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Tim Laudner

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Timothy Jon Laudner

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Power-hitting catcher Tim Laudner played nine seasons in the majors, all with the Minnesota Twins.

Born in Iowa, Laudner attended high school in the Minneapolis suburbs and starred on the football field as well as the pitcher's mound. He was selected by the Cincinnati Reds in the 33rd round of the 1976 amateur draft but instead went on to the University of Minnesota, where he was converted to catcher. After his junior year, he was selected by the Twins in the third round of the 1979 amateur draft. Signed by scout Angelo Giuliani, he made his pro debut that summer with the AA Orlando Twins, hitting .241 with 3 home runs in 45 games. Back with Orlando in 1981, he led the Southern League with 42 homers and was named the circuit's MVP. This performance earned him a late-season call-up to Minnesota. He made his big league debut on August 28th, starting against the Detroit Tigers and going 2-for-4 with a home run. He homered again the following day, becoming only the third player ever to hit home runs in his first two major league games. In addition, his teammates Kent Hrbek and Gary Gaetti also homered in their big league debut games that year.

Laudner began 1982 with the AAA Toledo Mud Hens but was called up in mid-May when starting catcher Butch Wynegar was dealt to the New York Yankees. He soon became the team's regular backstop, hitting .255 with 7 home runs in 93 games. However, he lost his starting job in 1983 to Dave Engle, who was succeeded as a regular by Mark Salas in 1985. Despite hitting 10 homers in 1984 and 1986, Tim remained a backup. Salas was traded to the Yankees in 1987, and Laudner reclaimed his regular job behind the plate. He hit just .191 that summer but clubbed a career-best 16 home runs during the regular season. In that fall's ALCS against the Tigers, he went just 1-for-14, but he starred in the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, hitting .318 with a homer (in Game Two) as the Twins captured the crown in seven games.

Laudner put together a fine season in 1988, hitting .251 with 13 home runs while making the American League All-Star team. However, after losing his starting job to Brian Harper in 1989, he announced his retirement during Spring Training in 1990. He came back briefly later that summer with the AAA Portland Beavers, but after going 0-for-29 in 9 games, he retired for good.

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