980, Albert Williams signed with the Minnesota Twins as a free agent. It was a very simple signature. You see, in 1977, the Nicaraguan native was part of the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. The Somoza government would not renew his visa. So, he signed up with the Sandanista National Liberal Front guerrillas. He then spent the next 16 months fighting in the jungles of Nicaragua. He went 6-2 with a 3.51 ERA in 1980. He went 6-10 with a 4.08 ERA in the strike-shortened 1981 season. He was 9-7 in 1982 with a 4.22 ERA. He was then 11-14 with a 4.14 ERA in 1983. In that season, he pitched a career high 193.1 innings. He walked 68 hitters, and struck out just 68. He stayed with the team through the 1984 season, when he was released.
For the 1980s, Williams ranks 4th in Games Started (97), 5th in Wins (35), 5th in Losses (38), 4th in Innings Pitched (642.2), tied for 5th in Complete Games (15) and tied for 10th in Home Runs per nine innings (0.95).
#7 Allan Anderson, LHP
Allan Anderson was the Twins 2nd round pick in 1982 out of his Ohio High School. He made his big league debut in 1986 and in 21 games, he went 3-6. He got into just four games in the 1987 season and was 1-0. His big breakthrough season came in 1988. He went 16-9. He led the league with a 2.45 ERA, just beating the Brewers Teddy Higuera. In 202.1 innings, he struck out just 83 batters. He also led the league with just 1.65 walks per nine innings. 1989 was another very good year for Anderson. He went 17-10 with a 3.80 ERA. Of course, then came the Twins 1990 season, when they finished last in the AL. He was just 7-18. In 1991, he was just 5-11 and was removed from the playoff roster. And that was the end of Anderson's big league career.
So, for the decade, Anderson ranks 6th in Games started (75), 4th in Wins (37), 10th in Losses (25), 3rd in Winning Percentage (.597), 6th in Innings Pitched (495 2/3), tied for 7th in shutouts (2), 4th in ERA (3.72), 3rd in Walks per nine innings and 6th in HR per nine innings (0.78).
#6 Doug Corbett, RHP
Doug Corbett signed with the Kansas City Royals, then was part of the Cincinnati Reds organization. In 1979, the Twins drafted him from the Reds organization. He debuted with the Twins in 1980 and set AL Rookie records with 73 appearances and 23 Saves. He went 8-6 with a 1.98 ERA in 136.1 innings. In 1981, he led the league with 54 games pitched. Although he went 2-6, he had 17 saves and a 2.57 ERA. That was the strike-shortened season. But then something happened. In 1982, he was 0-2 in ten games with the Twins. In May, he was traded with Rob Wilfong to the California Angels for Tom Brunansky, Mike Walters and Cash. Corbett spent parts of the next four seasons in the minor leagues and something just wasn't right.
But, for the '80s, he ranks 6th in Games (137), 3rd in Games Finished (113), 3rd in Saves (43), 1st in ERA (2.49), 6th in strikeouts per nine innings (6.00) and 2nd in HR per nine innings (0.55).
#5 Ron Davis, RHP
My first year of really following the Twins was probably 1984. I remember every time Ron Davis entered the game, you felt that something bad would happen. But really, he was not that bad of a reliever. He came to the Twins in April of 1982 as part of that Greg Gagne/Roy Smalley trade. From 1982-1984, Davis ranked in the Top 5 in the American League in Saves. In reality, he was pretty solid. After the 1983 season, the Twins signed him to a four year, $2.7 million contract (A contract which did not allow the Twins to trade him to a team that had Goose Gossage or Kent Tekulve on it), the largest contract given to a Twins player to that time. Normally, that would have meant an immediate trade of Davis, to rid the Twins of that contract. But, Davis was good enough that the Twins kept him until August of 1986. They sent him to the Chicago Cubs alon with Dewayne Coleman for George Frazier, Ray Fontenot and Julius McDougal. At the time of the trade, Davis was 2-6 with 25 saves despite a 9.08 ERA in 36 games. If you like, here is a look at the Top 5 Ron Davis Blown Saves.
For the decade, Davis ranks 1st in Games Pitched (286), 1st in Games Finished (249), 4th in Losses (40), 9th in Innings Pitched (381 1/3), 1st in Saves (108) and 2nd in strikeouts per nine innings (8.24).
#4 Jeff Reardon, RHP
Jeff Reardon was generally mentioned as a key cog, a key addition to the Twins 1987 team that won the World Series. I will say that he did a nice job as the team's closer. However, a deeper look at his numbers tell us that he was not a great, dominant closer, but he did rack up Saves. Reardon came to the Twins in February of 1987 from the Montreal Expos with Tom Nieto for Neal Heaton, Yorkis Perez, Jeff Reed and Al Cordwood. In 1987, he went 8-8 with 31 saves and a non-good 4.48 ERA. In 80.1 innings, he struck out 83. In 1988, he went 2-4 with a league-leading 42 saves. His ERA improved to 2.47. In 73 innings, he struck out 56. In 1989, he went 5-4 with 31 saves and a pedestrian 4.07 ERA. In 73 innings, he struck out just 46. He was an All Star in 1988 (and had been in 1985 and 1986 with the Expos). He became a free agent in November of 1989.
For the '80s, Reardon ranked 3rd in Games (191), 2nd in Games Finished (177), 2nd in Saves (104), 3rd in ERA (3.70), 3rd in strikeouts per nine innings (7.36) and 2nd in walks per nine innings (2.19).
#3 Mike Smithson, RHP
I've got to think that this is the one surprising name in the Top 4, right? Mike Smithson was a big pitcher. He was 6-8! He came to the Twins along with pitcher John Butcher for Gary Ward and Sam Sorce. For the Twins, he led the American League in Games Started in 1984 (36) and 1985 (37). In 1984, he was 15-13 with a 3.68 ERA. In 1985, he went 15-14 with a 4.34 ERA. In 1986, he went 13-14 with a 4.77 ERA. He spent the entire 1987 season with the Twins, but he went just 4-7 with a 5.94 ERA. Following the World Series championship, he was released by the team. He signed with the Boston Red Sox (a team he had spent six minor league seasons with) and went 9-6 for the AL East Champions in 1988.
For the decade, however, Smithson ranks 9th in Games (128), 2nd in Games Started (126), 3rd in Wins (47), tied for second in Losses (48), 8th in Win Percentage (.495), 3rd in Innings Pitched (816), tied for second in Shutouts (5), 3rd in Complete Games (26) and 5th in Walks per nine innings (2.50).
#2 Bert Blyleven, RHP
Is there really any question that Bert Belongs in the Baseball Hall of Fame? I don't think so. You will remember that Blyleven ranks #1 in my Top 10 Twins Pitchers of the 1970s. Of course, he was traded away from the Twins to Texas in 1976. On August 1, 1985, he returned to the Twins in a trade with the Cleveland Indians. The Twins sent Curt Wardle, Jay Bell, Jim Weaver and Rich Yett to Cleveland. In 1985, despite the midseason trade, Blyleven finished third in Cy Young voting. In 1986, Blyleven went 17-14 with a 4.01 ERA in 271.1 innings. In 1987, he went 15-12 with a 4.01 ERA in 267 innings. He led the league in home runs allowed in both 1986 (50) and 1987 (46). Bert went 1-1 with a 2.77 ERA in the 1987 World Series. In 1988, Blyleven went 10-17 with a 5.43 ERA in 207.1 innings. After the season, he was traded with Kevin Trudeau to the California Angels for Mike Cook, Paul Sorrento and Rob Wasssenaar.
For the 1980s, Blyleven ranks tied for 10th in Games (120), 3rd in Games Started (120), 2nd in Wins (50), tied for 2nd in Losses (48), 7th in Win Percentage (.510), 2nd in Innings Pitched (860), tied for 2nd in Shutouts (5), 2nd in Complete Games (40), 4th in strikeouts per nine innings (6.62) and 4th in Walks per nine innings (2.47).
#1 Frank Viola, LHP
Frank Viola, like Kent Hrbek, Gary Gaetti, Randy Bush and Tim Laudner, came up to the Twins in the early '80s and grew together until they won the World Series championship in 1987. He had been the Twins 2nd round pick in 1981 out of St. John's University. Frankie V was best known for his changeup, a circle change that I remember trying to use when I pitched. In his first two big league seasons, he combined to go 11-25. Then, he won 18 games in both 1984 and 1985. In 1986, he won 16. In 1987, he went 17-10 with a 2.90 ERA. He won the AL Cy Young Award in 1988 when he went 24-7 with a 2.64 ERA. Then in 1989, his agent wrote a "pay me or trade me" letter to the Twins, a letter that got him bashed by Kent Hrbek and Gary Gaetti. He went just 8-12 before being traded at the July 31 deadline. He went to the New York Mets in a great trade for the Twins. The Twins got Rick Aguilera, Kevin Tapani, David West, Tim Drummond and later Jack Savage. Amazingly, Viola's only All Star appearance with the Twins came in 1988. He went 2-1 in the 1987 World Series to claim the Series MVP. In 1983, Viola threw 210 innings. From 1984-1989, he pitched no fewer than 245 innings. "Sweet Music" is the easy choice for the Twins Top Pitcher of the 1980s.
For the decade, Viola ranks 2nd in Games (260), 1st in Games Starts (259), 1st in Wins (112), 1st in Losses (93), 4th in Win Percentage (.546), 1st in Innings Pitched (1,772 2/3), 1st in Shutouts (10), 1st in Complete Games (54), 6th in ERA (3.86), 5th in strikeouts per nine innings (6.16) and 7th in walks per nine innings (2.65).
The 1980s brought the Twins their first World Series championship, and there were a few solid seasons, but there were also some very bad pitching. In the '80s, we see the continuing role changes with pitchers. Starters don't go as long any more, and the relievers are much more important, even set up men. Viola was great, no question. But the trade to get rid of him in 1989 was another coup for the Twins. There were plenty of other names that appeared on the leader boards that were not mentioned above. Here are some of them. Bobby Castillo, Pete Filson, Keith Atherton, John Butcher, Brad Havens, Rick Lysander, Roger Erickson, Les Straker and others were at least minimally considered for inclusion. Mentioning them is nice, but it also tells you the tough pitching times of the '80s.
Any thoughts on the Top 10 Twins Pitchers of the '80s? I came up with this list relatively quickly, so please feel free to argue and debate. Send me an e-mail or leave some Comments below.
OTHER THOUGHTS (and minor league updates)
The Twins minor league schedules are going to be so hard to keep up with. Last night, the Rochester doubleheader was snowed out. New Britain also was rained/snowed out of their game.
Ft. Myers played Lakeland last night and there was quite the pitching matchup. The Twins sent Kyle Waldrop to the mound to fact Tigers top prospect Andrew Miller. Waldrop was definitely up for the task, recording his first Win of the season. The righty went 5.1 innings and gave up no runs on four hits and two walks. He struck out six. Yohan Pino went the next two innings and maintained the shutout, striking out four. Finally, Angel Garcia got the final five outs for the Save. Andrew Miller was great. He gave up just three hits, and the run he allowed was unearned. He went all eight innings, but he got the loss. Whit Robbins had a double. Final Score - Ft. Myers 1, Lakeland 0.
The Beloit Snappers scored four runs in the top of the 9th to tie the game at six a piece, but the team fell to Clinton 7-6 in the 10th inning. Garrett Olson went 3-5 with a double and two RBI (to lead that 9th inning rally). Greg Yersich was 2-5. Jose Lugo started and gave up four runs on six hits and two walks. Sean Land then gave up two unearned runs in the next 2.1 innings. Robert Delaney faced six batters. He gave up one hit and struck out five. Dan Leatherman pitched two shutout innings. But then in the tenth, with one out, a batter got on on an error before another walk. Adam Revelette then came in and gave up a single to end the game.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports wrote an article on Justin Morneau.
As the Twins start their three game series (LATE) tonight in Seattle, LaVelle reminds us that this is the spot where Justin Morneau figured things out last year.
For thoughts on all Minnesota sports, be sure to check out the Minnesota Sports Guys.
That is it for today. With these late West Coast games coming up, I'd better go to bed! Have a great day!|
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