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Minnesota Twins 2024 Anniversaries (Pt. 4 of 4): 1994

One strike and they’re out

Minnesota Twins v California Angels Photo by Owen C. Shaw/Getty Images

Part 1: 1964

Part 2: 1974

Part 3: 1984

The all-encompassing baseball story of 1994 was of course the labor strike that cancelled the World Series for the first time since 1904—when New York Giants owner John T. Brush refused to let his club stoop to the level of playing those silly/inferior Bostonians of the American League.

But 2/3 of a season was played in ’94, and with it some Minnesota Twins milestones.

Minnesota Twins Manager Tom Kelly
TK wondering why baseball isn’t continuing into September
SetNumber: X46002

30th Anniversary: 1994

Despite 1993’s precipitous plummet (71-91) following the ’91 championship and a ’92 squad that may have been stronger (but for the juggernaut Oakland Athletics), the ’94 Twins could still swing the lumber. Kirby Puckett (482 PA, 20 HR, 112 RBI, .317 BA, .902 OPS, 129 OPS+) and Chuck Knoblauch (499 PA, 45 2B, 85 R, 35 SB, .312 BA) were predictably solid. Shane Mack (347 PA, 15 HR, .33 BA, .966 OPS, 147 OPS+)—pictured in header—and Pedro Munoz (268 PA, 15 2B, 11 HR, 118 OPS+) also played Dome ping-pong with opposing pitchers.

Minneesota Twins v Baltimore Orioles
Munoz takes a hack
Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

The problem? This ’94 squad was filled with belly-itchers—not their rhyming equivalent. Other than league-average Kevin Tapani (105 ERA+), not-that-Patrick Mahomes (103 ERA+), & reliable Rick Aguilera (135 ERA+), all other arms were well below the water line: Scott Erickson, Jim Deshaies, Carlos Pulido, Carl Willis, Mark Guthrie, Mike Trombley, Larry Casian, and Dave Stevens. It added up to a team 5.68 ERA and 86 ERA+.

Minnesota Twins v New York Yankees
Sorry to remind you of Jim Deshaies
Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

When the stadium gates locked after 8/10/94, the final tally was 53-60 for Tom Kelly’s collection—14 GB the Central-leading Chicago White Sox (eww). 1,398,565 souls savored the season’s “incomplete” grade—9th of 14 in Brush’s “bush league”. A few months later, GM Andy MacPhail—architect of both championship clubs—was replaced by Terry Ryan.

There were a few fun moments before the shutdown:

Perhaps the paramount ’94 juncture: an 8-year-old kid went to Media Play (RIP) with his dad to pick out some fun software for this newfangled “home PC” that now resided in the den. Tony LaRussa Baseball II—with its robust rosters of classic players—was the purchase and the rest is quite literally: history.

I hope you enjoyed this anniversary-focused series. I will be examining ‘04 (yay!) & ‘14 (yuck) in more depth as this year unspools.