Thursday, January 3, 2013

Worst Twins of All-Time Series: Butch Huskey

There can be plenty debate about which player is the best in the history of the franchise. Arguments can be made for Kirby Puckett, Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew, etc.  Puckett brought World Series Championships to the Twins Cities, Killebrew hit mammoth home runs, and Carew might be the best pure hitter in franchise history. Those debates can be fun and there really isn't a wrong answer because they are all important parts of Twins history.

On the other side of the coin, there have been some players that didn't find success in a Twins uniform. It can be just as fun trying to pick out some of these players, as it can be to debate the best players in team history. Even as recent as last season with Jason Marquis and Tsuyoshi Nishioka, there has been some players that couldn't find success with the club.

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.

To kick off the "Worst Twins of All-Time Series," Mr. Butch 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 role. The 28-year old had spent multiple seasons with the Mets before coming to the AL to play with Seattle and Boston. The Twins had a young David Ortiz that would also be fighting for at-bats at DH but the experience factor mattered for Minnesota.

Huskey was a career .268/.313/.437 hitter and he averaged 13 home runs a season before joining the Twins. He had a couple of seasons where he hit 20 home runs and the Mariners gave him a contract for over $1 million in 1999. He would last less than a season with Seattle before being dealt to the Red Sox. Huskey would be traded for Robert Ramsay, a left-handed relief pitcher that only had two big league seasons.

During the 2000 season, Huskey made it into 64 games for the Twins and he hit .223/.306/.353 in 215 at-bats. He had 13 doubles and five home runs while playing 36 games at DH, 15 games in RF, and 9 games at first base. His best offensive performance might have been a 3-for-4 game on April 20th when he had a double, a home run, and two runs scored. This was in the middle of a seven game hitting streak for the DH. In his last ten games with the Twins, he didn't get a single hit and he ended his Twins tenure with a -1.1 WAR.

As mentioned before, Huskey was brought in to serve as an experienced DH with the club. David Ortiz would actually finish the season as the Twins primary DH. On Opening Day, it was Huskey batting clean-up for the club with Ortiz not in the line-up.

2000 Opening Day Line-Up
1. Todd Walker, 2B
2. Christian Guzman, SS
3. Matt Lawton, RF
4. Butch Huskey, DH
5. Corey Koskie, 3B
6. Ron Coomer, 1B
7. Jacque Jones, LF
8. Matt LeCroy, C
9. Torii Hunter, CF

In an interesting bit of trivia, Huskey would become one of the last players in franchise history to wear the number 42. Major League Baseball had retired the number to honor Jackie Robinson and his contributions to the game. All of the players that were already wearing the number got grandfathered in and they could continue to have the #42 on their backs. Huskey did wear the number as a tribute to Robinson before having to switch away from it with the Rockies.

With Ortiz starting to get more playing time at DH and Huskey not exactly performing well, the Twins sent him to the Rockies along with Todd Walker. The Twins would get back Todd Sears and cash from Colorado to complete the deal. It was starting to look like the beginning of the end for Mr. Huskey.

He would finish out the rest of his MLB career with the Rockies during the last few months of the 2000 campaign. Huskey improved his batting numbers to .348/.432/.565 along with 12 extra-base hits in 45 games. In 2001, he would spend the entire year at the Triple-A level for the Rockies before deciding to call it a career.

One of the more entertaining moments in the career of Butch Huskey happened at the Metrodome. He was with the Seattle Mariners at the time but he made sure to leave his mark. Pay special attention to the futuristic jerseys that each club is wearing. Sorry for the quality of the video but it was the best I could find.

No comments: