On this date, June 20th, in Biggio plunking history, Craig Biggio had a three year streak of being hit by pitches stretching from 1998 to 2000. Rick Krivda of the Reds plunked him on June 20, 1998, Bobby Ayala of the Expos hit him on June 20, 1999 and Kevin Brown hit him on June 20, 2000. All three of those plunks were at home, where the Astros will be hosting the Minnesota Twins today. The Twins starter today, Brad Radke, has hit 62 of the 9,918 batters he's faced in his career but only 1 this season. He has never hit Craig Biggio with a pitch. The only Twins pitcher to plunk Biggio was Mike Trombley, who threw plunk #132 on June 22, 1998.
Now, this isn't normally a site that gets into the world of politics, with the exception of how that world relates to the plunking of Biggio, but the following is important in the understanding of what's going on with these Minnesota Twins. Minnesota has had quite a wacky political past - they elected an independent wrestler as their governor a while back, and though my memory of early eighties politics is fuzzy, I believe they actually put the lady from those "Where's the Beef" commercials up against Reagan in the 1984 election. But now, a new political wave has washed over the Minnesota countryside, and the teachings of Twins catcher Joe "The Chairman" Mauer have gripped the minds and hearts of the people in that section of America's north coast. Mauerist propaganda on the internet is rampant (see here), and the power of Mauer has clearly been felt in the Minnesota state house where they have finally agreed this season to build a new ballpark for the Twins.
Now, these Mauerists don't seem to be communists, per se, and they have actually helped prevent Castro from overthrowing Batista. The Twins started the season with Tony Batista and Juan "unplunkable" Castro at 3rd base and short stop, but Batista was designated for assignment earlier this month and Castro has been traded - appropriately enough - to the Reds. There agenda seems to be more focused on OBP and building a strong pitching staff through the farm system than bringing the farm system under collective rule.
Catcher cults are not a new phenomenon in baseball... the IRodians left Texas in 2002 to follow their leader to Florida, and then Detroit but in Houston the Ausmists are growing in numbers every day. In Boston, you can't go a block without seeing 'tekites preaching on corners about how the lessons of Jason Varitek can be applied to every day life, but there is still a large number of Followers of Fisk who believe jumping and waving will guide things on the correct path - like a home run is steered to the correct side of the foul pole. Cincinnati is still heavily influenced by Benchlians, and New York had an influx of Posada's Witnesses in the late '90s, but it's clear that the Yogis are the most influential catcher cult of all time. The influential teachings of Yogi are felt constantly in the media and politics to this day.
There's no telling whether this new movement following Chairman Mauer will be that far reaching, but Twins fans seem to think it could be. The question for the rest of the country will be whether to fear it as a threat to your way of life and to your baseball team's efforts to win, or enjoy it as the harmless passion of eccentrics from the northern plains.