Twins Porn 2/17/13


In last week’s Twins Porn, we looked at minor league outfielder Macho Man Randy Savage and a pitcher with six fingers, and speculated on Drew Butera‘s future as a player-manager. Today, we’ll look at Twins making the jump from AA to The Show, a former NFL star who played minor league ball while running wild on the college gridiron, and a leadoff hitter who did massive amounts of cocaine while putting together a career worthy of the Hall of Fame.

With Aaron Hicks and Joe Benson in the competition for the starting center field spot this spring, it’s a good time to look at the Twins recent track record of bringing players up from AA or even A ball. It’s far from an extensive list, but it might help us gauge the chances of Hicks skipping AAA entirely and starting the season with the Twins sans a September call up in 2012.

Benson was a September call up a couple of years ago, and Chris Parmelee and Ben Revere were September call ups, too, so for our purposes here, they don’t count. Same goes for Doug Mientkiewicz and Jose Mijares. Johan Santana was a Rule 5 draftee, so his situation is unique, as is that of Eric Milton, who jumped from the Yankees AA affiliate to the Twins at age 22.

In 1982, The Twins started the season with a number of players on the roster who made the jump directly from AA and, in Kent Hrbek‘s case, Class A. The team was in full-on rebuilding mode, threw the best young talent they had on the field, and watched it pay off with a World Series title in ’87. Leading up to the 1991 Championship, Scott Erickson and Chuck Knoblauch came up from AA in 1990 and 1991, respectively. Other than Baby Jesus, as far as I can tell the last position player to skip AAA entirely without a September call up was Cristian Guzman in 1999.

However, the Twins have had pitchers make the jump from AA in the past decade, with Pat Neshek skipping AAA in 2006 and Alex Burnett following suit four years later. Brad Radke did it in 1995.

So what does this mean for Hicks’s chances of skipping AAA and starting this season with the Twins? The Twins may need Hicks with the big league club out of necessity, but if we go by the team’s track record Hicks will probably start the season in Rochester. I think Alex Meyer has a better chance than Hicks does of skipping AAA entirely this year, and Trevor May could make the jump, too, if he starts the season in New Britain.

Ricky Williams Played Baseball

The NCAA record-breaking running back that the New Orleans Saints traded their entire 1999 draft for was also drafted out of his San Diego high school as a shortstop in the eighth round by the Phillies. Williams didn’t hit exceptionally well as an outfielder in the Philadelphia organization and never got above Class A, but he was apparently pretty fast. “Fastest guy I’ve ever laid eyes on,” former Piedmont Boll Weevils teammate Jimmy Rollins has said.

In 1998, the Montreal Expos selected Williams in the Rule V draft and then traded him to the Texas Rangers, but the Rangers were unable to convince Williams to continue his baseball career. He would go on to play for the Dolphins a couple of times, become the highest paid player in the CFL, and smoke a lot of pot before retiring with the Baltimore Ravens last year. The player in the photo at the beginning of this article is Williams.

Tim Raines Did A LOT of Cocaine

Raines is one of the greatest leadoff hitters ever and deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. He started his career with a MLB-record 27 stolen bases without getting caught, he played his first pro game at 17 and retired at age 42, and he got a chance to play in the same Orioles outfield with his son, Tim Raines, Jr. His playing career spanned four decades, and he’s continued his career as a manager.

Early on in his career, however, Raines did a ton of cocaine. Over a nine month period in 1982, the Expos star reportedly spent over $40,000 on the white lady which is, well, just a lot of cocaine. In Raines’s defense, it was 1982, he was only 22 years old, he apparently sought help of his own accord, he overcame his addiction to continue a storied career, and he has spoken honestly and openly about his past. That being said, my favorite Tim Raines fact has to be that he admitted in the 1985 Pittsburgh drug trials that he slid head-first into bases because he kept a gram of cocaine in a glass vial in his pocket during games, and his apparent recklessness on the base paths was just him making sure he would have blow on hand between innings.

It wasn’t just Raines who had a drug problem in the early 80s, though: stars Keith Hernandez, Dave Parker, Lonnie Smith and others were all caught up in the drug trials, and Hernandez estimated that forty percent of MLB players were using cocaine at the time, although he later recanted the statement.

This Week’s Number: 6

That’s the number of days until the Twins first spring training game against the Orioles.

This Week’s Fact:

Kevin Correia and Rich Harden have the same number of career shutouts: 1

What I Did This Week: I watched the break off in the movie Beat Street like eight times in a row, almost beat Renegade for the NES, bought some amazing sausage and bacon ends at Big Steer Meats in St. Paul, and had my article about Twins draft pick Joe Theismann picked up by national site, mlbtraderumors.com.

Here’s a video of Ricky Williams playing baseball:

Okay, so maybe I had to watch the breaking battle in Beat Street a ninth time. That little dude in the blue hoodie at the 4:00 mark is just plain sick. By the time this film came out, Tim Raines had been clean for two years.

Later this week, I’ll finish up my position-by-position spring training preview and take a look at another pitcher the Twins signed to a minor league contract with an invitation to camp. First spring training game is Saturday, folks.

 

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

Next Twins Game View full schedule »
Saturday, Aug 2323 Aug6:10Detroit TigersBuy Tickets

Tags: Aaron Hicks Minnesota Twins Ricky Williams Tim Raines