Your favorite #5 memory
To countdown the days til pitchers and catchers report, we're going to list the Twins with those numbers (thanks to this awesome list) and let you can reminisce about one of them. So who is the poster boy for day #5....
Jose Valdivielso, 1961
Don Mincher, 1962-66
Russ Nixon, 1967 Bob Oldis, 1968 (Coach)
Leo Cardenas, 1969-70
Danny Thompson, 1970-76
Roy Smalley, 1976-82, 1985-87
Ray Smith, 1983
Houston Jimenez, 1984
Jim Dwyer, 1988-90
Pedro Munoz, 1990-95
Roberto Kelly, 1996-97
Brent Gates, 1998-99
Michael Cuddyer, 2001-11
Eduardo Escobar, 2012
I've always been happy that Roy Smalley and Bert Blylelven ended up back on the Twins in time for the 1987 World Series win. I feel like Smalley certainly deserved it, after faithfully serving the Twins and then being flipped to the Yankees by Griffith in that gut-punching '82 season. I felt like a lot of guys from the 77 team deserved it - Wynegar, Hisle, Bostock and certainly Carew. Maybe Mauch more than any of them.
Pedro Munoz played SIX seasons for the Twins? Really? I primarily identify him as one of the guys that I hoped would eventually replace Bruno, but didn't.
And the guy who eventually DID replace Bruno is on this list, too. I'm surprised to see Cuddy on there for 11 years, though those first three were just a tease. Cuddyer is 10th on the Twins list of home run leaders, and Bruno is 9th. I wonder how likely it is that Cuddy eventually winds up in the Twins HOF? I haven't really studied it, but I would think pretty good.
Smalley was that rare specimen of shortstop that you would want to DH on his day off.
Who here remembers the nickname that Hrbek laid on Pedro Munoz? "Booger." And why? Because Kent, scholar of languages that he is, thought that Munoz sounded like "My Nose". Proof that I'm not just imagining things:
GAME USED BAT FOR SALE
Have to go with Smalley. I would say one of the most under rated Twins of all time.
A bunch of good guys, these number 5’s. A painful memory is how much the Twins gave up on Danny Thompson in the late spring of 1974. They put him on the disabled list, then didn’t take him off, with the rather obvious intent of just letting him get four years vested in the pension plan before releasing him. Because the matter of his illness was well known, it was an embarrassing mess that even made the New York Times, where I read it from my New Jersey vantage point. The management did restore him to the roster, where he warmed the bench for a bit. Then when the team’s fortunes were at its lowest (we had the worst record in the league) and Calvin was publicly threatening the manager’s job at the start of a road trip in Texas, Quilici penciled Thompson into the lineup. The guy came off the scrap heap to go four-for-four with an inside the park home run. I would try to pick up a faint WCCO signal late at night, and tuned in just in time to hear Herb Carneal call that fourth hit. It was the closest I came to bursting into tears during a ballgame. Quilici kept his job (for better or for worse), Thompson finished the season at short, and, for whatever reason, the Twins played the about best baseball in the league from that June 24 onward.
Smalley was by far the Twins best hitter for a couple of years. I don't recall him DHing at all during his first run with the Twins. Good looking, well spoken and the manager's nephew, he was the face of the franchise. He's my second favorite #5. I remain a Cuddy fan. He played hard, played hurt and was available whether the club was good or not. He was a mainstay for the nice run that the Twins put together between '01 and '10, starting playoff games in right, first and second.
Originally Posted by ashburyjohn
I think Don Mincher was pretty great. He won game one with a hr in his first at bat. The first Twins world series hr and win ever. Off Drysdale as Mudcat won. The Twins should have never lost that Series, It was heart breaking.
Yeah, my memory wasn't too sharp about that, and I checked and he didn't DH at all until 1980-81. Still, it says something about a shortstop that this career trajectory doesn't go toward utility infielder but DH. Maybe that can be inferred as a negative about his fielding being in decline, but without a bat, he's just out of baseball in that case; instead, Smalley in his 30s was valuable as a hitter to a team on the upswing. His value in his 20s as a steady shortstop was very high.
Originally Posted by stringer bell