Thursday Holiday Links

Funny that this baseball cookie cutter has recessed laces, the opposite of real baseballs.

Happy Holidays to all of the Puckett’s Pond readers.  We hope each and every one of you find something to lift your spirits during the holiday season.

If you’re a young person from my generation, you can never really feel the holiday spirit without watching Home Alone.  To kick off this week’s version of the Thursday Links, here is a list of 12 things you probably didn’t know about Home Alone.  And if you DID know all 12 of these things, let me know, I’ll mail you something awesome.

If you’re still not feeling the spirit, head over to The Platoon Advantage and read Mark Smith’s 12 Days of Baseballmas.  If you still don’t feel the spirit, you likely never will.

Last week I presented a link to the All True Twins team from Beyond the Boxscore.  This week, Beyond the Boxscore presents the All All-True-Team Team.  The Senator’s Walter Johnson is the only player from the Twins franchise to make the list.  I had to look him up at Baseball-Reference, as he was a bit before my time, but with 127.7 career WAR, he’s a total stud (Here is another interesting character from the Washington Senator’s history, one that played just before Johnson arrived in Washington).

This one is a little more than a week old, but something I hadn’t stumbled upon until some time during the last week.  Target Field has earned a LEED Silver Certification.  Not only is Target Field the
Greenest Ballpark in America but now the folks over there have an extra something to hang their hat on. 

There was an interesting Twitter exchange between Knuckleballs’ CapitalBabs and @thebatshatters regarding the statistics behind baseball and steroids.  While they were slugging it out, this website was tossed out, discussing the, possibly negligible, impact of PEDs on baseball.

What is the most talented team of all time?  Seems like a simple enough question.  As the Sweet Spot’s David Schoenfield comes to find out, the answer is not nearly as simple (Answering the opposite question, what is the least talented team of all time isn’t easy either). I think that the 1995 Cleveland Indians were the most talented team offensive team I can think of: Tony Pena, Paul Sorrento, Omar Vizquel, Jim Thome, Albert Belle, Kenny Lofton, Manny Ramirez, Eddie Murray, Sandy Alomar, Dave Winfield, Brian Giles, Jeromy Burnitz.  But they didn’t do much in terms of pitching, a 40 year old Dennis Martinez was arguably their best pitcher with a 152 ERA+, despite striking out just 4.8/9.  I don’t know if a team loaded with fantastic young hitters can be the most talented team ever, but the team let the league in runs, hits, home runs, stolen bases, batting average, one base percentage, slugging, and total bases.  Schoenfield didn’t mention these Indians, but I think they deserve to be near the top of any list of the most talented teams ever.

The 10th inning stretch had a great week.  In addition to giving readers 6 little known facts about Josh Willingham, we also get a 3rd great Not Garden Variety Top 10 List, and a list of the remaining free agent pitchers and what the Twins are likely to do with such a list.

Brandon Warne check’s in at Twinkie Town and takes his own look at who the Twins might be targeting as their 5th starter.

This is a great article from Baseball Prospectus’ Larry Granillo examining Japanese Baseball in 1980. It is amazing to see how far we’ve come as baseball fans, and as Americans, in the last 30 years.

Frank Thomas has a beer.  And apparently it isn’t very good, but NotGraph’s coverage of the beer, as with their coverage of anything, is pretty great.

Michael Cuddyer is officially a Colorado Rockie.  It almost pains me to right that.  I guess I’m still grieving, even though I understand the move from the business side of baseball.  Now that he’s gone, Bobomojo over at TwinkieTown examines Cuddyer’s place in Twins history.

The Pioneer Press’s Tom Powers is a fabulous writer.  The short story is that Josh Willingham is not Michael Cuddyer, for the rest of the story, click through.

Cuddyer’s absence leaves a big hole, one that Josh Willingham isn’t likely to fill, and that’s the role of Clubhouse Leader. If I had to guess, I’d think Justin Morneau would fill that role, but Twinkie Town’s Jon Marthaler includes several other candidates.

Dan Buri of TC Huddle thinks that Cuddyer’s departure might even strengthen the Twins (there’s an angle I hadn’t considered previously).

This is another reason I love baseball: Over at The WGOM they put up a picture of Rene Tosoni‘s Topps 2011 Rookie Card, and then, thanks to their wonderful readers, were able to figure out exactly which game, and during which play the picture for the card was taken.  Pretty impressive stuff.

Zoilo Versalles would have turned 72 on December 18th.  We share a birthday.  Unfortunately, I still don’t make the list of famous baseball birthdays on December 18th.

How many of you are in a fantasy sports league just because you’ve been in the league so long that you feel obligated?  I know I’m in more than my fair share, and for whatever reason, I just can’t quit them.  Jeremy Blachman feels the same way about his fantasy baseball league, but he does a much better job writing about it.

In addition to having the coolest holiday themed banner at the top of his blog, Edward Thoma continues to do fine work dissecting the Bill Smith era, this time targeting the Jon Rauch trade.

Jason Kubel, like Michael Cuddyer and Joe Nathan, has joined the ranks of beloved ex-Minnesota Twins.  Steve Adams examines Kubel’s 5 greatest moments as a Minnesota Twin. Dave Cameron, and many others, are confused by the Diamondback’s Kubel additon.  With Kubel gone, the Twins now have a fairly clear idea of where they will draft in the 2012 draft, The Nodak Twins Fan looks at how the Twins got all their extra picks.  Granny Baseball recalls the last 10 drafts and looks ahead to the kind of players the Twins might acquire with those extra picks, clearly, getting a Justin Verlander would be nice.

Remember the 2006 Minnesota Twins?  Johan Santana, Kyle Lohse, Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel, Joe Nathan, Matt Garza, etc, etc, etc.  What if the Twins had kept everyone from that squad?  What would the team look like today, and what would it cost to keep them? The price tag is Yankee-esque.

The Texas Rangers won the bid for Yu Darvish, paying more than $51 million dollars just to talk to the Japanese All-Star.  What I didn’t know about Darvish is that the guy throws a ton of pitches per outing.  Something that will fit in nicely with Nolan Ryan’s use, or lack thereof, of pitch counts.

Somehow Yuniesky Betancourt earned another Major League contract.  Dustin Parkes had this to say, “Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.”  That was it.  Really.

The picture  at the top of this article from the Big League Stew says everything you need to know about Harmon Killebrew, and ‘Duk remembers other baseball greats that passed in 2011.

Both Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer are coming off of disappointing 2011 campaigns.  Neither one was healthy and both struggled to put up the kinds of numbers Twins fans are accustomed to seeing from their top paid athletes.  The NoDak Twins Fan wonders who has more to prove in 2012?  I think Mauer is going to be fine next year, but I’m not sold on Morneau’s health, so I think Morneau has more to prove.

The Common Man will lead to to believe that he isn’t wild about the current format for electing players into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, but when looking at the options, is there really a better way?

Seth Stohs has released his 2nd Preliminary Top 50 Twins prospects list.  He’s really high on Eddie Rosario, and not high enough on Lester Oliveros, in my humble opinion, but from 1-50, this is a pretty solid list of Minor Leaguers.

Video of the Week: The 17 Carziest Field Crashers of all time.  Be on the look out for your favorite trash-bagged outfield walls at the 34 second mark.

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I was listening to Holden Caulfield’s hypothetical mix-tape while I wrote this edition of the Thursday Links. I’ve never heard many of the songs on there but still pretty cool stuff.

Tags: Brian Giles Cleveland Indians Dave Winfield Dennis Martinez Eddie Murray Eddie Rosario Frank Thomas Jason Kubel Jeromy Burnitz Joe Mauer Joe Nathan Johan Santana Jon Rauch Josh Willingham Justin Morneau Justin Verlander Kenny Lofton Kyle Lohse Lester Oliveros Manny Ramirez Matt Garza Michael Cuddyer Omar Vizquel Paul Sorrento Rene Tosoni Sandy Alomar Tony Pena Yu Darvish Yuniesky Betancourt Zoilo Versalles

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