BEYOND THE SPORTS DESK: A fitting time to get out your Homer Hanky
Get your Homer Hankies out!
It’s been 32 years since the first Homer Hanky was distributed by the Minneapolis Star Tribune going into the 1987 postseason.
There have been multiple versions of the hanky produced over the years, but it may never be as fitting a promotional item as it would be this year.
The Minnesota Twins franchise record for home runs in a season is 225, set way back in 1963. The Twins hit 221 home runs the following year, the second-most in franchise history.
In 1987 — the season that sparked the debut of the Homer Hanky — Minnesota tallied 196 home runs, which tied the 1986 club as the most hit since 1963. In 1991, the team total dropped to just 140.
After Minnesota’s eight-homer barrage on Thursday, the season total climbed to 98 home runs through 49 games. That’s already a higher total than four full Twins seasons (1972, 1976, 1978, 1981).
Extrapolating the current power numbers over a 162-game season, the Twins are on pace to hit 324 home runs in 2019. That would shatter the club record by nearly 100 homers, and would easily break the MLB record of 266, which was set last season by the New York Yankees.
The beauty of the Twins’ power surge is that it isn’t only coming from one source. Six different players smashed a home run on Thursday, which gave the Twins their second game this season with eight home runs — only the 2005 Texas Rangers have done that twice in a season.
Through 49 games, Minnesota has four players in the lineup with 10 or more home runs and eight players with seven homers. And don’t look now, but when Miguel Sano is making contact, the baseballs are going a long distance. He already has four home runs in just 25 at-bats since his return from the injured list on May 15.
A powerful lineup can be a pitcher’s best friend, and it can mask a lot of deficiencies. A lineup this strong could possibly even make Ricky Nolasco, Terry Felton or Jason Marquis look like competent starting pitchers.
But the beauty of the 2019 Twins is that they don’t need to rely on these power surges in order to win these games, because the pitching staff has been among the league’s best.
But even though the team doesn’t need all of the home runs, they sure are fun from a fan’s perspective. Just as fun as dusting off that Homer Hanky and waving it around at Target Field or in your own living room!