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Elizabethton Twins

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Elizabethton Twins
19742020
Elizabethton, Tennessee
E-Twins.PNG
Elziatwinslogo.png
Team logoCap insignia
Minor league affiliations
ClassRookie (1974–2020)
LeagueAppalachian League (1974–2020)
Major league affiliations
TeamMinnesota Twins (1974–2020)
Minor league titles
League titles (12)
  • 1978
  • 1984
  • 1989
  • 1990
  • 2000
  • 2003
  • 2005
  • 2007
  • 2008
  • 2012
  • 2017
  • 2018
Division titles (16)
  • 1984
  • 1989
  • 1992
  • 1993
  • 2000
  • 2001
  • 2003
  • 2005
  • 2006
  • 2007
  • 2008
  • 2009
  • 2012
  • 2014
  • 2017
  • 2018
Team data
NicknameElizabethton Twins (1974–2020)
ColorsNavy, scarlet, white, gray
                   
BallparkNortheast Community Credit Union Ballpark (1974–2020)

The Elizabethton Twins were a Minor League Baseball team of the Appalachian League and a Rookie-level affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. They were located in Elizabethton, Tennessee, and were named for their major league affiliate. The team played its home games at Northeast Community Credit Union Ballpark, which opened in 1974.

Over 46 years of competition, the Twins played in 3,113 regular season games and compiled a 1,779–1,333–1 win–loss–tie record. They qualified for the postseason on 19 occasions, winning 16 division titles and 12 Appalachian League championships. Elizabethton won more league championships than any other team in Appalachian League history.[1] They had a postseason record of 33–24. Combining all 3,170 regular season and postseason games, the Twins had an all-time record of 1,812–1,357–1.

History

Professional baseball was first played in Elizabethton, Tennessee, by the Elizabethton Betsy Red Sox in the Appalachian League in 1937.[2] They remained in the league through 1942.[2] The city's Appalachian League entry from 1945 to 1948 was called the Elizabethton Betsy Cubs.[2] They were followed by the Elizabethton Betsy Local from 1949 to 1950 and the Elizabethton Phils in 1951.[2]

Thirty-six years later, the Minnesota Twins placed the Elizabethton Twins in the Appalachian League as a Rookie-level affiliate.[2][3] Elizabethton played its inaugural game on June 21, 1978, against the Kingsport Braves on the road at the ballpark on the campus of Dobyns-Bennett High School, losing 8–3.[4] The Twins got their first win the next night, defeating Kingsport, also 8–3.[5] Their Riverside Park home opener, scheduled for June 23 against the Bristol Tigers, was rained out.[6] They played their first home game the next evening, losing to Bristol, 15–2.[7] Elizabethton finished its inaugural season in second place with a 41–27–1 record.[3]

Twins pitcher Rubio Malone tossed two no-hitters in 1978. He pitched the first on June 23 in the second game of a doubleheader against the Johnson City Cardinals in a seven-inning 8–1 win.[8] The lone Johnson City run was scored in the first inning when Gotay Mills drew a walk, stole second, advanced to third on an outfield fly ball, and came home on a sacrifice fly.[8] Malone's second no-hit game occurred nearly a month later on July 19, this time in front of a home audience.[9] He held the Bluefield Orioles hitless for nine innings in the 6–0 win.[9] The season was also successful for the Twins as they won their first Appalachian League championship in 1978 with a first-place 41–28 record.[10][11] Manager Fred Waters, who had been leading the team since 1975,[12] was selected for the Appalachian League Manager of the Year Award.[13] Waters led Elizabethton to its second championship in 1984. They won the Southern Division title with a 40–29 record, then defeated the Pulaski Braves in a one-game playoff for the Appalachian League title.[14] Waters won Manager of the Year honors, as he also had in 1981.[13]

A man wearing a white baseball uniform holding a baseball bat in two hands
Manager Ray Smith leads the Appalachian League in wins (1,048).[14]

In 1987, Ray Smith replaced Waters as the Twins' manager after 12 years guiding the team.[12][15] Smith would go on the become the winningest manager in Appalachian League history with 1,048 wins from 1987 to 1994 and 2002 to 2019.[16] He would win a record seven Manager of the Year Awards and lead Elizabethton to nine league championships.[10][13]

The first two championship seasons under Smith came back-to-back in 1989 and 1990.[10] The 1989 team won the Southern Division and defeated Pulaski, 2–0, in the finals.[17] The 1990 Twins set a franchise record with their 51–16 (.761) season and earned the league crown with a first-place finish.[10] On August 26, 1991, Eddie Guardado pitched a no-hitter versus the Pulaski Braves, 5–0, at Joe O'Brien Field.[18] They missed the playoffs that season but returned in 1992 and 1993 by virtue of winning the Southern Division title, only to lose in the championship finals.[19] Smith was selected for four consecutive Manager of the Year Awards from 1989 to 1992.[13] Another playoff drought occurred from 1994 to 1999, the longest in franchise history.

Over 20 years from 2000 to 2019, the Twins qualified for the postseason 15 times. Jeff Carter, the 2000 season's Manager of the Year,[13] led Elizabethton to the Southern Division title and the franchise's fifth Appalachian League championship.[20] After losing in the finals of 2001 under Manager of the Year Rudy Hernández,[10][13] Ray Smith returned to lead the team in 2002.[15] He guided the Twins to league titles in 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2012, 2017, and 2018.[10]

On July 16, 2011, pitchers Tim Shibuya (7 IP), Garrett Jewel (1 IP), and Steven Gruver (1 IP) combined to no-hit the Greeneville Astros, 6–0, on the road.[21]

The start of the 2020 season was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic before ultimately being cancelled on June 30.[22][23] In conjunction with a contraction of Minor League Baseball beginning with the 2021 season, the Appalachian League was reorganized as a collegiate summer baseball league, and the Twins were replaced by a new franchise in the revamped league designed for rising college freshman and sophomores.[24]

Season-by-season results

Table key
League The team's final position in the league standings
Division The team's final position in the divisional standings
GB Games behind the team that finished in first place in the division that season
League champions League champions
Division champions Division champions
* Postseason berth
Season-by-season results
Season Regular season Postseason Ref.
Record Win % League Division GB Record Win % Result
1974 41–27–1 .603 2nd 2nd 10 12 [3]
1975 38–30 .559 2nd 2nd 3 [25]
1976 27–43 .386 7th 3rd 23 [26]
1977 29–40 .420 5th 14 [27]
1978
League champions
41–28 .594 1st Won AL championship[10] [11]
1979 37–33 .529 3rd 17 12 [28]
1980 32–36 .471 4th 13 [29]
1981 42–28 .600 2nd 4 [30]
1982 32–36 .471 5th 2nd 12 [31]
1983 28–43 .394 7th 18 12 [32]
1984
League champions Division champions
40–29 .580 1st 1st 1–0 1.000 Won Southern Division title
Won AL championship vs. Pulaski Braves, 1–0[14]
[33]
1985 31–40 .437 5th 14 [34]
1986 37–31 .544 4th 2nd 8 [35]
1987 29–40 .420 6th 2nd 13 [36]
1988 33–37 .471 6th (tie) 4th 12 12 [37]
1989
League champions Division champions
47–21 .691 1st 1st 2–0 1.000 Won Southern Division title
Won AL championship vs. Pulaski Braves, 2–0[17]
[38]
1990
League champions
51–16 .761 1st Won AL championship[10] [39]
1991 39–29 .574 4th 2nd 6 [40]
1992
Division champions
49–17 .742 1st 1st 1–2 .333 Won Southern Division title
Lost AL championship vs. Bluefield Orioles, 2–1[10]
[41]
1993
Division champions
37–30 .552 4th 1st 0–2 .000 Won Southern Division title
Lost AL championship vs. Burlington Indians, 2–0[10]
[42]
1994 36–30 .545 4th 2nd 5 [43]
1995 33–31 .516 3rd 2nd 14 [44]
1996 40–27 .597 4th 3rd 8 [45]
1997 38–30 .559 4th 2nd 5 [46]
1998 38–29 .567 2nd 2nd 4 12 [47]
1999 40–30 .571 4th 3rd 8 12 [48]
2000
League champions Division champions
46–18 .719 1st 1st 2–0 1.000 Won Southern Division title
Won AL championship vs. Danville Braves, 2–0[10]
[49]
2001
Division champions
41–22 .651 1st 1st 1–2 .333 Won Southern Division title
Lost AL championship vs. Bluefield Orioles, 2–1[10]
[50]
2002 37–30 .552 4th 2nd 5 12 [51]
2003
League champions Division champions
42–24 .636 2nd 1st 2–1 .667 Won Western Division title
Won AL championship vs. Martinsville Astros, 2–1[10]
[52]
2004 38–29 .567 4th 2nd 3 [53]
2005
League champions Division champions
48–19 .716 1st 1st 2–1 .667 Won Western Division title
Won AL championship vs. Danville Braves, 2–1[10]
[54]
2006
Division champions
42–26 .618 1st 1st 1–2 .333 Won Western Division title
Lost AL championship vs. Danville Braves, 2–1[10]
[55]
2007
League champions Division champions
50–18 .735 1st 1st 2–0 1.000 Won Western Division title
Won AL championship vs. Danville Braves, 2–0[10]
[56]
2008
League champions Division champions
41–25 .621 1st 1st 2–0 1.000 Won Western Division title
Won AL championship vs. Pulaski Mariners, 2–0[10]
[57]
2009
Division champions
45–23 .662 2nd 1st 0–2 .000 Won Western Division title
Lost AL championship vs. Danville Braves, 2–0[10]
[58]
2010
*
41–25 .621 2nd 2nd 1 2–2 .500 Won semifinals vs. Pulaski Mariners, 2–0
Lost AL championship vs. Johnson City Cardinals, 2–0[59]
[60]
2011
*
42–26 .618 2nd 2nd 3 1–2 .333 Lost semifinals vs. Bluefield Blue Jays, 2–1[61] [62]
2012
League champions Division champions
43–22 .662 1st 1st 4–2 .667 Won Western Division title
Won semifinals vs. Danville Braves, 2–1
Won AL championship vs. Burlington Royals, 2–1[61]
[63]
2013 37–31 .544 5th 3rd 3 12 [64]
2014
Division champions
38–30 .559 2nd (tie) 1st 1–2 .333 Won Western Division title
Lost semifinals vs. Johnson City Cardinals, 2–1[65]
[66]
2015 34–34 .500 5th (tie) 3rd 6 [67]
2016
*
36–31 .537 5th 2nd 2 12 1–2 .333 Lost semifinals vs. Johnson City Cardinals, 2–1[68] [69]
2017
League champions Division champions
41–27 .603 3rd 1st 4–1 .800 Won Western Division title
Won semifinals vs. Greeneville Astros, 2–1
Won AL championship vs. Pulaski Yankees, 2–0[70]
[71]
2018
League champions Division champions
39–27 .591 3rd 1st 4–1 .800 Won Western Division title
Won semifinals vs. Kingsport Mets, 2–1
Won AL championship vs. Princeton Rays, 2–0[70]
[72]
2019 33–34 .493 7th 4th 1 12 [73]
2020 Season cancelled (COVID-19 pandemic)[23] [74]
Totals 1,779–1,333–1 .572 33–24 .579

Achievements

Awards

A baseball player wearing a navy blue hoodie
Oswaldo Arcia, 2010 Player of the Year Award winner
A man wearing a gray baseball uniform with "Minnesota" on the chest
Eddie Rosario, 2011 Player of the Year Award winner
A man wearing a navy blue baseball jersey and white pants
Alex Kirilloff, 2016 Player of the Year Award winner

Eighteen players won Appalachian League awards in recognition for their performance with the Twins. Eleven won Player of the Year Awards, while seven won the Pitcher of the Year Award. Four managers won the Manager of the Year Award, including Fred Waters, who was selected for the honor three times, and Ray Smith, who won the award a league-leading seven times.[13] The team also won four Executive of the Year Awards, the Promotional Award of Excellence (2003 and 2014), and the Community Service Award (2017).[75] Altogether, the Twins have won 37 Appalachian League awards.

Appalachian League Award Winners
Award Recipient Season Ref.
Player of the Year Dave Vetsch 1984 [13]
Player of the Year Mike House 1989 [13]
Player of the Year Paul Russo 1990 [13]
Player of the Year Michael Restovich 1998 [13]
Player of the Year Ruben Salazar 1999 [13]
Player of the Year Ozzie Lewis 2007 [13]
Player of the Year Oswaldo Arcia 2010 [13]
Player of the Year Eddie Rosario 2011 [13]
Player of the Year Candido Pimentel 2012 [13]
Player of the Year Max Murphy 2014 [13]
Player of the Year Alex Kirilloff 2016 [13]
Pitcher of the Year Ricky Barrett 2002 [13]
Pitcher of the Year Steven Duguay 2004 [13]
Pitcher of the Year Dave Bromberg 2007 [13]
Pitcher of the Year Dan Osterbrock 2008 [13]
Pitcher of the Year Tim Shibuya 2011 [13]
Pitcher of the Year Félix Jorge 2014 [13]
Pitcher of the Year Dereck Rodríguez 2015 [13]
Manager of the Year Fred Waters 1978 [13]
Manager of the Year Fred Waters 1981 [13]
Manager of the Year Fred Waters 1984 [13]
Manager of the Year Ray Smith 1989 [13]
Manager of the Year Ray Smith 1990 [13]
Manager of the Year Ray Smith 1991 [13]
Manager of the Year Ray Smith 1992 [13]
Manager of the Year Jeff Carter 2000 [13]
Manager of the Year Rudy Hernández 2001 [13]
Manager of the Year Ray Smith 2005 [13]
Manager of the Year Ray Smith 2006 [13]
Manager of the Year Ray Smith 2014 [13]
Executive of the Year Mike Mains 2001 [13]
Executive of the Year Mike Mains 2005 [13]
Executive of the Year Mike Mains 2006 [13]
Executive of the Year Mike Mains 2011 [13]
Promotional Award of Excellence Elizabethton Twins 2003 [76]
Promotional Award of Excellence Elizabethton Twins 2014 [76]
Community Service Award Elizabethton Twins 2017 [77]

Hall of Famers

One former member of the Twins has been elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Outfielder Kirby Puckett, who was inducted in 2001, played 65 games with Elizabethton in 1982, his first professional season.[78] He registered a .382 batting average with 105 hits and 35 RBI in addition to stealing 43 bases.[78]

The Twins have also had five members inducted in the Appalachian League Hall of Fame.[79]

Appalachian League Hall of Famers
Inductee Year Position Ref.
Randy Boyd 2019 Team operator [79]
Harold Mains 2020 Team executive [79]
Mike Mains 2020 General Manager [79]
Kirby Puckett 2019 Outfielder [79]
Ray Smith 2019 Outfielder [79]

Notable players

Among the Twins to make significant contributions to Major League Baseball teams after their time in Elizabethton are:[80]

References

Specific
  1. ^ Appalachian League Media Guide 2020, p. 29.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Elizabethton, Tennessee Encyclopedia". Baseball-Reference. Sports Reference. Retrieved May 29, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c "1974 Appalachian League". Baseball-Reference. Sports Reference. Retrieved May 28, 2020.
  4. ^ "Twins Opener Ends in Defeat". Johnson City Press. Johnson City. June 22, 1974. p. 7 – via Newspapers.com.
  5. ^ "Appalachian League". Johnson City Press. Johnson City. June 23, 1974. p. 22 – via Newspapers.com.
  6. ^ "Home Opener Delayed... Elizabethton Faces Bristol". Johnson City Press. Johnson City. June 24, 1974. p. 12 – via Newspapers.com.
  7. ^ Jenkins, Harry (June 25, 1974). "Twin Opener Spoiled By Tiger Romp". Johnson City Press. Johnson City. p. 25 – via Newspapers.com.
  8. ^ a b Smyth, Jimmy (June 24, 1978). "Malone No-Hitter Spices Twin Sweep". Johnson City Press. Johnson City. p. 19 – via Newspapers.com.
  9. ^ a b "Twins' Malone Spin No-Hit Contest, 6-0". Johnson City Press. Johnson City. July 20, 1978. p. 18 – via Newspapers.com.
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  17. ^ a b Appalachian League Media Guide 2020, p. 61.
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General

External links

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