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Sunday, March 13, 2016

Lenny Webster, Tough Decision - 13

Originally published Nov. 10, 2013
Lenny Webster made his return to Minnesota in early June 1991 and he did his best to make sure he stayed, according to The Associated Press.

The catcher Webster did so by hitting a home run in each of his first two games back.

"I'm 26; I'm not getting any younger," Webster told The AP. "I'm going to play hard every time I'm in the lineup and try to force them to make a tough decision."

Webster ended up getting into only 18 games for the Twins that year, but he eventually did make his mark. By the time his career was done, Webster had seen time in a total of 12 big league seasons, getting into a total of 587 major league games, hitting a total of 33 major league home runs.

Webster's career began in 1985, taken by the Twins in the 21st round of the draft, out of Grambling State University.

With the Twins, Webster hit the field in 1986 at rookie Elizabethton and single-A Kenosha. He first saw AA Orlando in 1989. He also made the jump to Minnesota, getting 14 games there that September. He went 6 for 20.

Webster then returned to the Twins again in 1990, but for just two games. His first significant time in the bigs came in 1992, with 53 games in Minnesota. He hit .280.

Webster stayed with the Twins through 1993. He moved to the Expos for 1994, getting into 57 games for the best team in baseball, hitting .273. He moved to the Phillies for 1995, getting three hits in an August game, part of a 9-run Phillies barrage.

"It's a game of inches," Webster told The Philadelphia Inquirer afterward. "The line drives we were hitting into double plays are starting to go through for hits. Some of those balls just barely got through, but they got through."

Webster continued playing in the majors into 2000, returning to the Expos twice and playing with the Orioles and the Red Sox. Webster had perhaps his most successful seasons in 1997 and 1998, with the Orioles, getting into 98 games in 1997 and 108 games in 1998. His 1998 season was also marked by a .285 average.

In July 1998, Webster also helped the Orioles to a win, with a two-run, walk-off home run to beat the Athletics.

"I'm not a home-run hitter, I just try to hit the ball hard," Webster told reporters afterward. "He got it down and I took advantage of his mistake. I feel very relaxed at the plate. I was tired. I wanted to go home."

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