Last week, we discussed the 1960s. This week, the focus is on the 1970s Minnesota Twins. After posting the Hitters of the Decade yesterday, tonight we discuss the pitchers of the 1970s.
Rod Carew was clearly the hitter of the 1970s for the Twins. On the pitching side, there is no doubt that the top arm was Bert Blyleven. The Hall of Famer debuted in 1970 at 19 and performed well through the first half of the decade. He returned a decade later and had a big impact.
But Blyleven wasn't the only quality pitcher of the decade. As with the hitters, there were a couple of hold overs from the 1960s that had some decent years early in the decade.
Another interesting trend was some of the innings pitched by relievers under the eye of Gene Mauch in the second half of the decade.
Three Minnesotans make the list of 10 Twins Pitchers of the 1970s. Find out more below, and then discuss. Who should have made the list, and at the expense of which other pitcher?
SP - Bert Blyleven (1970-1976)
228 games, 225 starts, 99-90 with 2.80 ERA in 1,706 ⅔ innings. 1,402 K, 438 BB.
Blyleven was the Twins third-round pick in 1969 out of high school in California. His debut came about two months after his 19th birthday in 1970. His first stint with the Twins lasted until June of 1976. His highest ERA in those seven years with the Twins was the 3.18 ERA he had in his rookie season. He won 20 games in 1973 when he made 40 starts, completed 25 of them and led the league with nine shutouts. That season, he was an All-Star and received Cy Young and MVP votes.
SP - Dave Goltz (1972-1979)
247 games, 215 starts, 96-79 with 3.48 ERA in 1,638 innings. 887 K. 493 BB.
Goltz was the Twins fifth-round pick in 1967 out of Rothsay (MN) High School. He debuted in July 1972 and quietly had a really nice career with his home-state team. In 1977, he won 20 games in a league-leading 39 starts and received Cy Young votes. He threw 303 innings. From 1974 through 1978, he didn’t have an ERA over 3.67.
SP - Geoff Zahn (1977-1979)
95 games, 91 starts, 39-35 with 3.71 ERA in 619 ⅓ innings. 252 K. 188 BB.
Zahn signed with the Twins before the 1977 season. He became a fixture in the Twins rotation for the next four years. His best year was in 1978 when he went 14-14 with a 3.03 ERA in 252 1/3 innings. In 1970, he went 13-7 with a 3.57 ERA in 169 innings.
SP - Jim Perry (1970-1972)
115 games, 114 starts, 54-45 with 3.55 ERA in 766 ⅓ innings. 379 K. 219 BB.
Perry spent most of the 1960s with the Twins as a solid starter who also saw plenty of time in the bullpen. In 1969 he won 20 games. However, 1970 was his best season. He won the American League Cy Young Award when he went 24-12 with a 3.04 ERA. He made 40 starts and threw 278 2/3 innings. He was also an All-Star in 1971 and won 17 games. He was traded to Detroit before the 1973 season.
SP - Jim Kaat (1970-1973)
128 games, 114 starts, 48-38 with 3.46 ERA in 785 ⅔ innings. 414 K. 164 BB.
Kaat was the Twins top pitcher in the 1960s. He continued to make starts for the Twins until he was waived in mid-1973. In 1972, he was 10-2 with a 2.06 ERA in 15 starts before experiencing elbow pains. He returned in 1973, but the Twins thought he was done. He pitched another 10 seasons. And, he won Gold Glove Awards each year.
RP - Bill Campbell (1973-1976)
216 games, 9 starts, 32-21 with 51 saves and a 3.13 ERA in 460 ⅔ innings. 322 K. 183 BB.
Campbell signed with the Twins late in 1970. He debuted in 1973 and became a reliable arm out of the Twins bullpen. But, he was a mid-70s reliever. In 1974, he tossed 120 1/3 innings in 63 games. In 1975, he threw 121 innings in just 47 games. He then went 17-5 with a 3.01 ERA in 1976, and he pitched in 78 games. He made zero starts and tossed 167 2/3 innings. He left after the season via free agency and pitched another 11 seasons.
RP - Mike Marshall (1978-1979)
144 games, 1 start, 20-27 with 53 saves and a 2.57 ERA in 241 ⅔ innings. 137 K. 85 BB.
Marshall debuted in 1967 with the Tigers. He pitched for six more teams before joining the Twins after the 1977 season. He received Cy Young votes in both 1978 and 1979 with the Twins. He worked 99 innings, and then he worked 142 2/3 innings and posted a sub-3.00 ERA both years. In 1970, he pitched in 90 games and finished 84 of them. He led the league with 32 saves.
RP - Tom Hall (1970-1971)
100 games, 22 starts, 15-13 with 13 saves and a 2.72 ERA in 285 innings. 321 K. 124 BB.
Hall was the Twins third-round pick in January 1966. “The Blade” debuted in 1968. In 1970, he went 11-6 with a 2.55 ERA in 155 1/3 innings. He struck out 184 batters (10.7 K/9) in an era where striking out was still considered a negative for a hitter. In 1971, he struck out 137 batters in 129 2/3 innings. He was traded to the Reds after the 1971 season.
RP - Tom Burgmeier (1974-1977)
214 games, 0 starts, 24-16 with 23 saves and a 3.77 ERA in 380 innings. 155 K. 111 BB.
Born in St. Paul, he played at St. Cloud Cathedral High School. He signed late in 1961 and debuted with the Angels in 1968. He then pitched for the Royals from 1969 through 1973. He was traded to the Twins after the 1973 season and pitched four seasons for his home-state team. The lefty pitched in at least 46 games each of those seasons. In 1976, he went 8-1 with a 2.50 ERA in 57 games and 115 1/3 innings. After leaving the Twins, he pitched for Boston and Oakland.
RP - Tom Johnson (1974-1978)
129 games, 1 start, 23-14 with 22 saves and a 3.39 ERA in 273 ⅓ innings. 166 K. 93 BB.
John is a native of St. Paul and pitched for the Gophers. He debuted in 1974 and spent the next four seasons with the Twins. He really had just one full season with the Twins. In 1977, he went 16-7 with a 3.13 ERA in 71 games and 146 2/3 innings. In fact, he received MVP votes that season. It was the only season he pitched in more than 18 games, the number in which he pitched in 1975, 1976 and 1978. In those years, the only one game he started was in 1976.
Twins All-Decade Team, the '60s (The Hitters)
Twins All-Decade Team, the '60s (The Pitchers)
Episode 15: Get t o Know the 1960s Twins (with Dave Mona)
Twins All-Decade Team, the '70s (The Hitters)