Minnesota Twins Opening Day Countdown: 23 Harmon Killebrew intentional walks
The Minnesota Twins are just 23 days away from Opening Day in Baltimore. As we near that day, here is more Twins history related to that number.
The Minnesota Twins are preparing for a 2018 season with expectation after making the playoffs in 2017 as a Wild Card team. We will highlight numbers from team history that represent the number of days until Opening Day on March 29th in Baltimore.
With 23 days remaining until Opening Day, we have the opportunity to look at a pretty special former Twin. He is a Hall of Famer, won an MVP award, and is also a 13-time All-Star. The accolades go on and on. So, of course, today we will look at the all-important stat (yes, this is heavy on sarcasm) of Harmon Killebrew‘s intentional walks.
Killebrew and intentional walks
Even though it seems somewhat silly to base the whole this piece on intentional walks. Killebrew over his career had plenty of pitchers and managers use the intentional walk to try to limit his impact on the game being played. The Twins slugger led the American League in intentional walks over the span of a season three different times. The first was 18 in 1966, then 15 in 1967, and lastly 20 in 1969.
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Over the whole of his career, Killebrew was issued 160 intentional walks. Tieing him for 39th on the all-time intentional walk list. Today we get to look at the season in which Killebrew drew his highest total of intentional walks, 23 in 1970.
In 1970 the Minnesota Twins went 98-64 and finished first in the American League West. The Twins would go on to the ALCS only to be swept by the Baltimore Orioles 3-0. Killebrew was certainly a large part of that successful season as he slashed .271/.411/.546 along with 41 home runs, 20 doubles, and drove in 113 runs. His work awarded him with his 12th All-Star appearance as well as he finished 3rd in MVP voting.
As mentioned earlier, Killebrew three times led the American League in intentional walks. His career most 23 during the 1970 season was uniquely his personal best, but not the best in the league that season. It fell behind Frank Howard‘s 29 amongst American League hitters and Willie McCovey‘s major league leading 40 intentional walks.
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While this is a fun little piece of Killebrew’s career to explore he will certainly be remembered for some much more glamorous numbers. His career and franchise leading 475 home runs is just one of many. But today, his career high 23 intentional walks in a season helps us to usher in 23 days until Opening Day.