Happy Birthday–February 24

Honus Wagner (1874)
Wilbur Cooper (1892)
Del Wilber (1919)
Bubba Phillips (1928)
Jim Rantz (1938)
Dave Edwards (1954)
Eddie Murray (1956)
Nick Esasky (1960)
Mike Lowell (1974)
Randy Keisler (1976)
Bronson Arroyo (1977)
Dewayne Wise (1978)
Rob Bowen (1981)
Nick Blackburn (1982)
J. D. Durbin (1982)
Chris Parmelee (1988)

Jim Rantz was in the Twins' organization in some capacity from the birth of the team until his retirement in 2012, serving as farm director from 1986-2012.  He was also the winning pitcher in the deciding game of the 1960 College World Series.

Once again, we have three players born on this day who made their debuts in 2016:  Jason Coats, Yefri Perez, and Robert Stephenson.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–February 24

1987 Rewind: Game One Hundred Forty-three

CLEVELAND 5, MINNESOTA 4 IN CLEVELAND

Date:  Saturday, September 12.

Batting stars:  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-4 with a double, scoring once and driving in one.  Gene Larkin was 2-for-4 with two RBIs.  Randy Bush was 2-for-3 with a hit-by-pitch and an RBI.

Pitching star:  Les Straker pitched seven innings, giving up three runs on six hits and a walk with four strikeouts.

Opposition stars:  Brook Jacoby was 2-for-4 with a home run (his twenty-seventh) and a triple, driving in two.  Mel Hall was 2-for-4 with a home run (his fifteenth) and two runs.  Chris Bando was 2-for-3 with a home run, his fifth.

The game:  Puckett had an RBI double and Larkin a run-scoring single in the first inning to give the Twins a 2-0 lead.  It stayed 2-0 until the fourth, when Jacoby homered to make it 2-1.  Solo homers by Hall and Bando put the Indians ahead 3-2 in the seventh.  The Twins got five consecutive singles to score twice in the eighth, with the RBIs going to Bush and Larkin, to go up 4-3.  Juan Berenguer pitched a perfect eighth.  Jeff Reardon was presumably considered unavailable after having pitched two innings the day before, so Berenguer remained in to pitch the ninth.  He retired Joe Carter, but Hall singled and Jacoby tripled to tie the score.  Cory Snyder then hit a sacrifice fly to bring home pinch-runner Junior Noboa with the winning run.

Of note:  Bush was again in the leadoff spot in right field, with Tom Brunansky in left and Dan Gladden out of the lineup.  Gladden was used as a pinch-hitter in the eighth, delivering a single and scoring a run...Bush batted first twenty-eight times in his career, twelve of them in 1987...Larkin played first base, with Kent Hrbek out of the lineup.  Hrbek was used as a pinch-hitter in the ninth and was intentionally walked...Cleveland starter Darrel Akerfelds pitched 7.1 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits and no walks with three strikeouts.  Akerfelds made thirteen starts in his career, all in 1987.  His record as a starter was not good:  2-6, 7.29, 1.71 WHIP.  He did have one good year as a reliever:  in 1990, he was 5-2, 3.77, 1.28 WHIP with three saves in 93 innings (71 games) for Philadelphia.  It was the only good major league season he had.  1991 was his last year in the majors although he remained in AAA through 1995.  He was a long-time pitching and bullpen coach in both the minors and the majors for San Diego.  He passed away from pancreatic cancer on June 24, 2012.

Record:  The Twins were 76-67, in first place by 3.5 games over Oakland, which lost 10-7 to Kansas City.

Happy Birthday–February 23

Barney Dreyfuss (1865)
Paul Cobb (1888)
Roy Johnson (1903)
Ray Brown (1908)
Mike Tresh (1914)
Elston Howard (1929)
Ron Hunt (1941)
Ken Boswell (1946)
Juan Agosto (1958)
John Shelby (1958)
Bobby Bonilla (1963)
Rondell White (1972)
Scott Elarton (1976)
Edgar Gonzalez (1983)

Barney Dreyfuss was the owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1900-1932.

The brother of Ty Cobb, John Paul Cobb (known by his middle name), played in over a thousand minor league games over ten years, batting .283.

Ray Brown was a star pitcher in the Negro Leagues from 1931-1945.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–February 23

1987 Rewind: Game One Hundred Forty-two

MINNESOTA 13, CLEVELAND 10 IN CLEVELAND (11 INNINGS)

Date:  Friday, September 11.

Batting stars:  Kent Hrbek was 4-for-5 with a home run (his thirty-third) and a double, scoring twice and driving in three.  Randy Bush was 2-for-4 with two doubles and a walk, scoring twice and driving in two.  Steve Lombardozzi was 3-for-4 with a home run (his seventh) and three runs.

Pitching stars:  Jeff Reardon struck out two in two perfect innings.  Juan Berenguer struck out one in a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Mel Hall was 4-for-6 with two home runs (his thirteenth and fourteenth), driving in three.  Tommy Hinzo was 3-for-6 with a home run (his second) and a triple, scoring twice.  Julio Franco was 2-for-6 with a home run (his eighth) and a stolen base (his twenty-seventh), scoring twice and driving in two.

The game:  The Indians scored six runs in the fourth, getting home runs by Hinzo and Hall, to take a 7-1 lead.  The Twins scored in every inning in regulation after that.  RBI singles by Kirby Puckett and Hrbek made it 7-3 in the top of the fifth.  Cleveland got one back in the bottom half, but Lombardozzi homered in the sixth to make it 8-4, Hrbek homered in the seventh to make it 8-5, and Bush hit a two-run double in the eighth to make it 8-7.  Franco hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth to give Cleveland a 10-7 lead, but Tom Brunansky doubled in a run in the ninth and Tim Laudner singled home two to tie it 10-10.  In the eleventh, Laudner singled and Chris Pittaro reached on an error, putting men on first and second with one out.  A ground out advanced them to second and third, and Dan Gladden, who had entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the tenth, hit a three-run homer (his sixth) to put the Twins in the lead to stay.

Of note:  Al Newman led off and played shortstop in place of Greg Gagne.  Gagne entered the game as a pinch-runner in the eighth inning...Bush batted second and started in right, with Brunansky once more in left.  Gladden, as mentioned above, entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the tenth...Puckett was 2-for-7 with an RBI and was batting .325...Starter Mike Smithson pitched 3.2 innings, allowing four runs on eight hits and a walk with two strikeouts...Cleveland starter John Farrell lasted 6.2 innings, but allowed five runs on ten hits and a walk with one strikeout...Hinzo's homer was the last of his three major league home runs.  1987 was the only year he saw significant playing time in the big leagues, starting 63 games at second base.  He batted .265/.296/.358.  Julio Franco took over at second the next year.  Hinzo would not be in the majors again until 1989, when he went 0-for-17 over two months as a reserve.  He continued to play through 1996 in AAA and in the Mexican League, but did not get back to the big leagues again.

Record:  The Twins were 76-66, in first place by 3.5 games over Oakland, which lost to Kansas City 9-0.

 

Happy Birthday–February 22

Bill Klem (1874)
Clarence Mitchell (1891)
Roy Spencer (1900)
Charles O. Finley (1918)
Stubby Greer (1920)
Ryne Duren (1929)
Sparky Anderson (1934)
Steve Barber (1938)
Tom Griffin (1948)
Gerry Davis (1953)
John Halama (1972)
J. J. Putz (1977)
Kelly Johnson (1982)
Casey Kotchman (1983)
Brian Duensing (1983)

Bill Klem was a National League umpire from 1905-1941.  He was the first umpire to indicate his calls with arm signals, and was also the first umpire to wear an inside chest protector.  He umpired in eighteen World Series and also umpired the first all-star game.

Charles O. Finley was the owner of the Kansas City and Oakland Athletics from 1960-81.

Stubby Greer played in the minors from 1940-1958 with a career batting average of .330.  He never played in the major leagues.

Sparky Anderson was born in Bridgewater, South Dakota.

Gerry Davis has been a major league umpire since 1982.

J. J. Putz was drafted by Minnesota in the seventeenth round in 1998, but did not sign.

Three players born on this day made their major league debuts in 2016:  German Marquez, Kevin McCarthy, and Braden Shipley.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–February 22

Remodeled basement. Same half-baked taste.