Happy Birthday–March 2

Horace Fogel (1861)
Moe Berg (1902)
Woody English (1906)
Jack Knott (1907)
Mel Ott (1909)
Mort Cooper (1913)
Jim Konstanty (1917)
Jim Nettles (1947)
Pete Broberg (1950)
Larry Wolfe (1953)
Terry Steinbach (1962)
Ron Gant (1965)
Jay Gibbons (1977)
Glen Perkins (1983)
Bud Norris (1985)

Horace Fogel was a sportswriter who became manager of the New York Giants in 1902.  His time as Giants manager is best remembered for his attempt to move Christy Mathewson to first base.  He was fired 41 games into the season and replaced by Heinie Smith, who put an end to such nonsense.  Instead, he tried to move Mathewson to shortstop.

We assume everyone reading this knows Ron Gant's connection to the Minnesota Twins.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–March 2

Happy Birthday–March 1

*Dickey Pearce (1839)
Paul Hines (1855)
Farmer Vaughn (1864)
*Pepper Martin (1904)
Harry Caray (1914)
Bing Devine (1916)
Othello Renfroe (1923)
*Al Rosen (1924)
Larry Brown (1940)
Vern Fuller (1944)
*Steve Mingori (1944)
Jeff Holly (1953)
Dick Bremer (1956)

Johnny Ray (1957)
Mark Gardner (1962)
Rich Rodriguez (1963)
Tony Castillo (1963)
Omar Daal (1972)
Ramon Castro (1976)
*Terrence Long (1976)
Ken Harvey (1978)
Trevor Cahill (1998)

*Born February 29.

Bing Devine worked in baseball front offices from 1939-1978, spending most of that time in the Cardinals organization.  He was the St. Louis general manager from 1957-1964 and 1968-1978, serving as the general manager of the Mets from 1965-1967.

Othello Renfroe played in the Negro Leagues for several years.  He eventually became a broadcaster, sportswriter, scout, and public address announcer.  He was also the first African-American official scorer in major league baseball.

A lifelong Minnesotan, Dick Bremer has been a Twins broadcaster from 1983 to the present with the exception of 1986.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–March 1

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Fifty

MINNESOTA 13, CLEVELAND 6 IN CLEVELAND

Date:  Monday, September 15.

Batting starsA. J. Pierzynski was 2-for-3 with a double, a stolen base (his third), a hit-by-pitch, and two runs.  Jacque Jones was 2-for-4.  Torii Hunter was 2-for-5 with a home run (his twenty-sixth), a double, two runs, and five RBIs.  Cristian Guzman was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his second.

Pitching stars:  Jesse Orosco pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.  Juan Rincon struck out two in a perfect inning.  Carlos Pulido pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a walk.

Opposition stars:  Casey Blake was 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, and two runs.  Chris Magruder was 2-for-4 with a home run.  Coco Crisp was 2-for-4.

The game:  It was close for five innings.  Neither team scored in the first two, but each team scored once in the third.  The Twins got doubles from Pierzynski and Shannon Stewart to get on the board, but the Indians tied it with Magruder's home run.  Cleveland took the lead in the fourth.  Blake walked and was picked off first, but an error on Johan Santana moved him to second.  With one out Santana picked Blake off second but again made an error, sending Blake to third.  Victor Martinez then doubled to make it 2-1 Indians.

But the Twins took control of the game in the sixth.  With one out Stewart walked, Luis Rivas singled, and Doug Mientkiewicz walked, loading the bases.  Jones tied the score with an RBI single, but Rivas was thrown out at the plate for the second out.  An intentional walk to Corey Koskie loaded the bases.  Then Hunter hit a two-run double, Pierzynski had an RBI single and stole second, Michael Ryan had a two-run single, and Guzman killed the rally with a two-run homer.  The Twins scored eight in the inning to take a 9-2 lead.

Cleveland didn't quit, though.  Two walks, an error, and a sacrifice fly brought home two runs in the bottom of the sixth.  The Twins got one in the seventh when Rivas was hit by a pitch, stole second, and scored on Koskie's single.  The Indians came back with two in the bottom of the seventh when Crisp singled, Casey doubled, and a pair of productive outs made the score 10-6.

Cleveland did not get a hit after that, however.  The Twins put it away in the ninth when Michael Restovich singled, Koskie walked, and Hunter hit a three-run homer.

WP:  Santana (11-3).  LP:  Jason Davis (8-11).  S:  None.

Notes:  Stewart was in left with Ryan in right.  Jones was the DH.

Restovich pinch-ran for Jones in the seventh.  Justin Morneau pinch-hit for Rivas in the eighth, when Denny Hocking coming in to play second.  Matthew LeCroy pinch-hit for Pierzynski in the ninth and stayed in the game at catcher.  Lew Ford replaced Stewart in left field in the ninth.

Ryan was 1-for-5 and was batting .375.  Restovich was 1-for-1 and was batting .326.  Stewart was 1-for-3 and was batting .312.  Pierzynski was up to .305.  Mientkiewicz was 0-for-4 and was also batting .305.  Jones raised his average to .302.

Santana pitched well for four innings, but his line was five innings, four runs (three earned), four hits, four walks, and six strikeouts.

Pulido lowered his ERA to 2.19.  He still had not given up a run when used in relief.

Davis started for the Indians.  He pitched 5.2 innings, allowing seven runs on six hits and three walks and striking out two.

Guzman had not hit a home run all year, then hit two in three games.  That's baseball.

This was the only major league home run Chris Magruder would hit in 2003.  He would hit eleven in his career.  He had batted .328/.391/.474 in 41 games in AAA in 2003, then batted .346/.433/.61 in nine games for Cleveland.  The Indians were so impressed that they allowed him to become a free agent.  They were apparently right, as he spent a couple of mediocre-to-poor seasons with Milwaukee and then was done.

The Royals won, but the White Sox were idle, so the Twins moved into first place going into a big three-game series with the White Sox in Minnesota.

Record:  The Twins were 81-69, in first place in the American League Central, a half game ahead of Chicago.  They were 3.5 games ahead of third-place Kansas City.

Happy Birthday–February 28

Terry Turner (1881)
Jud Wilson (1897)
Bob Howsam (1918)
George Maloney (1928)
Frank Malzone (1930)
Bill Haller (1935)
Marty Perez (1946)
Mark Wiley (1948)
Tom Gamboa (1948)
Jim Wohlford (1951)
Mike Milchin (1968)
Trent Oeltjen (1983)
Aaron Thompson (1987)
Aroldis Chapman (1988)
Niko Goodrum (1992)
Randy Arozarena (1995)

Jud Wilson played in the Negro Leagues from 1922-1945 and had a lifetime batting average of .351.

Bob Howsam was the general manager of the Cincinnati Reds and helped put together the Big Red Machine.

George Maloney was an American League umpire from 1969-1983.

Bill Haller is the older brother of Tom Haller and was an American League umpire from 1963-1982.

Tom Gamboa was a minor league manager who won league championships twice and reached the playoffs four other times in a ten year career.  Unfortunately, he is best known as the Kansas City Royals coach attacked by two White Sox "fans" in Comiskey Park in 2002.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–February 28

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Forty-nine

MINNESOTA 5, CLEVELAND 3 IN CLEVELAND

Date:  Sunday, September 14.

Batting stars:  Doug Mientkiewicz was 2-for-4 with a home run (his eleventh), a stolen base (his fourth), and three RBIs.  A. J. Pierzynski was 2-for-4 with two doubles.

Pitching stars:  Eric Milton pitched five innings, giving up two runs on five hits and no walks and striking out two.  Juan Rincon pitched a perfect inning and struck out one.  LaTroy Hawkins struck out two in a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.  Eddie Guardado struck out two in a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Travis Hafner was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer (his twelfth) and a double.  Jody Gerut was 2-for-4 with a home run, his twenty-second.  Victor Martinez was 2-for-4.  Cliff Lee struck out seven in seven innings, giving up three runs on five hits and a walk.

The game:  Each team got a two-out double in the second, but neither team scored until the fourth, when each team did.  In the top of the fifth Pierzynski doubled and scored on a two-out single by Michael Ryan.  The Indians came back with two in the bottom of the inning, as Martinez singled and Hafner followed with a two-run homer.  The Twins went up 3-2 in the sixth when Shannon Stewart singled and Mientkiewicz hit a two-run homer.  Cleveland again came back in the bottom of the inning, with Gerut hitting a home run to tie it 3-3.

Back-to-back hit-by-pitches gave the Twins two on with none out in the eighth.  A bunt moved the runners to second and third.  A fielder's choice resulted in a man thrown out at the plate and men at first and third with two out, but Mientkiewicz came through with a single to put the Twins up 4-3.  The Twins got an insurance run in the ninth when Corey Koskie singled, went to second on a ground out, and scored on Dustan Mohr's single.  The Indians got only one hit in the last three innings and the game went to the Twins.

WP:  Rincon (5-6).  LP:  Danys Baez (2-9).  S:  Guardado (36).

Notes:  Michael Cuddyer was at third base in place of Koskie.  Koskie came in for defense in the eighth.  Stewart was in left with Ryan in right.  Mohr was in center in place of Torii Hunter.  Hunter came in to play center in the seventh, with Mohr moving to right and Ryan coming out of the game.

I wonder if Ryan was injured, possibly in a collision with Mohr.  He was removed after the first out of the seventh inning, which is an odd time to make a defensive substitution.  That first out is recorded, at b-r.com's play-by-play, as "Flyball: RF-CF (CF-RF)".  I don't know what that means, exactly, but it certainly sounds odd.  Ryan played the next day, so if he was injured it wasn't serious.

There was one other substitution.  Jacque Jones pinch-hit for Luis Rivas in the eighth.  Denny Hocking then pinch-ran for Jones and remained in the game at second base.  I wouldn't have thought of Hocking being faster than Jones, although I wouldn't have thought of him as being much slower, either.  Perhaps Jones was still dealing with a minor injury.

Ryan was 1-for-2 and was batting .407.  Stewart was 1-for-4 and was batting .312.  Mientkiewicz raised his average to .308.  Pierzynski went up to .303.  Jones was 0-for-1 and was batting .302.

This was Milton's first start of the season.  He had missed the entire year up to this point with a knee injury, making just one start in Fort Myers prior to this game.  Given that, he did very well in this game.

Hawkins lowered his ERA to 1.88.  Guardado's ERA went down to 2.85.

It's interesting that, with only fourteen games remaining in a pennant race, Ron Gardenhire held out two of his starters and used a starting pitcher who had not pitched all season.  But it worked.

The White Sox and Royals again both won, so the standings remained unchanged.

Record:  The Twins were 80-69, tied for first in the American League Central with Chicago, 3.5 games ahead of third-place Kansas City.

 

Remodeled basement. Same half-baked taste.