1995: Kevin Tapani’s Destructive Pitch

Saturday June 3, 1995

Kevin Tapani pitched a gem against the Texas Rangers in Arlington, though the game is notable for a single pitch he threw in the bottom of the second inning.

With two men out, Tapani faced Dean Palmer, a .338/.446/.613 hitter through the first two months of the season. Tapani worked ahead 0-2 before Palmer took the third pitch for a ball. Tapani’s next pitch fooled Palmer, who was attempting to get his money’s worth out of the plate appearance by swinging as hard as he could. Unfortunately for Palmer, the violent swing ruptured his biceps tendon, forcing an early end to his season.

Tapani went on to allow just six Ranger hits in a nine-inning shut out, what turned out to be his only shut out of the season.

Scott Miller discussed the tough luck for the Rangers in the Pioneer Press:

The Rangers suffered a severe blow to their 1995 pennant hopes in the second inning of Saturday’s game when third baseman Dean Palmer suffered a ruptured biceps tendon in his left arm while striking out against Kevin Tapani. The injury will require surgery next week and will sideline him for the season.

Palmer had nine home runs this season and was second in the American League with 30 runs scored. He was batting .333 with 24 RBIs.

This has been a nightmarish series so far for the Rangers. On Thursday, catcher Ivan Rodriguez (.286, two homers, 15 RBIs) suffered a strained muscle behind his right shoulder and hasn’t played since.

And on Friday, second baseman Jeff Frye (.310) suffered a pulled hamstring and was placed on the 15-day disabled list.

For Tapani, the next day brought him even more good news. From Dennis Brackin’s report in the Star Tribune:

The Twins’ potential arbitration cases have been reduced to one – Chuck Knoblauch on Friday – with the announcement Sunday that pitcher Kevin Tapani has agreed to terms. Twins general manager Terry Ryan said Sunday that he and Tapani’s agent, Jim Bronner, have agreed to a one-year, $3.6 million contract.

Tapani had requested $4.2 million for 1995. The Twins’ offer was for $3 million. Tapani had grown weary of discussing negotiations in the midst of the season, and that weariness was more evident Sunday than any sense of joy.

“I’ve got no feeling one way or the other, other than I look forward to having a normal winter, when all this gets done while the season isn’t going on, and we don’t have to be talking about a contract on the fourth of June,” Tapani said. “This stuff is between me, my family and my employer and it’s nobody else’s business. I really don’t understand why it’s printed or the fascination with it or why anyone would care.”

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2 Responses to 1995: Kevin Tapani’s Destructive Pitch

  1. Beau says:

    “This stuff is between me, my family and my employer and it’s nobody else’s business. I really don’t understand why it’s printed or the fascination with it or why anyone would care.”

    Is it part of the CBA that player’s salaries are made public, to ensure fairness? I think people care a lot about baseball player salaries because money in baseball really influences trades, team’s futures, and competition.

  2. Scot says:

    I’m not sure about the CBA, but professional athletes complaining about the public interest in salaries always kind of irritates (and I’m not talking specifically about Tapani here). I understand the desire to keep those things private on the one hand, but they have to understand that they give up a lot of that privacy in their chosen line of work.

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