Twins Porn 2/10/13

In last week’s Twins Porn we looked at John Dillinger the infielder, and a man who played 105 games in the Majors without a plate appearance. This week, I’ll tell you a little bit about a former WWF superstar who toiled for four years in the minors, and a pitcher with six fingers.

I wrote a little ‘where are they now’ post on former Twin Brian Buchanan yesterday: he retired at age 35 and began managing in the minors the next season. A quick glance at his numbers suggest he could have extended his playing career as a power bat off the bench while providing mop-up pitching duties for a young minor-league club, so why didn’t Buck become a player-manager in the minors? There’s a big difference between managing while playing almost daily, like Pete Rose did in 1995, and occasionally saving a young bullpen arm to help foster the development of the prospects the player-manager is charged with.

In 1977, 1979 and 1980, former Twins manager Tom Kelly pitched the first four games of his career career while acting as a minor league manager in the Twins organization. After his first season as player-manager, he only had one plate appearance combined between 1979-80, and played a grand total of one game in the field. In the right circumstances, that sort of arrangement makes sense to me.

The last player-manager in the majors was Rose from 1984-86, although the White Sox toyed with the idea of using Paul Konerko in that role a couple of years ago, before ultimately going with Robin Ventura as manager.

In my spring training preview of the Twins catchers, staff writer Paula Minell opined that catcher Drew Butera should consider converting to pitcher and start prepping for a career as a coach. Butera is a great defensive catcher and calls an outstanding game. By all accounts, the guy is a brilliant baseball mind, is well liked within the organization from the GM down to the bat boys, and we saw last season that he can pitch an emergency inning when called upon.

I’m not saying that Butera should become a minor league player-manager in the next couple of years; contrary to the opinions of some, I believe he provides great value to the Twins as a defensive third catcher, as long as his plate appearances are minimized. But a few years down the line, I would love to have an affable young guy with a brilliant baseball mind working with our young pitchers coming through the minor league pipeline, a guy who could pitch mop-up innings if needed and pinch hit in an emergency. And imagine the value for young, developing pitchers of Drew Butera, manager, catching them for a couple of inning here and there in a game, rather than the bullpen.

Macho Man Randy Savage Played Baseball

Randy Poffo was a catcher signed out of high school by the Cardinals, but played mostly in the outfield over the course of the next four years in the St. Louis, Cincinnati and Chicago White Sox systems. Macho Man hit .344 in rookie ball at age 20, but never rose above Class A. During the baseball offseason in 1973, Poffo began wrestling professionally as The Spider, but returned for a final summer of baseball for the 1974 Tampa Tarpons. After that, he dedicated himself to wrestling full time, and the rest is history. He passed away in 2011 at age 58. The photo at the top of this article is of a young Macho Man.

Antonio Alfonseca, Six-Fingered Pitcher

Known as El Pulpo, or ‘The Octopus,’ because counting is really hard, Antonio Alfonseca was born with six digits on each hand and foot, a hereditary condition shared by his grandfather. Alfonseca was signed by the Montreal Expos in 1989 as a 17-year-old amateur free agent out of the Dominican Republic, and last pitched in the Majors in 2007 for the Phillies. Since then, he’s played for teams in Mexico and the independent Atlantic League, and most recently pitched in 2010-11 for the Bridgeport, Conneticut Blufish where he was teammates with former Twin Dan ‘The Man’ Serafini. Alfonseca’s best season came in 2000 with the Marlins, when he led the National League with 45 saves. If you look closely at the image at right, you can see the small, underdeveloped extra digits on Alfonseca’s hands.

This Week’s Number: 34

That’s the number of pitchers scheduled to be in camp Tuesday, one more than last year.

This Week’s Fact: Pitchers and catchers for four teams report today, making this the official start of MLB spring training. The Phillies report on Wednesday, later than any other team in baseball.

What I did this week: I fell on the ice twice again, although on nonconsecutive days this time; one of the times I was throwing a snowball at a second-story window, so I probably had it coming. I also worked on a 3D puzzle, which was really tough, and picked up Renegade for the NES. If you missed it, my article on Kevin Correia got picked up by a national site that picks out the best baseball blogging of the week; if you want to stay inside today and read some more baseball stuff, it’s a pretty solid collection of articles.

With MLB spring training officially underway today, here’s a visual representation of my emotional state:

Later this week, I’ll continue my position-by-position spring training preview, and we’ll take a look at a well-known NFL quarterback who was drafted by the Twins out of high school, but never signed with the team.

 

If you liked reading this, tweet it: traffic helps pay my bills. You can follow me here, and like us on Facebook here.

Topics: Antonio Alfonseca, Brian Buchanan, Dan Serafini, Drew Butera, Kevin Correia, Macho Man Randy Savage, Minnesota Twins, Pete Rose, Randy Poffo, Tom Kelly

Want more from Puckett's Pond?  
Subscribe to FanSided Daily for your morning fix. Enter your email and stay in the know.