Wednesday, January 2, 2013

In Memoriam: 2012

The end of a year brings about plenty of post about the top stories of the year. On Monday, I wrote a post looking back at some of the top Twins headlines from 2012. This included positive years from Josh Willingham and Joe Mauer along with some other news stories that defined the last calendar year for the Twins organization.

At the end of the year, it can be an important time to remember all of those that we lost in 2012. The 2011 season saw the Twins dealing with the loss of one of the team's legends, Harmon Killebrew. The men listed below were never elected to the Hall of Fame but they still made contributions to the franchise in multiple decades.

Here are the former Twins players that passed away in 2012 with a little bit about their Minnesota playing days:
Dave Boswell (Twins 1964-70)
Boswell played all but one season of his career with the Twins. He was a pitcher on some of the best team's in Twins history during the 1960's. With the club, he amassed a 67-54 record with a 3.49 ERA including 37 complete games. He averaged over 120 strikeouts a season and he had double digits in wins for four consecutive seasons. His best season might have been the 1969 campaign when he won a career high 20 games and helped lead the Twins to the postseason. During the middle of that season, he got in a fight with manager Billy Martin and that might be why is he most remembered. He would hurt his shoulder pitching in the 11th inning of a playoff game he started against the Orioles. Boswell would never be the same.

Jack Kralick (Twins 1961-63)
Kralick got his start with the Washington Senators and he moved with the club to Minnesota in 1961. He would post double digits in wins during the clubs first two years in Bloomington while pitching at least 242 innings. He threw the first no-hitter in franchise history on August 26, 1962. During the middle of the 1963 season, he would be traded to Cleveland for Jim Perry. Perry would go on to be a staple in the Twins rotation for the next decade and Kralick would only pitch four more seasons. He made his lone All-Star appearance in 1964 with Cleveland but his better days were behind him at that point.

Don Mincher (Twins 1961-66)
Much like Kralick, Mincher got his start in Washington before the franchise packed up for the Twin Cities. The left-handed slugger would hit 200 home runs during his 13 year career including two campaigns with over 20 home runs with the Twins. Harmon Killebrew took away some at-bats from Mincher at first base as he didn't appear in over 100 games until the 1964 season. He played in all seven games of the 1965 World Series but only managed three hits, one of them being a home run, and a .130 average. He would go on to win the World Series with the '72 Oakland A's.

Frank Pastore (Twins 1986)
Pastore played in 33 games for the '86 Twins being almost exclusively used out of the bullpen. He posted a 3-1 record with a 4.01 ERA across 49.1 innings. It would be his last season at the big league level as he struggled the next season in the minor league system for the Rangers. Pastore made a name for himself as a starter for the Cincinnati Reds. His biggest moment might have come when he was a 22-year old rookie and he pitched his heart out in the 1979 NLCS. He had a tragic death after being in a coma for multiple weeks following a motorcycle accident. Following his baseball career, he would go on to accomplish many things including multiple college degrees and hosting his own radio show.

Jay Ward (Twins 1963-64)
Out of the men on this list, Ward played in the fewest amount of games with the Twins. He only managed to get into 21 games and he spent most of his professional career bouncing around the minor leagues. Over his 53 plate appearances with the club, he hit .174/.283/.239 with three doubles and seven walks. Ward would continue playing in the minors until he was 32 years old but he only made it into another six games at the big league level. Following his playing career, he would manage the Twins Midwest League affiliated team, the Wisconsin Rapids Twins, for one season. He would make it back to the big leagues as a hitting coach with the '87 Yankees and the '91-'92 Expos.


JIm Crikket said...

When I think back to my younger years, sometimes I wonder what it might have been like if the AL had been using the DH in the 1960s. It would have meant not getting to see Mudcat Grant and Jim Kaat hit... and don't kid yourselves, those two knew what to do with a bat in their hands.

But it also would have meant getting to watch Don Mincher hit a lot more (and Dean Chance a lot less).

NoDak Twins Fan said...

That's interesting to think about.

Only one of these players made it into a game while I was alive so I don't really remember the game without the DH.