Saturday, May 4, 2013

1993 TOPPS FINEST: #22 RICK AGUILERA


RANKS 16TH OVERALL IN SAVES.




COMING OFF 83 SAVES COMBINED IN '91 AND '92.



DEFINING THE PLAYER

  • Like many standout closers, Rick Aguilera began his career as a starter. It took being traded from the Mets to the Twins in 1989, a 4 for 1 deal with New York getting ace #33 Frank Viola, for Aguilera to find his niche. That didn't happen until the next season after closer Jeff Reardon left as a free agent. Aguilera responded with 32 saves in '90 and would register 318 in his 16-year career.

DEFINING MOMENT

  • Aguilera locked down his third save of  the '91 ALCS in Game 5 on Oct. 13 in an 8-5 victory over the Blue Jays. The victory put the Twins into their third World Series.

DEFINING SEASON

  • In the first of three consecutive All-Star seasons beginning in '91, Aguilera saved a career-high 42 games during the Twins' worst-to-first ride to the world championship.

FIVE FINAL FACTS

  1. The all-time Twins leader in saves with 254 in 11 seasons.
  2. In the '91 World Series, he saved Games 1 and 2, took the loss in Game 3 and got the win in Game 6, when #112 Kirby Puckett won it with his bottom-of-the-11th homer.
  3. That win wasn't his first in the World Series. He was the winning pitcher of the classic '86 Game 6 despite allowing two runs and three hits in two innings. Red Sox manager John McNamara, first baseman Bill Buckner and reliever Bob Stanley took him off the hook.
  4. Traded midseason in '95 to the Red Sox, whom the Twins were playing at the time, and his first save opportunity came that night. He struck out Puckett to earn the save.
  5. Returned to the Twins as a free agent in '96, when he started 19 games and went 8-6, before moving back to the pen and saving 107 more games before retiring.

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