The Twins on Thursday held their annual Diamond Awards event, a joint venture between the Twins and local baseball writers benefiting University of Minnesota medical research and education. Here were some of the highlights:
Silent auction must-haves
The three best sports-related silent auction items I saw, in descending order.
3: A framed autographed Kirby Puckett picture. Anything with Puckett is a winner, but this was particularly well-done.
2: A round of golf for three at Hazeltine. Play the Ryder Cup course? Sign me up.
1: Brian Dozier batting lesson before a home game at Target Field. How cool is that? The description said the date was “to be mutually agreed upon” and also included four game tickets. It had a suggested value of $500.
The centerpiece of the event is the distribution of awards from the 2015 season, as voted on by writers who cover the team. The award-winners were named in October, but they were presented their awards Thursday. Among them:
The big winner: Miguel Sano was named both the Twins MVP and also the team’s top rookie — a double play not accomplished since Tony Oliva snagged both awards more than a half-century ago.
Torii Hunter won the Bob Allison Award, given to the player who “exemplifies determination, hustle, tenacity, competitive spirit and leadership, both on and off the field,” while also taking the media good-guy honor.
Kyle Gibson was named Twins Pitcher of the Year, while Aaron Hicks — who has since been traded to the Yankees — was voted the team’s Most Improved Player. Eddie Rosario was elected Defensive Player of the Year.
“Yeah, this is the year.”
- Jose Berrios, named the Twins organization’s top minor league pitcher for the second year in a row, when asked if 2016 is the year he makes his Twins debut.
“This is one of the greatest things I’ve ever received in my life.”
- Julio Becquer, former Twins player, who won the Kirby Puckett Award for Alumni Community Service.
“Expectations will be higher, but that’s fine. That’s what we want.”
- Twins manager Paul Molitor on the 2016 season.
“Everybody’s mentioning Torii so I guess I’d better bring him up.”
- Gibson, noting that a lot of teammates were giving thanks to the retired outfielder, who was in attendance.