Happy Independence Day! Hopefully you’re out having some (safe) fun on our country’s birthday, but if you have happened upon this page, here’s the topic: Which Twins squads were having the most successful seasons at the July 4th point of the season?
Using Baseball Reference’s play index tool (my favorite toy), I was able to get a list of the records of every Twins team at July 4th of their season. Here’s the top five, along with a few bonus teams:
.595 winning percentage, 47 wins
Coming in at 5th on the list, we have the defending champion 1992 squad. One of the teams from our list that ended up missing the playoffs, the 1992 squad finished in 2nd place in the former AL West with 90 wins. However, it is worth noting that the playoffs only included four total teams at the time.
.614 winning percentage, 51 wins
At 4th on our list, the 2001 squad. Featuring Tom Kelly in his final season, career years from Corey Koskie and Joe Mays, and Torii Hunter’s finest season in a Twins uniform, the squad rebounded from a last-place finish in 2000 to begin a stretch of winning seasons. They ended up in 2nd in the AL Central, with 85 wins.
.622 winning percentage, 46 wins
Perhaps the finest Twins squad that cracked the top five, the 1965 team comes in 3rd place at July 4th. After the 4th, the team romped to a first place finish with 102 wins (still a franchise record) and advanced to the World Series. Despite boasting a lineup that featured team legends Harmon Killebrew, Tony O, and Jimmie Hall, as well as league MVP Zoilo Versalles, the squad fell to Sandy Koufax and the Dodgers in seven games.
.628 winning percentage, 54 wins
Last year’s Twins squad had the most wins at the 4th of July, but only the 2nd-best winning percentage. With a scorching hot first half of the season, the team was sitting pretty at the All-Star break, and were able to avoid a second-half breakdown. Finishing with 101 wins (2nd in franchise history), we all know what came of the team in the playoffs. :(
.649 winning percentage, 48 wins
Coming in first on the list is a Twins squad that has largely been lost to history due to their failure to defeat the Orioles in the ALCS. This team featured Tony Oliva’s finest season (a jaw-dropping 7.0 bWAR), the Killer and his 41 ding dongs, a young Rod Carew, and a baby Bert Blyleven (19 years young). Oh, and Jim Perry won the Cy Young, just for good measure. 1969 may have won Matt’s Twins tournament, but 1970 reigns supreme in this study.
For reference, I did check up on how the World Series champion teams, as well as the 1969 squad, were doing at the 4th of July.
1969- .564 with 44 wins; finished with 97 wins, lost ALCS, Killebrew MVP season
1987- .556 with 45 wins; finished with 85 wins, won World Series
1991- .575 with 46 wins; finished with 95 wins, won World Series, Knoblauch ROY season
Happy 4th of July! Stay safe!