Happy Birthday–October 24

Ned Williamson (1857)
Bill Kuehne (1858)
Lou Sockalexis (1871)
Ossie Bluege (1900)
Jack Russell (1905)
Jim Brosnan (1929)
Rawly Eastwick (1950)
Omar Moreno (1952)
Gary Serum (1956)
Ron Gardenhire (1957)
Junior Ortiz (1959)
Danny Clay (1961)
Rafael Belliard (1961)
Gene Larkin (1962)
Arthur Rhodes (1969)
Rafael Furcal (1977)
Chris Colabello (1983)

Third baseman Ossie Bluege played for the franchise in Washington for eighteen years and remained in the organization for many years after that. He is credited as being the first third baseman to guard the lines in the late innings. He is also credited as the scout who discovered Harmon Killebrew.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–October 24

1987 Rewind: Game Twenty


Date:  Tuesday, April 28.

Batting stars:  Kent Hrbek was 2-for-3 with a home run (his second) and a walk.  Tom Brunansky was 1-for-3 with a walk.

Pitching stars:  Les Straker struck out three in two perfect innings of relief.  Jeff Reardon pitched a perfect inning of relief.

Opposition stars:  Jim Clancy pitched a complete game, giving up one run on six hits and three walks with three strikeouts.  George Bell was 1-for-2 with a home run (his fifth), a walk, and a hit batsman, scoring twice and driving in three.  Jesse Barfield was 1-for-2 with a double and two walks, scoring once.

The game:  Cecil Fielder's two-run single in the second put the Blue Jays up 2-0.  It was 3-0 after three, Hrbek's homer made it 3-1 in the fourth, and Bell hit a two-run homer in the fifth.  The Twins did not get a man past first base after the fourth inning.

Of note:  Kirby Puckett was 1-for-4 and is batting .346...Frank Viola pitched five innings, allowing five runs on five hits and five walks with four strikeouts.

Record:  The Twins were 12-8, in first place by a half game over California.

Notes:  Randy Bush was the leadoff batter in right field.  Brunansky was again in left with Dan Gladden on the bench...This was one of five relief appearances Straker made in 1987.  It appears that sometimes, when there was an off day, his spot in the rotation would be skipped and he would be used in relief... When people talk about the top pitchers of the 80s, Jim Clancy is seldom mentioned, but he was pretty good for most of the decade.  He joined the Blue Jays rotation in 1978 and was pretty mediocre.  He was injured for much of 1979 and was ineffective when he did pitch.  He led the league in walks in 1980 but still had some good numbers:  3.30 ERA, 1.38 WHIP.  He had a down year in 1981 but came back in 1982 to make his only all-star appearance and lead the league in starts with forty.  He remained in the Toronto rotation through 1988.  He became a free agent and signed with Houston for 1989.  Things did not go well for him there.  He moved to the bullpen in 1990, was traded to Atlanta in 1991, and ended his career after that season.  He never had great won-lost records, but he pitched over 200 innings six times and was over 190 two more time.  I'm not saying he was a superstar, but he was a valuable man to have around for quite a few seasons.

Happy Birthday–October 23

William Hulbert (1832)
Mike Sullivan (1866)
Lena Blackburne (1886)
Rube Bressler (1894)
Billy Sullivan (1910)
Vern Stephens (1920)
Ewell Blackwell (1922)
Jim Bunning (1931)
Greg Thayer (1949)
John Castino (1954)
Dwight Lowry (1957)
Al Leiter (1965)
Todd Sears (1975)
David Riske (1976)
John Lackey (1978)
Bud Smith (1979)
Kyle Gibson (1987)

William Hulbert was one of the founders of the National League and was its president from 1877 until his death in 1882.

Infielder Lena Blackburne discovered and marketed the mud from the driver beds near the Delaware River in New Jersey that has been rubbed on every major league baseball used since the 1950s.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–October 23

1987 Rewind: Game Nineteen


Date:  Sunday, April 26.

Batting stars:  Roy Smalley was 2-for-3 with two doubles and a walk, scoring once and driving in three.  Gary Gaetti was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer (his sixth) and a walk, scoring twice.  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-5 with a home run (his sixth) scoring twice.

Pitching star:  George Frazier pitched three innings, giving up one run on no hits and two walks with two strikeouts.

Opposition stars:  Wally Joyner was 2-for-3 with two homers (his fourth and fifth) and three RBIs.  Brian Downing was 2-for-4 with a home run, his eighth.  Jack Howell was 2-for-4 with a double.

The game:  In the first, Kent Hrbek delivered an RBI single and later scored on Gaetti's two-run homer to put the Twins up 3-0.

Of Note:  Dan Gladden was 1-for-5 with a double and a run, making his average .300...Puckett raised his average to .351...Tim Laudner made only his third start of the season, going 0-for-4...Steve Lombardozzi was 1-for-3 with two walks and a home run...Bert Blyleven pitched six innings, allowing four runs on eight hits and a walk with seven strikeouts.  He apparently left two pitches up to Joyner and one to Downing.

Record:  The Twins were 12-7, in first place by a game over California.

Notes:  This was the first time all season the Twins used what I think of as their "regular" 1987 lineup:  Gladden, Lombardozzi, Puckett, Hrbek, Gaetti, Smalley, Brunansky, Laudner, and Gagne...The Angels starter was Urbano Lugo, a native of Venezuela.  He was signed in 1982.  He pretty much topped out at AA--he was pretty mediocre in AAA, but got some chances in the big leagues anyway.  It should be pointed out that his AAA seasons were in Edmonton in the Pacific Coast League, a hitters' league.  He was with California for much of 1985, spending too months in the rotation, where he wasn't great but wasn't awful, either.  He made only six major league appearances in 1986.  He began 1987 in the Angels' rotation, and this time he was awful, going 0-2, 9.32.  He made one more appearance for California in 1988, then moved on.  He was in the majors briefly with Montreal in 1989 and Detroit in 1990, never getting much accomplished.  For his career he was 6-7, 5.31, 1.55 WHIP in 162.2 innings.

Happy Birthday–October 22

Kid Carsey (1870)
Bill Carrigan (1883)
Johnny Morrison (1895)
Jumbo Elliott (1900)
Jimmie Foxx (1907)
Wilbur Wood (1941)
Jamie Quirk (1954)
Frank DiPino (1956)
Keith Osik (1968)
Hector Carrasco (1969)
Ichiro Suzuki (1973)
Michael Barrett (1976)
Brad Thomas (1977)
Eli Whiteside (1979)
Robinson Cano (1982)

We would also like to wish very happy anniversary to Daneeka's Ghost and Mrs. Ghost.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–October 22

Winter Wonderland: Games of October 20


Surprise overcame a 3-0 deficit to lead 4-3 after five, but three walks and two singles produced two Peoria runs in the sixth to put them in the lead to stay.  Nick Gordon was 1-for-5 for Surprise.  Mitch Garver was 0-for-5.  Tanner English was 0-for-4.


A two-run single by Teodoro Martinez in the fourth inning gave Aragua a 3-2 lead and they led the rest of the way.  Reynaldo Rodriguez was 1-for-4 with an RBI for Zulia.  Jairo Rodriguez was -for-3 with a walk for Aragua.  The starting pitchers were each ex-Twins:  Shairon Martis for Zulia, Yohan Pino for Aragua.


Gabriel Noriega's two-run double in the seventh provided the margin of victory.  No Twins played.


Magallanes led 8-2, but Caracas scored seven in the bottom of the eighth to take the lead and the win.  Wilfredo Tovar was 3-for-5 with a double for Caracas, scoring once and driving in one.  His double in the eighth drove in the go-ahead run.  Luis Arraez was 1-for-4 with two runs for Magallanes.  Victor Tademo was used as a pinch-runner.


It was tied 4-4 through seven, but La Guaira scored five in the eighth and six in the ninth.  Anzoategui used seven pitchers in the last two innings, six in the eighth.  Heiker Meneses was 2-for-4 with a walk, scoring once and driving in two, for La Guaira.  Niko Goodrum was 0-for-3 with a run for Anzoategui.

1987 Rewind: Game Eighteen


Date:  Saturday, April 25.

Batting stars:  Greg Gagne was 2-for-4 with two home runs and three RBIs.  Gary Gaetti was 2-for-4 with a walk and a home run (his fifth), scoring twice and driving in two.  Roy Smalley was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer, his second.

Pitching star:  George Frazier pitched 1.2 scoreless innings, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  Jack Howell was 2-for-4 with a double and two walks, scoring three times.  Ruppert Jones was 1-for-5 with a two-run homer and a stolen base.  Mark McLemore was 2-for-4 with a stolen base (his third) and two RBIs.

The game:  The Twins led 5-2 after four and 6-4 after seven, but the Angels tied it in the top of the eighth on McLemore's two-run single off Jeff Reardon.  Gaetti led off the bottom of the eighth with a home run to put the Twins up 7-6, but Wally Joyner's RBI single in the ninth, again off Reardon, tied the score at seven.  In the bottom of the ninth, two singles and a walk loaded the bases with one out.  It appears that the Angels went with a five-man infield, but Gaetti made it irrelevant with a fly ball to deep center field, getting a single and driving in the winning run.

Of note:  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-4 with an RBI, raising his average to .348...Reardon continued to struggle, as his ERA was now 8.22.  In fact, as we look at his numbers for the season, it shows how low the bar was set for Twins closers that he was considered a savior and actually got both Cy Young and MVP consideration.

Record:  The Twins were 11-7, tied for first with California.

Notes:  Al Newman played second in this game, replacing Steve Lombardozzi...Randy Bush was again in right, with Tom Brunansky in left and Dan Gladden on the bench.  Have Cory and Dazzle ever talked about how little playing time Dazzle got in April of 1987?...Chuck Finley pitched the bottom of the ninth for California and took the loss.  I had not remembered that, for the first two years of his career, Finley was a relief pitcher.  He was pretty good in a half-season in 1986, but was not good at all in 1987 and not a whole lot better when he moved into the starting rotation in 1988.  In 1989, however, at age twenty-six, he went 16-9, 2.57, 1.27 WHIP.  He made the first of five all-star teams that season.  He would be a solid rotation starter through 2000, pitching over 200 innings in all but two of those years (and he would have in 1994 if not for the strike--he led the league in innings pitched that season with 183.1).  He had a poor year in 2001 but came to pitch fairly well in 2002, going 11-15, 4.15, 1.37 WHIP.  He was with the Angels through 1999, went to Cleveland in 2000, and finished with St. Louis, to whom he was traded in July of 2002.  He only once received Cy Young consideration, finishing seventh in 1990 when he went 18-9, 2.40, 1.23 WHIP.  He was a pretty good pitcher for a long time, and he serves as a reminder that a lot of pretty good pitchers struggle in the early years of their careers.

Happy Birthday–October 21

Bill Lee (1909)
Bill Bevens (1916)
Whitey Ford (1928)
Johnny Goryl (1933)
Ted Uhlaender (1940)
Bill Russell (1948)
Jerry Garvin (1955)
George Bell (1959)
Franklin Stubbs (1960)
John Flaherty (1967)
Steve Holm (1979)
Zack Greinke (1983)
Casey Fien (1983)

I find it interesting that anyone who is even rumored to have used PEDs is labeled a dirty rotten cheater, but Whitey Ford, who has admitted to cheating by scuffing baseballs, is a Hall of Famer and a hero.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–October 21

Winter Wonderland: Games of October 19


Single runs in the fifth and sixth gave the Saguaros a 2-1 win.  Nick Gordon was 0-for-3 with a walk.  Randy Rosario struck out two in two shutout innings, giving up two hits.  John Curtiss pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.


Zulia scored three in the second and three in the third to take a 6-2 lead.  Reynaldo Rodriguez was 0-for-5 for Zulia.


Margarita scored five in the top of the eighth to go up 5-2, but Lara got four in the bottom of the eighth, three on a home run by Jesus Montero, to win.  Omar Bencomo started and pitched 6.1 innings for Margarita, giving up two runs on three hits and no walks with two strikeouts.  Ryan O'Rourke faced one man, gave up a double, and was charged with a run when the man later scored.


Jose Martinez homered in the fourth and La Guaira added three more in the seventh.  Wilfredo Tovar was 1-for-3 for Caracas.  Heiker Meneses was 0-for-3 for La Guaira.


A three-run third put Anzoategui ahead 5-2 and they never trailed.  Luis Arraez was 0-for-3 for Magallanes.  Niko Goodrum was 2-for-4 with a double, scoring once and driving in one, for Anzoategui.

1987 Rewind: Game Seventeen


Date:  Friday, April 24.

Batting stars:  Tom Brunansky was 3-for-4.  Roy Smalley was 1-for-3 with a walk and a run.  Mark Salas was 2-for-4.

Pitching stars:  Juan Berenguer struck out six in three innings, giving up one run on two hits and two walks.  Joe Klink pitched three innings, giving up one run on six hits and a walk with one strikeout.

Opposition stars:  Wally Joyner was 4-for-4 with a double and a stolen base, scoring twice and driving in three.  Don Sutton pitched 6.2 innings, giving up one run on nine hits and a walk with two strikeouts.  Brian Downing was 1-for-3 with a walk, scoring three times and driving in one.

The game:  The Angels led 3-0 through three and then scored four in the fourth to put the game away.  The first five batters reached.  Downing drove in a run with a walk and the other three came in on Joyner's bases-clearing double.  The lone Twins run came in the seventh, when they loaded the bases with one out and scored on an RBI groundout by Al Newman.

Of note:  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-4 to raise his average to .338...Salas raised his average to .364...Starter Mark Portugal lasted only three innings, allowing six runs (four earned) on six hits and two walks with three strikeouts.  His line would've been better had he received help from the bullpen.  He left with the score 3-0, the bases loaded, and none out in the fourth.  Berenguer came in to walk Downing and give up the three-run double to Joyner before striking out the next four batters he faced.

Record:  The Twins were 10-7, in second place, trailing California by a game.

Notes:  Newman was again at shortstop in place of Greg Gagne...Randy Bush was again in right field with Brunansky in left...Despite his batting average, Salas would not play again for a week and would play only twice in the next two and a half weeks...The catcher for California was Butch Wynegar, who was nearing the end of his career.  Wynegar was the Angels' starting catcher as the season began, but he apparently got hurt soon after this game.  He played only two games in May and two in June.  He played nine more in July, then was done for the year.  He played in twenty-seven games in 1988, but his season and his career ended in late May.

October 20, 2016: Take Three

This morning is (or was, for you late risers) my third attempt at getting a work certification done after an apartment fire got in the way of the first attempt and a scheduling snafu screwed up the second. By 10 in the morning I should be done with it, but as I drift off to sleep, I have serious difficulty seeing it happen.

Happy Birthday–October 20

Jigger Statz (1897)
Judy Johnson (1900)
Bruce Campbell (1909)
Mickey Mantle (1931)
Juan Marichal (1937)
Dave Collins (1952)
Keith Hernandez (1953)
Jerry Meals (1961)
Rudy Seanez (1968)
Juan Gonzalez (1969)

William Julius "Judy" Johnson was a star third baseman in the Negro Leagues.

Jerry Meals has been a major league umpire since 1998.

It appears that no players associated with the Twins were born on this day.

We also want to wish a very happy birthday to GreekHouse and to freealonzo’s mother.

Remodeled basement. Same half-baked taste.