My parents recently celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary. Devoted Twinkie Town readers may remember them as the boy who cooked your Metropolitan Stadium hot dogs and the girl whose mother made her wiener sandwiches to take to games.
While I’ve been routinely checking in on memorable moments from the 2002 & 2012 seasons—within my baseball-watching wheelhouse—there are of course other anniversaries to recollect. Here are a few thoughts on those round numbers...
110th Anniversary (1912)
For years, the Washington Senators were “first in war, first in peace—and last in the American League”. But in 1912, they finally had a winning season (91-61-2). Playing at Griffith Stadium in the nation’s capital, the “Nats” were paced by Chick Gandil’s 122 OPS+. As per the Dead Ball era, Washington hit 20 total home runs—and stole 273 bases. One thing that hadn’t changed: The Big Train—Walter Johnson—being far and away the team’s finest asset (33-12, 369 IP, 34 CG, 7 SHO, 2 SV, 303 K, .908 WHIP, 1.39 ERA, 243 ERA+). Sadly, in this pre-playoff period, the Senators finished a distant (14 GB) second to AL champion Boston.
60th Anniversary (1962)
In just the second season of Minnesota major league baseball, the Twins posted an impressive 91-71-1 mark. Mashers Harmon Killebrew, Bob Allison, & Don Mincher all had an OPS+ north of 130, while Jim Kaat (18-14, 130 ERA+) & Camilio Pascual (20-11, 123 ERA+) led the pitching corps. Jack Kralick also twirled the first no-hitter in Twins history and relievers Dick Stigman & Joe Bonikowski locked down the back end of games. The end result? Five games behind the first-place New York Yankees. Figures.
50th Anniversary (1972)
First managed by Bill Rigney—and later Frank Quilici—the ‘72 squad was even-steven: 77-77. The offense was fine: Harmon (138 OPS+) was still doing his thing, while Bobby Darwin (123 OPS+) and Steve Braun (110 OPS+) were solid bat-wielders. Rod Carew’s .318 BA took home the batting title—without swatting even a solitary round-tripper. The pitching actually seemed pretty solid too: Kaat (157 ERA+) played the ace role, while Bert Blyleven, Dick Woodson, Ray Corbin, & Dave Goltz were all 120 ERA+ or higher. Even Wayne Granger (108 ERA+) and Dave Laroche (114 ERA+) were dependable out of the pen. I’m not sure why a pedestrian .500 record was the end result.
40th Anniversary (1982)
I’ll start with the good news here: Sal Butera threw out 4 potential base-stealers in one game, Tom Brunansky hit an inside-the-park grand slam, and Kent Hrbek, Gary Gaetti, Gary Ward, & Bruno all eclipsed 20 bombs. That’s about it for the positives.
The ‘82 bunch posted a then-franchise-worst 60-102 record and had the ignominious distinction of being the cellar of league attendance despite opening a new stadium—the Metrodome (as seen in the header). Frank Viola (4-10, 5.10 ERA), Terry Felton (0-13, 4.99 ERA), & Pete Redfern (3-9, 4.42 ERA) epitomized the campaign and Ron Davis was the best reliever of the bullpen bunch. Yikes.
30th Anniversary (1992)
Coming off their ‘91 championship, the Twins may have actually been better in ‘92. The pitching was fantastic: John Smiley, Kevin Tapani, & Scott Erickson all pitched 200+ innings with sub-4.00 ERAs. Relievers Rick Aguilera, Carl Willis, Mark Guthrie, Tom Edens, & Gary Wayne were all well above average (141 ERA+ and above). Kirby Puckett was of course still kicking—.329 BA, 139 OPS+, 210 H, 124 R, 110 RBI—and Shane Mack (.315 BA, 139 OPS+) had a season for the ages. So, why don’t we remember this 90-72 group? Because the 1992 Oakland A’s (of Dave Stewart, Dennis Eckersley, Ricky Henderson, Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire, & Carney Lansford vintage) were six games better.
Any memories/experiences to share from those 2022 anniversary seasons? If you remember the 1912 Senators, kindly divulge the location of the Fountain of Youth.