Friday, May 24, 2013

#9 Kent Hrbek

About the Front: Kent Hrbek looks especially pleased with himself for walloping the baseball. He's also lathered up with eye black, although he's got nothing on Bryce Harper.

About the Back: For a guy who looks and plays the part of the beefy slugger, Hrbek had pretty good bat control too. In the last seven years of his career, he walked 136 more times than he struck out.

Triple Play:

1. He made his major league debut on August 24, 1981, going 2-for-5 with 2 RBI. His 12th-inning solo home run off of George Frazier gave the Twins a 3-2 win at Yankee Stadium.

2. Kent is infamous among Braves fans for a controversial play in Game Two of the 1991 World Series, when he tagged Ron Gant out on a play at first base. Hrbek seemed to lift Gant off of the bag, but the "out" call stood. In 2011, the Twins gave away a bobblehead commemorating the 20th anniversary of that incident.

3. Hrbek hosted "Kent Hrbek Outdoors", an outdoor sports program that aired on local network FOX-9 in Minnesota for six years, ending in 2009.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: I remember hearing that Kent was an Oriole killer, and his career splits bear that out. In 138 games against my O's, he slugged .553 with 35 homers and 105 RBI. Those are his best numbers against any opponent. Maybe he held a grudge after Cal Ripken beat him out for the 1982 American League Rookie of the Year award.

Bill James Said: "His best years are clearly behind him, his contract expires at the end of 1994, and he has expressed a willingness to retire." Bill's on the money here. After batting .270/.353/.420 with 10 HR and 53 RBI in 81 games in 1994, Kent hung up his spikes.

On This Date in 1993: May 24. The African nation of Eritrea formally declared its independence from Ethiopia after a three-decade civil war.

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