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2003 Candles in the Wind (Pt. 2): Michael Restovich

One wild inning for a young Twins prospect

Minnesota Twins Photo Day

In the first part of this series on unexpected 2003 Minnesota Twins contributors, I looked at Todd Sears’ dramatics that kept the Twins in the AL Central race. With the contemporary roster sandwiched between Baltimore Orioles series this week, it’s time to examine a wild Metrodome victory over the O’s 20 years ago, keyed on by a blue-chip prospect.

In 1997, the Twins drafted Michael Restovich out of Mayo High School in Rochester, MN. Down on the farm from 1998-2002, the slugging outfielder consistently put up OPS marks above .800 and earned himself a September ‘02 cup of coffee in the bigs—where he homered, stole a base, and hit .308 in 14 PA.

MINNEAPOLIS - 9/24/02 - The Twins nipped the team from Cleveland 4 - 3 after a Bobby Kielty sacrifice fly in the 9th scored Mike Ryan, who was pinch running for A.J. Pierzynski. IN THIS PHOTO: Mike Ryan leapt into the waiting arms of Michael Restovich, w
Restovich & fellow Twins prospect Michael Ryan in late 2002

On July 29 of ‘03, Terry Ryan & Ron Gardenhire decide to bring his prodigious bat to the big club. Two days later he’d have a major impact—without actually using said lumber!

July’s last gasp of 2003 saw the Twins & Orioles in a wild one at the Dome. Losing 7-9 in the bottom of the ninth, Luis Rivas singled & Doug Mientkiewicz walked—but Jacque Jones & Torii Hunter quickly fanned. Down to their last out, A.J. Pierzynski’s base knock brought home Rivas, moved Dougie to second, and put Restovich in the batter’s box.

Much like Twins batters of recent vintage, Michael K’d to end the game—until he didn’t! You see, the ball got away from catcher Brook Fordyce—who picked it up and threw wildly to first base, allowing Mientkiewicz to motor around third and touch the dish—tied at 9-9!

MONDAY_07/29/03_Mpls. - - - - - - - Just up from the minors is #41 Michael Restovich, seen here hitting a doubling in the 7th inning.
Keying a late rally on a swing and a miss!

After an extra-inning hold from LaTroy Hawkins, the Twins sent the 20,002 Dome faithful home happy when Jones singled in Cristian Guzman for the game’s winning digit.

I’ll never forget watching this contest with my grandfather in the basement of his northern MN lake cabin—on a TV screen smaller than the laptop I’m currently pecking away on. Such was second-tier, basement TV life in the early aughts. Though just a single victory, it was certainly important with the Twins 4.5 GB the Kansas City Royals at that time.

In total, Restovich put up a .283 BA and .821 OPS in 64 plate appearances that season. But with the Twins solid in the OF & 1B, playing time never came his way (51 PA in ‘04). Sent to waivers in 2005, Restovich bounced around a bit and was out of baseball after the ‘07 season with a line of 297 PA, 6 HR, .239 BA, & 79 OPS+.

Washington Nationals v Houston Astros
Last stop with the Nats
Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images

Though perhaps not making the desired MLB footprint, the Michael Restovich story has a smile-worthy ending. If you happen to live in the Rochester, MN area and need legal assistance, his services can be procured at Restovich Braun & Associates.

But before the Bar gained Restovich, I’ll always remember him for tying “that one game” with a strikeout!