Four Twins coming to middle school Jan. 29

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 1/21/97.

The Minnesota Twins Winter Caravan will be in Paynesville on Wednesday, Jan. 29, at 9 a.m. The Twins have six caravans visiting communities throughout the state. Coming to the Paynesville Area Middle School are Paul Molitor, Rich Becker, Al Newman and announcer John Gordon.

Gordon will open the program and introduce the players to the students. Besides talking and answering questions from the students, three students will be selected to participate in the Twins Pitching Challenge.

The 1997 season is John Gordonís 11th as the Twinsí radio counterpart to Herb Carneal. Before coming to the Twin Cities prior to the 1987 season, Gordon was part of the New York Yankees broadcast crew.

Minnesota native Paul Molitor was obtained as a free agent in December 1995 by the Twins. Molitor plays first base and is a designated hitter for the Twins. Nicknamed ďMolly,Ē he is a 1974 graduate of Cretin High School in St. Paul where he played soccer and was All-State in baseball and basketball. He was also all-conference his last two seasons with the University of Minnesota.

Molitor became only the second 40-year-old player this century to have 600 at-bats in a season (Pete Rose had 634 at-bats at age 41 in 1982). In 1996, he ended the season with a .341 batting average and has a career .308 average, he scored 99 runs and had 225 hits; nine home runs, 72 strike-outs and 18 stolen bases.

In 1996, Molitor ranked second in the league in games played, times at-bat, runs scored, hits and doubles and sixth in stolen bases. He received the ďGood GuyĒ award from the Athletes for Youth.

Rich Becker, outfielder, joined the Twins in 1990. He was drafted in the third round as a free agent. He is a 1990 graduate of Aurora West High School in Illinois where he played baseball and football and was all-state in baseball his senior year.

In 1993, Becker was named Twinsí Minor League Player of the Year by USA Today for the second consecutive season. In 1996, he won the Charles O. Johnson Award as Most Improved Twin. He established career highs in virtually every offensive category...led club in strike outs and sacrifice hits, was second in stolen bases and third in walks, second in league and tied for second in majors in outfield assists (18), was seventh among league outfielders in fielding percentage (.993) and started league-leading nine double plays. Becker ended the 1996 season with a .291 average, recorded 92 runs, 153 hits, 12 home runs, and 19 stolen bases.

Al Newman was traded to the Twins in 1987 for minor league pitcher Mike Shade. He played on the 1987 and 1991 Twins World Champion teams and was released prior to the 1992 season. He worked as Twinsí major league advance scout in 1993 before becoming broadcaster for Twins games and college football games for WCCO-TV and Midwest Sports Channel in 1994. In 1995, he managed a club in Fort Myers, Fla., in the Florida league.

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