The Minnesota Twins are just 24 days away from spring training. As we celebrate the end of the blustery temps and the return of the game we love, let’s look at team history surrounding that number.
The Minnesota Twins are preparing for a 2018 season with expectations after making the playoffs in 2017 as a Wild Card. We will have bring out numbers from team history that represent the number of days until spring training from now until pitchers and catchers report on February 13th.
The jersey #24 has been utilized by prominent right fielders in Minnesota Twins history over time. Today, we’ll highlight one of the best in Shane Mack.
Coming out of high school in California, Mack was a 4th round draft pick by the Kansas City Royals. He chose instead to attend UCLA, where he was the 11th overall selection in 1984 by the San Diego Padres.
Mack opened in AA in his first full year and was not overwhelmed. His next season, he worked his way to AAA by the end of the season. After an impressive start to the 1987 season (.336/.410/.520 in 39 games) in AAA, Mack was called up to the Padres, where he was the primary backup outfielder for the season.
Mack bounced between AAA and the majors in 1988 before injuries cost him most of 1989. After the 1989 season, the Twins selected him in the Rule 5 draft.
Mack’s Twins time
Minnesota got way more than they bargained for from Mack, as he hit .326/.392/.460 with 8 home runs and 13 stolen bases over 125 games and 353 plate appearances in 1990.
Then he had a great 1991 season as the starting right fielder, leading all position players with bWAR, hitting .310/.363/.429 over 143 games with 18 home runs and 13 stolen bases.
After moving to left field in 1992, Mack had his best season, hitting .315/.394/.467 with 16 home runs and 26 stolen bases, scoring 101 runs.
Mack was solid in 1993 and 1994, but as he was having his best statistical season in 1994, hitting .333/.402/.564 with 15 home runs, the strike hit, cutting his big season short.
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Rather than wait out the strike, Mack was among a number of players who chose to go overseas to play. He spent 1995 and 1996 in Japan, where he hit .284/.356/.463 with 42 home runs over two seasons.
Mack returned to the major leagues in 1997 as a backup outfielder with the Red Sox, hitting .315/.368/.438 in 60 games and less than 150 plate appearances.
His final season was 1998, when he opened the year with the A’s but was traded one week into the season to the Royals. He hit .278/.342/.445 with 6 home runs and 8 stolen bases over 69 games and 231 plate appearances in his final year.
Over 9 seasons in the major leagues, Mack hit .299/.364/.456 with 80 home runs and 90 stolen bases. It’s sad to consider what the strike took away from Mack as he was at his peak offensively at the time.
For 24 days to spring training, we’ll remember one of the best outfielders in Twins history, a guy whose career was much shorter than his talent deserved, Shane Mack.
Come soon, spring!!