1969 Rewind: Game Twenty-four


Date:  Tuesday, May 6.

Batting stars:  Cesar Tovar was 2-for-4.

Pitching star:  Dave Boswell pitched an eight-inning complete game, giving up one run on five hits and a walk and striking out three.

Opposition stars:  Sam McDowell pitched a complete game shutout, giving up three hits and no walks and striking out six.  Tony Horton was 1-for-3 with a home run.

The game:  The Twins had three baserunners.  Tovar led off the first with a single but was erased when Harmon Killebrew hit into a double play.  Frank Quilici led off the third with a single--he was replaced by Ted Uhlaender on a forceout and Uhlaender was caught stealing.  Tovar led off the seventh with a single, was bunted to second, and stayed there as Killebrew and Bob Allison each flied out.

The Indians didn't do a lot better, getting just five hits.  However, one of them was a one-out home run by Horton, the only run of the game.

WP;  McDowell (2-3).  LP:  Boswell (3-3).  S:  None.

Notes:  Leo Cardenas was 0-for-2 and was batting .319.  Uhlaender was 0-for-3 and was batting .310.  Tony Oliva was 0-for-3 and was batting .306.  Killebrew was 0-for-3 and was batting .304.

Rod Carew was apparently still off with the National Guard, because Quilici played second base.  Tovar was at third.

Normally, Oliva and Killebrew manned the three and four spots in the order, sometimes in that order, sometimes reversed.  In this game, however, Oliva was dropped to the number five spot, with Allison batting fourth.  Possibly that had to do with the left-handed McDowell being on the mound.

Not that he wasn't valuable at the time, but a man like Tovar, who could play pretty much anywhere on the field, would be incredibly valuable in today's era of short benches.  For his career, he played 469 games in center, 394 games in left, and 207 games in right.  As an infielder, he played 227 games at third, 215 games at second, and 77 games at short.  He also famously played one game at first, catcher, and pitcher, the game in 1968 in which he played an inning at each position.  He received MVP votes in each year from 1967-1971, finishing seventh in 1967.  He led the league in hits in 1971 and led in both doubles and triples in 1970.

Both pitchers threw complete games.  I suspect one could count the number of times that happened in 2018 on one hand.  Not making a commentary on which is better or worse, just noting that the game has changed.

The Indians had a terrible team in 1969, finishing 62-99.  After beating the Twins here, they were 4-18.  It sure wasn't McDowell's fault, though.  Because he played on a lot of bad teams in a pitcher's era, people have forgotten how awesome Sudden Sam McDowell was.  He made the all-star team six times.  He led the league in ERA and also in strikeouts in 1965, incredibly not getting a single Cy Young vote that season.  In fact, the only season in which he did receive Cy Young votes was 1970, when he led the league with 305 innings, went 20-12, 2.92 and had 304 strikeouts.  He led the league in strikeouts five times.  He had an ERA under three six times, with his best coming in 1968 (1.81).  In his eight seasons in the Cleveland rotation, the worst ERA he posted was 3.85, in 1967.  He still had 236 strikeouts in 236.1 innings that season.

Record:  The Twins' eight-game winning streak was ended.  They were 16-8, in first place, leading Oakland by 1.5 games.