Welcome to the Twins, Joe Crede

May 18, 2009

by Matt Kane

No kidding, Tuesday night, while watching the end of the Twins’ game against Detroit last week, I was wondering whether or not new third baseman Joe Crede felt comfortable with the Twins, and whether the Twins felt comfortable with Crede, yet.

I questioned how long it takes for a newly acquired player to fit in, especially when that player, such as Crede, played for the division rival, the Chicago White Sox in Crede’s case, just a season ago.

I don’t really know a lot about Crede, but he seems to be reserved, which can make it difficult for new teammates to get to know someone.

We have heard and seen most of the other Twins players doing radio spots, as weekly guests on local radio programs, and doing pregame and postgame interviews with the local media members, so we kind of know the personalities of these guys.

That hasn’t been the case with Crede. I’ve seen very few interviews with the third baseman, and when he does speak he doesn’t say a lot.

The one way for a quiet guy to begin to fit in with the other players on a new team is by how he plays on the field. The old lead by example theory.

And what do you know, just a day after I questioned whether Crede fits in with the Twins, he goes and hits a game-winning grand slam in the bottom of the 13th inning to beat the Tigers 14-10.

The moment I heard the crack of Crede’s bat connecting with the ball and saw the ball rocket into the blue seats in left field through my half opened eyes (I’m an optimist), I new that was the moment Crede became a Twin.

Crede came through with a game-winning hit earlier in the season, but a grand slam in the 13th inning is one to remember.

Crede also came through with the game-winning hit — a two-run bloop single in the seventh inning — Thursday afternoon in the Twins’ come-from-behind 6-5 win over the Tigers. A game-winning grand slam followed by a game-winning single in back-to-back games, now that is clutch.

Let’s hope there is more of the same still to come from Crede. It’s been quite a while since the Twins and Twins fans could truly rely on a third baseman to come through.

We all remember Corey Koskie with a great glove and a pretty good bat, but it has been five seasons since Koskie manned the hot corner in the Metrodome, and none of his replacements have come close to being as productive.

Of course, probably the most productive third baseman to play his home games at the Metrodome had to be the G-Man, Gary Gaetti.

Gaetti hit 30 home runs and drove in more than 100 runs in two of his nine full seasons with the Twins, and had at least 20 home runs in six seasons. The G-Man won four Gold Gloves with the Twins (1986-89), and was an all-star twice (1988 and ‘89).

The list of others to have play third base for the Twins (in any stadium) includes Dave Hollins, Ron Coomer, Casey Blake, John Castino, Mike Cubbage, Scott Leius, Mike Pagliarulo, Nick Punto, Rich Rollins, Ed Soderholm and Jerry Terrell.

Rollins had some good seasons in the ‘60s, but I don’t think any of these guys caused many pitchers to lose sleep the night before a game.

Then again, third base is the least represented position in the National Baseball Hall of Fame — there are only 10 currently in the hall — so maybe the problem of finding a steady third baseman isn’t just a Twins’ problem, but a league problem.

Let’s hope Crede is at least a worthy Band-Aid for a few seasons.