Before this past weekend becomes too “old news”, I wanted to take a moment to comment on the induction of Greg Gagne into the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame.
Here’s the thing: Gagne was solid defensively, did all the “little things” that the Twins organization values, and is the nicest guy you’ll ever chat with. He also played for both Twins world championship, 1987 and 1991.
The trouble is, Gagne was the epitome of an “average” ballplayer. His career batting average was .254 (over 15 seasons), and the highest he ever hit in a single season was .280 (and that was post-Twins with the KC Royals). He hit 111 career homers, stole 109 bases, yet (in one of the most bizarre stats that you’ll never see in today’s game) was actually caught stealing 96 times. His OPS in any given season never touched .750.
Thus, I can’t say that I agree whatsoever with the Twins’ inception of Gags into their HOF. I love to see him (and appreciate his contributions) at team reunions and get-togethers, but putting him in cohorts with names like Killebrew, Oliva, Carew, and Puckett really only cheapens that selection group.
However, I have only congratulations for Mr. Gagne now that the deed has been done. I’m sure it is a great thrill for him.
One other quick note: The Twins once again put on a great show last weekend with their 50th Anniversary Celebration. The 50 Greatest Twins ceremony was great, while the old-timers game provided a lot of laughs (Kent Hrbek’s divot, primarily) and good memories. Like Gene Washington taking his hacks with his new team (the Rangers) standing on the top step laughing their butts off…
Didn’t get to see the game today, but heard the happy news that the Twins won, AND Jim Thome hit another laser beam into the right field bleachers.
Just a few days ago, Thome hit #584 to pass this guy…
…on the all-time list.
Now, he’s gunning for this guy (who finished at 586):
Once Thome passes Frankie and sits at eighth all-time, that is “all” he’ll move up slot-wise on that list this season. Alex Rodriguez currently has 604, while Sammy Sosa would be catchable at 609 if Thome were to play another season at his current production level.
For now, though, it’s just nice to have a power bat in the middle of the lineup with Morneau still getting too many headaches to risk a comeback. Let’s just hope now that he can save his energy a bit for the playoffs and the Twins keep fending off the pesky White Sox.
Preview (81-57, 1st, 3.5 GA CWS): Brian Bannister (7-11, 5.95) vs. Francisco Liriano (12-7, 3.27)
I think the Twins have a new “Mr. Clutch”. After years of struggling with experimental third basemen since Corey Koskie decided to move on to his native land, names like Cuddyer, Tiffee, Batista, Buscher, Lamb, and Harris come to mind, from out of nowhere this year comes Danny Valencia to provide the tandem of great defense and superb hitting, especially in the clutch, as he proved tonight with his walk-off hit against the Tigers.
The Twins have needed a guy like him for a long, long time.
Preview (77-56, 1st, 4.0 GA CWS): Justin Verlander (14-8, 3.58) vs. Scott Baker (12-9, 4.55).