Wayne Terwilliger

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Wayne Terwilliger
Wayne Terwilliger.jpg
Second baseman
Born: (1925-06-27) June 27, 1925 (age 89)
Clare, Michigan
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
August 6, 1949 for the Chicago Cubs
Last MLB appearance
May 16, 1960 for the Kansas City Athletics
Career statistics
Batting average .240
Home runs 22
Runs batted in 162
Teams

Willard Wayne "Twig" Terwilliger (born June 27, 1925 in Clare, Michigan) is a former second baseman, coach, and manager in Major League Baseball.

Early life[edit]

After growing up in Michigan, Terwilliger joined the Marines in 1943 following his 18th birthday and served as a radioman on an amphibious tank in the Pacific Theater of World War II. While overseas, Corporal Terwilliger participated in the invasions of Tinian and Iwo Jima, and had his tank knocked out at Saipan. "We were hit and the tank bogged down,” he told The Sporting News on April 26, 1950. “We had to abandon the tank. Everybody scattered into the nearest fox holes. But at just about that time a Jap tank rolled up and began blasting away. I knew I had to get out of there, so I ran for the beach, zigzagging in and out with the tank chasing me. I'm sure I'd be lying out there somewhere now, if it hadn't been for one of our own tanks, which luckily showed up while I was doing all that broken field running. They knocked out the Jap tank."[1]

Terwilliger was discharged in late 1945 and attended Western Michigan College where he quickly became a star shortstop. As early as 1946, he was attracting attention from major league scouts and St Louis Browns’ scout Jack Fournier, was particularly keen to sign him.[1]

Playing career[edit]

In 1948, after finishing college, Terwilliger was playing second base with the semi-pro Benton Harbor Buds when he was signed as a free agent in July by the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs assigned him to the Single-A Des Moines Bruins of the Western League where he finished the season. In 1949, Terwilliger was promoted to the AAA Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League, where he batted .275 in 115 games, before being called up to the Cubs in August and playing in 36 games. Terwilliger spent the 1950 season as the Cubs' starting second baseman, hitting .242 with 10 home runs, 32 RBI, and 13 stolen bases. However, after getting off to a poor start to the 1951 season, Terwilliger was included in a trade that sent outfielder Andy Pafko, pitcher Johnny Schmitz, and catcher Rube Walker to the Brooklyn Dodgers for catcher Bruce Edwards (baseball), pitcher Joe Hatten, outfielder Gene Hermanski, and infielder Eddie Miksis.[2]

After spending the 1952 season with the AAA St. Paul Saints, Terwilliger was claimed off waivers by the Washington Senators following the 1952 season and spent the next two seasons as the Senators' second baseman. Prior to the start of the 1955 season, Terwilliger switched teams again after the New York Giants purchased him from the Senators. He spent the 1955 and '56 seasons shuttling between New York and AAA Minneapolis and the entire 1957 season at AAA. Following the 1957 season, he was traded to the Detroit Tigers in a swap for fellow journeymen infielder Jack Dittmer.

After spending 1958 with the Tigers' AAA Charleston Senators, he was acquired by the Kansas City A's from the Detroit Tigers in the December 1958 Rule 5 draft. In 1959, Terwilliger saw his last large stretch of time in the majors, playing 74 games at second and shortstop for the A's. After starting the 1960 season with the A's, Terwilliger was unofficially traded to the New York Yankees, a transaction that was common at the time between the two teams when the Yankees were accused of using the A's as a major league farm club and the two teams often seemed to have mutual rights to each other's players,[2] and played the rest of the season at AAA Richmond Virginians before retiring as a full-time player.

Coaching career[edit]

After his playing days were over, Terwilliger started a successful career as coach and minor-league manager in the Yankees' organization with the Greensboro Yankees of the B-level Carolina League. After taking the 1962 season off, Terwilliger would be hired by the Washington Senators to manage their single-A team, the Wisconsin Rapids Senators in the Midwest League. He would spend the following six seasons managing in the Senators organization, the last two at AAA.

Under manager Ted Williams, Terwilliger was the third-base coach of the Senators from 1969 to 1971 and of the Texas Rangers in their first season, 1972. Following the season, Terwilliger was let go by the Rangers, following Williams' retirement, and would manage the Houston Astros' AA Columbus in 1973 and Texas' single-A Lynchburg Rangers in 1975 before spending the next four seasons away from baseball. In 1980, he was hired as the manager of Texas' AA Tulsa Drillers. Terwilliger returned as a major league coach after being hired to Don Zimmer's 1981 Rangers staff and would stay with the team for four years. He would coach first for Zimmer, and then Darrell Johnson, Doug Rader, and Bobby Valentine. In 1986, he was hired as first-base coach on Ray Miller's Minnesota Twins staff. He would stay on with rookie manager Tom Kelly, handling the job when the team won the World Series in 1987 and 1991 before leaving following the 1994 season.

Staying in Minnesota, in 1995 Terwilliger returned to the St. Paul Saints, this time as the manager of the team in the independent Northern League. He would remain with the team until 2002.[1] In 2003, he would be named manager of the Fort Worth Cats in the independent Central Baseball League, and won the 2005 Central League championship. After retiring from managing following the end of the 2005 season, Terwilliger accepted the position as first base coach for the Cats, at the age of 81, and remains with team in the new American Association through the 2010 season.[3]

Throughout his career, Terwilliger managed 12 minor-league teams and compiled a record of 1,224 wins and 1,089 losses. In 2006, Terwilliger's autobiography, Terwilliger Bunts One, was released.[4]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Bobby Hofman
Washington Senators/Texas Rangers
third base coach

1969–1972
Succeeded by
Chuck Hiller
Preceded by
Tony Oliva
Minnesota Twins first base coach
1986–1994
Succeeded by
Jerry White