5 Nominations for Minnesota Twins’ Hall of Shame
5 Nominations for Minnesota Twins' Hall of Shame
With the addition of Eddie Guardado to the Minnesota Twins’ Hall of Fame two weeks ago, I got to thinking about the complete opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to great players. When I began watching the Twins in the early nineties, Kent Hrbek was retiring, Kirby Puckett was at the tail-end of his career and the Twins were about to be consumed by a period of mediocrity that would damage the franchise for a few seasons. During that time, I grew up expecting mediocrity, but I also got to see the complete spectrum of players that the Twins had to offer.
In addition, the Twins have been criticized over the years for signing or bringing in players who were cheap, over-the-hill, underwhelming and unproductive that the team hoped they could revitalize or find some value in. Often times, the Twins were left wasting money on those players who had nothing left to offer and had no business being in the majors anyway; yet, we gave them their one last chance.
With that in mind, I started to think of an idea that could recognize some of these moves and players throughout Twins’ history. My idea led me to the idea of creating a Twins’ Hall of Shame. While this idea may not be fully unique, I think it’s a great chance and forum that could generate great conversation.
In order to be nominated for the Twins’ Hall of Shame, my only requirement is that the player had to play/be on the team a minimum of 40 games with the Twins at the majors, which is the closest equivalent of one-fourth of a season, or be acquired via trade/signed at some point during the season. This would allow for a true enough sample size to be considered worthy of the Hall of Shame, but also would allow for a player who was acquired via trade or signed during the season and quickly released again a chance to make the list.
Without further wait, I will release the five nominees for the inaugural Hall of Shame class of 2013. I will release an article next week revealing the players who were selected to enter the Hall of Shame based on your votes. Players must receive a minimum of 75 percent of the votes in order to be selected. You can vote on my group page on Facebook or via Twitter at @BeeWill15.
Boone was a career .266 hitter with 252 HR and 1021 RBI with a 22.6 WAR over his 14-year big-league career, but his brief time with the Twins was shameful. Boone was acquired from Seattle after the team designated him for assignment and the Twins put in a claim to trade for him. The Twins agreed to pay the balance of his $9.25 million salary and also agreed to send them a player to be named. General Manager Terry Ryan had this to say about Boone when he was acquired, "I'm not saying that Boone is going to be a savior, but he might be a guy that can help. There's a lot at stake for him, obviously." If those aren’t inspiring words, I don’t know what are (sarcasm).
Ryan went on to say that, "This is a high-reward, low-risk situation. I don't think there's any downside." Besides paying a player 9.25 million dollars to only appear in 14 games with a .170 batting average with zero HR and three RBI in 58 at-bats, the Twins also missed the playoffs after hoping Boone was the player who would revitalize the team. All in all, Boone made himself into a strong candidate to enter the Hall of Shame as a first-ballot member.
Marquis was the typical off-season pitcher signing that the Twins were/are famous for. He was well beyond his years and the Twins thought they’d take a chance at signing the starter to a contract in hopes of catching lightening in a bottle like they did when they acquired Carl Pavano. In reality, the Pavano acquisition working out probably was the worst possible thing to happen to the Twins because it was almost vindication for their ridiculous strategy of acquiring players and filling out a roster. At any rate, Marquis was horribly ineffective with a 2-4 record, 8.47 ERA, 1.941 WHIP and a horrific 13.8 H/9 in seven starts with the Twins. Marquis was a 10 game winner for a period of six straight seasons in the mid-2000s, but he hadn’t won above 8 games since and had an ERA that was near 4.00 over that time. The Twins figured he was better than what they had and so they made a move to sign him and ended up getting what they paid for. Marquis did have a nice run in San Diego after he left town, but his performance with the Twins was bad enough that he wound up on the ballot for Hall of Shame in 2013.
Mahomes wasn’t your one-hit wonder with the Twins and in fact, he spent a total of five years with the team. Well that may be more of an indication of how bad the teams were when he pitched on them in the mid-1990s, he still lasted longer than other players on this list. During his five-year run with the Twins, Mahomes went 18-28 with a 5.82 ERA, 1.617 WHIP, 4.6 BB/9, 9.9 H/9 and a total of 237 earned runs allowed over 366.2 career innings. Mahomes was always seemingly trying to work himself out of trouble and never really seemed to have a plan when he was on the mound. The image of Mahomes consistently taking off his hat to wipe the beating sweat off his forehead because he was in a difficult situation is ingrained in my memory and he, in my opinion, best represents the ineptitude of the Twins’ starting pitching during the mid to late 1990s; thus, he is a candidate for the Hall of Shame.
Nishioka was supposed to be the solution to the Twins’ problems at shortstop when the team signed him from Japan and traded away J.J. Hardy, but he ended up being a huge bust for the Twins and cost them a valuable shortstop in the process. Hardy wound up having a few great seasons in Baltimore and Nishioka ended up appearing vastly overmatched by American baseball and seemed lost and overwhelmed at the most routine of plays and situations. Even some time in the minors couldn’t save Nishioka’s career in Minnesota. The Twins signed Nishioka to a three-year, 9.25 million dollar contract before the 2011 season after the team bid more than 5.3 million dollars to his Japanese team to gain negotiating rights; talk about money wasted. In his two years with the Twins, Nishioka would up hitting .215 with zero HR and 20 RBI over 71 games with a WAR of -2.4. If you watched the Twins during Nishioka’s two-year run with the team, you’ll understand why he is Hall of Shame worthy.
No list of Hall of Shame candidates would be worthy without Huskey. Before the start of the 2000 season, the Twins were looking to add a player with DH experience. They threw half a million dollars at Huskey and gave him the starting role at DH over a young David Ortiz who would also be fighting for at-bats at DH; ultimately, the experience factor mattered more for the Twins. In the end, playing Huskey over Ortiz may be Hall of Shame worthy in itself. Huskey was a career .267 hitter and put up seasons of at least 15 HR and 49 RBI in four of five seasons from 1996 to 1999. Those weren’t great stats, but his expectations as a power hitter and possible run producer on a team that didn’t possess a lot of power was expected and never fulfilled in Minnesota. Those expectations are what ultimately doomed Huskey in Minnesota.
At any rate, Huskey hit .223 with just five home runs and 27 RBI in 215 at-bats with the Twins in 2000. Huskey wound up being dealt to Colorado, but his time with the Twins can be summed up best by the team not playing Ortiz and instead playing a player who was overhyped on a team that was young and emerging as a playoff contender. Those are the candidates for the inaugural Hall of Shame class of 2013. Remember to vote via Twitter or Facebook on who should be placed into the Hall of Shame and also let me know if I missed anyone who could be included on next year’s ballot.