As expected, Jethro Tull’s Aqualung took home the balance of the major honors at the Minnesota Twins’ Diamond Awards on Thursday night. The British progressive rock band’s 1971 album claimed Most Valuable Player, Pitcher of the Year, and Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year. It also shared Rookie of the Year honors with outfielder Max Kepler.
Chaska’s Brad Hand took home Upper Midwest Player of the Year for his work with the San Diego Padres.
“From the hard-driving riffs of ‘Locomotive Breath’ to the classic title track, we think Aqualung is a worthy recipient,” said Twins GM Thad Levine.
In a statement, Tull frontman and flautist Ian Anderson said he was pleased by the honors and asked what the Diamond Awards were.
“I don’t know that I understand any of this,” added Anderson.
The yearly awards gala benefits neurological research at the University of Minnesota, and the winners are voted on by the local chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America.
This is not the first time a non-traditional winner has walked away with a bounty of trophies at the event.
In 1978, Charles “Bebe” Rebozo, a Florida businessman and confidant to disgraced ex-President Richard Nixon, was named Most Improved Player by former owner Calvin Griffith because the latter “wasn’t giving a goddamn thing to Glenn Adams.”
And in 1989, a mix-up with the balloting and multiple paperwork errors resulted in New Prague hobby farmer Junior Ortiz becoming the team’s back-up catcher for the next two seasons.
Twins players and staff were united in their praise of Aqualung’s victories.
“Day in, day out, Aqualung just brings it,” said Twins manager Paul Molitor. “You want to see that level of professionalism and mix of acoustic and electric jams out of everyone.”
“Iron Maiden covered ‘Cross-Eyed Mary’ on the B-side to ‘The Trooper’ for Pete’s sake,” said reliever Glen Perkins. “Good enough for Maiden, good enough for me.”