The late-December holiday season is usually reserved for happiness—large family gatherings filled with nostalgia for the past, joy in the present, and hope for the future. But there also exists a sort of pop culture buzzkill to balance out the “merry and bright”. That figure is usually personified in the form of The Grinch. Whether one prefers the 1966 animated special or 2000’s utterly wackadoodle film featuring Jim Carrey, the grumpy green presence is always lurking on the boundaries of holiday cheer.
Metaphorically-speaking, The Grinch is perhaps alive and well as never before in 2020, when holiday gatherings are curtailed due to a global pandemic. So, this seems like as good a time as any to examine some of the Grinch-iest figures in Minnesota Twins history.
Ron Davis: If one looks up “blown save” in the dictionary, RD’s picture is likely present. Despite pitching to a career 4.9 WAR, his years with the Twins (1982-1986) were largely disastrous. In ‘84 alone he blew 14 save opportunities—a record that stands to this day. In ‘86, a few memorable meltdowns led to his removal altogether. He’s the reason Jeff Reardon (closer on the ‘87 championship squad) is remembered so fondly around these parts.
Tommy Herr: After a slow start to the 1988 season, the Twins traded fan-favorite outfielder Tom Brunansky to St. Louis, acquiring Tommy Herr to fill a middle infield hole. Unfortunately, it was clear from the get-go that Herr did not want to be in Minnesota. Almost upon arrival he stated he wouldn’t be returning after ‘88, and went on to post a paltry .263 BA and .674 OPS in 345 PA.
Carl Pohlad: Despite presiding over the only two World Series championships of the franchise’s existence, the elder Pohlad seemed to tire of his property after the mid-90s doldrums. In 1997, he seemingly put up little resistance to businessman Don Beaver’s attempts to purchase the club and move it to North Carolina (the deal ultimately fell through). Five years later, when Bud Selig floated the notion of contracting two MLB teams, Pohlad seemed to all but volunteer the Twins for the chopping block.
Kevin Jepsen: In 2016, the Twins were looking to build upon their first competitive season in half a decade. Before the calendar even flipped to May, however, Jepsen—installed as the closer after Glen Perkins tore his labrum in spring training—had blown two saves and accumulated two losses. The Twins went 7-17 that month and never recovered, posting a franchise-worst 59-103 record.
Logan Morrison: The 2017 Twins made a surprising run to the playoffs and seemed poised to continue trending upward. The acquisition of slugging 1B/DH Morrison—fresh off a 38 HR, .868 OPS campaign in Tampa Bay—looked to inject some much-needed lefty bop in the middle of the order for 2018. It did not. In 359 PA, Morrison hit .186 with just a .644 OPS. His optics were not helped by complaining about Target Field’s lack of a roof during a cold April start to ‘18.
That’s my list for top Twins Grinches. Maybe not the worst players/figures in franchise history, but certainly ones who—at one time or another—really sucked the fun out of the sport while they were in Twins Territory.
What do you think: does one of those five truly have the most garlic in their soul, or am I missing someone?
Biggest Minnesota Twins Grinch?
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