Minnesota Twins Opening Day Countdown: 15, Tim Laudner
By Nate Palmer
The Minnesota Twins are just 15 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.
Today we are looking back at a player who was a large part of the Twins teams in the 1980’s. Like Pat Neshek who we looked at on day 17, this player had his start in life outside of Minnesota (Mason City, IA) and then moved to Brooklyn Park, MN for his school-age years. That is none other than catcher and number 15, Tim Laudner.
Early Pro-Ball Career
Laudner began to make a name for himself in Twins minor league system. In 1981 specifically, he slashed .284/.375/.628 and a 1.003 OPS and added a massive 42 home runs to his season. He did this all under the leadership of his eventual major league manager, Tom Kelly. That performance did lead to a call up as Laudner made his major league debut on August 28, 1981.
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It was in 1982 that Laudner would be with the Twins major league club for good. For most of Laudner’s career, he served as a backup to several catchers until his final season in 1989. That first season in 1982, Laudner hit .255/.328/.392 hit 7 home runs and 19 doubles. The 1985 season was another solid season for Laudner as he hit .238/.292/.396 and a similar 7 home runs. These solid seasons as a backup all led to Laudner grabbing the starting position in 1987.
1987 and 1988 acheivements
In 1987 as the starting catcher and playing 113 games Laudner hit .191/.252/.389 and added 16 home runs giving a glimpse of that minor league 42 home run season. Laudner was also a huge contributor in the 7 games of the World Series series where the Twins defeated the St. Louis Cardinals. In that series he hit .318/.444/.500 as well as a home run in game 2 of the series.
The next season in 1988 was Laudner’s most accomplished individual season as he slashed .251/.316/.408, hit 13 home runs, and 18 doubles. That all lead to Laudner’s being named as a catcher to the All-Star season that season. Then in 1989, Laudner’s last season, he became the backup to Brian Harper.
Next: Predicting the Twins 2018 Bullpen
From his playing days, Laudner has continued to stick around the Minnesota area. He has been most visible to Twins fans in his post playing days as an analyst during Twins television broadcasts. As we keep getting closer to Opening Day, today we hit 15 days and celebrate a major part of the 1980’s Twins, Tim Laudner.