1969 Rewind: Game One Hundred Nineteen


Date:  Sunday, August 17.

Batting stars:  Ted Uhlaender was 2-for-5 with a stolen base, his thirteenth.  Cesar Tovar was 2-for-5.  Tony Oliva was 2-for-6 with two walks.  Harmon Killebrew was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer (his thirty-second) and two walks.

Pitching stars:  Tom Hall pitched eight innings of relief, giving up one run on two hits and three walks and striking out five.  Ron Perranoski pitched three innings, giving up one run on four hits and two walks and striking out two.

Opposition stars:  Joe Coleman pitched eleven innings, giving up three runs on five hits and five walks and striking out five.  Frank Howard was 1-for-4 with two walks.  Ken McMullen was 1-for-4 with two walks.

The game:  Not that 4-3 is high-scoring, but it was even more of pitchers' duel than that sounds like.  In the second, Ken McMullen walked and Bernie Allen singled, putting men on first and third with none out.  The Senators scored only once, on a Paul Casanova ground out, to take a 1-0 lead.  Johnny Roseboro opened the Twins third with a walk.  Bob Allison, pinch-hitting for Twins starter Dean Chance, bunted him to second and Uhlaender singled him home to tie the score 1-1.

It stayed 1-1 for quite some time.  Washington loaded the bases in the third.  The Twins put men on first and second in the fourth.  The Senators put men on first and second in the fifth.  The Twins got a man to second in the eighth.  But the game stayed tied 1-1, going into extra innings.

In the eleventh, Oliva hit a one-out single and Killebrew followed with a two-run homer, putting the Twins up 3-1.  Hall, who had come in to start the third inning, was still in there starting the eleventh, but came out after giving up a single to Howard to start the inning.  Ron Perranoski came in and it still looked good for the Twins.  He walked Mike Epstein, however, and gave up a single to McMullen.  Tim Cullen hit into a double play, making the score 3-2 but putting the Twins one out away from victory.  But Eddie Brinkman singled tying the score 3-3 and they played on.

In the thirteenth, the Twins started with consecutive singles by TovarUhlaender, and Oliva, making the score 4-3.  Killebrew walked, loading the bases with none out.  The Twins could do no more, however, and carried the precarious 4-3 lead to the bottom of the thirteenth.  Cullen got a one-out single, putting the tying run on base.  He did not advance, however, as Brinkman and Casanova each hit into forceouts to end the game.

WP:  Perranoski (8-6).  LP:  Dennis Higgins (9-9).  S:  None.

Notes:  Tovar was again at second with Uhlaender in center.  Graig Nettles played left.  In the eleventh, after the Twins took the lead, Frank Quilici came in to play third base, with Killebrew moving to first and Reese to left.  Another option would've been to put Quilici at second and Tovar in center.  It seems like that might have been better, although I certainly can't prove it.

Reese was 0-for-5 with a walk, making his average .337.  Oliva was batting .322.  Perranoski's ERA was 2.01.

One assumes Chance was still having injury problems, as there was no apparent strategic reason for taking him out of the game.  He would go to the bullpen after this game, making three relief appearances before returning to the rotation on September 1.

Hall had just pitched a complete game on August 13, so an eight-inning stint wasn't out of the question for him.  I wonder, though, when the last time is someone pitched eight innings of relief in a game.

I also wonder when the last time is that someone pitched eleven innings, the way Coleman did in this game.

The two teams combined to strand twenty runners and went a combined 4-for-23 with men in scoring position.

I don't have time to do a full profile of Coleman, but he was a fine pitcher for Washington from 1968-1970.  He went 32-41 because the Senators had a lousy team, but he had an ERA in the low-to-mid threes each year and pitched over 200 innings a season.  He then went to Detroit, got some run support, and went 62-38 from 1971-1973, winning twenty games twice while being pretty much the same pitcher he had been in Washington.  He struggled for a few years, had a couple of good years as a reliever (1977-1978), and was done after the 1979 campaign.  For about six years, though, he was a really good major league starting pitcher.

Record:  The Twins were 71-48, in first place in the American League West, two games ahead of Oakland.

Happy Birthday–January 29

Ray Hayworth (1904)
Pancho Coimbre (1909)
Bill Rigney (1918)
Hank Edwards (1919)
Frank Gravino (1923)
Bobby Bolin (1939)
Sergio Ferrer (1951)
Steve Sax (1960)
Mike Aldrete (1961)
John Habyan (1964)
Jason Schmidt (1973)
Alex Avila (1987)

Pancho Coimbre was a star in the Caribbean Leagues and the Negro leagues in the 1940s.  Roberto Clemente said that Coimbre was a better player than Clemente was.  Coimbre played two full seasons in the Puerto Rican League in which he did not strike out.

Frank Gravino played in the minors from 1940-1942 and 1946-1954.  He has been called the greatest slugger in Northern League history, hitting 108 home runs in two seasons there.

We would also like to wish a very happy birthday to Beau's son.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–January 29

1969 Rewind: Game One Hundred Eighteen


Date:  Saturday, August 16.

Batting stars:  Harmon Killebrew was 2-for-3 with a walk.  Graig Nettles was 1-for-2 with a home run, his fifth.  Rich Reese was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his fifteenth.

Pitching stars:  Jim Kaat pitched a complete game, allowing six runs on ten hits and two walks and striking out four.

Opposition stars:  Tim Cullen was 2-for-4 with a double.  Ed Brinkman was 2-for-4.  Future Twin Brant Alyea was 2-for-4.  Frank Howard was 1-for-3 with a three-run homer (his thirty-eighth) and a walk.

The game:  The Senators had men on first and second with one out in the second, but did not score.  In the fourth, Ted Uhlaender led off with a double-plus-error and scored on Killebrew's single to put the Twins up 1-0.  Washington led off the fourth with two singles but did not score.  Nettles led off the fifth with a home run, but the Twins wasted Kaat's two-out double.  Still, Minnesota led 2-0.

It didn't last.  With one out in the bottom of the fifth, Del Unser and Brinkman singled and Howard followed with a three-run homer to put the Senators up 3-2.  The Twins tied it in the sixth when Tony Oliva singled, Killebrew walked, and Rick Renick delivered a two-out pinch-hit single to tie it 3-3.

Cesar Tovar hit a two-out double in the seventh and went to third on a wild pitch, but was stranded there.  In the eighth, however, Killebrew singled and Reese hit a two-run homer.  The Twins led 5-3 going to the bottom of the eighth.

With one out in the bottom of the eighth, Alyea and Cullen singled.  Kaat remained in the game to face Ed Stroud, who tripled in both runs to tie the score.  Kaat remained in the game to face Paul Casanova, who hit a sacrifice fly to give Washington a 6-5 lead.  Leo Cardenas led off the ninth with a single, but was erased on a double play and the Twins could not come back.

WP:  Darold Knowles (6-2).  LP:  Kaat  (11-10).  S:  None.

Notes:  Tovar was at second base, with Uhlaender in center and Nettles in left.

Reese was batting .342.  Oliva was batting .321.

In the sixth and seventh, Kaat gave up just one hit, a single, and immediately got a double play so that he faced just six batters in those two innings.  It would seem that was part of the reason he was left in to pitch the entire eighth.  It's easy to second-guess that, but it's hard to put oneself into the mindset of a manager in 1969.  The game was simply played differently.  It probably would not have been an unusual move to bring in a reliever, but it probably was not that unusual to leave the starter in, either.

Frank Howard was a great batter.  He won the Rookie of the Year award in 1960 with the Dodgers, he finished in the top ten of MVP voting four times, and he made the all-star team four times.  He wore the Twins out in 1969, batting .442/.556/.721 against them in fifty-four plate appearances, for an OPS of 1.276.  For his career he batted .305/.388/.514 against the Twins in 464 plate appearances, for an OPS of .901, and hit twenty-two home runs.

Dick Bosman was the starting pitcher for the Senators.  He pitched 5.1 innings, giving up three runs (two earned) on six hits and a walk and striking out three.

Record:  The Twins were 70-48, in first place in the American League West, one game ahead of Oakland.

Smoking with meat (and not just smoked meats)

My trusty weber kettle recently started to rust in several spots because a subcontractor* dropped a hammer on it last year.  I was the next person in line at work to get free swag from our U-Line order so I got a new weber kettle (!). I spent a lot of time on the interwebs looking for ideas on how to modify my old kettle before settling on making a DIY electric smoker. Why electric you ask? Because it's a hell of a lot easier than setting up and babysitting a charcoal smoker. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I've heard all the complaints about how smoking shouldn't be easy, and that half the fun is tweaking the vents, and how it's cheating, and how / and how / and how. ... pfffffffffft. After testing this unit out and dialing in 225 and 250 on the thermostat I can say that this is pretty close to set it and forget it. I bought a replacement electric smoker element from amazon with an adjustable thermostat. The I used a dremel with a metal cut off wheel to cut the opening for the electric element, and then had to bend some parts into submission with brute force. The electric element has a set of mounting holes, and I drilled through the kettle and set the element in place with some stainless bolts. Figuring out how high to place the element was the only bit of struggle I had with this build. I removed the charcoal grate and made sure that the ash sweeps / vent covers weren't impeded and set about cutting open the grill. I bought two stainless steel chafing pans, the smaller one to act as a water pan  / dripping catcher, and the other to hold wood chips.

The first run featured perfectly cooked salmon and pulled pork, but the smoke flavor was definitely lacking . After looking into the ash tray I discovered that most the wood chips hadn't really caught fire. I figured out that the pan gets hot enough to make some of the chips smolder, but not hot enough to foster minion method burning. Some further inter-webbing solved that problem.  Enter the a-maze-n pellet smoking tube. While I haven't actually used the pellet smoker yet, but i found that the wood pellets** produce a ton of smoke just laying on the bottom of the larger chafing pan. I also started a few of the pellets in one corner to ensure smoke production The second run produced excellent , smokey results. I ran at 245˚ ish degrees and successfully smoked a boston butt, a chicken carcass, and some pink salt. When the a-maze-n shows up I fully indent to cold smoke cheese, tofu, and nuts (and anything else I can think of), and I'll update on how it works.




**There is a mountain of information and opinion on pellet smoking / pellet composition / binders / ////// The conclusion I came to was to use 100% hardwood pellets, and what I found in my area was traeger branded pellets. The flavor was excellent. One other note on the traeger grills, I've had "smoked" meats from pellet grills that were excellently cooked with no smoke flavor. What I've read now makes sense, the pellet grills get to temperature and then maintain temperature without actually burning that much fuel. No burning = no smoke flavor. I feel pretty great that I've made something out of a rusting kettle that makes food better than the 1000$ pellet grills...

1969 Rewind: Game One Hundred Seventeen


Date:  Friday, August 15.

Batting stars:  Rich Reese was 3-for-4.  Leo Cardenas was 2-for-4.

Pitching stars:  Jim Perry pitched seven shutout innings, giving up seven hits and two walks and striking out one.  Ron Perranoski struck out two in two shutout innings, giving up two hits.

Opposition stars:  Casey Cox pitched four shutout innings of relief, giving up one hit and one walk and striking out one.  Dennis Higgins pitched two perfect innings, striking out one.  Ed Brinkman was 2-for-4.

The game:  Tovar and Reese each singled to start the game, putting men on first and third.  The Twins only scored once, on Tony Oliva's RBI groundout, but it gave Minnesota a 1-0 lead.

Each team put men on first and second with one out in the second, but did not score.  In the third, Reese led off with a single, Oliva had a one-out single, and Cardenas delivered a two-out single to put the Twins up 2-0.  The Senators had a man on third with one out in the third, but did not score.  The Twins had men on first and third in the fourth and did not score.  Washington got a two-out double from Del Unser in the fifth and had a man on second with none out in the sixth, but still could not dent the plate.  They also had two singles in the seventh, but a double play took them out of the inning.  After that, the Senators got just a two-out single in the ninth.

WP:  Perry (14-5).  LP:  Jim Shellenback (4-7).  S:  Perranoski (22).

Notes:  With Carew out, Reese moved into the number two slot in the order.  Frank Quilici played second base.  Bob Allison was in left field, and Tom Tischinski was behind the plate.

Reese raised his average to .344.  He was 7-for-8 in his last two games, 16-for-28 in his last seven games, and 24-for-49 in his last sixteen games.

The teams combined for sixteen hits, but just two runs.  All but one of the hits were singles.  The teams combined to go 2-for-17 with men in scoring position, with Washington going 0-for-8.

Shellenback pitched the first three innings, giving up two runs on six hits and a walk and striking out three.  He came out of the game for a pinch-runner after singling to start the bottom of the third.  Presumably he was injured, although he came back to pitch just two days later.  He wasn't much of a batter, though (.135/.159/.154), so you probably wouldn't let him bat if you were planning to take him out.

Casey Cox was a pretty good reliever for the Senators from 1966-1969.  In those seasons, he went 23-17, 3.03 in 365.1 innings (176 games, 13 starts).  Despite how well he pitched, he was sent to AAA Buffalo for most of the 1968 season--it's hard to believe Washington had such a stellar bullpen that they couldn't have found room for him.  The Senators converted him to starting in 1970, which didn't work very well--he went 8-12, 4.45.  He did a little better when returned to the bullpen in 1971, but he was never again what he had been.  The now-Texas Rangers traded him to the Yankees at the end of August of 1972 for ex-Twin Jim Roland.  He did little for the Yankees and was released early in the 1973 season.  He then played in AAA with the Cubs and his playing career was over after the 1973 season.  It's hard to know what happened this many years after the fact, but it kind of looks like the Senators didn't know what they had in Cox, started messing around with him, and ultimately the messing around took its toll.

Record:  The Twins were 70-47, in first place in the American League West, two games ahead of Oakland.

Happy Birthday–January 27

Andy Lotshaw (1880)
Milt Gaston (1896)
Bibb Falk (1899)
Fred Heimach (1901)
John Lowenstein (1947)
Tom Trebelhorn (1948)
Eric Wedge (1968)
Phil Plantier (1969)
Angel Berroa (1980)
Gavin Floyd (1983)

Andy Lotshaw had a thirteen-year minor league career as an outfielder/first baseman, leading his league in triples four times and in home runs five times.  He also played professional basketball.  He then became the trainer for the Chicago Cubs from 1922-1952.

Tom Trebelhorn managed the Milwaukee Brewers from 1986-1991 and the Chicago Cubs in 1994.

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