Where are they now? Kevin Tapani
Former hurler has fond memories of his years with Twins
Kevin Tapani was known as a workhorse during his 13-year Major League career. And while he doesn't currently have a job title, he is certainly remaining busy in retirement."Yard worker, spectator, coach, chauffeur, bus driver," Tapani said with a laugh. "I stay busy with projects." Tapani was 75-63 with the Twins from 1989-95. He is best remembered for his role on the 1991 World Series championship team. In only his second full year in the big leagues -- he finished fifth in the American League Rookie of the Year Award voting in 1990 -- Tapani went 16-9 with a 2.99 ERA and finished seventh in the AL Cy Young Award voting in '91. He then outdueled Tom Glavine in Game 2 of the World Series, holding Atlanta to two runs over eight innings. The Twins won, 3-2, and took the series in seven games. "I think the thing now, many years later, is it was a real close-knit team, probably closer than every other team I have played on since," Tapani said. "After the games, 80 percent of the guys would go out to dinner or go out for a beer. Guys enjoyed being around each other. How that translates to field, I don't know, but it was memorable." Tapani's Minnesota career ended when he was dealt with pitcher Mark Guthrie to the Dodgers in 1995 for a package that included Ron Coomer. After finishing up the season in Los Angeles, Tapani finished his career by spending a year with the White Sox and five with the Cubs.
ARI: Travis Lee | ATL: Mark Lemke
BAL: Chris Hoiles | BOS: Bill Lee
CHC: Randy Hundley | CIN: Eric Davis
CWS: Dan Pasqua | CLE: Dave Burba
COL: Curtis Leskanic | DET: Steve Sparks
FLA: Charlie Hough | HOU: Doug Drabek
KC: Mike Macfarlane | LAA: Rick Reichardt
LAD: Jim Gott | MIL: Don Sutton
MIN: Kevin Tapani | NYM: Ed Kranepool
NYY: Jim Abbott | OAK: Ben Grieve
PHI: Tommy Greene | PIT: Barry Jones
STL: B. Tewksbury | SD: C. Hernandez
SF: Brian Johnson | SEA: Henry Cotto
TB: Doug Creek | TEX: Dave Hostetler
TOR: Alex Gonzalez | WAS: W. Fryman
The right-hander says his favorite career memory is the '91 championship season, but he cannot think of a specific moment when pressed. Doing so might diminish the rest of the experience.Tapani lives near the Twin Cities with his wife, Sharon, and children -- Sarah, 16, Ryan, 13, and Luke, 11. He is still recognized in public, a fact that amuses him. "They expected me to be bigger or stronger or look more like an athlete," Tapani said with a laugh. Tapani coaches baseball in the summer and is a diligent spectator of Sarah's high school volleyball and track career during the academic year. He has a passion for coaching youth baseball, but has little interest in attempting to try his hand with professionals. "I enjoy the youth stuff and passing along all the things I learned -- seeing how young kids can take to that and the enjoyment they get from playing the game a little better," Tapani said. "I enjoy working with kids more than adults." Tapani paused, thinking: "And I wouldn't want to give up the time I spend with my family, either."
Thor Nystrom is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.