Monday, January 21, 2013

January 21- Minnesota Twins

If there was ever a team who struck gold with changing/introducing a new hat, hands down it has to be the 1987 Minnesota Twins*. Also, if there was ever a team who didn’t deserve to be hated, but for some reason I do, it’s the Minnesota Twins.

The Twinkies introduced this hat at the start of the 1987 season, kicking the long time favorite “TC” logo to the curb; which had been a staple of the organization since the Washington Senators were relocated in 1961. I’m honestly curious to know what the fan response to the hat/logo change was prior to the start of the season, especially considering that the Twins won the World Series in 1987 and 1991 while sporting this cap. For some reason, in my head, I can picture droves of fans booing the switch; almost comparing it an abomination to the team. In the same light I can also picture Carl Pohlad giving the fans the finger… with a World Series ring on each middle finger. My dreams are weird sometimes. Anyway, this is a constant, repetitive theme that I will be bringing up on my blog posts for the next 334 days, if you haven’t figured that out.

The “M” logo, in my opinion, is the best hat logo the team ever had. Keep in mind the team has only had four total hat styles. I’ve just always enjoyed. It has that special something, and a bit of bite to it considering the success the organization has had with it. Now, a very important detail that I must point out: I bought this hat in October of 2011. At the time my plan was to only have one hat from every organization, so I picked this one up off the Lids Web site for $16. Why so cheap? Here’s why…

When I had originally purchased this hat the 2010 Target Field patch didn’t bother me. Then, it showed up in the mail… and I’ve hated it ever since. When it comes to “on field” caps I prefer just the team logo and the MLB logo on the back. Patches on the side, with the exception on the New Era logo, have always been distracting to me; makes the hat too busy. Also, when starting my marking process, it makes these numbers a bit out of place when considering that this hat was used for one specific year, and should have been represented by an event or player(s) form that team. But like I said before, I was only planning on getting the one Twins hat, and went with the two guys who I most associated with my time really following the organization.

For some it’s hard to believe that my first conscious memory of baseball on TV is Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. I say this because I was three-years-old when it went down. The 1987 World Series I remember just as vividly. I can tell you every detail of my house in Stockton, California from where the TV sat to who was in the room and where they were sitting while we were watching it. With that, I chose the two most (personally) memorable figure from that squad.

#34- Kirby Puckett should receive no argument on any grounds. 1987 was his breakout year, posting .332/28/99 along with an American League leading 207 hits. Not too shabby for a guy hitting in the seven hole. Not only could dude pal hit, he was a Gold Glove lock in the outfield. For as short and pudgy as he was, the cat was a five-tool player if there ever was one. I should also point out that, as a four-year-old, I was very impressionable, and seeing a guy who looked like Kirby (plus the name) made it hard to resist now being a fan of his.But most important, his unfortunate injury sidelined what could have been an amazing addition to his career. Having only played 12 years, his stats were an obvious Hall of Fame lock: .318 lifetime average and 2304 hits. He would have easily gotten to 3000, and quite possibly 4000.

#16- This is the moment when I first realized how badass facial hair is. Frank Viola’s mustache was, and still is amazing. Sweet Music was the best starting pitcher the team had that season… and the next for that matter too, since he did win the AL Cy Young in ’88. His 17-10 season record was only closely matched by Bert Blyleven’s 15-12 record, and an equally as boss beard. Plus, even a 42-year-old Steve Carlton had to sit back an admire Viola’s dominance in the Series: 2-1 with 16 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.72. And oh yah, did I mention he was the World Series MVP? Viola that is, not his mustache.

*One thing that should also be pointed out when reading this post is that my girlfriend Angie Kinderman (@sconnieangie) is a huge Twins fan. She will rub this, and every positive thing I say about the Twins in my face. Lame. :(

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