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" The trainer says, "Nah, not really," to which Quivers yells out, "Not really?! " Stern asks how they're in such good shape, at which point Myers says it's because they have good trainers. Quivers changes the topic, asking, "How are the Minnesota Twins doing this season? Radke's career ends on the sour note of being forced to retire due to a severe shoulder injury that he somehow pitched through for much of last season.
Stern quickly turns to the trainer and says, "Then how come you don't have a good physique? " Myers chimes in to say that "we're like in fourth, fourth place ... It's possible that Radke would have retired anyway, having talked about doing so for years, but the injury forced his hand and in many ways lessened the impact of his announcement.
His fastball often struggled to creep past 90 miles per hour, but Radke thrived anyway by relentlessly pumping strikes that were seemingly just off the plate and keeping hitters off balance with a world-class changeup.
Drafted in the eighth round four months before the Twins became champions in 1991, Radke was the Opening Day starter in nine of his 12 seasons, giving way to Scott Erickson in 1995, Bob Tewksbury in 1998, and Johan Santana in 2006.
More than any other organization, the Twins acquire and develop pitchers who throw strikes and change speeds without the benefit of an overpowering fastball, a combination for which Radke is the prototype.
Radke's 1.63 walks per nine innings is the lowest total among active pitchers, safely ahead of control artists like Jon Lieber (1.71), Greg Maddux (1.84), and David Wells (1.86).
After surviving that, he was the link to and oft-overlooked contributor on a team that has emerged as one of the most successful in Twins history.
" When told that no, he's a trainer, Stern responds, "Yeah, you didn't look like a ballplayer to me." He then clarifies the situation by saying, "You're the guy who gets the towels, right? Radke peaked as a 24-year-old in 1997, winning 20 games for a horrible Twins team while finishing third in the AL Cy Young balloting behind Roger Clemens and Randy Johnson.I'll remember the first-inning struggles that so often turned into late-inning success.I'll remember his painting the corners like few others in baseball history have.I'll remember Radke as the bridge between the Kirby Puckett-Kent Hrbek-Tom Kelly Twins and the Johan Santana-Joe Mauer-Justin Morneau-Torii Hunter Twins.After World Series titles in 19, the Twins went through some incredibly lean years in the late 1990s and early 2000s, often with Radke as one of their few standout players.