My name is Chris Holm and I’m excited to be the newest member of the Puckett’s Pond team. Some of you may already know or know of me as the bass player for Minneapolis rock band, The 4onthefloor, with whom I was lucky enough to get the chance to play at Target Field this past season when the Twins played the Indians on September 7th.
That’s me at the back and on the scoreboard as we play during pregame warmups. As a lifelong Twins fan, the only thing cooler than that would have been actually playing baseball at Target Field. You also may see me around the area playing in my other band, The Fattenin’ Frogs or performing solo acoustic blues shows.
As a child of the late 70′s growing up in Northern Minnesota, my love of baseball was mainly nurtured through listening to Twins games on the radio with my parents. We would occasionally go watch games on TV with their friends who had a satellite dish and make one or two trips a year down to the Metrodome. The cementing moment in making baseball my life’s greatest passion through my youth was the 1987 season. I was starting to emerge as a pretty decent player myself around that same time and that fueled my interest even further in The Twins. I would go out in the yard and turn on the radio in the pickup truck and listen to the games while pitching my baseball against the barn wall or throwing it up in the air and catching it. My Dad and I went to game three of the ALCS that year against the Tigers and I will never forget how loud it got as Juan Berenguer struck out the side in the ninth inning to seal the win.
From those earlies days, I was fascinated by baseball statistics. In elementary school I checked out every baseball book in the school library and memorized career statistics for all the Hall of Famers. I had a book of Twins history and could name practically every Twins player to that point, along with when they played with the Twins and what at least a few their statistics were. I looked forward to Sunday when the Minneapolis Star Tribune printed the statistics of all the Major League teams, the Twins minor league teams, and the players from Minnesota who were playing in the minor leagues. I could spend all day Sunday just studying those statistics. I was major collector of baseball cards. I now have a huge collection at my Mom’s place but sadly they aren’t all in the greatest shape because I could never resist pulling them out and studying the statistics on the back. At some point, I also acquired a copy of Bill James’ baseball abstract and that became my bible. Though I was too young to fully grasp his player valuation theories, I was exposed to early sabermetric principles before I could ever get too indoctrinated into old school baseball thought. Every year before the season started, I would write down my projected statistics for all the Twins players and then predict the winners of the divisions, World Series, and the major awards. I would then go out and buy a baseball preview magazine and read it cover to cover and compare my projections to theirs. I wish now I could go back and see how I did.
Later, in Legion Baseball, I played for former Major League All Star catcher and manager, Wes Westrum. I learned a lot about the clubhouse dynamics and other things that statistics can’t teach you through conversations with Wes. He taught me some things about pitching and always told me I had a great arm, but sadly I injured my shoulder almost immediately at the start of my Legion days and my budding baseball career fizzled. I hung with The Twins through the ugly years of the mid to late 90′s and correctly predicted their resurgence in 2000. Through the recent period of success, I always felt they never quite reached their potential due to a long series of poor offseasons and poor roster management at the Major League level which eventually led to the team’s current state.
So now here I am finally with a platform to stand on and express my thoughts on my favorite team. I’ll be mixing a bit of statistical analysis in with observational analysis and hopefully bringing an interesting perspective to the table. Here’s to a 2013 resurgence for The Twins and a new venture for me.