1969 Rewind: Game Forty-three


Date:  Friday, May 30.

Batting stars:  Rod Carew was 3-for-5 with a double.  Tony Oliva was 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, and a hit-by-pitch.  Harmon Killebrew was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer (his tenth) and a walk.

Pitching stars:  Dave Boswell struck out eight in five innings, giving up two runs on four hits and no walks.  Bob Miller pitched a perfect inning and struck out one.

Opposition stars:  Reggie Smith was 2-for-3.  Jim Lonborg struck out seven in 6.1 innings, giving up two runs on six hits and four walks.

The game:  With one out in the first, Carew singled and Oliva doubled, putting men on second and third.  It went for naught, as Killebrew and Charlie Manuel both fanned.  Boston took advantage of the failure, scoring two runs in the bottom of the first.  Mike Andrews was hit by a pitch, Smith hit a two-out single, and Rico Petrocelli followed with a double to give the Red Sox a 2-0 lead.

Boston missed a chance to add to their lead in the third, as two singles put men on first and third with none out.  A strikeout, a popup, and a strikeout ended the inning.  The Twins got a pair of walks in the fourth that were similarly fruitless.

Minnesota threatened in both the fifth and the sixth.  Carew hit a one-out double in the fifth and Oliva walked, but Killebrew hit into a forceout and Manuel flied to center.  In the sixth, a walk and a hit batsman put men on first and second with two out, but Ted Uhlaender grounded out to end the inning.

The Red Sox got an insurance run in the sixth, as Smith reached second on a single-plus-error and Tony Conigliaro singled him home.  They needed it, because with one out in the seventh, Oliva singled and Killebrew hit a two-run homer, cutting the margin to 3-2.

The Twins had their chances to tie the score.  In the eighth pinch-hitter Rick Renick drew a one-out walk, Carew hit a two-out single, and a wild pitch moved them to second and third.  Oliva struck out to end the inning.  In the ninth, Killebrew drew a leadoff walk and was replaced on the basepath by Jim Perry.  A passed ball moved him to second and a line out to right advanced him to third with one out.  Cesar Tovar grounded to second and pinch-hitter Rich Reese struck out to end the game.

WP:  Lonborg (4-0).  LP:  Boswell (5-6).  S:  Vicente Romo (9).

Notes:  Manuel was back in left field.  Tovar was at third base.

Reese made his first appearance since May 22 when he pinch-hit with two out in the ninth.  Quite a spot to make your return in.

Carew raised his average to .407.  Oliva raised his average to .303.

Dean Chance pitched an inning and a third and allowed an unearned run, lowering his ERA to 2.32.  He would not pitch again until August 1.

Perranoski faced one batter, Dalton Jones, and got him to line into a double play.  His ERA fell to 1.93.

Joe Grzenda had a box score line of 0-0-0-0-0-0.  He faced two batters:  the first reached on an error and the second was hit by a pitch.  Miller came in to retire the side with no damage done.

Miller pitched really well in the month of May.  In 9.1 innings, he gave up no runs on four hits and four walks and struck out four.  His ERA dropped from 4.05 to 1.69 in May.

This was the Twins' third straight loss.  They were 5-10 in their last fifteen games.  They had scored thirty-nine runs in those games.  Fifteen of them came in two games, which means they scored twenty-four runs in the other thirteen games.

Eleven of the fifteen games were on the road.  The Twins would play two more games on the road, then come home for a sixteen-game homestand.  Maybe that's how they did things back then.   That homestand would be followed by a sixteen-game road trip, then a fifteen-game homestand.  They would go on the road for eight, be home for seven, then be back on the road for fifteen.  I don't know if that would be better or worse than they way they do things now.  A sixteen-game road trip would be really long, but a sixteen-game homestand would give you a chance to really get settled in.  It might be better than being on the road for a short time but also being at home for a short time.  I don't know.

Record:  The Twins were 24-19, in first place in the American League West, leading Oakland by one game.


Happy Birthday–November 13

Johnny Kling (1875)
Jackie Price (1912)
Ted Wilks (1915)
Jim Delsing (1925)
Steve Bilko (1928)
Wes Parker (1939)
Mel Stottlemyre (1941)
Gene Garber (1947)
John Sutton (1952)
Dan Petry (1958)
Pat Hentgen (1968)
Jason Simontacchi (1973)
Gerald Laird (1979)
Asdrubal Cabrera (1985)
Luke Bard (1990)

Jackie Price played one season in the major leagues, but was better known as a baseball entertainer.  He is sometimes called a "baseball clown", but that's not really accurate, because he really performed tricks more than actually clowning.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–November 13

1969 Rewind: Game Forty-two


Date:  Wednesday, May 28.

Batting stars:  Rod Carew was 2-for-3 with a double and two walks.  Bob Allison was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.

Pitching star:  Jim Kaat pitched a complete game, giving up four runs on ten hits and four walks and striking out six.

Opposition stars:  Frank Howard was 2-for-4 with a walk.  Hank Allen was 2-for-5 with a double.  Dennis Higgins struck out four in three shutout innings, giving up three hits and two walks.

The game:  In the first a single by Ed Brinkman and a walk to Howard put men on first and third with one out.  Future Twin Brant Alyea doubled home one run and a sacrifice fly by Ken McMullen made it 2-0.  In the third, Allen doubled and a pickoff throw from George Mitterwald went into center field, allowing Allen to score and put the Senators up 3-0.

The Twins got on the board in the fourth.  Singles by Carew and Harmon Killebrew were followed by a double by Tony Oliva, making the score 3-1.  With men on second and third and none out, however, the Twins could not score more.  Mitterwald struck out, Cesar Tovar lined to third, and Allison grounded out.  The Twins got a pair of two-out walks in the fifth, but again could do nothing with them.

The Twins tied the score in the sixth.  With one out, MItterwald singled, Tovar doubled, and Allison drove in two with a double.  That was all they got, though, leaving the score tied 3-3.  The Twins had a chance to take the lead in the eighth as well.  With two out, Allison and Ted Uhlaender singled and a wild pitch put them on second and third.  Manager Billy Martin elected not to pinch-hit for Jim Kaat, and the strategy backfired as Kaat struck out to end the inning.

The Twins had yet another chance in the ninth.  Carew hit a one-out double and advanced to third on Killebrew's ground out.  Oliva was intentionally walked, and Charlie Manuel pinch-hit for Mitterwald.  But he lined to center, and the game remained tied.

The Twins would pay for their missed opportunities.  In the bottom of the ninth, Mike Epstein drew a one-out walk and Allen hit a two-out single.  Kaat remained in the game to face Howard, and Howard singled home the deciding run.

WP:  Higgins (4-5).  LP:  Kaat (4-3).  S:  None.

Notes:  Uhlaender and Tovar were both in the lineup, and had done the vast majority of the leadoff batting, but in this game Leo Cardenas batted first.  It didn't work, as he went 0-for-4.

Johnny Roseboro must have had some minor injury, as he was again out of the lineup.  Further, when Mitterwald was pinch-hit for, it was Tom Tischinski who went behind the plate.  Roseboro would return to the lineup May 30.

Tovar was again at third base.

Carew was batting .400.  Kaat's ERA is 2.69.

Maybe it's just the difference between 1960s baseball and today's game, but the decision to allow Kaat to bat in the eighth, and leaving him in through the ninth, seems strange.  As we've already discussed, Kaat had a reputation as a good hitter, but he was a good hitter for a pitcher, not an actual good hitter.  And while he was not pitching terribly, he was not exactly dominating the game, either.  Martin had certainly shown no hesitancy to bring Ron Perranoski into games like this in the past, and Perranoski had not pitched since May 25.

Dennis Higgins was a major league reliever from 1966-1972.  His best season was his first one, when as a twenty-six year old rookie he went 1-0, 2.52, 5 saves, 1.07 WHIP for the White Sox.  He was apparently injured much of 1967, and when 1968 came around he had been traded to Washington.  He had a solid year for them, going 4-4, 3.25, 13 saves, 1.27 WHIP.  After that, however, wildness caught up to him.  He continued to post decent ERAs for a couple more years, but his WHIP was over 1.5, leading one to think he may have let in a lot of inherited runners.  In 1969, he went 10-9 (19 decisions out of the bullpen), 3.48, 1.58 WHIP.  He was with Cleveland for 1970 and with St. Louis in 1971-72, although he spent most of his Cardinals years in the minors.  Interestingly (to me, anyway), he is a cousin of ex-Twin Joe Crede.  His major league numbers are 22-23, 3.42, 1.39 WHIP in 410.1 innings (241 games).

Record:  The Twins were 24-18, in first place in the American League West, leading Oakland by one game.

Happy Birthday–November 12

Jack Ryan (1868)
Moonlight Graham (1877)
Carl Mays (1891)
Joe Hoerner (1936)
Bruce Bochte (1950)
Jody Davis (1956)
Donnie Hill (1960)
Greg Gagne (1961)
Jeff Reed (1962)
Randy Knorr (1968)
Sammy Sosa (1968)
Aaron Heilman (1978)
Charlie Morton (1983)

Aaron Heilman was drafted by Minnesota in the first round in 2000, but did not sign.

We would also like to wish a happy anniversary to Mr. and Mrs. FT"HM"LT.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–November 12

Remodeled basement. Same half-baked taste.