Happy Birthday–March 20

Bill Cammeyer (1821)
Mike Griffin (1865)
Joe McGinnity (1871)
Bob Connery (1880)
Walter Schmidt (1887)
Vern Kennedy (1907)
Clyde Shoun (1912)
Hank Izquierdo (1931)
George Altman (1933)
Pat Corrales (1941)
Rick Langford (1952)
Steve McCatty (1954)
Paul Mirabella (1954)
Si-jin Kim (1958)
Chris Hoiles (1965)
Manny Alexander (1971)

Bill Cammeyer was involved in the early days of professional baseball.  He is credited as a pioneer who put a fence around his ballpark so he could charge admission.  He built a clubhouse, graded the diamond, created a very primitive set of stands for fans, and put a saloon inside the fence.

Bob Connery is the scout credited with discovering Rogers Hornsby and Tony Lazzeri.

Paul Mirabella was drafted by Minnesota in the sixteenth round in 1975, but did not sign.

Si-Jin Kim was a top pitcher in the first decade of Korean professional baseball.

We would also like to wish a happy birthday to AMR’s daughter.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–March 20

1969 Rewind: ALCS Game One


Batting stars:  Tony Oliva was 2-for-5 with a home run and a double, scoring twice and driving in two.  Harmon Killebrew was 0-for-2 with three walks.  The Twins had only two other hits.

Pitching stars:  Jim Perry pitched eight innings, giving up three runs on six hits and three walks and striking out three.  Ron Perranoski pitched 3.2 innings, giving up one run on four hits and no walks and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Brooks Robinson was 4-for-5.  Boog Powell was 2-for-5 with a home run.  Frank Robinson was 1-for-3 with a home run and two walks.  Mike Cuellar pitched eight innings, giving up three runs (two earned) on three hits and a walk and striking out seven.

The game:  Neither team really threatened until the bottom of the fourth, when Frank Robinson homered to give the Orioles a 1-0 lead.  The Twins got the run back in the fifth.  Oliva led off with a double-plus-error, putting him on third base, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Bob Allison.  But Baltimore went back into the lead in the bottom of the fifth when Mark Belanger hit a home run.

The Twins took their first lead of the game in the seventh.  With one out, Killebrew walked and Oliva followed with a two-run homer that made it 3-2 Minnesota.  The Twins had a chance to add to their lead in the ninth.  Well, they had a chance to add to it in the seventh and eighth, too, but they actually put together a threat in the ninth.  Cesar Tovar led off with a walk and stole second.  Rod Carew struck out, but Killebrew walked to put men on first and second with one down.  But Oliva struck out and Allison popped up, ending the threat.

It cost the Twins, because Powell led off the ninth with a home run to tie the score 3-3.  Brooks Robinson followed with a single-plus-error, chasing Perry from the game and bringing in Perranoski.  The Orioles had men on second and third with two out and Merv Rettenmund up to bat, but Robinson was caught stealing home to end the inning.

It went to extra innings.  Baltimore got a pair of one-out singles in the eleventh, but Chico Salmon lined to right and Dave Johnson hit into a forceout.  In the twelfth, Killebrew led off with a walk and Ted Uhlaender hit a one-out single.  A wild pitch moved men to second and third and led to an intentional walk to Rich Reese, loading the bases.  But Leo Cardenas struck out and Johnny Roseboro flied to right, and the game remained tied.

The Orioles ended it in the next half-inning.  Belanger led off with an infield single.  A bunt moved him to second, a ground out put him on third, and Paul Blair laid down a bunt single to give Baltimore the victory.

WP:  Dick Hall.  LP:  Perranoski.  S:  None.

Notes:  The Twins decided to start Allison in left and George Mitterwald behind the plate, despite the fact that Uhlaender and Roseboro, respectively, had manned those positions most of the season.  Uhlaender came in for defense in the ninth.  Roseboro pinch-hit for Mitterwald in the twelfth and remained in the game at catcher.

Perranoski was in his fourth inning of work when the game ended.  That's a lot for a reliever, but he had pitched that long and even longer on occasion during the season.  Plus, the two hits he gave up in the twelfth were an infield single and a bunt single, so it's not like he was getting smoked.  The infield single was hit to third--possibly a better defender would have turned that into an out, although I don't know that.  The play-by-play does not tell me where the game-ending bunt was hit.

Mark Belanger beating out an infield single is something Mark Belanger can do.  Mark Belanger hitting a home run is aggravating.  He hit a grand total of two all season and had twenty in an eighteen-year career.  His career high was five in 1974.  And then he hits a home run to put the Orioles ahead.  As they say, that's baseball.

The Baltimore bullpen was clearly superior to that of the Twins.  They had Dick Hall, Dave Leonhard, Pete Richert, and Eddie Watt, all of whom had ERAs less that 2.50 and WHIPs of less than 1.25, mostly a lot less.  By contrast, the only Twins reliever to meet those criteria was Perranoski.  Bob Miller was close in the WHIP department at 1.26.  Thus, the Orioles had four excellent relievers to use in extra innings, while the Twins basically had Perranoski and pray for rain.

Record:  The Twins trailed the best-of-five series 1-0.


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

1969 Rewind: Game One Hundred Sixty-two


Date:  Thursday, October 2.

Batting stars:  Bob Allison was 2-for-3 with a two-run homer (his eighth) and a double.  Rich Reese was 2-for-3 with a home run (his sixteenth) and two RBIs.  Tony Oliva was 2-for-3 with a home run, his twenty-fourth.

Pitching stars:  Dick Woodson pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit and a walk.  Joe Grzenda pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit.  Al Worthington pitched a perfect inning, striking out one.  Ron Perranoski pitched a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Jose Ortiz was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.  Rich Morales was 2-for-4 with a triple.

The game:  Reese hit a home run in the first inning to give the Twins a 1-0 lead.  The White Sox came back to get the lead in the second, as Bill Melton and Gail Hopkins singled and Ortiz delivered a two-out two-run double.  They extended the lead to 4-1 in the third.  Morales tripled, Duane Josephson walked, and Ron Hansen came through with a two-run triple.

The Twins got one back in the bottom of the third, but could have gotten more.  Jim Kaat singled and Cesar Tovar doubled, putting men on second and third with one out.  Reese's sacrifice fly brought home one, but that was all, leaving the Twins down 4-2.  They cut the margin to 4-3 in the fourth when Oliva led off with a home run, but Chicago got the run back in the fifth.  Walt Williams singled to lead off the inning and Morales followed with a single-plus-error.  A wild pitch scored Williams, but Kaat was able to escape without further damage.  Still, the White Sox once again had a two-run lead at 5-3.

Chicago threatened in the sixth, putting two on with none out, but a double play took them out of the inning.  It cost them, because in the bottom of the sixth Oliva hit a one-out single and Allison followed with a two-run homer, tying the score 5-5.  The Twins took the lead in the seventh.  With one out, Tovar and Reese singled, putting men on first and third.  A passed all then brought Tovar home with the go-ahead run.  The White Sox did not get a man on base after that.

WP:  Grzenda (4-1).  LP:  Bart Johnson (1-3).  S:  Perranoski (31).

Notes:  Allison started in left in place of Ted Uhlaender.  George Mitterwald was behind the plate in place of Johnny Roseboro.  Frank Quilici started at second in place of Rod Carew.

Herman Hill went to center field in the sixth, with Tovar moving to second base and Quilici coming out of the game.  Tom Tischinski came in to catch in the seventh, with Mitterwald going to left field and Allison coming out of the game.  Jim Holt, who had pinch-run for Oliva in the sixth, stayed in the game to play right field.  Cotton Nash went to first base in the eighth, replacing Reese.

This was one of two career games in which Mitterwald played left field.  The other was August 25 of this season, in which he was there for one inning.

The usage of Kaat at the end of the season seems strange to me.  He started on September 25 and pitched five innings.  He then pitched three innings of relief on September 30.  He then started two days later, this game, and pitched five innings.  None of these games meant anything, so I don't understand why you'd do that.  As I said the other day, I wouldn't expect Kaat to have complained, but that doesn't mean it was a smart thing to do.

Carew ended the season batting .332.  That's a fine average--it led the league--but he tailed off badly in the last two months of the season.  On July 31 he was batting .373.  Over the last two months he batted just .227.

Oliva ended the season batting .309.  He also tailed off in the last two months, although not nearly as badly as Carew.   On July 31, he was batting .327.  Over the last two months, he batted .281.  Not that there's anything wrong with .281, but it's not .327.

Killebrew ended the season with forty-nine home runs, leading the league.  That was tied for the most he hit in a season, equaling his total in 1964.  He hit just eighteen home runs in the first three months of the season, but hit thirty-one in the last three months.  That's almost the exact opposite of his nearest rival in the home run race, Reggie Jackson, who hit twenty-nine homers in the first three months of the season but just eighteen in the last three months and only seven in the last two months.

Kaat gave up five runs on seven hits and two walks in his five innings, striking out two.  Chicago starter Danny Lazar pitched six innings, allowing five runs on seven hits and a walk and striking out one.

This would be the last appearance of Danny Lazar's major league career.  He had appeared in eight games in 1968, and this was his ninth and last in 1969.  For his career, he was 0-1, 5.56, 1.47 WHIP in 34 innings.  He made four starts in his seventeen games.  He'd been a thirty-first round draft choice, so just making the majors at all is really quite an accomplishment for him.  He had an excellent college career at Indiana State, and is in the Indiana State Hall of Fame.

Record:  The Twins closed out the season at 97-65, in first place in the American League West, nine games ahead of Oakland.  They would face Baltimore in the American League Championship Series.  The Orioles had finished with a record of 109-53, finishing nineteen games ahead of Detroit in the American League East.

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

Remodeled basement. Same half-baked taste.