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Worst Twins of All-Time Series: Scott Klingenbeck

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There have been plenty of great players in the history of the Twins franchise and there have also been plenty of duds. In my on-going offseason series, I have been taking a look at some of the worst players to ever wear a Twins uniform. There have been some bad players in recent memory but it can be fun to dig into the poor players of yesterday.

So far, the series has covered Butch Huskey and Terry Felton. Huskey struggled as a designated hitter for the Twins and he provided an interesting career to follow. One of his most famous moments happened in the Metrodome but not in a Twins uniform. Terry Felton had a rough time pitching in Minnesota and he would finish his career without a big league win to his name. These are just two names in a long list of Twins futility.

In the winter cold of the deep offseason, it can be entertaining to look back at the club's history. In the next few weeks, I will discuss some of the worst players to ever wear a Twins uniform. I won't try to rank these players because that could be quite the daunting task and it is wide open to interpretation. These will be simple profiles on some of the worst players in team history.

Next on the list of all-time worst, Mr. Scott Klingenbeck...
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The Baltimore Orioles drafted Scott Klingenbeck in the fifth round of the 1992 amateur draft. His college experience helped him to travel quickly through their farm system. He pitched well in the low minor leagues and he would make his debut during the 1994 season. In that game, he threw seven innings and allowed three earned runs to earn the victory.

Klingenbeck would have a strong start to the 1995 season at the Triple-A level for the Orioles. He posted a 2.72 ERA and a 3-1 record. This left the club little choice but to call him up during the middle months of the season. There were a few bumps in the road on his return to the big leagues. His ERA would jump to 4.88 and he posted a 1.596 WHIP over five starts. This would only be the beginning of the bad.

The Twins traded for Klingenbeck at the beginning of July in the deal that sent Scott Erickson to the Orioles. Erickson hadn't been able to regain his form from the first couple of years in the big leagues. He was only 27-years old but the Twins wanted to get some younger prospects for him. Klingenbeck had looked good during his minor league career but things would quickly go south in Minnesota.

He would make 18 appearances with the Twins in 1995 including four starts for the club. His ERA was a hefty 8.57 with an ugly 1.924 WHIP. He didnít exactly have control of his pitches as he walked 24 batters, hit four batters, and had five wild pitches over 48.1 innings. It was beginning to look like the Twins had given up a kingís ransom to acquire a not so great pitcher.

For the start of the 1996 season, the Twins sent Klingenbeck back to the minor leagues to try and find himself. He improved by posting a 3.11 ERA and a 9-3 record over 22 starts. By the middle of the season, the Twins needed some help at the big league level and Klingenbeck was the guy. He struggled again with the transition and posted a 7.85 ERA and a 1.814 WHIP. This would be his last trip to the big leagues with the Twins.

At the start of the next season, Klingenbeck would be sent back to the Triple-A level. The Twins would dump him on Cincinatti, his hometown team, as part of a conditional deal. He would get one more brief taste of the majors in 1998 and he looked a little better with an ERA close to 6.00 and a 1.456 WHIP. The next year would be his last in professional baseball before retiring in 1999.

Klingenbeck's numbers in the minor leagues made it seem that he would be able to transition into at least a back of the rotation starter. That was one of the reasons the Twins traded for him but this would never happen. His time in the Twins organization translated to a 1-3 record, an 8.30 ERA, and a 1.883 WHIP. He also put together a -1.7 WAR in his Twins tenure.

Following his professional baseball career, Klingenbeck would open a sports bar and grill in Cincinnati. That venue is no longer open but it sounds like it was a decent place to eat.

In the end, Klingenbeck will be more remembered as the man the Twins got back for Scott Erickson because his time in a Twins uniform was very unmemorable...

What other players should be featured in this series? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.


  1. spycake's Avatar
    You could probably do a whole series based on just the 1995-1996 Twins teams. Matt Walbeck would probably be a good choice.

    On the 2000 Butch Huskey team, I've always had a soft spot for Sean Bergman -- saw him beat the Yankees in New York that year.

    Off the top of my head, Steve Carlton's Twins-only performance would certainly qualify him for such a list, and it might be interesting to learn more about his time with the team (having occurred just before my serious fandom).
  2. mnfanforlife's Avatar
    How bout David McCarty? He was pretty awful considering where he was drafted
  3. Winston Smith's Avatar
    Clearly people that write these kinds of things have no idea how hard it is to make it through the minor leauges to play "at the major league level" and how good as a baseball player you need to be.
  4. Rosterman's Avatar
    Kevin Maas. Adam Johnson. Phil Roof. Jerry Zimmerman.
  5. LewFordLives's Avatar
    Didn't the Twins also trade Kevin Tapani that year to the Dodgers for Jose Parra? Another bad trade, although I think we also ended up with Coomer in the deal.

    Gotta add Mike Lamb to the Worst Twins list. Others were just as futile, but not for that kind of money.
  6. savvyspy's Avatar
    I had to throw on my game worn Scott Kingenbeck jersey when I read this!! Picked it up at Twinsfest for $50 while the rest of the jerseys were over $100. The next cheapest one I saw was Alex Cole for $90 but it wouldn't have fit anyone over 130 lbs. The Kingenbeck is roomy to say the least!
  7. mnfanforlife's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Winston Smith
    Clearly people that write these kinds of things have no idea how hard it is to make it through the minor leauges to play "at the major league level" and how good as a baseball player you need to be.
    How good do you have to be to hit 24 homers in 62 games as a junior at Stanford, but never hit more than 12 in a major league season?
  8. Winston Smith's Avatar
    The estimate is that 40 million people play baseball in the US at all levels and Major League teams carry 750 on their active rosters. Being one of those 750 even for a cup of coffee means you are a very good player.
    My question would be how many homeruns did you hit in the majors?
  9. mnfanforlife's Avatar
    Zero...and I know. Are you Hitler? Or is that just an innocent profile picture?
    As for McCarty...He may not be one of the "worst" Twins ever., but he surely was one of the most disappointing.
    Updated 01-17-2013 at 03:22 PM by mnfanforlife
  10. Rosterman's Avatar
    Yes, the worst player on a major league roster is probably better than anyone we had in our high school or college teams. Go figure!
  11. Darin Bratsch's Avatar
    Absolutely Matt Walbeck. Ugh!
  12. spycake's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Winston Smith
    Clearly people that write these kinds of things have no idea how hard it is to make it through the minor leauges to play "at the major league level" and how good as a baseball player you need to be.
    I don't think anyone is saying these players are bad compared to the population as a whole, or even the entire universe of pro baseball. But among players who were on the Twins major league roster, some players had the worst performance (or the worst performance-to-expectations ratio). These are those players.
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