After facing contraction talks at the previous winter meeting, and coming out of a second-place finish in the AL Central with a pitching staff with only two players with an ERA under 4.00, the 2002 Minnesota Twins won their division and made it to the 2002 American League Championship Series (ALCS) with the youngest team in the league, and with a new manager, Ron Gardenhire. The Twins had a solid first half of the season (45–36), but had a better second half (49–31), which led them to being the division champions.
|2002 Minnesota Twins|
|American League Central champions|
|Major League affiliations|
|General manager(s)||Terry Ryan|
Fox Sports Minnesota
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|Local radio||830 WCCO AM |
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For the 2002 season, the Twins adopted a secondary logo based on those used from 1970 to 1986, with twins (one representing Minneapolis and the other St. Paul) shaking hands while standing by the river which separates the two cities. The logo also features the team's primary logo, replacing the "Win Twins!" baseball used in the 1976–1986 version.
The season also marked the revival of the "TC" cap logo, which had last been used as such in 1986.
No player hit 30 home runs or drove in 100 RBIs, but many players enjoyed solid seasons. Torii Hunter and Jacque Jones hit 29 and 27 home runs, respectively, while designated hitter David Ortiz battled injuries and hit 20. Catcher A. J. Pierzynski had a good year for a catcher, hitting .300. First baseman Doug Mientkiewicz saw his average drop significantly from the prior year, from .306 to .261. Third baseman Corey Koskie had a subpar year offensively, shortstop Cristian Guzmán was average, and second baseman Luis Rivas was not strong. The Twins enjoyed solid production out of the right field spot, whether the position was manned by opening day starter Brian Buchanan, Dustan Mohr, Bobby Kielty, or Michael Cuddyer.
The starting rotation resembled a tubercular ward. Brad Radke, Eric Milton, and Joe Mays suffered serious injuries, requiring Rick Reed to carry the starting rotation. He was able to fulfill this role, going 9-2 in the second half. For inexplicable reasons, manager Ron Gardenhire resisted putting Johan Santana into the starter role until he was forced to by injuries. Santana started only 14 games, but quickly established himself as a dominant starting pitcher, posting an 8-6 record, 2.99 ERA, and a team-leading 137 strikeouts. Kyle Lohse enjoyed his only solid year as a starter, going 13-8 with a 4.23 ERA. Matt Kinney also made 12 starts. Eddie Guardado excelled in his first full year as the team's closer, earning 45 saves, while J. C. Romero, LaTroy Hawkins, and Mike Jackson had strong years as set-up men. Tony Fiore had a bafflingly strong year out of the bullpen, going 10-3 with an ERA of 3.16.
A. J. Pierzynski was the team's all-star starting catcher, backed up by Tom Prince. Doug Mientkiewicz followed up his Gold Glove year with another superb year defensively. Unfortunately, his relatively weak hitting in 2002 may have prevented him from winning a second consecutive Gold Glove award, as it went to John Olerud. The rest of the infield was defensively solid, with Luis Rivas at second, Cristian Guzmán at short, and Corey Koskie at third. In the outfield, two-thirds of the "Soul Patrol" remained, with Jacque Jones in left and Torii Hunter in center. (This would be Hunter's second consecutive Gold Glove year.) Right field was a question mark, with Brian Buchanan not lasting long after being the opening day right fielder. The void was filled for most of the season by the platoon of Dustan Mohr and Bobby Kielty, known collectively by fans as "Dusty Kielmohr". However, Dusty Kielmohr gave way to Michael Cuddyer for the post-season run.
|Chicago White Sox||81||81||0.500||13½||47–34||34–47|
|Kansas City Royals||62||100||0.383||32½||37–44||25–56|
|New York Yankees||103||58||0.640|
|Boston Red Sox||93||69||0.574|
|Chicago White Sox||81||81||0.500|
|Toronto Blue Jays||78||84||0.481|
|Kansas City Royals||62||100||0.383|
|Tampa Bay Devil Rays||55||106||0.342|
2002 American League Records
Sources:              
|2002 Minnesota Twins|
Note: Pos = Position; G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in
Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in
The Twins made it to the ALCS, beating the Oakland Athletics in the Divisional series. They then lost to the eventual World Series Champions, the Anaheim Angels.
The Twins won game one at Oakland before losing two straight including one at home. The Twins rebounded, and won the final two games to win the series and move on to face Anaheim in the ALCS.
October 1, at Oakland
|W: Brad Radke (1-0) L: Ted Lilly (0-1) SV: Eddie Guardado (1)|
|HRs: MIN – Corey Koskie (1), Doug Mientkiewicz (1)|
October 2, at Oakland
|W: Mark Mulder (1-0) L: Joe Mays (0-1)|
|HRs: OAK – Eric Chavez (1),MIN – Cristian Guzmán (1)|
October 4, at Minnesota
|W: Barry Zito (1-0) L: Rick Reed (0-1)|
|HRs: OAK – Ray Durham (1), Scott Hatteberg (1), Terrence Long (1), Jermaine Dye, (1)|
October 5, at Minnesota
|W: Eric Milton (1-0) L: Tim Hudson (0-1)|
|HRs: OAK – Miguel Tejada (1),MIN – Doug Mientkiewicz (2)|
October 6, at Oakland
|W: Brad Radke (2-0) L: Mark Mulder (1-1)|
|HRs: OAK – Ray Durham (2), Mark Ellis (1) MIN – AJ Pierzynski (1)|
The Twins won the first game at home vs. the Angels, before losing the next four in a row, allowing the Angels to move on to the World Series, who won the Series in seven games against the San Francisco Giants.
October 8, at Minnesota
|W: Joe Mays (1-0) L: Kevin Appier (0-1) SV: Eddie Guardado (1)|
October 9, at Minnesota
|W: Ramón Ortiz (1-0) L: Rick Reed (0-1) SV: Troy Percival (1)|
|HRs: ANA – Darin Erstad (1), Brad Fullmer (1)|
October 11, at Anaheim
|W: Francisco Rodríguez (1-0) L: J. C. Romero (0-1) SV: Troy Percival (2)|
|HRs: ANA – Garret Anderson (1), Troy Glaus (1)|
October 12, at Anaheim
|W: John Lackey (1-0) L: Brad Radke (0-1)|
October 13, at Anaheim
|W: Francisco Rodríguez (2-0) L: Johan Santana (0-1)|
|HRs: ANA – Adam Kennedy (3), Scott Spiezio (1)|
|AAA||Edmonton Trappers||Pacific Coast League||John Russell|
|AA||New Britain Rock Cats||Eastern League||Stan Cliburn|
|A||Fort Myers Miracle||Florida State League||Jose Marzan|
|A||Quad Cities River Bandits||Midwest League||Jeff Carter|
|Rookie||Elizabethton Twins||Appalachian League||Ray Smith|
|Rookie||GCL Twins||Gulf Coast League||Rudy Hernández|
2002 MLB season by team
|Culture and lore|
|Division titles (10)|
|Wild Card titles (1)|
|Minor league affiliates|