The Minnesota Twins are just 20 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 Minnesota Twins have seen quite a few former players who were backups at best as major leaguers turn into elite coaches or managers or front office personnel. Today’s number is a member of the 1987 team who went on to much bigger things off of the field, Billy Beane.
Beane’s playing career
Beane was a highly regarded high school talent before the Mets drafted him in the 1st round of the 1980 June draft. He struggled once he got to pro ball, however, unable to really make consistent contact and putting up significant strikeout rates.
In 1984, he had a breakthrough season, seeing his walk rate jump, strikeout rate drop, and finally tapping into his physical tools, as he hit 20 home runs and stole 26 bases with an .842 OPS in AA, earning a late season call-up. Another productive season in AAA in 1985 would earn a call up again before he was traded to the Twins before the 1986 season in a deal that sent Tim Teufel to the Mets.
Beane would spend most of 1986 with the Twins in a reserve role, hitting .213/.258/.295 with 3 home runs and 2 stolen bases, but also with an 11/54 BB/K ratio over 194 plate appearances. That would be the most playing time Beane would get in an major league season.
Beane came up for 12 games and 15 plate appearances at the end of the 1987 season with the Twins. Near the end of 1988 spring training, it was clear that Beane was not going to make the Twins roster, and he was traded away to the Detroit Tigers. He played with the Tigers and the Athletics organizations before retiring as an active player.
Many who have read the Moneyball book have read the story of Beane’s move from player to front office, but if you haven’t, here’s a quick and dirty recap.
Rather than endure another minor league season in 1990, Beane spoke with then-Oakland Athletics General Manager Sandy Alderson to get a scouting job. He worked in that role for three years before being promoted to an assistant GM role.
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It was under Alderson that Beane honed his “find value where others are not” skills, first focusing on on-base percentage, which was the focus of Moneyball, but also bleeding into other areas of the draft and development over time.
Beane took over for Alderson in 1997, and he built up the Oakland Athletics teams that would become a thorn in the side of the Minnesota Twins teams of the early 1990s in the playoffs, seemingly the Twins’ matchup partner on an annual basis.
After the 2015 season, Beane was promoted within the Athletics front office to the Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations. His former assistant David Forst took the role of General Manager of the A’s.
For 20 days to spring training, we’ll remember one of the 1987 Minnesota Twins World Series championship team that went on to much bigger things!
Come soon, spring!!