I hope everyone had a good long weekend. Still got all of your digits?
Roy Hartzell (1881)
Steve O’Neill (1891)
Dale Ford (1942)
Willie Randolph (1954)
Jason Thompson (1954)
Lance Johnson (1963)
Omar Olivares (1967)
Greg Norton (1972)
Michael Ryan (1977)
Manny Machado (1992)
Dale Ford was a major league umpire from 1975-99.
Seeing and raising DK.
CALIFORNIA 4, MINNESOTA 3 IN MINNESOTA
Date: Friday, June 22.
Batting stars: Jerry Terrell was 2-for-3. Bobby Darwin was 2-for-4 with two RBIs.
Pitching star: Joe Decker pitched 8.1 innings, giving up four runs on eight hits and two walks and striking out four.
Opposition stars: Richie Scheinblum was 3-for-4. Sandy Alomar was 2-for-5 with a stolen base, his sixteenth. Rudy May pitched 6.1 innings, giving up three runs (one earned) on seven hits and a walk and striking out five. Dave Sells pitched 2.2 scoreless innings, giving up two hits and striking out one.
The game: The Twins got a pair of one-out singles in the first, but a line drive double play took them out of the inning. In the third Terrell got a two-out single, Danny Monzon reached on a two-base error, putting men on second and third, and Darwin delivered a two-run single to make it 2-0 Twins. The Angels got on the board in the fourth when Alomar singled, went to second on a passed ball, stole third, and scored on a Frank Robinson single. The Twins got the run back in the fifth. Mike Adams and Steve Brye singled and Terrell hit a sacrifice fly, giving the Twins a 3-1 lead.
California put two in the seventh but did not score. The Twins loaded the bases with one out in the eighth but did not score. So, we went to the ninth with the Twins still ahead 3-1. Decker, who had started the game, was still in to start the ninth.
Mike Epstein and Scheinblum led off with singles. A bunt moved them to second and third. Al Gallagher singled to cut the lead to 3-2 and chase Decker from the game. Ken Sanders came in and gave up a single to Bob Oliver, tying the score. He retired Winston Llenas on a fly ball, but Alomar singled to bring home the go-ahead run.
After the first man in the ninth was retired, the Twins used three consecutive pinch-hitters. Jim Holt pinch-hit for Mike Adams and grounded out. Tony Oliva pinch-hit for Brye and singled. Harmon Killebrew pinch-hit for Terrell with a chance to win the game, but popped up instead and the game was over.
WP: Sells (3-1). LP: Decker (1-2). S: None.
Notes: Joe Lis was at first base in place of Killebrew, who was given the day off. Injuries limited Killebrew to just fifty-seven games at first base, so Lis really ended up being the regular in 1973.
Monzon was playing second in place of Rod Carew, who was given the day off. He did go in to pinch-run for Oliva in the ninth. Why did Carew not pinch-hit? I'm just guessing but he did not play in the game before this and did not start in the game after it, so I'm guessing he might have had a minor injury of some sort.
Terrell was at shortstop, splitting time there with Danny Thompson. Both were right-handed, so I don't know on what basis Frank Quilici decided who would play. If he was trying to find the hot hand, well, good luck with that. Terrell batted .265/.297/.315. Thompson checked in at a robust .222/.259/.282.
Adams was in left in place of Holt, who was given the day off. Brye was in center in place of Larry Hisle. Hisle missed four games around this time, so was perhaps also dealing with a minor injury. Danny Walton was at DH in place of Oliva, who was given the day off.
I don't know why so many regulars were given the day off. It was a Friday night, so it was not a day game after a night game. They were in the pennant race at this point, so I wouldn't think they were just wanting to look at some young players. Killebrew and Oliva were both getting older, plus this was after Oliva's knee injury--maybe they just both needed more time off. I don't know.
Monzon was batting .360 at this point, but it was in just twenty-five at-bats. He would finish at .224. Terrell was batting .314--as shown above, he finished at .265. The Twins had four starters in this game with averages below the Mendoza line. Lis was batting .175--he would finish at .245. Brye was batting .167--he would finish at .263 and actually had a decent season. Walton was batting .154--he would finish at .177. Adams was batting .083--he would finish at .212 (but with an OBP of .381).
Carew led the team in batting at .350. He was the only .300 hitter, but Holt batted .297 and Oliva was at .291. The Twins led the league in batting at .270.
Power was a different story. Darwin led the team with 18 home runs. George Mitterwald and Oliva were next at 16. Hisle hit 15 homers and Holt 11. If you're wondering, Killebrew hit just five home runs in 248 at-bats. He would struggle through one more season with the Twins, play for Kansas City in 1975, and then was done. The Twins hit 115 home runs, good for eighth in the league.
Bert Blyleven was the ace of the staff, and really the only reliable starter they had. 20-17, 2.52 with 25 complete games in 40 starts. He threw 325 innings at age 22. Jim Kaat was 11-12, 4.41 in 28 starts. Decker was 10-10, 4.17 in 24 starts. Dick Woodson was 10-8, 3.95 (but with a 1.45 WHIP) in 23 starts. Others to make double-digit starts were Bill Hands (7-10, 3.49, 15 starts and 24 relief appearances) and Dave Goltz (6-4, 5.25, 10 starts, 22 relief appearances). Ten different Twins made starts in 1973, which is kind of remarkable given that they only used thirteen pitchers. Six different pitchers had saves, with Ray Corbin leading with 14. The Twins were sixth in ERA at 3.77--Baltimore led at 3.07. They were also sixth in WHIP at 1.35--Baltimore led there, too, at 1.21.
Quilici is not particularly well thought-of in the line of Twins managers--in fact, he's mostly ignored. But maybe he was better than he's given credit for. Look at who he had playing regularly on this team: George Mitterwald, Joe Lis, Danny Thompson, Jim Holt, Bobby Darwin. One reliable starting pitcher. And yet, he had the Twins in contention for a while and managed to finish at .500. In fact, his complete managerial record is just below .500 with teams that had a lot of forgettable players. Could he have won with a better team? We'll never know, but I think he actually did a fairly good job of getting what he could out of the talent he had.
Record: The Twins were 34-29, in second place in the American League West, a half game behind Chicago. They would finish 81-81, in third place, 13 games behind Oakland.
The Angels were 34-31, in fifth place in the American League West, 1.5 games behind Chicago. They would finish 79-83, in fourth place, 15 games behind Oakland.
Random Record: The Twins are 48-47 in Random Rewind games.
Congratulations to Byron Buxton on his gloriously named newborn boy, Blaze Jett Buxton
Jack Farrell (1857)
Robert Brown (1876)
Charles Stoneham (1876)
Bump Hadley (1904)
Jack Krol (1936)
Curt Blefary (1943)
Gary Matthews (1950)
Rich Gossage (1951)
Dave Eiland (1966)
Tim Worrell (1967)
Bo Porter (1972)
Jesse Crain (1981)
Marco Estrada (1983)
Nick Anderson (1990)
Jorge Polanco (1993)
Shohei Ohtani (1994)
Robert Brown owned various teams in Vancouver from 1910-45. He was also president of the Western International League in 1953. He is a member of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.
Charles Stoneham owned the New York Giants from 1919 until his death in 1936.
Jack Krol was a long-time minor league manager and major league coach. coaching for St. Louis from 1977-80 and San Diego from 1981-86.
MINNESOTA 4, CHICAGO 3 IN MINNESOTA
Date: Tuesday, April 21.
Batting stars: Cesar Tovar was 2-for-3 with a triple, a walk, and a stolen base. Harmon Killebrew was 2-for-4 with a three-run homer, his second.
Pitching star: Jim Kaat pitched 7.2 innings, giving up three runs (one earned) on seven hits and no walks and striking out one.
Opposition stars: Carlos May was 2-for-4 with a double. Tommy John pitched six innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and two walks and striking out one.
The game: The White Sox scored in the first inning. Ken Berry and Luis Aparicio opened the game with singles, and an error put Chicago up 1-0 before a man was retired. A pickoff and two fly balls ended the inning with no further damage.
The Twins did little for the first five innings, getting a few singles but never putting more than one man on base. The White Sox added to their lead in the sixth when John singled, an error put men on first and second, and May delivered a two-out single, making the score 2-0.
The Twins took their first lead in the bottom of the sixth. Tovar led off with a walk, and Rod Carew doubled. With first base open, Chicago pitched to Killebrew and he came through with a three-run homer, putting the Twins up 3-2. The White Sox put two on with two out in the seventh, but could not tie the score. With two out in the bottom of the seventh, Kaat reached on an error and Tovar tripled, making the score 4-2.
Chicago got one back in the eighth. With two out, May doubled and Bill Melton singled him home to cut the lead to 4-3. In the ninth, Syd O'Brien led off with a single and was bunted to second. But Ron Perranoski came in to retire the next two batters and preserve the victory.
WP: Kaat (2-1). LP: John (0-4). S: Perranoski (3).
Notes: Killebrew was at first in this game. He mostly played third in 1970, with Rich Reese at first. That obviously hurt the defense--was it worth it on offense? It's hard to say. Reese wasn't that great on offense, batting .261 but with an OPS of just .703. On the other hand, had Killebrew played first, it would've left Rick Renick, Danny Thompson, or Frank Quilici at third, all of whom would most likely have been worse at the bat than Reese. Renick, in fact, was the third baseman in this game. The Twins won the division, so it's certainly hard to say it was a bad move to play Harmon there.
Carew missed much of the season with injuries, playing just forty-five games at second base. Thompson and Quilici shared the second base position, and saying there was a bit of a dropoff on offense is like saying there's a bit of a dropoff when come to the edge of the Grand Canyon. Quilici batted .227/.297/.291, for an OPS of .588. Thompson batted .219/.234/.248 for an OPS of .482. It's hard to believe the Twins couldn't find someone better to play second. Or, alternatively, that they couldn't find someone to play center and move Tovar to second. But they couldn't, or at least they didn't.
The Twins used some defensive replacements. Quilici went to third in the eighth in place of Thompson. Jim Holt went to left in place of Brant Alyea in the eighth. Reese went to first in place of Killebrew in the ninth.
This early in the season, of course, you're going to have some extreme batting averages, but it's still kind of remarkable that the first six batters in the Twins lineup were batting over .300: Tovar (.350), Carew (.359), Killebrew (.321), Tony Oliva (.359), Alyea (.444), and Renick (.333). The only ones who would stay at .300 were Tovar, who batted exactly .300, and Carew, who batted .366 in 191 at-bats. The Twins batted .262, which was tied for first in the league with Boston.
Killebrew led the team with 41 home runs. Oliva was second with 23. Alyea hit 16, George Mitterwald 15, Leo Cardenas 11, Reese 10, and Tovar 10. The Twins hit 153 home runs, fifth in the league. Boston led with 203.
The Twins had two excellent starters in Jim Perry (24-12, 3.02) and Kaat (14-10, 3.56). Luis Tiant was supposed to be the third starter and he did well when he was healthy, but he could make just 17 starts (7-3, 3.40). Bert Blyleven came up to take his place and also did quite well, going 10-9, 3.18. Dave Boswell was supposed to be the fourth starter, but he battled injuries and was ineffective when he could pitch, going 3-7, 6.42. His place was taken by Bill Zepp, who went 9-4, 3.22. Tom Hall also made eleven starts and went 11-6, 2.55 (including his relief appearances, obviously). Perranoski was the closer with 34 saves, although Stan Williams got some chances, too, notching 15 saves. Four other pitchers had saves as well: Hall (4), Zepp (2), Steve Barber (2), and Dick Woodson (1). The Twins had an ERA of 3.23, second only to Baltimore at 3.15. Their WHIP of 1.25 was fourth in the league. The Orioles led there, too, at 1.21.
Kaat made an error in this game. I mention that simply because, as you probably know, he won sixteen Gold Gloves in his career. He made 65 errors in his career, but then the man played for 25 years, so it's not like that's a lot. His career high in errors was eight, in 1969, and he still won the Gold Glove that season.
I mentioned a pickoff in the first inning. The White Sox had men on first and third with none out when Aparicio was picked off third. What's interesting is that the scoring on the play is pitcher to shortstop. I don't know why the shortstop was covering third on a pickoff from the pitcher. It seems like there must have been some sort of trick play there.
This was the third of a four-game winning streak for the Twins. The Twins won their first four, lost two, then won their next four.
Record: The Twins were 7-2, in first place in the American League West, percentage points ahead of California. They would finish 98-64, in first place, nine games ahead of Oakland.
The White Sox were 4-7, in fifth place in the American League West, four games behind Minnesota. They would finish 56-106, in sixth (last) place, 42 games behind Minnesota.
Random Record: The Twins are 48-46 in Random Rewind games.
Mickey Welch (1859)
George Mullin (1880)
Abe Saperstein (1903)
Chuck Tanner (1928)
Bill Tuttle (1929)
Peter Angelos (1929)
George Steinbrenner (1930)
John Sterling (1938)
Hal Lanier (1942)
Ed Armbrister (1948)
Wayne Nordhagen (1948)
Jim Beattie (1954)
Jose Oquendo (1963)
Vinny Castilla (1967)
Brendan Donnelly (1971)
Jay Canizaro (1973)
Jeff Harris (1974)
Best remembered as the founder of the Harlem Globetrotters, Abe Saperstein was a long-time executive in what were then known as the Negro Leagues.
Peter Angelos has been the owner of the Baltimore Orioles since 1993.
George Steinbrenner was the owner of the New York Yankees from 1973 until his death in 2010.
John Sterling has broadcast New York Yankees games since 1989.
The staff of Happy Birthday would like to wish everyone a happy and safe Independence Day.
Well, parts of it at least. Happy Fourth, everyone.