The Franchise 1995 (Part 1)

1995 Minnesota Twins

Manager Tom Kelly 10th season (10th with Minnesota 707-707)
56 W 88 L 703 RS 889 RA 5th AL Central 44 GB (Cleveland 100-44)
4.88 RPG (AL = 5.06) 5.76 ERA (AL = 4.71)
.684 DER (10th AL)

All Stars (1) Kirby Puckett

Franchise (1901-1995) 6987-7623-110; 27-29 Post Season; 19-21 WS
Washington (1901-1960) 4214-4864-104; 8-11 WS
Minnesota (1961-1995) 2769-2759-6; 19-18 Post Season; 11-10 WS

When Major League Baseball opened spring training in February 1995, there still was no settlement. Players invited to Twins (and other) camps were a combination of minor league players and replacements. The Twins were among the few teams that used primarily replacement players in spring training. Many teams used primarily minor league players, which “perplexed” the Twins’ organization according to reporter Scott Miller, who quoted manager Tom Kelly:

I don’t understand it, but I guess everyone has their own agenda.

Part of the problem for the Twins was that, had the season started as scheduled, 10 of their first 12 games were scheduled against teams that would not be fielding replacements (Baltimore’s owner Peter Angelos refused to play games with replacements, and Toronto had a law that did not permit the use of replacement workers during a strike). Despite all of the uncertainty, it looked as though baseball would be played on April 3 until some last minute negotiating finally brought the strike to an end, officially on April 2, one day before the season was to start.

The season was delayed three weeks and fan backlash was huge around baseball, including in Minnesota where attendance dropped from an average of 23,704 fans per game in 1994 to just 17,338 in 1995. In the Twins’ case, it didn’t help that the team’s winning percentage was only .389 (which translates to a 97 or 98 loss season, much like the 2011-2013 seasons for the Twins). There were a few bright spots, including very good seasons from Kirby Puckett and Chuck Knoblauch and a Rookie of the Year award for Marty Cordova, but overall 1995 was a forgettable year for the Twins.

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