The Twins were over .500 for just one day (April 4th) during the entire season. No initial hot streak and a great fade story, just pure mediocrity from the get go. However they did win 12 games in a row during the final 2 weeks of the regular season when the hometown faithful were rooting for that football team that wears purple. That late surge was enough to get them 3rd place in an extremely weak division. John Castino was the only regular to hit over .300. Jose Morales, their platoon DH hit .303, but he only had 241 AB's. Roy Smalley, arguably their best every day player, hit .278 with 12 homers. Only the aforementioned Castino (13) had more long balls. The team had 6 starting pitchers. 37 year old Jerry Koosman must have been ecstatic pitching in front of his hometown fans. Kooz was the only starter (16-13, 4.03) with a winning record. Doug Corbett (8-6, 1.98, 23SV) had a career year out of the pen throwing 136 inning in 73 appearances. The Twins were trapped in a period of mediocrity that started in the early 70’s and would run through the mid 80’s. Fans never forgave the team’s cheap ownership for letting future HOF’er Rod Carew leave in 1979 for free agency. The Griffith family was notoriously tight with the wallet.
19 new cards were created to finish off the set.
14 of these photos came from the Twins Yearbook that Kim Hoffman sent me via mail last year. I love breaking out the scanner and changing those greenish tones back to normal colors. I even created new cards for Smalley and Butch Wynegar, because I liked the YB photos better since they were taken with the Twins home uniform on and not their road blues. The Mike Kinnunen is an airbursh job done on an old Orioles photo of his. I changed orange to red and dropped in a Twins logo and called it a day. Normally I’m not fond of cap-less players, but I wanted to use Rick Sofield’s YB photo for the project, so I overlooked my normal preferences. Nothing cooler than a spring training photo of a guy with a towel around his neck as if he was Elvis singing Suspicious minds.
Comment from Kim Hoffman:
I really liked the Twins cards and especially the Roy Smalley card. I am glad you were able to use the year book to make the cards. A little fun fact about Al Williams - he is the only Twins player that was a Sandinistan Rebel.
''Originally a Pittsburgh farmhand, Al was released by the Pirates when he was unable to obtain a visa to leave his homeland during the revolution.'' Williams, a native of Nicaragua, was out of organized baseball for two years, 1977 and 1978, after having played two seasons at Charleston, S.C.
The 1981 Twins guide informs that since the Nicaraguan Government would not grant Williams a visa to leave the country to play ball in 1977, ''this prompted Al to sign up with the Sandinista National Liberation Front guerrillas and he was engaged in jungle fighting against the forces of Anastasio Somoza for the next 16 months.''