1969 Rewind: Game One Hundred Twenty-one


Date:  Tuesday, August 19.

Batting stars:  Rich Reese was 2-for-5.  Harmon Killebrew was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer (his thirty-fourth) and two walks.

Pitching star:  Dean Chance pitched 2.2 perfect innings of relief, striking out two.

Opposition stars:  Carl Yastrzemski was 2-for-5 with a grand slam (his thirty-second homer), scoring twice.  Dalton Jones was 2-for-5.

The game:  Reese led off the second with a double.  He was still on second with two out, but Johnny Roseboro walked and Jim Perry delivered a two-out single to get the Twins on the board.  The Twins stretched the lead in the third.  Ted Uhlaender singled and scored from first on a Cesar Tovar double.  Tony Oliva doubled to score Tovar and later came around to score on an error, putting the Twins up 4-0.

The lead didn't survive the third inning.  Don Lock and Mike Andrews drew one-out walks.  Jones then singled and Yastrzemski hit a grand slam to tie it 4-4.  The Twins took the lead back in the fourth.  They loaded the bases with one out on walks to Roseboro and Perry and a hit-by-pitch by Uhlaender,  Tovar hit into a forceout at the plate, but a throwing error by catcher Russ Gibson, in an attempt to turn a double play, allowed two runs to score and gave the Twins a 6-4 lead.

The Red Sox cut into the lead in the fifth.  With two out and none on, Yastrzemski and Reggie Smith singled and Rico Petrocelli hit a ground-rule double to make it 6-5.  In the seventh, Jones singled and scored on a Smith triple, tying it 6-6.

In the ninth, however, it was Killebrew to the rescue.  Tovar walked with one out and Killebrew followed with a two-run homer to put the Twins in the lead 8-6.  Chance, who had come on in the seventh after the Smith triple, retired the side in order in the ninth, and in fact retired all eight men he faced.

WP:  Chance (4-2).  LP:  Sparky Lyle (6-2).  S:  None.

Notes:  Tovar was again at second base and Uhlaender in center.  Charlie Manuel started in left, but was replaced by Rick Renick, who pinch-hit for him in the seventh.  This time, Billy Martin made the defensive move we suggest a few days ago, putting Frank Quilici at second base and moving Tovar to left field, leaving Killebrew to man third base.

Reese raised his average to .339.  Oliva was 1-for-5 and was batting .321.

Perry pitched six innings, allowing six runs on seven hits and three walks and striking out seven.  His ERA went up to 2.96.  Chance's ERA went down to 2.84.

Dalton Jones, who played more games at second and third than anywhere else, was at first base for the Red Sox.  George Scott, who played way more games at first base than anywhere else, was at third.

Bill Lee pitched two-thirds of an inning in this game, giving up a walk.  He was not "the Spaceman" yet, as 1969 was his first season. He had come up in late June and was used almost exclusively out of the bullpen, making one start at the end of the season.  He was only twenty-two, and probably not ready yet--he went 1-3, 4.50, 1.62 WHIP.  He was with the Red Sox for two months in 1970, then missed the rest of the season, presumably due to injury.  He was a pretty good reliever in 1971-1972, then became a starter.  He made his only all-star team in 1973, when he went 17-11, 2.75, 1.23 WHIP.  He was a good starter through 1975, leading the league in innings in 1974 with 320.  He averaged 17 complete games and 290 innings a year over three seasons, and it eventually took its toll.  He struggled through three more seasons with Boston, then was traded to Montreal.  He bounced back with one more good season in 1979, going 16-10, 3.04, 1.24 WHIP for the Expos.  He went back to the bullpen in 1981 and had another pretty good year, going 5-6, 2.94, 1.17 WHIP with 6 saves.  He made seven more appearances in 1982, but then was done as a big-leaguer.  His career numbers are 119-90, 19 saves, 3.62, 1.36 WHIP.  He pitched 1944.1 innings in 416 games, 225 of them starts.

Record:  The Twins were 72-49, in first place in the American League West, 2.5 games ahead of Oakland.

Happy Birthday–January 31

Bob "Death to Flying Things" Ferguson (1845)
Zane Grey (1872)
George Burns (1893)
Pinky Hargrave (1896)
Pedro Cepeda (1906)
Don Hutson (1913)
Jackie Robinson (1919)
Ernie Banks (1931)
Hank Aguirre (1931)
Nolan Ryan (1947)
Fred Kendall (1949)
Ted Power (1955)
Ed Wade (1956)
Francisco Oliveras (1963)
Yuniesky Betancourt (1982)
Caleb Thielbar (1987)
Tyler Kinley (1991)

Better known as an author of western novels, Zane Grey played outfield for two years in the low minors, batting .323 in 86 games.  He also wrote several books about baseball.

Pedro Cepeda is the father of Orlando Cepeda and is considered by some to have been a better player; he was known as the Babe Ruth of Puerto Rico.

Don Hutson, a charter member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, played in the low minors from 1936-1937, hitting .301 in 194 games.

Ed Wade was the general manager of the Philadelphia Phillies from 1998-2005 and the Houston Astros from 2007-2011.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–January 31

1969 Rewind: Game One Hundred Twenty


Date:  Monday, August 18.

Batting stars:  George Mitterwald was 2-for-4 with a double.  Tony Oliva was 2-for-5.  Rich Reese was 2-for-5.  Graig Nettles was 1-for-3 with a home run, his sixth.  Harmon Killebrew was 1-for-5 with a three-run homer, his thirty-third.

Pitching star:   Dave Boswell pitched seven innings, giving up three runs (two earned) on five hits and three walks and striking out six.

Opposition stars:  Mike Andrews was 2-for-3 with two walks.  Tony Conigliaro was 2-for-4 with a home run (his sixteenth) and four RBIs.  Carl Yastrzemski was 2-for-5 with a double.  Ex-Twin Lee Stange pitched 3.1 scoreless innings, giving up two hits and two walks.

The game:  Boswell ran into trouble in the first inning.  He walked Mike Andrews and gave up a triple to Dalton Jones, putting the Red Sox up 1-0 two batters into the game.  He retired the next two batters with Jones still on third, leading to hopes that he would get out of the inning with no further damage.  Then, however, Rico Petrocelli walked, Conigliaro had an RBI single, and George Scott reached on an error, making the score 3-0.

The Twins first nine batters were all retired, but the offense came to life in the fourth.  Cesar Tovar doubled and went to third on a Ted Uhlaender single.  Oliva singled in a run and Killebrew followed with a three-run homer, putting the Twins ahead 4-3.  The home run did not kill the rally, however.  With one out, Nettles homered to make it 5-3.  The rally was still not killed, as with two out Mitterwald doubled and scored on Boswell's single.  The Twins led 6-3 after the inning.

Boswell had been in control after the first inning.  The only threat Boston had was in the fifth, when Andrews singled and was thrown out trying to score on Yastrzemski's double.  With the score still 6-3, however, Bill Zepp came in to start the eighth.  Yastrzemski singled to start the inning and Reggie Smith walked.  Petrocelli struck out, but Conigliaro hit a three-run homer to tie the score 6-6.

Each team put a man in scoring position in the ninth.  Mitterwald singled to start the top of the ninth and was bunted to second.  He went to third on a fly out, but that was as far as he got.  In the bottom of the ninth, Dick Woodson issued one-out walks to Andrews and Syd O'Brien, but Ron Perranoski came in and got a double play to end the inning.

The Twins could manage only a two-out single in the top of the tenth.  In the bottom of the tenth, Smith led off with a walk and was bunted to second.  Conigliaro was intentionally walked, but Scott foiled the strategy with a game-ending double to center.

WP:  Sparky Lyle (6-1).  LP:  Perranoski (8-7).  S:  None.

Notes:  Tovar was at second base with Uhlaender in center and Nettles in left.  Mitterwald was behind the plate.

Reese boosted his average to .338.  Oliva was batting .322.  Perranoski's ERA went up to 2.08.

This isn't a second-guess, exactly, because there are a lot of things I don't know that went into the decision.  But it seems strange a) that Boswell was pulled after seven innings and b) that Zepp would have been brought in.  It was Boswell's first appearance since July 31, which may have been the reason he was pulled, but Billy Martin notoriously did not usually worry about things like that.  I don't have a pitch count for him (not that Martin would've worried about that, either), but he had faced twenty-nine batters, not a huge amount.  Zepp was a twenty-two-year-old rookie making his second major league appearance.  He had done well in his first one, but with Perranoski and Al Worthington ready to go, as well as Woodson, I wonder why Zepp was the choice.  Again, I'm sure there are reasons I know nothing about.  I just wonder what they were.

This was after Tony Conigliaro was beaned--1969 was his first year back.  He wasn't as good as he'd been, but he was still a productive player--.255/.321/.427 with 20 homers.  In 1970 he looked like he was back where he'd been--.266/.324/.498 with 36 homers, all numbers that were pretty much in line with his pre-beaning stats.  That was his last good year, though.  He was traded to the Angels after the season, had a poor year in 1971, and retired.  He tried to come back with Boston in 1975, but it simply was not to be.

Record:  The Twins were 71-49, in first place in the American League West, 1.5 games ahead of Oakland.

Happy Birthday–January 30

Tony Mullane (1859)
General Stafford (1868)
Walt Dropo (1923)
Sandy Amoros (1930)
Charlie Neal (1931)
Davey Johnson (1943)
Matt Alexander (1947)
Roger Cador (1952)
Joe Kerrigan (1954)
Dave Stegman (1954)
Jorge Cantu (1982)
Jeremy Hermida (1984)

Roger Cador was an outfielder in the Braves organization, reaching AAA.  He was the head baseball coach at Southern University from 1984-2017.   He was the first coach of a historically black university to win a game in the NCAA Division I baseball tournament, beating #2-ranked Cal State Fullerton 1-0 in 1987.

Dave Stegman was drafted by Minnesota in the tenth round in 1972, but did not sign.

We would like to wish a very happy birthday to Rowsdower's father and to Mrs. Nibbish.

There do not appear to be any other players with connections to the Minnesota Twins born on this day.