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Photo provided by TJ Phillips T.J. Phillips of Willmar with former Twins' pitcher Dick Stigman, left, and Frank Quilici, who managed the Twins 1972-75. Quilici had a short career as a player but wrote his name in the record book when he got two hits in one inning off Hall of Fame pitcher Don Drysdahl in Game 1 of the 1965 World Series. Stigman, a native of Sebeka, Minn., pitched for the Twins from 1962-65.

Willmar notebook: Diamond dream realized in Florida

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Yes, Senor Smoke, boyhood dreams can come true!

Ask T.J. Phillips. He was a Minnesota Twin for a week.

He wore an authentic uniform with his name on the back.

A catcher for the Cardinals and Post 167 22 years ago, Phillips hit and played the field with Twins' legends and retired journeymen at the spring training complex in Fort Myers this month.

"It was the coolest thing I ever did in my life," he said over the phone.

You could hear his smile.

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Rand Middleton

Covers Willmar and area high schools and Ridgewater College, plus amateur baseball, stock car racing and fitness events in summer. Writes weekly column since 1980. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children. 

(320) 214-4334
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