Minnesota Twins

Wed, 05 Nov 2008 02:29

The history of the Minnesota Twins

Information about the MLB team Minnesota Twins.

The Minnesota Twins are one of the first groups to enter the American League in 1901. This baseball team has had its share of failure and successes over the years. They have won several division titles including three World Series trophies. The Twins was not known by their moniker when they were accepted into the American League. During that time, the Twins were known as the Washington Senators. Although the team name sounds imposing, the Senators constantly lost their matches. In 1904, the Senators lost an astounding 113 games. The team was forced to change their name to the Washington Nationals the following year.

However, the media and the fans still called the team “the Senators,” thus the owners reinstalled their former moniker. They still lost a lot of games until they acquired legendary pitcher Walter Johnson in 1907. Known as the “Big Train,” Johnson packed an amazing fastball that was very hard to hit for players of his era. Johnson helped the team get its first winning season in 1912, when the Senators had a record of 91-61. The team also got a new manager during that time, Clark Griffith. The combination of Griffith’s masterful team dealings and Johnson’s excellent pitching made the Senators a force to be reckoned with in the American League.

Although the team got winning records in 1912 and 1913, the Senators would yet again become a sub-par team. This may have been caused by the team owners’ refusal to shed off big money for talent acquisition. This prompted Clark Griffith to buy controlling interest of the Senators to become team president in 1921. In 1924, the Senators reached the World Series for the first time when they beat Babe Ruth’s New York Yankees for the American League title. They would then face the New York Giants, headed by John McGraw. Many people knew that the Senators were underdogs. However, their strong will gave them the energy to beat the Giants and become that year’s World Champions.

The next year, the Senators were one of the feared teams in the league. Teams had all the right to be afraid since the Senators yet again dominated the American League and landed another chance at glory in the 1925 World Series. However, their bid for a back-to-back championship was crushed by the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 1927, Walter Johnson retired and the Senators had losing seasons the following years. The team became the talk of the town once again when they acquired shortstop Joe Cronin and posted a 99-53 record in 1933. That year, the Senators reached the World Series once again but were beaten by the New York Giants.

Their defeat in the 1933 World Series would be the start of the horrible losing seasons for the Washington Senators. They were the laughing stock of the league, after being one of the feared squads during the 1920s. In 1954, they managed to get Harmon Killebrew, a future National Baseball Hall of Fame member. Killebrew was already outstanding upon his arrival to the Senators’ roster. In 1959, he led the league in home runs, giving him a spot in that year’s American League All-Star team. However the team still lost a lot of games and, with the death of Clark Griffith in 1955, the Senators were looking forward to a change in scenery.

Team relocation had become common during the 1960s, not only in baseball but also with other sports as well. Minneapolis was given a chance to make its own baseball team but Calvin Griffith, son of former manager Clark, asked that the Senators be moved to the city and instead let Washington have its new team. The Major League Baseball committee granted the request and allowed the former Senators to move in to their new state. Since Minnesota had two major cities –Minneapolis and St. Paul–, Griffith named the new team Twin Cities Twins. However, the board handling the case did not accept this bid. Instead, they let the new team be associated with its home state. Thus, the Minnesota Twins were born.

The core players from the Washington Senators were brought in for the Twins. Their roster included Killebrew, Lenny Green, Jim Kaat, Earl Battey, Camilo Pascual, Bob Allison and Zoilo Versalles. In 1962, the team won 91 games and got 102 wins in 1965. During that year, Versalles won the league MVP award. The Twins managed to get into the 1965 World Series but were defeated by the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games. Although they lost their match, the Twins got the support they wanted from the people of Minnesota. Never wanting to let them down, the team constantly acquired good players for a playoff push.

The Twins got Rod Carew and Tony Oliva to help Harmon Killbrew in their bid for another shot at the championship. Killebrew won the league MVP in 1969 but the Twins were beaten by the Baltimore Orioles in the very first American League Championship Series. This defeat would put greater troubles for the Twins as they became sub-par yet again. Even though they had Oliva and Carew, the Twins suffered a great loss when Killebrew got injured. He was no longer a power player and was forced to retire during the 1974 season. Carew also left the team as part of a trade in 1978.

Trying to regain their former glory, the Twins made significant changes during the 1980s. Calvin Griffith sold the team to banker Carl Pohlad but this did not deter the management in hiring new talents. The team already had Kent Hrbek, Gary Gaetti, Frank Viola and Tom Brunansky and they were also able to get Bert Blyleven via trade. The free agency also gave them Roy Smalley and Al Newman. The Twins were also developing the skills of draft pick Kirby Puckett. This new roster catapulted the Twins to the 1987 World Series although they only had 85 wins, a .525 winning percentage.

The Twins won the 1987 World Series by beating the St. Louis Cardinals. In 1988, the Twins posted another winning season but were pushed out of the playoffs by their division rivals, the Oakland Athletics. The team also suffered a last place finish during the 1990 season. Yet, the team built another strong roster with the likes of Shane Mack, Chili Davis and Chuck Knoblauch. In 1991, the Twins capture the World Series championship for the second time in Minnesota and the third time for the franchise overall. They have beaten the Atlanta Braves 4-3. Many baseball analysts considered their series the best of all time.

The Minnesota Twins: Recent history

Even though the team won the 1991 World Series, the Twins suffered great losses in the coming years. By 1998, the team was in a rebuilding process as they got rid of most of their high-earning players. The new roster had become good by the year 2000. From 2001 to 2006, the Twins always had winning seasons, thus making them formidable opponents in the league. They had three straight division titles, where the Chicago White Sox were their main rivals. They also had intense matches with the Detroit Tigers. Although pushed out of the playoffs again, the Minnesota Twins are making sure that they get the right pieces to become title holders again in the coming years.