Twins President Dave St. Peter, decked out for the ninth annual Diamond Awards held at Target Field on Thursday, said that when the event was conceived, he figured it would need a format that could withstand a 95-loss season.
“I never contemplated we’d have to withstand three in a row,” St. Peter joked, “but here we are.”
The event — featuring an awards ceremony honoring several Twins players for their on- and off-field contributions in 2013 while benefiting research, education, and care in brain, nerve and muscle disorders at the University of Minnesota — was another success.
“We helped raise several hundred thousand dollars,” St. Peter said. “I think we have a good thing going. This is going to last forever.”
Some other highlights from the night:
• Twins closer Glen Perkins, who collected awards for Twins Pitcher of the Year and for Community Service, admitted that he was a little drowsy — despite having taken three naps already Thursday before the event.
He spent a long stretch on the Twins Caravan and then was up late ice fishing Wednesday night in Alexandria, but he was a trouper because the community service award meant a lot to him — “it’s way more meaningful than pitcher of the year,” he said.
Perkins posed for a photo with Nancy Cyr of Rochester and Gene Gustafson of St. Louis Park — a daughter/father combo who bought tickets to the event as 50th and 80th birthday gifts, respectively.
• There was a silent auction filled with several worthwhile items, though it was hard to miss the lack of interest in the autographed Christian Ponder Vikings jersey compared to the chatter about the autographed basketball signed by Gophers coach Richard Pitino.
• Other Twin Cities sports celebrities seen during the pre-dinner reception: former Vikings linebacker Ben Leber, ex-Twins great Tony Oliva and Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. The biggest stares from the crowd, of course, came for Joe Mauer.
“That sounded a little weird, didn’t it?” Mauer said after being introduced as a Twins first baseman.
• Voting on awards was conducted by the Twin Cities Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Here is a list of the winners they voted upon:
Most Valuable Twin: Mauer; Pitcher of the Year and Community Service Award: Perkins; Most Outstanding Rookie: Caleb Thielbar; Most Improved Player and Media Good Guy: Brian Dozier; Defensive Player of the Year: Pedro Florimon; Bob Allison Award for determination and leadership: Justin Morneau; Upper Midwest Player of the Year: Jordan Zimmermann (Nationals pitcher from Auburndale, Wis.).