1969 Rewind: Game One Hundred Thirty-six

OAKLAND 5, MINNESOTA 4 IN OAKLAND

Date:  Friday, September 5.

Batting stars:  Rich Reese was 3-for-4 with a double.  Johnny Roseboro was 2-for-4.  Tony Oliva was 1-for-5 with a home run, his nineteenth.

Pitching star:  Dean Chance pitched seven innings, giving up three runs on five hits and three walks and striking out three.

Opposition stars:  Bert Campaneris was 2-for-5 with two stolen bases, his forty-eighth and forty-ninth.  Tito Francona was 1-for-3 with a home run (his fourth) and a walk.  Paul Lindblad struck out two in two shutout innings, giving up a hit and a walk.

The game:  The Athletics threatened in the first, as Jose Tartabull singled and stole second with one out, but he was stranded there.  They got on the board in the second, as Dick Green led off with a double and scored on a Danny Cater single.  The Twins could do nothing with a two-out double by Ted Uhlaender in the third.  Oakland increased its lead to 2-0 when Francona led off the fourth with a home run.

The Twins got a run in the fifth.  Roseboro led off with a single.  With one out, Chance laid down a sacrifice bunt-plus-error, putting men on second and third.  They could only get one, though, as Uhlaender grounded out, leaving the Athletics ahead 2-1.

Oakland threatened in the fifth.  Campaneris hit a one-out single and promptly stole second and third.  Tartabull walked and Sal Bando was hit by a pitch with two out, loading the bases, but Francona grounded out.  It looked like it would cost them, as the Twins took the lead with three in the sixth.  Oliva tied the score with a home run.  Reese hit a one-out double, Graig Nettles walked, and Roseboro delivered an RBI single to give the Twins the lead.  Leo Cardenas followed with a sacrifice fly and the Twins were up 4-2.

The lead lasted until the eighth.  Chance again hit Bando with a pitch leading off the inning, bringing on Ron Perranoski.  He walked Francona, putting the tying run on base.  With one out, Cater hit a grounder to first.  The Twins got a force at second, but a throwing error on Cardenas cut the lead to 4-3 and put the tying run on second.  Pinch-hitter Bob Johnson was intentionally walked, but the strategy failed as Tommie Reynolds and Campaneris hit consecutive RBI singles to put the Athletics ahead 5-4.  The Twins went down in order in the ninth and did not get the ball out of the infield.

WP:  Lindblad (9-4).  LP:  Perranoski (9-9).  S:  Marcel Lachemann (2).

Notes:  Nettles was the left fielder, with Uhlaender moving to center, Cesar Tovar to second base, and Rod Carew out of the lineup.

Reese raised his average to .331.  Oliva was now batting .317.  Chance now had an ERA of 2.78.  Perranoski's ERA went up to 2.17.

This was Perranoski's ninth blown save.  To be fair, he pitched 2.2 innings or more in five of them.

The Twins used just ten players, their eight position players and two pitchers.  Oakland, on the other hand, used nineteen players.  They used four pitchers, three pinch-hitters, two pinch-runners, and two defensive replacements.

Before there was Herb Washington, there was Allan Lewis.  Nominally an outfielder, he appeared as a pinch-runner in 139 of his 156 career games.  In the minors he had hit for a decent average, but didn't draw many walks and had little power.  He could run, though.  In 1963 he stole 57 bases.  In 1965 he stole 76 bases (in 90 attempts).  In 1966 he stole 116 bases (in 134 attempts).  By that time, however, he was twenty-four and had not risen above Class A.  Despite that, he opened 1967 in the major leagues with the Athletics and stayed there through the end of July, appearing in thirty-four games but getting just six plate appearances.  He was 14-for-19 in stolen bases and scored seven runs.  That was pretty much the story of his career--he never spent a full season in the majors, but he would be up for part of almost every season through 1973 and be used almost exclusively as a pinch-runner.  For his career, he appeared in 156 games and had 31 plate appearances.  He was 44-for-61 in stolen bases and scored forty-seven runs.  His batting numbers were .207/.233/.345.  In the minors, he scored 486 bases in 581 attempts.  After his playing career ended, he was a scout and coach in his native Panama until his retirement.

Record:  The Twins were 83-53, in first place in the American League West, 6.5 games ahead of Oakland.

1969 Rewind: Game One Hundred Thirty-five

MINNESOTA 10, OAKLAND 5 IN OAKLAND (10 INNINGS)

Date:  Thursday, September 4.

Batting stars:  Cesar Tovar was 3-for-4 with a grand slam (his eighth homer) a double, and a walk, driving in five.  Tony Oliva was 3-for-4 with a double, a walk, and a stolen base (his ninth).  Harmon Killebrew was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer (his fortieth) and a walk, scoring twice.

Pitching stars:  Dick Woodson pitched 2.2 scoreless innings, giving up a hit and a walk and striking out one.  Ron Perranoski pitched three innings, giving up an unearned run on two hits and three walks and striking out two.

Opposition stars:  Jose Tartabull was 4-for-6.  Sal Bando was 2-for-6 with a home run (his twenty-third) and two runs.  Jim Nash struck out six in four innings, giving up one run on two hits and two walks.  Ex-Twin Jim Roland pitched 2.1 scoreless innings, giving up one hit and two walks.

The game:  In the second Rich Reese walked, stole second, and scored on Tovar's double, giving the Twins a 1-0 lead.  The Athletics loaded the bases in the second on an error and two walks, but did not score.  They opened the third with a pair of singles, but again did not score.  So the Twins carried the 1-0 lead into the fourth.

That was as far as they carried it.  Dick Green led off the fourth with a double.  Danny Cater had an infield single and future Twin Phil Roof walked, loading the bases with none out.  Ramon Webster hit a sacrifice fly to tie the score, an error allowed the lead run to score, and Tartabull singled home an insurance run, leaving Oakland up 3-1.  Bando hit into a double play to avoid further damage.  There was no more scoring until the seventh, when Bando led off the inning with a home run to make it 4-1 Athletics.

The Twins came back in the eighth.  Ted Uhlaender singled and scored on a Rod Carew double.  Oliva singled him in and Killebrew followed with a two-run homer to give the Twins a 5-4 lead.  It looked good, but in the bottom of the ninth Bando got an infield single and was bunted to second.  Green walked, and the Twins then made their four error of the game, allowing Bando to score the tying run and send the game to an extra inning.

There would only be one extra inning, though.  Oliva led off the inning with a double and Killebrew was intentionally walked.  Pinch-hitter Charlie Manuel then drew a walk to load the bases and Tovar unloaded them with a grand slam, giving the Twins a 9-5 lead.  The grand slam did not kill the rally, as Tom Tischinski and Leo Cardenas singled, a bunt advanced them to second and third, and Uhlaender hit a run-scoring ground out to give Minnesota a 10-5 advantage.  Oakland went down in order in the bottom of the tenth.

WP:  Perranoski (9-8).  LP:  Ed Sprague (0-1).  S:  None.

Notes:  The expanded rosters made themselves known.  The Twins used eight reserve position players--three pinch-hitters, two pinch-runners, and three defensive replacements.  Oakland used seven--five pinch-hitters and two defensive replacements.  The Athletics also used seven pitchers, while the Twins used four.

Carew was 1-for-6, making his average .348.  Reese was 1-for-3 with a walk and was batting .327.  Oliva raised his average to .319.

Jim Perry started for the Twins and pitched 3.1 innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits and three walks while striking out four.  His ERA went to 2.94.  Perranoski lowered his ERA to 2.02.

The stolen base was Reese's first of the season.  He was 1-for-6 on the year.  For his career, he was 16-for-31.  His best year was 1971, when he went 7-for-11.  In fact 20 of his 31 career stolen base attempts came from 1970-1971.  We think of Billy Martin having everybody running, but apparently Bill Rigney allowed Reese freedom to steal bases, too.

Oakland went into this four-game series trailing the Twins by 6.5 games.  They really needed a sweep to have a good chance, and one would think they at least had to take three of four to stay in the race at all.  This was a big game, and losing it on a Cesar Tovar grand slam had to hurt.

Oakland starter Nash was removed after four innings for a pinch-hitter.  It worked, in one sense, because the Athletics went on to score three runs in the inning and take a 3-1 lead.  On the other hand, it meant Oakland had to get at least five innings (ultimately six) out of its bullpen, and it looks like the bullpen was a problem for them all year.  The had only one reliever with an ERA of less than 3.7 (Roland) and only two with ERAs under four (Rollie Fingers, 3.71, and Marcel Lachemann, 3.95).  Ed Sprague (4.47) started the tenth inning, and Lew Krausse (4.44) came in to allow the grand slam.  Manager Hank Bauer simply didn't have a lot of good options.

Record:  The Twins were 83-52, in first place in the American League West, 7.5 games ahead of Oakland.

Happy Birthday–February 19

John Morrill (1855)
Dick Siebert (1912)
Hub Kittle (1917)
Russ Nixon (1935)
Dave Niehaus (1935)
Jackie Moore (1939)
Walt Jocketty (1951)
Dave Stewart (1957)
Keith Atherton (1959)
Alvaro Espinoza (1962)
Miguel Batista (1971)
Juan Diaz (1974)
Chris Stewart (1982)

Hub Kittle’s baseball career spanned 68 years.  In 1980, he became the oldest player to appear in organized baseball, pitching a perfect inning for AAA Springfield on August 27 at age 63½.

Jackie Moore is a long-time major league coach and minor league manager.  He also was the manager of the Oakland Athletics from 1984-86,

Walt Jocketty was the general manager of the St. Louis Cardinals from 1995-2007 and was the general manager of the Cincinnati Reds from 2008-2015, when he became president of baseball operations.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–February 19

1969 Rewind: Game One Hundred Thirty-four

MINNESOTA 7, CLEVELAND 1 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Wednesday, September 3.

Batting stars:  Cesar Tovar was 2-for-3 with a walk.  Leo Cardenas was 2-for-4.  Rod Carew was 2-for-5 with a double.  Tony Oliva was 2-for-5.  Harmon Killebrew was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his thirty-ninth.

Pitching star:  Dave Boswell pitched a complete game, giving up one run on four hits and a walk and striking out two.

Opposition stars:  Russ Snyder was 2-for-4 with a double.  Ken Harrelson was 1-for-3 with a home run, his twenty-seventh.

The game:  It was scoreless for five innings, and there really were really very few threats to score.  The Indians had one in the third--Eddie Leon singled and Vern Fuller walked, putting men on first and second with none out.  Snyder hit a one-out single, but Leon was thrown out at the plate by Twins left fielder Ted Uhlaender.  In the fourth, Oliva led off with a single and Tovar drew a two-out walk, but George Mitterwald was called out on strikes to end the inning.

When the Twins broke through in the sixth, though, they did it in a big way.  Carew led off with a double and scored on Oliva's single.  Killebrew followed with a two-run homer.  It did not kill the rally, but it did chase Cleveland starter Steve Hargan from the game.  Juan Pizarro came in and gave up a single to Rich Reese.  With one out Mitterwald walked, Cardenas delivered an RBI single, and Boswell drove in a run with a sacrifice/fielder's choice.  It was 5-0 and the Twins had control of the game.

Harrelson homered with one out in the seventh for the lone Indians run.  The Twins scored two more in the eighth.  They opened the inning with consecutive singles by TovarMitterwaldCardenas, and Boswell to make the score 6-1 and Uhlaender hit a sacrifice fly to increase it to 7-1.

WP:  Boswell (15-10).  LP:  Hargan (5-12).  S:  None.

Notes:  It was what appears now to be the more-or-less regular lineup, with Carew back at second, Tovar in center, and Uhlaender in left.  Johnny Roseboro started the game at catcher, but left after lining out to end the second inning.  Mitterwald came in to replace him.  Roseboro would be back in the lineup the next day.

Carew was batting .351.  Reese went 1-for-4 and was batting .327.  Oliva was batting .315.

Hargan was struggling through an injury-plagued 1969 season.  That could be said of several of his seasons.  In his first three years, 1965-1967, he was an excellent pitcher.  He made the all-star team in 1967 and led the league in shutouts that year.  He really only had two good seasons after that, 1970 (11-3, 2.90) and 1974 (12-9, 3.95).  He hung on as a reliever/spot starter through 1977.

I don't have time to write it up properly, but Juan Pizarro had a pretty interesting career.  It was a long career, stretching from 1957 through 1974.  He made two all-star teams, 1963 and 1964, but for most of his career was just a pretty good pitcher.  He was a starter through 1965 and mostly a reliever after that, although he would still make ten or so spot starts every year.  His career numbers are 131-105, 3.43 with 28 saves.  Again, not a star, not a Hall-of Famer, but a good pitcher for a long time.

Record:  The Twins were 82-52, in first place in the American League West, 6.5 games ahead of Oakland.

Remodeled basement. Same half-baked taste.