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.
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.