Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Top 10 Twins Pitchers of the '70s
Good Morning! It has been about a week and a half, 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. Then the last entry was the Top 10 Pitchers of the 1960s. Today, we will take a look at the Top 10 Twins Pitchers of the 1970s. I have to be honest, this is maybe not a largely impressive list. There are several relievers 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. 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 1970-1979 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 Tom Hall, LHP
Tom Hall was the Twins 3rd round pick in 1966. He made his big league debut in 1968 at the age of 20. At six-foot and just 150 pounds, Hall was nicknamed "The Blade." He spent 1968-1971 with the Twins and split time between the bullpen and some spot starts. I imagine that if Aaron's Baseball Blog would have been around in the late '60s and early '70s, the call of "Free Tom" or "Free Hall" (whichever you prefer) would have been the slogan de jour. Hall threw very hard and in his time with the Twins, he struck out more than a batter an inning which, for that time in baseball, was a lot! His big year with the Twins came in 1970. He went 11-6 (with four saves) in 52 games. In 155 1/3 innings, he struck out 184 batters. He had a 2.55 ERA (146 ERA+) and a 1.030 WHIP. Following the 1971, Hall was traded to the Cincinnati Reds for Wayne Granger. With the Reds, he became a key member of the the bullpen of The Big Red Machine. For the '70s, Hall ranks 8th in Games Finished (33), 9th in Win Percentage (.536), 7th in Saves (13), 4th in ERA (2.91), 7th in strikeouts (321) and 1st in strikeouts per nine innings (10.14).
#9 Tom Burgmeier, LHP
Tom Burgmeier was born in St. Paul. He was signed in 1961 by the Houston Colt .45s. After the 1973 season, Burgmeier came to the Twins organization from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for minor leaguer Ken Gill (who never reached the major leagues). He spent 1974 through 1977 with the Twins where he pitched out of the bullpen. He threw over 90 innings three of the four seasons. His best Twins season came in 1976 when he threw 115 1/3 innings in 57 games. He was 8-1 with a 2.52 ERA. Following the 1977 season, Burgmeier signed a free agent contract with the Boston Red Sox. For the '70s, Burgmeier ranks 4th in Games Pitched (214), 3rd in Games Finished (104), 5th in Win Percentage (.600), and 3rd in Saves (23).
#8 Ray Corbin, RHP
The Twins signed Ray Corbin as a free agent in 1967. He made his debut with the team in 1971 at the age of 22. He was a part-time starter each of the five years he spent with the Twins, but his primary contribution came out of the bullpen. He won eight games each of his first three seasons, followed by seven and then five. His best year came when he pitched in 51 games (7 starts) and 148 1/3 innings. He was 8-5 with a 3.03 ERA and 14 saves. Of course, the year before, he was just 8-9, but he had an ERA of just 2.62 (reason number 7,437,285 why the "Win" stat is meaningless for a pitcher). He was released in May of 1976 and never pitched in the Major Leagues again. For the Twins in the '70s, Corbin ranks 5th in Games (181), 5th in Games Finished (62), 10th in Complete Games (12), 6th in Wins (36), 4th in Losses (38), 6th in Saves (17), tied for 7th in Shutouts (3), 5th in strikeouts (348) and Innings Pitched (652 1/3).
#7 Mike Marshall, RHP
Mike Marshall played for nine different teams in his 14 year career. He signed with the Twins as a free agent in May of 1978 and spent 1978-1980 with the Twins. He finished in the Top 7 in AL Cy Young voting in both 1978 and 1979. In 1978, he went 10-12 with 21 saves and a 2.45 ERA. He pitched 99 and and incredible 142 2/3 innings (90 games), respectively. Of course, Marshall is known for his ability to pitch a lot. According to Baseball Library, "Marshall earned three degrees at Michigan State, including a Ph.D. in kinesiology. He made his own decisions as to his training and pitching methods and was much disliked by his teammates, who saw him as an egomaniacal individualist who looked down upon them and would not take advice, but always had plenty to give. He clashed with many of his managers, who saw him as a smart-aleck college boy." Somehow, however, it was Gene Mauch who continued to give him a chance and saw him thrive. However, in June of 1980, Marshall was released by Mauch and the Twins because of his union activity (and how much he talked). He would spend a little more time in the big leagues, but his great years were past. He spend just two years with the Twins in the '70s, but he ranks 6th in Games (144), 2nd in Games Finished (135), 9th in Losses (27), 1st in Saves (53), 1st in HR/9 IP (0.41) and 1st in ERA (2.57).
#6 Geoff Zahn, LHP
Geoff Zahn had a 13 season big league career. He spent 1977-1980 with the Twins. He came to the team in March of 1977 after being released by the Chicago Cubs. He had three good seasons for the Twins in the '70s. In 1977, he went 12-14 with a 4.68 ERA in 198 innings. In 1978, he went 14-14 with a 3.03 ERA in 252 innings. He then went 13-7 with a 3.57 ERA in 169 innings. His ERA was Top 10 in the league those last two years. Following the 1980 season, Zahn was released. For the '70s, Zahn ranks 5th in Games Started (91), 5th in Complete Games (23), 5th in Wins (39), 6th in Losses (35), 10th in Win Percentage (.527), 9th in Walks per nine innings (2.73), 10th in HR per nine innings (0.74), 9th in Strikeouts (252) and 6th in Innings Pitched (619 1/3).
#5 Bill Campbell, RHP
The Twins signed Campbell as a free agent in 1970. He came up to the Twins in 1973 and stayed with the team until after the 1976 season. In those four years, he made just nine starts. Although he was decent his first three year, 1976 was a huge season for the righty reliever. He pitched in 78 games and finished 68 of those. He threw 167 2/3 innings (Again, out of the bullpen) and went 17-5 with twenty saves and a 3.01 ERA. He won the AL Rolaids Relief Award for the season. However, after the season, Campbell became a free agent and decided to sign with the Boston Red Sox. He would stay in the league through the 1987 season and play for six other teams. So, for the decade of the '70s, Campbell ranks 3rd in Games (216), 1st in Games Finished (171), 7th in Wins (32), 4th in Win Percentage (.604), 2nd in Saves (51), 5th in ERA (3.13), 3rd in strikeouts per nine innings (6.29), 2nd in HR per nine innings (0.61) and 6th in strikeouts (322).
#4 Jim Kaat, LHP
Jim Kaat finished as my choice (and an easy choice, it was!) as the Top Twins Pitcher of the 1960s. He signed with the Senators in 1957 and would spend parts of four decades in the big leagues. He spent all of the '60s with the Twins and stayed with the Twins into the 1973 season. In 1970, he went 14-10 with a 3.56 ERA. In 1971, he was 13-14, but he had a 3.32 ERA. In 1972, he was well on his way to one of his better seasons when an injury ended his season. He was 10-2, but only went 113 1/3 innings. He was also hitting .289 at the time. In 1973, he was 11-12 in 181 2/3 innings with the Twins before he was put on waivers and claimed by the Chicago White Sox. He reunited with pitching coach Johnny Sain and was 20 games in both 1974 and 1975 while throwing a combined 581 innings. So, if the Twins thought Kaat was done, well, they were wrong. He had another decade in him. In his four '70s seasons with the Twins, he won four more Gold Glove awards. For the '70s, Kaat ranks 7th in Games (128), 3rd in Games Started (115), 3rd in Complete Games (31), 4th in Wins (48), tied for 4th in Losses (38), 6th in Win Percentage (.558), 3rd in Shutouts (7), 9th in ERA (3.46), 1st in walks per nine innings (1.88), 3rd in strikeouts (414) and 3rd in Innings Pitched (785 2/3).
#3 Jim Perry, RHP
If you recall, Jim Perry also ranked #3 in my Top 10 Twins Pitchers of the '60s ranking. Perry came to the Twins in 1963 for Jack Kralick and stayed with the team until just before the 1973 season. You will notice that many of the numbers of Perry and Kaat are similar. So, why did I give Perry the edge? 1970. In that season, Jim Perry went 24-12 with a 3.04 ERA in 278 2/3 innings. And for it, Perry was named the American League Cy Young Award winner, the first in Twins history. The following year, Perry went 17-17 with a save and a 4.23 ERA. He was an All-Star in both 1970 and 1971, his first All-Star appearances since he was with Cleveland in 1961. Perry then went 13-16 in 1972 with a 3.35 ERA in 217 2/3 innings. Before the 1973 season, Perry was traded to the Tigers for Danny Fife and some cash. He had a reputation for being too nice to win, but he definitely overcame that! So, for the decade of the '70s, Perry ranks 9th in Games (115), 4th in Games Started (114), 4th in Complete Games (26), 3rd in Wins (54), 3rd in Losses (45), 8th in Win Percentage (.545), 4th in Shutouts (6), 5th in walks per nine innings (2.57), 4th in strikeouts (379) and 4th in Innings Pitched (766 1/3).
#2 Dave Goltz, RHP
When Pelican Rapids, MN, native Dave Goltz made his debut with the Twins in 1972, he became the first Minnesota-born pitcher to reach the big leagues with the Twins. The Twins discovered him playing catch in his parent's backyard. Goltz was the Twins 5th round pick in 1967. He had to spend some time in Vietnam, possibly delaying his big league career. Goltz was with the Twins from 1972 through the 1979 season. Five times he won 14 or more games. He is best known for his 20 win season in 1977. He went 20-11 with a 3.36 ERA. In 39 starts, he threw 303 innings. That is his season that gets him recognition. However, he had a 3.36 ERA in 1976 as well, but he was only 14-14 that year. In 1978, Goltz went 15-10 with an even better 2.49 ERA in 29 starts and 220 1/3 innings. After the 1979 season, Goltz became a free agent. He signed a six year, multi-million dollar contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He spent just two years with that team before being released and spending two seasons with the Angels. But, for the decade of the 1970s, Goltz ranks high in many statistical categories. He ranks 1st in Games (247), 2nd in Games Started (215), 2nd in Complete Games (80), 2nd in Wins (96), 2nd in Losses (79), 7th in Win Percentage (.549), 2nd in Shutouts (11), 10th in ERA (3.48), 8th in Walks per nine innings (2.71), tied for 5th in HR per nine innings (0.65), 2nd in strikeouts (887) and 2nd in innings pitched (1,638).
#1 Bert Blyleven, RHP
Bert Blyleven was the Twins 2nd round pick in 1969 out of high school. Using his California math, he could tell you that he made his big league debut in 1970 with the Twins at the age of 19. The debut came on June 5th and the first batter, Lee May, hit a home run. He went on to a Hall of Fame caliber career. He won the American League Rookie Pitcher of the Year for The Sporting News. He made 25 starts and won 10 games. He was with the Twins until he was traded to the Texas Rangers in June of 1976 (with Danny Thompson for Bill Singer, Roy Smalley, Mike Cubbage, Jim Gideon and $250,000). From 1971-1975, Blyleven won no less than 15 games in a season. In 1973, he made an All-Star appearance and went 20-17 with a 2.52 ERA. In those five full seasons, his average year was 17-15 with 289+ innings in 38 starts. His ERA was below 3.00 all but one year (1975, when it was exactly 3.00). He struck out at least 224 each year. His WHIP was no higher than 1.17. In those years, he was Top 5 in ERA three times, Top 5 in WHIP 4 times, Top 6 in K/9, Top 4 in strikeouts. He also led the league in strikeouts per walk in 1971 and 1973. He led the league with an ERA+ of 158 in 1973. For the decade, Blyleven ranks 2nd in Games (228), 1st in Games Started (225), 1st in Complete Games (101), 1st in Wins (99), 1st in Losses (90), 1st in Shutouts (24), 2nd in ERA (2.80), 2nd in strikeouts per nine innings (7.39), tied for 2nd in walks per nine innings (2.31), 3rd in HR per nine innings (0.62), 1st in strikeouts (1,402) and 1st in Innings Pitched (1,706 2/3).
The 1970s marked a pretty rough patch in Twins history. It started with the team's second straight division championship in 1970. The team consisted of several great players, hitters and pitchers. But as those players grew older and fought injury, team success proved much more difficult to come. It was during this decade where you start to see some of the team's frugalness. But don't mix lack of team success with lack of talent. There were still some very good season's and some very good performances throughout the decade. They were just far between. And then Mr. Blyleven, he doesn't have to take a back seat to anyone!
Any thoughts on the Top 10 Twins Pitchers of the '70s? 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.
We may have seen the last of JD Durbin in a Twins uniform. After Sidney Ponson tossed six shutout innings against the Orioles, Durbin was supposed to go two innings in his attempt to make the opening day roster. He went one innings and gave up four earned runs on five hits and a walk. To make it even more clear that Durbin's time with the Twins is done, Mike Venafro pitched another scoreless inning of relief and is yet to allow a run this spring. Maybe they can work out a trade of Durbin to a team needing pitching, or maybe they will just put him on waivers and lose him for nothing. At this point, the only thing that seems certain is the Durbin will be with a new organization by the end of the week. So much potential, but Durbin's injuries and lack of control ended up hurting his career with the Twins. Still young, Durbin could prove himself a big leaguer in time. It just will not be with the Twins.
What is really getting frustrating is the Carlos Silva/Matt Garza debate. It really shouldn't be this hard to figure out! As much as I don't think spring trainings mean much, with Silva we are not just looking at his 11.20 ERA from this spring. It is the continuation of his 2006 season when he was among the worst in baseball. That is why Matt Garza should clearly be in the rotation.
I was driving back to work yesterday after lunch and as I got into the parking lot, David Winfree was coming to bat with the bases loaded. So, I had to sit in the car and listen to the at bat. He hit a deep fly ball to centerfield and all three runners advances on his sacrifice fly. Great at bat!
Doug Deeds also singled in his late-game at bat.
Against the Twins, Terry Tiffee went 0-1 while Chris Gomez went 1-4.
If there are still people out there who think that Torii Hunter is a good leader and an all-around good guy at all times, check out this story. Your mind may be altered, so beware.
Former Twin 2B Todd Walker was released by the San Diego Padres.
Cristian Guzman batted 2nd and played SS for the Nationals. He went 2-4 with a homer and three RBI. Tony Batista was 0-2 for the Nats. Levale Speigner took the loss for the Nationals. He gave up four earned runs on four hits and a walk over 3 1/3 innings. For the Tigers, Todd Jones went two shutout innings. Michael Ryan was 0-1 for the Pirates. Dustan Mohr was 0-1 for the Devil Rays. Alex Ochoa went 0-1 for the Red Sox, but he was also told that he would not make the Red Sox Opening Day roster. Javy Valentin went 1-1 with two RBI in a pinch hit appearance for the Reds. Brent Abernathy went 0-1 for the Phillies. Doug Mientkiewicz went 1-3 with a two run double for the Yankees. Jacque Jones went 0-5 as the RF for the Cubs. Henry Blanco went 2-4. Damian Miller was the Brewers catcher and went 0-4. Augie Ojeda played 2B for the Diamondbacks and went 0-1. Shannon Stewart was 1-2 with an RBI double, batting second and playing LF for the A's. Bobby Kielty went 0-2 as a PH and DH. He is just coming back from injury.
Think that it is hard for a young Twins player to be given a starting gig? Well, how would you like to be with the Dodgers? James Loney hit .380 at AAA last year and showed at the big league level that he is ready. Instead of handing him a job, they resigned Nomar Garciaparra to a two year contract. Another option for Loney is apparently in the outfield. But then in the offseason they signed Luis Gonzalez to a one year contract. That also affects Andre Ethier who hit .308/.365/.477 with 20 doubles and 11 home runs in about 400 big league at bats. And now he will be on the bench. Matt Kemp came up last year and hit seven homers in 154 at bats. So, they went out and give the overrated Juan Pierre more than $50 million over five years. Chad Billingsley will start the season in the bullpen so that people like Brett Tomko, Mark Hendrickson and Brad Penny will likely be in the rotation. Even Joe Mays is being considered. And, as much as I'm sure they wanted to get rid of Elmer Dessens, why did they need to pick up yet another veteran outfielder in Brady Clark to replace him? This all makes no sense!
By the way, the Twins are on ESPN at noon today against the Yankees.
With the Final Four coming up this weekend, the Strib is writing about the Gophers (non) Final Four team from 10 years ago. I loved that team. Those were the days that I was huge into college basketball. Now, I haven't watched a single game of the NCAA Tournament. But, watching that 1996-97 team was so much fun. Bobby Jackson was a star. John Thomas and Trevor Winter were the centers. Eric Harris was the underrated point guard. Sam Jacobson was the local high flyer! Quincy Lewis was instant offense off the bench. That was fun. It may not have happened, but I won't forget it!
With that, please read the below note on a Twins Fans Get Together, and then, if you haven't already, send me your selections for Contest #2.
TWINS FANS GET-TOGETHER
Check out Aaron's Baseball Blog today for details on a Twins fans get-together. On Saturday, April 7th, Aaron, Howard Sinker, Will Young and other bloggers will meet with Twins fans to watch the Twins-White Sox game at Buffalo Wild Wings in Crystal. For more details, click here.
OK, I must sleep! Have a great day!|
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