If you just joined us, you might have noticed that the Minnesota Twins are not in the American League Championship Series. In fact, the last time the Twins were there was 2002.
Yes, 2002. Jacque Jones, by terms of WAR, was the Twins best player that year, by the way. You can share that one at the water cooler tomorrow.
Although the Minnesota Twins themselves aren’t in the ALCS, there are a trio of former Twins that will see the spotlight and feel the pressure of being only wins away from the baseball promised land that is the World Series.
First for the American League East Champion, and I find great joy in saying this team won that division, the Baltimore Orioles.
It hurts to even think about. Hardy was put out to pasture by the Minnesota Twins to make way for Tsuyoshi Nishioka. Nishioka’s back in Japan while Hardy has gone onto an All-Star appearance, two Gold Gloves and a Silver Slugger award.
Hardy is still the starting shortstop with the Orioles and he’s in his fourth year already with Baltimore. 2014 probably has been Hardy’s least productive season in Baltimore, but still quite respectable. No one would have cried if Hardy was still a Twin.
In the American League Division Series against the Detroit Tigers, Hardy hit .300 going 3-for-10 with two RBI and a home run.
It doesn’t really hurt to think about Delmon Young. Young somehow got placed in the outfield for 28 games this year, despite already being a statue in 2011 when he was still with the Minnesota Twins.
Young gave the Twins some production, but never lived up to what he was hyped up to be. Hindsight is 20/20 but the Tampa Bay Rays won the battle between Matt Garza/Jason Bartlett and Delmon Young/Brendan Harris.
Young will be remembered in playoff lore for his success with the Tigers. He added to that this postseason already by putting a dagger in his former team.
Young has only had four plate appearances in the postseason, but made it count with the bases clearing double to help sweep the Tigers.
LOOK HERE: Alexi Casilla is on the 40-man, but you won’t see him in the ALCS.
Now off to your Kansas City Royals.
It wasn’t that long ago that the Hammer was a member of the Twins. Now he’s off to a better world of playoff appearances.
Hammer had a really good first year with the Minnesota Twins and then it feel off from there, but he’s a great player to have coming off of the bench for some pop.
Willingham has had two plate appearances. One was in the Wildcard game against the Oakland A’s, another former team, in which he got a hit. The Hammer recorded an out in his single at-bat against the Los Angeles Angels.
Those are the familiar faces to Minnesotans in the American League Championship Series. If you’re not watching the playoffs for former Twins, watch this series and be happy that a team that hasn’t been to the World Series in a long time is going back.
29 years for the Kansas City Royals. 31 for the Baltimore Orioles.
This will be fun.