April 1, 1993: Blyleven retires after Twins decide not to keep him

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 24, 2011 - 9:17 AM


The Twins decided on their final roster cuts Wednesday. Bert
Blyleven's was the unkindest, if most understandable, of all.

A few hours after Twins officials told Blyleven he wouldn't
make their team, the 41-year-old righthander said he was retiring.
He finishes his career with 287 victories, 13 short of the magic
number that would have improved his chances of making the Hall of
Fame.

Blyleven said that he wasn't considering retirement until the
Twins told him that he didn't fit into their plans.

"I talked to my wife, and we decided that would be the best
thing," said Blyleven, who flew home to California yesterday
afternoon. "If anyone was going to give me a fair shot, if anyone
knew the type of person I was, it was the Twins. But they wanted to
go with the young kids, and that's fine."

Blyleven struggled through the spring with a 6.27 ERA and lost
the fight for a spot in the rotation to Jim Deshaies, Pat Mahomes
and Willie Banks. That Banks, a former No. 1 draft pick, is out of
options - and would have been exposed to waivers had the Twins tried
to send him to the minors - hurt Blyleven's chances.

The Twins also optioned outfielder Derek Lee to Class AAA
Portland and returned infielder Chip Hale to the minor league camp
for reassignment. They will reach their final 25-man roster when the
status of catchers Mike Maksudian and Derek Parks is decided.

Maksudian will begin the season in Portland, but the Twins are
awaiting further medical reports on his injured right elbow before
assigning him. Parks is out of options, so the Twins will have to
get him through waivers before he can be returned to Portland.

The Twins also set their rotation yesterday: Kevin Tapani,
Scott Erickson, Mahomes, Deshaies and Banks. Mike Trombley will
begin the season in the bullpen, but will be available if one of the
starters falters.

J.T. Bruett and Randy Bush, a minor surprise, will be the extra
outfielders. "At the beginning of the spring, I wouldn't have given
Randy much of a chance," MacPhail said.

Lee might have been the choice for the team's extra outfielder
if the Twins had kept just one, because he is considered the best
all-around player among the three. He batted .304 this spring and
played better defensively than the Twins expected.

But when reliever Carl Willis was placed on the 15-day disabled
list Tuesday, that allowed the Twins to keep a defensive specialist
and pinch runner (Bruett) and a pinch hitting specialist (Bush, who
hit .375 this spring).

Their choice to fill the extra outfielder's role could change
April 14, when Willis is eligible to be activated. MacPhail said the
team will go with 11 pitchers at that point, which means an
outfielder will need to be cut.

"Doing it this way, we've preserved our options," MacPhail
said. "There are a lot of things we can do from here."

Cutting Blyleven proved the most wrenching decision of the day.
"It was a difficult decision based on his abilities, number one, and
it was made more complex by the emotional aspect, which you can't
deny," MacPhail said. "He's been with the Twins for a long time and
has meant a lot to this organization. As much as you try to conceal
the fact, we're all human beings and we have our likes and dislikes,
and it would have been good to have him on the team. It was
particularly tough on [manager Tom Kelly] to have to let him know he
wouldn't be on the team."

Asked for an assessment of Blyleven's abilities at 41, MacPhail
said: "He still had the curveball and got some strikeouts with it,
but the other stuff. . . . I don't know if he had enough to
complement it with."

Kelly seemed shaken yesterday. He and Blyleven are friends, and
Kelly valued Blyleven's toughness and experience. After the Twins
lost 12-5 to the Phillies yesterday in their final spring game at
Lee County Stadium, Kelly spoke softly and at length about the
difficulty of releasing Blyleven.

"When a guy helped us win a World Series way back when, things
like that you don't forget," he said. "But now is now and then was
then, and as much as we would have liked to have kept Bert, we
thought we had to let him go.

"I'm sure things are going to work out fine. I just wish he
could have gotten an opportunity for that 300th win."

When Blyleven went into Kelly's office this morning, Kelly,
MacPhail and pitching coach Dick Such were waiting. "He handled it
with class," MacPhail said. "He knew how tough it was for Tom, and
he really made it as easy as possible for him."

Blyleven finishes his career with 287 victories (22nd on the
alltime list), 3,701 strikeouts (third behind Nolan Ryan and Steve
Carlton) and an ERA of 3.31. After undergoing shoulder surgery in
1991, he began his latest comeback last year in the California
Angels' system - going 8-12 with a 4.74 ERA for one of the majors'
worst teams.

When the Angels released him in the offseason, he turned to the
Twins, who, despite sentiment, turned him away.

"I felt I could have given them 200 innings, but that's the
decision they made and I respect that," Blyleven said. "Just like I
respect the Twins' organization. They have treated me fairly. I'm
just sorry I couldn't have spent a little more time with them."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Portland 0 Postponed
Brooklyn 0
Sacramento 0 Postponed
New York 0
Philadelphia 74 FINAL
New Orleans 99
Minnesota 84 FINAL
Oklahoma City 92
Orlando 94 FINAL
Memphis 103
Boston 99 FINAL
Utah 90
Denver 98 FINAL
LA Clippers 102
Army 68 FINAL
American Univ 66
Wright State 64 FINAL
Detroit 53
Syracuse 83 FINAL
North Carolina 93
Cleveland State 56 FINAL
Oakland 59
Delaware State 54 FINAL
NC Central 55
High Point 63 FINAL
Presbyterian 54
Howard 45 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 42
Coppin State 84 FINAL
NC A&T 71
Nicholls 51 FINAL
Northwestern St 80
Hampton 56 FINAL
SC State 65
Gardner-Webb 59 FINAL
Campbell 78
MD-Eastern Shore 72 FINAL
Florida A&M 65
Stephen F Austin 82 FINAL
Lamar 65
Central Arkansas 67 FINAL
New Orleans 87
Norfolk State 70 FINAL
Savannah State 54
TX A&M-CC 70 FINAL
SE Louisiana 61
Sam Houston St 80 FINAL
Abilene Christian 63
McNeese State 84 FINAL
Incarnate Word 86
Milwaukee 48 FINAL
Valparaiso 73
Alcorn State 66 FINAL
Alabama A&M 78
Southern U 59 FINAL
Alabama State 63
Prairie View 68 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 105
Texas 86 FINAL
Iowa State 89
Texas Southern 85 FINAL
Miss Valley St 84
Long Island 85 FINAL
Bryant 88
Central Conn St 51 FINAL
St Francis-NY 49
Fairleigh Dickinson 0 Postponed
Sacred Heart 0
St Francis-PA 87 FINAL
Wagner 74
Delaware State 59 FINAL
NC Central 66
Howard 53 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 61
Coppin State 49 FINAL
NC A&T 67
Hampton 88 FINAL
SC State 53
Norfolk State 54 FINAL
Savannah State 56
MD-Eastern Shore 54 FINAL
Florida A&M 64
Angelo State 55 FINAL
Abilene Christian 70
Samford 32 FINAL
(25) Chattanooga 49
Prairie View 83 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 66
Alcorn State 58 FINAL
Alabama A&M 55
Southern U 53 FINAL
Alabama State 49
Texas Southern 63 FINAL
Miss Valley St 52
(12) Texas A&M 61 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 79
Robert Morris 68 FINAL
Mount St Marys 44
East Tenn St 72 FINAL
Mercer 70
Wofford 56 FINAL
Furman 58
Morehead St 64 FINAL
Tenn Tech 54
Illinois 57 FINAL
Michigan 70
Quinnipiac 0 Postponed
Manhattan 0
Saint Peters 0 Postponed
Rider 0
(18) Miss State 59 FINAL
Auburn 48
(15) Nebraska 72 FINAL
(20) Iowa 78
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close