All posts by Jeff A

1987 Rewind: Game One Hundred Forty-five


Date:  Monday, September 14.

Batting stars:  Don Baylor was 1-for-2 with two walks and a run.  Greg Gagne was 1-for-3 with a walk and a run.  Randy Bush was 1-for-1 with two RBIs.

Pitching star:  Roy Smith pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  Dave LaPoint pitched 8.2 innings, giving up two runs on four hits and six walks with three strikeouts.  Greg Walker was 2-for-4 with two doubles and four RBIs.  Ivan Calderon was 1-for-3 with a home run (his twenty-fifth) and two walks, scoring three times.

The game:  Calderon homered leading off the second to give the White Sox a 1-0 lead.  Carlton Fisk and Walker led off the fourth with back-to-back doubles to make it 2-0.  Chicago took control in the fifth.  Their first two batters went out, but a single, a walk, and a single loaded the bases and Walker delivered a three-run double to make it 5-0.  The Twins did not score until the ninth, when three walks loaded the bases and Bush drove in two with a two-out single.

Of note:  Dan Gladden started the game in left field, but batted second, with Al Newman leading off and playing second base in place of Steve Lombardozzi...Kirby Puckett was 1-for-4 to drop his average to .327...Gene Larkin again played first base, with Kent Hrbek again out of the lineup...Frank Viola started and pitched five innings, allowing five runs on eight hits and two walks with five strikeouts.

Record:  The Twins were 77-68, in first place by 3.5 games over Kansas City, which overtook Oakland for second by beating California 8-5 while the Athletics lost to Texas 2-1 in eleven innings.

Player profile:  Ken Williams was the starting centerfielder for the White Sox, going 2-for-5.  He's best known now for his years as the Sox' general manager, but he actually had a substantial playing career.  He was drafted by Chicago in the third round in 1982, reached the majors as a September call-up in 1986, and was the White Sox' most-regular center fielder in 1987, starting 105 games there.  He had a decent season, batting .281 with 11 homers and 21 stolen bases.  He walked only 10 times, though, so his OBP was only .314.  He was only twenty-three, though, so he certainly looked like a good young player on the rise.  Instead, he never had a good year again.  He had a horrible 1988, batting just .159 in 220 at-bats and losing the center field job to Dave Gallagher.  He was traded to Detroit before the 1989 season, batted just .205 as a reserve, and was batting .133 in June of 1990, when he was waived and taken by Toronto.  He did little for them, too, and was waived again in June of 1991, this time claimed by Montreal.  He did okay for the Expos as a reserve, batting .271 (in 70 at-bats), but was released after the season.  He had a good year in AAA Denver (Milwaukee organization) in 1992, but he did not get a call-up and his playing career was over.  He became a scout for the White Sox after that and gradually worked his way up, holding various positions before becoming the general manager in November of 2000.  He left the GM job in 2012 and became the team's executive vice-president, a job he continues to hold.

Happy Birthday–February 24

Bob Bescher (1884)
Al Hollingsworth (1908)
Roy Weatherly (1915)
Monte Irvin (1919)
Andy Pafko (1921)
Syd Thrift (1929)
Johnny Schaive (1934)
Jerry Reinsdorf (1936)
Denny Lemaster (1939)
Danny Cater (1940)
Ron Santo (1940)
Stump Merrill (1944)
Ken Szotkeiwicz (1947)
Cesar Cedeno (1951)
Bob Brenly (1954)
Ken Dayley (1959)
Paul O'Neill (1963)
Shannon Stewart (1974)

Syd Thrift was the general manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1986-88 and of the Baltimore Orioles from 2000-02.  He also held a variety of other front office positions, generally having to do with overseeing minor league player development.

Infielder Johnny Schaive was in the Washington organization from 1955-1960, reaching the majors for parts of the 1958-1960 seasons.  He was selected by the new Washington franchise as the 36th pick in the 1960 expansion draft.

Jerry Reinsdorf became part-owner of the Chicago White Sox in 1981.

Stump Merrill was the manager of the New York Yankees from 1990-91.  A catcher, he was drafted by Minnesota in the twenty-third round in 1965, but did not sign.

Shortstop Ken Szotkiewicz was chosen by Minnesota with the third pick of the 1967 June Secondary draft, but did not sign.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–February 24

1987 Rewind: Game One Hundred Forty-four


Date:  Sunday, September 13.

Batting stars:  Greg Gagne was 3-for-4 with two doubles and two runs.  Gary Gaetti was 1-for-4 with a double and a walk, scoring once and driving in two.  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-4 with a run and two RBIs.

Pitching stars:  Bert Blyleven pitched six innings, giving up two runs on six hits and three walks with three strikeouts.  Jeff Reardon struck out three in 2.2 scoreless innings, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  Mel Hall was 3-for-5 with a home run (his sixteenth), a double, and a stolen base (his fourth), driving in two.  Brook Jacoby was 1-for-3 with a home run (his twenty-eighth) and a walk.  Tom Candiotti pitched 9.1 innings, allowing five runs on nine hits and three walks with eight strikeouts.

The game:  The Twins took the lead in the first on two singles and a wild pitch.  Steve Lombardozzi drove in a run with a single in the second to make it 2-0.  Blyleven left a pitch up to Jacoby in the bottom of the second, cutting the lead to 2-1.  The Twins made it 3-1 in the fifth, but a pitch left up to Hall made it a one-run game again in the sixth.  Hall struck again in the eighth, delivering an RBI double to tie the score at three.  The Twins took over in the tenth.  Puckett singled in the go-ahead run, Gaetti doubled home a pair of insurance runs, and Randy Bush's sacrifice fly rounded out the scoring.  Reardon, who came in with one out in the eighth, retired the side in order in the bottom of the tenth without a ball leaving the infield.

Of note:  Dan Gladden was back in the leadoff spot and in left field, going 0-for-4 with a walk...Gene Larkin was once again at first base in place of Kent Hrbek.  Hrbek was used as a pinch-hitter for DH Don Baylor in the eighth, going 0-for-1 with a walk...Bush played right field in place of Tom Brunansky...Puckett raised his average to. 327.

Record:  The Twins were 77-67, in first place by 4.5 games over both Oakland and Kansas City.


Happy Birthday–February 24

Honus Wagner (1874)
Wilbur Cooper (1892)
Del Wilber (1919)
Bubba Phillips (1928)
Jim Rantz (1938)
Dave Edwards (1954)
Eddie Murray (1956)
Nick Esasky (1960)
Mike Lowell (1974)
Randy Keisler (1976)
Bronson Arroyo (1977)
Dewayne Wise (1978)
Rob Bowen (1981)
Nick Blackburn (1982)
J. D. Durbin (1982)
Chris Parmelee (1988)

Jim Rantz was in the Twins' organization in some capacity from the birth of the team until his retirement in 2012, serving as farm director from 1986-2012.  He was also the winning pitcher in the deciding game of the 1960 College World Series.

Once again, we have three players born on this day who made their debuts in 2016:  Jason Coats, Yefri Perez, and Robert Stephenson.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–February 24

1987 Rewind: Game One Hundred Forty-three


Date:  Saturday, September 12.

Batting stars:  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-4 with a double, scoring once and driving in one.  Gene Larkin was 2-for-4 with two RBIs.  Randy Bush was 2-for-3 with a hit-by-pitch and an RBI.

Pitching star:  Les Straker pitched seven innings, giving up three runs on six hits and a walk with four strikeouts.

Opposition stars:  Brook Jacoby was 2-for-4 with a home run (his twenty-seventh) and a triple, driving in two.  Mel Hall was 2-for-4 with a home run (his fifteenth) and two runs.  Chris Bando was 2-for-3 with a home run, his fifth.

The game:  Puckett had an RBI double and Larkin a run-scoring single in the first inning to give the Twins a 2-0 lead.  It stayed 2-0 until the fourth, when Jacoby homered to make it 2-1.  Solo homers by Hall and Bando put the Indians ahead 3-2 in the seventh.  The Twins got five consecutive singles to score twice in the eighth, with the RBIs going to Bush and Larkin, to go up 4-3.  Juan Berenguer pitched a perfect eighth.  Jeff Reardon was presumably considered unavailable after having pitched two innings the day before, so Berenguer remained in to pitch the ninth.  He retired Joe Carter, but Hall singled and Jacoby tripled to tie the score.  Cory Snyder then hit a sacrifice fly to bring home pinch-runner Junior Noboa with the winning run.

Of note:  Bush was again in the leadoff spot in right field, with Tom Brunansky in left and Dan Gladden out of the lineup.  Gladden was used as a pinch-hitter in the eighth, delivering a single and scoring a run...Bush batted first twenty-eight times in his career, twelve of them in 1987...Larkin played first base, with Kent Hrbek out of the lineup.  Hrbek was used as a pinch-hitter in the ninth and was intentionally walked...Cleveland starter Darrel Akerfelds pitched 7.1 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits and no walks with three strikeouts.  Akerfelds made thirteen starts in his career, all in 1987.  His record as a starter was not good:  2-6, 7.29, 1.71 WHIP.  He did have one good year as a reliever:  in 1990, he was 5-2, 3.77, 1.28 WHIP with three saves in 93 innings (71 games) for Philadelphia.  It was the only good major league season he had.  1991 was his last year in the majors although he remained in AAA through 1995.  He was a long-time pitching and bullpen coach in both the minors and the majors for San Diego.  He passed away from pancreatic cancer on June 24, 2012.

Record:  The Twins were 76-67, in first place by 3.5 games over Oakland, which lost 10-7 to Kansas City.

Happy Birthday–February 23

Barney Dreyfuss (1865)
Paul Cobb (1888)
Roy Johnson (1903)
Ray Brown (1908)
Mike Tresh (1914)
Elston Howard (1929)
Ron Hunt (1941)
Ken Boswell (1946)
Juan Agosto (1958)
John Shelby (1958)
Bobby Bonilla (1963)
Rondell White (1972)
Scott Elarton (1976)
Edgar Gonzalez (1983)

Barney Dreyfuss was the owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1900-1932.

The brother of Ty Cobb, John Paul Cobb (known by his middle name), played in over a thousand minor league games over ten years, batting .283.

Ray Brown was a star pitcher in the Negro Leagues from 1931-1945.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–February 23

1987 Rewind: Game One Hundred Forty-two


Date:  Friday, September 11.

Batting stars:  Kent Hrbek was 4-for-5 with a home run (his thirty-third) and a double, scoring twice and driving in three.  Randy Bush was 2-for-4 with two doubles and a walk, scoring twice and driving in two.  Steve Lombardozzi was 3-for-4 with a home run (his seventh) and three runs.

Pitching stars:  Jeff Reardon struck out two in two perfect innings.  Juan Berenguer struck out one in a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Mel Hall was 4-for-6 with two home runs (his thirteenth and fourteenth), driving in three.  Tommy Hinzo was 3-for-6 with a home run (his second) and a triple, scoring twice.  Julio Franco was 2-for-6 with a home run (his eighth) and a stolen base (his twenty-seventh), scoring twice and driving in two.

The game:  The Indians scored six runs in the fourth, getting home runs by Hinzo and Hall, to take a 7-1 lead.  The Twins scored in every inning in regulation after that.  RBI singles by Kirby Puckett and Hrbek made it 7-3 in the top of the fifth.  Cleveland got one back in the bottom half, but Lombardozzi homered in the sixth to make it 8-4, Hrbek homered in the seventh to make it 8-5, and Bush hit a two-run double in the eighth to make it 8-7.  Franco hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth to give Cleveland a 10-7 lead, but Tom Brunansky doubled in a run in the ninth and Tim Laudner singled home two to tie it 10-10.  In the eleventh, Laudner singled and Chris Pittaro reached on an error, putting men on first and second with one out.  A ground out advanced them to second and third, and Dan Gladden, who had entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the tenth, hit a three-run homer (his sixth) to put the Twins in the lead to stay.

Of note:  Al Newman led off and played shortstop in place of Greg Gagne.  Gagne entered the game as a pinch-runner in the eighth inning...Bush batted second and started in right, with Brunansky once more in left.  Gladden, as mentioned above, entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the tenth...Puckett was 2-for-7 with an RBI and was batting .325...Starter Mike Smithson pitched 3.2 innings, allowing four runs on eight hits and a walk with two strikeouts...Cleveland starter John Farrell lasted 6.2 innings, but allowed five runs on ten hits and a walk with one strikeout...Hinzo's homer was the last of his three major league home runs.  1987 was the only year he saw significant playing time in the big leagues, starting 63 games at second base.  He batted .265/.296/.358.  Julio Franco took over at second the next year.  Hinzo would not be in the majors again until 1989, when he went 0-for-17 over two months as a reserve.  He continued to play through 1996 in AAA and in the Mexican League, but did not get back to the big leagues again.

Record:  The Twins were 76-66, in first place by 3.5 games over Oakland, which lost to Kansas City 9-0.


Happy Birthday–February 22

Bill Klem (1874)
Clarence Mitchell (1891)
Roy Spencer (1900)
Charles O. Finley (1918)
Stubby Greer (1920)
Ryne Duren (1929)
Sparky Anderson (1934)
Steve Barber (1938)
Tom Griffin (1948)
Gerry Davis (1953)
John Halama (1972)
J. J. Putz (1977)
Kelly Johnson (1982)
Casey Kotchman (1983)
Brian Duensing (1983)

Bill Klem was a National League umpire from 1905-1941.  He was the first umpire to indicate his calls with arm signals, and was also the first umpire to wear an inside chest protector.  He umpired in eighteen World Series and also umpired the first all-star game.

Charles O. Finley was the owner of the Kansas City and Oakland Athletics from 1960-81.

Stubby Greer played in the minors from 1940-1958 with a career batting average of .330.  He never played in the major leagues.

Sparky Anderson was born in Bridgewater, South Dakota.

Gerry Davis has been a major league umpire since 1982.

J. J. Putz was drafted by Minnesota in the seventeenth round in 1998, but did not sign.

Three players born on this day made their major league debuts in 2016:  German Marquez, Kevin McCarthy, and Braden Shipley.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–February 22

1987 Rewind: Game One Hundred Forty-one


Batting stars:  Kirby Puckett was 1-for-3 with a home run, his twenty-fourth.  Tim Laudner was 1-for-3 with a home run, his sixteenth.

Pitching star:  Frank Viola pitched a complete game, striking out nine while giving up one run on six hits and two walks.

Opposition stars:  Gary Redus was 1-for-4 with a home run, his eleventh.  Ivan Calderon was 2-for-4 with a double.  Dave LaPoint pitched five innings of relief, giving up one run on one hit and one walk with two strikeouts.

The game:  Redus led off the game with a home run to put the White Sox ahead 1-0.  That was it for the White Sox offense, although they did get a man to third base in the third and sixth.  White Sox starter Richard Dotson apparently was injured, as he pitched only one inning.  The second Twins batter, Randy Bush, hit into a 1-6-3 double play, which may have been the play on which Dotson was injured.  At any rate, the Twins did not get a hit until the fourth, when Puckett hit a two-out homer to tie the game.  Gene Larkin drew a two-out walk in the fifth, but the Twins did not get another baserunner until the ninth, when Laudner hit a leadoff walkoff home run.

Of note:  Chris Pittaro, a September call-up, made his first start of the season, leading off and playing second base in place of Steve Lombardozzi...Randy Bush batted second and played right field, with Tom Brunansky in left.  In the fourth inning, however, Dan Gladden replaced Bush and played left, with Brunansky moving to right...Puckett kept his average at .325...The Twins had only two hits, both solo home runs, and won the game, so I guess solo home runs can hurt you.  I wonder what the highest number of hits (and runs) is in a game where all of your hits were solo home runs.  Or, for that matter, just where all your hits were home runs.

Record:  The Twins were 75-66, in first place by three games over Oakland, which defeated Texas 11-7.

Happy Birthday–February 21

Jouett Meekin (1867)
Dummy Taylor (1875)
John Titus (1876)
Tom Yawkey (1903)
Mark Scott (1915)
Joe Foy (1943)
Jack Billingham (1943)
Tom Shopay (1945)
Charley Walters (1947)
Rick Lysander (1953)
Alan Trammell (1958)
The birthday list (2009)

Tom Yawkey was the owner of the Boston Red Sox from 1933 until his death in 1978.

Mark Scott was the host of “Home Run Derby”.

I've been doing this for eight years now.  How time flies.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–February 21