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Guardado, Mee inducted into Twins Hall of Fame

MINNEAPOLIS -- Former closer Eddie Guardado and former director of public relations Tom Mee were officially inducted into the Twins' Hall of Fame in a pregame ceremony before Friday's game against the Tigers at Target Field.

Guardado, 42, pitched in the Majors for 17 years, including 12 with the Twins. The left-hander had a 4.53 ERA with Minnesota and registered 116 saves, including a career-high 45 in 2002, when he led the American League.

"I've been nervous for about a month, to be honest with you," Guardado said. "It's a great honor. There's no question about that. I think it's 26 that are inducted, and the names that are inducted -- it's pretty special. It doesn't get any better than that."

Guardado is the Twins' all-time leader in games, appearing in 648, while recording at least 60 appearances in eight different seasons. The two-time All-Star became the Twins' closer from 2001-03 and helped lead the club to two AL Central titles.

Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter played alongside Guardado in Minnesota and was happy to see his former teammate join the Twins Hall of Fame.

"His arm was strong and he wanted to take the ball anytime they gave him a chance and that's why we called him 'Everyday Eddie,'" Hunter said. "He was always ready to go."

Guardado was elected by a 56-member committee consisting of local and national media, club officials, fans and past elected members, using rules similar to those necessary for election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.

"He had no fear and we always made a lot of jokes that if you're throwing 87-88 mph you should have fear, especially closing out games," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. "But he was so competitive."

Mee was elected through the Veterans Committee ballot, which consists of 18 voters. He began his career in 1957 -- four years before the Twins moved to Minnesota -- and is widely regarded as the organization's first employee.

He had many roles within the organization, including serving as the club's backup radio and television announcer and public address speaker. He was most well-known for his role as Director of Media Relations, a position he held for 30 years. The St. Paul native received the Robert O. Fischel award for Public Relations excellence in 1988 before retiring in '91.

"It means a great deal," Mee said. "It's good to be alive, but it's even better to know people know you're still alive. I just had a job. I didn't go to work every day, I went to my hobby. That's what was great."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger.
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