The Twins Almanac for March 27th-April 2nd

The Twins Almanac for March 27th-April 2nd

3/27 is the birthday of Michael Cuddyer, born in 1979 in Norfolk, VA. He was the Twins’ 1st round draft pick out of high school in 1997. In 2009 he hit for the cycle (5/22), and homered twice in the same inning (8/23). He was an All-Star in his final season in Minnesota (‘11), and again with Colorado in 2013 when he was the National League batting champ (.331). 3/27/73: 37 year old future Twins HOFer, Jim Perry, okays trade to Detroit. 3/27/05: Iconic Twins public address announcer of 44 years, Bob Casey, passes away at age 79. Tony Oliva, Kent Hrbek, Dan Gladden and Jack Morris would serve as pallbearers at his funeral. 3/28/96: On the final day of spring training, Kirby Puckett wakes up unable to see out of his right eye. He would be diagnosed with career-ending glaucoma. 3/30/81: Ken Landreaux is traded to the Dodgers for Mickey Hatcher and 2 others. 3/31/87: Just before opening their championship season, the Twins release fan-favorite Mickey Hatcher, and trade 2 minor league pitchers and a player to be named later to San Francisco for Dan Gladden and others. The Twins would send Bemidji-native, Bryan Hickerson, to the Giants in June to complete the trade. 3/31/10: Leading off a spring training game vs. the Yankees and future-Twins pitcher, Phil Hughes, Denard Span fouls off a 3-2 pitch that hits his mother, sitting behind the third base dugout and wearing a Span Twins jersey, square in the chest. It is a scary moment at the ballpark, but she is not seriously hurt. 4/1/07: Herb Carneal, the radio play-by-play voice of the Twins from 1962-2006 (44 years), passes away at age 83. 4/2/62: The Twins trade pitcher Pedro Ramos to Cleveland for Vic Power, and Nimrod, MN-native, Dick Stigman. 4/2/02: The Twins open the regular season with 5 HRs in an 8-6 win vs. KC. Jacque Jones hits solo and 3-run HRs. David Ortiz, Brian Buchanan, and Torii Hunter hit solo HRs. 4/2/10: The Twins play the first MLB game at new Target Field, an exhibition vs. St. Louis. Denard Span collects the stadium’s first hit, a triple, and the first HR and run scored. Jacque Jones, attempting a comeback with the club, pinch-hits and receives a moving standing ovation from Twins fans.

For the history of the Minnesota Twins, told one day at a time, follow @TwinsAlmanac on Twitter.

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Major Minnesotans: Brad Hand

Major Minnesotans: Brad Hand

(This article was published on Twins Daily)

HandMiami Marlins pitcher, Brad Hand, was born on March 20th, 1990. The Marlins drafted Hand in 2008 in the 2nd round (52nd overall) out of Chaska High School. In his senior season at Chaska, the lefty went 8-2 with 2 saves, allowing only 6 earned runs in 68 innings for an 0.61 ERA. At the plate, Hand hit .352 with 8 HRs and 24 RBI.

Brad Hand made his Major League debut on June 27th, 2011 in Miami vs. the Atlanta Braves. He walked the first big league batter he faced, Jordan Schafer, who would play for the Minnesota Twins in 2014 and ‘15. The second batter he faced was Adrian Gonzalez, who struck out swinging. Hand would allow only 1 hit over 6 innings. That one hit, however, was a solo home run by Adrian Gonzalez to lead off the fourth in a 1-0 Braves win.


Hands’ first Major League win came in his 5th start, on July 7th at home vs. Houston as he held the Astros scoreless, giving up 2 hits and 3 walks over 7 innings in a 5-0 Marlins victory.

Hand only pitched in 1 game in 2012, starting the first game of a doubleheader in Washington on August 3rd. He allowed 7 runs on 6 hits and 6 walks over 3 ⅔ innings in a 7-4 loss.

He appeared in only 7 games in 2013. Between 2014 and ‘15, Hand pitched in a combined 70 Major League games, starting 28, compiling a 7-15 record. He is 9-25 over parts of five big league seasons. As a batter, Hand has 5 Major League hits, one each off of Johnny Cueto and Stephen Strasburg. He hit 3 HRs as a minor leaguer. Brad Hand, who is out of options, is fighting to earn a spot on the Marlins’ 2016 roster.

For more stories about the Major Leaguers who grew up in Minnesota, like Major Minnesotans on Facebook and follow @MajorMinnesota on Twitter.



The Twins Almanac for April 3rd-9th

The Twins Almanac for April 3rd-9th

4/3/82: The Twins beat the Phillies 5-0 in an exhibition game, the first Major League game played at the Metrodome. Pete Rose collects the first hit, and Bloomington-native Kent Hrbek hits the Dome’s first two homers. 4/4/90: The Twins trade future-KARE 11 anchor, Mike Pomeranz, to Pittsburgh in exchange for Junior Ortiz and a minor league pitcher. Ortiz, who wore #0, is best-remembered as Scott Erickson’s personal catcher during the Twins’ 1991 World Championship season. 4/5/14: The Twins beat Cleveland 7-3 for Ron Gardenhire’s 1,000th managerial win. 4/6 is the birthday of Rik Aalbert “BertBlyleven, born in Zeist, Holland (1951). Blyleven grew up in Garden Grove, CA and was drafted by Minnesota out of high school in the 3rd round in 1969. After only 21 minor league starts, Bert made his Major League debut on 6/2/70 at age 19. Blyleven would pitch for 22 seasons, 11 in Minnesota (‘70-’76, ‘85-’88). He is a 2x World Series champion, winning his 1st in 1979 as a Pittsburgh Pirate, and his 2nd as a member of the ‘87 Twins. Blyleven won 149 games as a Twin, 2nd only to Jim Kaat (190). His 3,701 career strikeouts rank 5th in Major League history. Bert Blyleven was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2011, his 14th year on the ballot. His number 28 is retired by the Minnesota Twins. 4/6/66: The Twins trade Nimrod, MN-native, Dick Stigman, to Boston. 4/6/73: Tony Oliva hits the first home run by a designated hitter in Major League history off of Oakland’s Catfish Hunter in an 8-3 Twins win. 4/7/70: Outfielder Brant Alyea drives in 7 runs to back winning pitcher Jim Perry in the season-opener. Alyea will go on to collect 21 RBI in the Twins’ first 12 games, and 19 in Perry’s first 4 starts. 4/8/88: The Twins beat the Blue Jays 6-3. Dan Gladden goes 4-for-5 with 3 runs scored, 4 RBI and 2 home runs. He homers in the 1st and 8th and, and steals home off of David Wells in the 7th with Kent Hrbek batting. 4/9/00: Ron Coomer, Jacque Jones and Matt LeCroy hit back-to-back-to-back home runs in win at KC.

Bemidji-Native Part of ’87 Trade for Gladden


A week before the start of their 1987 championship season, the Twins released fan-favorite, Mickey Hatcher, and traded for the much more dynamic, Dan Gladden.

In exchange for the Dazzle Man and a player to be named later, the Twins sent two minor league relievers and a player to be named to the San Francisco Giants. The player to be named that Minnesota would send to San Francisco wound up being Bemidji-native, former Golden Gopher pitcher and Twins ‘86 draft pick, Bryan Hickerson.


One of the appeals of Gladden was his game-changing speed. One newspaper headline the morning after the deal read “Popularity Sacrificed for Steals,” a motivation confirmed by Twins executive vice president, Andy MacPhail, who said that “the reason we got him is he gives us speed. He can steal bases, he’s a good turf player.” Hatcher, who had been with the Twins since 1981 and had peaked in ‘84, was a pretty one dimensional player. Though he possessed a career .281 average, he offered very little of the speed and versatility that the Twins sought with the addition of Gladden. “He just didn’t fit in,” manager Tom Kelly said of Hatcher. “There’s no place for him to play on this team. We have better athletes. We didn’t need him as a designated hitter or a pinch hitter, either.” It was a bold decision for the Twins to pull the trigger on the Gladden-for-Hatcher switch. Hatcher was owed $650,000 for the ‘87 season, and a $100,000 buyout for ‘88. It was the most expensive contract that the Twins would eat to that point in team history.

gladden game 7

The decision would, obviously, pay dividends. Though Gladden wasn’t as good in ‘87 as he had been in ‘86 — or would be in ‘88, for that matter — he was a key component in the Twins winning their first World Series in franchise history. And the trademark grit and hustle he displayed on a broken bat Astroturf double in the bottom of the 10th of Game 7 put the Twins solidly in position to win the 1991 World Series. “Tonight,” Jack Buck said to the national television audience as the game entered the top of the 10th, “it’s so apparent that this is one of the most remarkable baseball games ever played.”

After being released by Minnesota, Mickey Hatcher returned to the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he had played the first two seasons of his career. After playing sparingly in the 1988 regular season, he replaced the injured Kirk Gibson in the World Series, batting .368 with 2 HRs and 5 RBI as the Dodgers upset the heavily favored Oakland A’s in five games. Hatcher retired after the 1990 season. He began coaching in 1993 with the Rangers, and served as Angels hitting coach from 2000 to 2012 under Dodger teammate, Mike Scioscia. The Angels won the World Series in 2002.

Bryan Hickerson, the final piece in the Gladden trade, graduated from Bemidji High School in 1982. He went on to the University of Minnesota, where he won the Gophers’ “Dave Winfield Pitcher of the Year” award in ‘85 and ‘86. The Twins selected Hickerson in the 7th round of the June ‘86 amateur draft. He made his Major League debut for the San Franciscobryan_hickerson_autograph Giants on July 25th, 1991, entering the game in the top of the 9th with the Giants leading the Mets 8-1. Hickerson struck out the first two Big League batters he faced, Kevin McReynolds and Howard Johnson, and induced a groundout from pinch-hitter, Vince Coleman. He pitched primarily in relief, but did start 29 games for the Giants between ‘93 and ‘94. After being released by the Giants, Hickerson pitched for the Cubs and Rockies in 1995 before retiring with a career 21-21 record and 4.72 ERA in 209 Major League games.

Major Minnesotans: Hy Vandenberg

(This article was published on Twins Daily and Seamheads)

It’s the birthday of Washburn High School alumnus and Major League pitcher, Harold “Hy” Vandenberg, born in 1906. He made his Major League debut with the Boston Red Sox in 1935 at age 29, though he wouldn’t win his first game until 1940 with the New York Giants, and his 2nd not until 1944 with the Chicago Cubs. The 6’4″ right-hander, who got his professional start with the Minneapolis Millers, appeared in 90 Major League games, going 15-10 with 5 saves during seven seasons over an eleven year period. Additionally, he pitched in at least 435 minor league games, compiling a record of 139-128.


Hy Vandenberg was born in Abilene, Kansas. When Vandenberg was 4 years old his father died from tuberculosis and his mother moved the surviving members of the family to Minneapolis. Vandenberg began playing professional baseball with the Minneapolis Millers right out of high school, though he does not appear in the statistical record until age 24, when, in 1930, he pitched for the Bloomington, Illinois Cubs. He bounced around minor league baseball, going back and forth between Bloomington, Minneapolis and elsewhere before finally ending up in Syracuse in 1935 where he caught the attention of the Boston Red Sox. Vandenberg, however, didn’t exactly think he was given a fair trial with Boston. He made only three relief appearances over a six week period, giving up 12 runs in 5 1/3 innings before heading back to Syracuse.

Vandeberg next appeared in the Major Leagues in 1937,  getting 1 start for the New York Giants versus the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field. He allowed 7 runs over 8 innings in a 7-4 loss. He appeared in 6 games for Giants in ’38, and 2 in ’39, spending most of his time with the Jersey City farm club. He finally got his first Major League win in 1940 in a 5-2 Giants win against the Phillies in Philadelphia. The New York Times described the 5 hit, complete game victory as an “elegant mound triumph.”


After 1940, Vandenberg would not pitch in the Majors again until 1944 when he re-emerged with the Chicago Cubs, appearing in 35 games, more than the 25 appearances he had accumulated in his previous 5 stints in the Majors combined. He finished 1944 with a 7-4 record, 2 saves and a 3.63 ERA.

Vandenberg held out into the 1945 season, training at the University of Minnesota. Once he did report to the Cubs, however, he matched his success from the year before, compiling a 7-3 record and 3.49 ERA in 30 games. The Cubs played the Detroit Tigers in the 1945 World Series. Though the Cubs lost in 7 games, Vandenberg provided solid relief pitching in games 4, 5 and 7.

Despite coming off of his two most successful seasons, the Cubs released Vandenberg during spring training in 1946. Possibly dispirited, he performed poorly in the minors with Oakland and Milwaukee. In 1947 his contract was purchased by Oklahoma City, but he chose instead to leave professional baseball and pitched for the Springfield, Minnesota team in the amateur Western Minor League.

Following his playing career, Vandenberg worked as an engineering technician for the Hennepin County Highway Administration. Hy Vandenberg died from cancer at his home in Bloomington, Minnesota in 1994. He was 88 years old.