Happy Birthday–March 19

Jose Mendez (1887)
Bill Wambsganss (1894)
Gee Walker (1908)
Bob Davids (1926)
Richie Ashburn (1927)
Al Solerno (1931)
Paul Ray Powell (1948)
Tim Corcoran (1953)
Mike Norris (1955)
Ivan Calderon (1962)
Jason LaRue (1974)
David Ross (1977)
Clayton Kershaw (1988)

Jose Mendez was a star in Cuba and in the Negro Leagues, pitching from 1906-1925.

Bob Davids was one of the founders of the Society for American Baseball Research.

Al Solerno was an American League umpire from 1961-1968.  His firing was one of the things that led to the formation of the first umpires union.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–March 19

Happy Birthday–March 18

Nixey Callahan (1874)
Johnny Cooney (1901)
Al Benton (1911)
Hi Bithorn (1916)
Elbie Fletcher (1916)
Eddie Lake (1916)
Bob Broeg (1918)
Hal White (1919)
George Plimpton (1927)
Charley Pride (1938)
Pat Jarvis (1941)
Dwayne Murphy (1955)
Geronimo Berroa (1965)
Corky Miller (1976)
Tomo Ohka (1976)
Scott Podsednik (1976)
Fernando Rodney (1977)

Hi Bithorn was the first Puerto Rican to play in the major leagues, making his first appearance for the Cubs in 1942.

Sportswriter Bob Broeg covered the St. Louis Cardinals for forty years and was on the Hall of Fame Board of Directors for twenty-eight years.

Author George Plimpton introduced the world to Sidd Finch in 1985.

Country singer Charley Pride pitched in the minor leagues for parts of three seasons from 1953-1960.  He also played in the Negro Leagues for a couple of seasons as those leagues were nearing the end of their existence.

We would also like to wish a happy anniversary to Mr. and Mrs. Rhubarb_Runner.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–March 18

1969 Rewind: Game One Hundred Sixty-one


Date:  Wednesday, October 1.

Batting stars:  Tony Oliva was 3-for-5.  Harmon Killebrew was 1-for-3 with a home run (his forty-ninth) and two walks.

Pitching stars:  Dick Woodson pitched two shutout innings, giving up two walks.  Al Worthington pitched a scoreless inning, giving up two hits.  Ron Perranoski pitched a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Bob Christian was 3-for-4 with two doubles and two RBIs.  Bobby Knoop was 2-for-3 with a walk.  Bill Melton was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer (his twenty-third) and a walk, scoring twice.  Billy Wynne pitched 6.1 innings, giving up three runs on nine hits and four walks and striking out one.  Wilbur Wood pitched 2.2 scoreless innings, giving up one hit and striking out one.

The game:  The Twins took an early lead.  With two out and none on in the first, Oliva singled and Killebrew hit a two-run homer to give Minnesota a 2-0 lead.  In the second, Christian doubled and Doug Adams singled, putting men on first and third, but Angel Bravo hit into a double play to end the inning.  The White Sox tied it in the fourth, however, as Gail Hopkins led off the inning with a single and Melton followed with a two-run homer.

With two out in the bottom of the fourth Leo Cardenas singled and Dave Boswell walked, but Graig Nettles struck out to end the inning.  In the fifth, Luis Aparicio singled, Melton drew a two-out walk, and Christian hit a two-run double to give Chicago a 4-2 lead.

The Twins got one back in the seventh but missed a chance for more.  With one out, Nettles singled and Rod Carew doubled, putting men on second and third.  Oliva singled home a run to make it 4-3, but Carew was held at third.  Killebrew was intentionally walked to load the bases, pushing Oliva to second with the go-ahead run.  The strategy worked, because Rich Reese popped up and Charlie Manuel grounded out.

The Twins mounted one more threat in the eighth.  George Mitterwald led off with a double-plus-error, reaching third with none out.  But Cardenas hit back to the pitcher, Bob Allison lined to short, and Nettles popped up.  The Twins went down in order in the ninth.

WP:  Wynne (7-7).  LP:  Boswell (20-12).  S:  Wood (15).

Notes:  The Twins used what had become their regular lineup for the first time in a while.  Reese was back at first base, his first appearance there since September 24.  Johnny Roseboro was back behind the plate.  They did use some substitutes.  Nettles came in to play left for Uhlaender in the second inning.  Manuel replaced Cesar Tovar in center field in the seventh inning, the only time in his career that Manuel played center field.  George Mitterwald replaced Roseboro in the sixth.

Carew was 1-for-5 and was batting .332.  Reese was 1-for-4 and was batting .320.  Oliva raised his average to .308.  Jim Holt was 1-for-1 and was batting .385.  Perranoski lowered his ERA to 2.12.

It is unusual, certainly, to walk a man with runners on first and third, especially when the man on first is the go-ahead run.  It shows the respect Killebrew was given at the time.  And they walked him to face Reese, who was having an excellent season.  They gained a platoon advantage, but Reese hit left-handers to the tune of .322/.367/.600, which is a pretty good tune.  Of course, this left-hander was the knuckleballing Wood, which may have made a difference.  At any rate, it worked.

This was the last major league game of Doug Adams' career.  It was a short career, as he was a September call-up in 1969 and never got back to the majors again.  I was really hoping to discover that forty-two was a significant number in his career, but sadly that is not the case.  A catcher, he played in 8 games and had 14 at-bats.  His career numbers are .214/.267/.214.  He presumably was considered a good defensive catcher, because he never hit much in the minors, either.  His career minor league numbers are .235/.321/.367.  His minor league career started in 1965 and ended in 1970.

Record:  The Twins were 96-65, in first place in the American League West, nine games ahead of Oakland.  They had clinched first place in the division.

Remodeled basement. Same half-baked taste.