The sinkerballing Minton was one of the NL’s better relievers from 1980 to 1984, saving at least 19 games each year for the Giants. Originally drafted by the Royals, he was traded to the Giants in 1973 for catcher Fran Healy, and from 1975 to 1978 he shuttled between San Francisco and Phoenix (Pacific Coast League). He spent his first full season with the Giants in 1979, recording a 1.80 ERA in 46 relief appearances, and in 1980 he saved 19 games as San Francisco’s new bullpen ace. Minton finished second in the NL in saves (to Bruce Sutter) each of the next two seasons, with 21 in the strike-shortened 1981 campaign and 30 in 1982. In 1983 he and Gary Lavelle became the first NL teammates to each save 20 games in a season.
Minton lost his closer’s role to Scott Garrelts in 1985. After undergoing elbow surgery before the 1987 season, he was released by San Francisco in May. The thirty-five-year-old signed with the Angels five days later, saved 10 games for California that season, and remained an effective member of their bullpen through the 1980s.