Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Time: 35 Days
Address: c/o Chicago White Sox
Item Sent: 1996 Bowman
Item Received: 1996 Bowman, signed in black Sharpie.
Eight years since he last suited up for the Twins, I remain an unapologetic A.J. Pierzynski fan. I know he has a reputation around the league as an agitator, but the fact that so many Twins fans boo him when the White Sox visit town is embarrassing. Here's what we know: he played his ass off while in Minnesota, turning himself into an All-Star catcher and perhaps the best clutch hitter on the Twins during the initial franchise renaissance of 2001-2003. He didn't ask to be traded, but he was due for a big raise in arbitration and the Twins had top prospect Joe Mauer waiting in the wings. So, A.J. was dealt to the San Francisco Giants for Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano, and Boof Bonser. (Nathan is now the Twins all-time leader in saves. Liriano, while maddeningly inconsistent, has put together two fantastic seasons in 2006 and 2010. Bonser once started game two of the ALDS for the Twins.) After a tough season for the Giants, Pierzynski signed with the White Sox (offers were not exactly knocking down his door) and promptly helped lead them to the 2005 World Series. He has become one of the identifying players of the Ozzie Guillen era on the South Side. He still plays his ass off and he still comes up with clutch hits. He's one of the most underrated catchers of his time.