All posts by Jeff A

2002 Rewind: ALDS Game Three


Date:  Friday, October 4.

Batting stars:  Jacque Jones was 2-for-4 with a double and a walk.  Torii Hunter was 2-for-4 with a double.  A. J. Pierzynski was 1-for-3 with a walk.

Pitching stars:  LaTroy Hawkins struck out two in a perfect inning.  J. C. Romero pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit and a walk.

Opposition stars:  Scott Hatteberg was 2-for-2 with a home run and a walk.  Terrence Long was 1-for-3 with a home run and a walk.  Ray Durham was 1-for-4 with a home run and a walk.

The game:  The Athletics opened the game with back-to-back home runs, with Durham's being of the inside-the-park variety, to take a 2-0 lead.  The Twins loaded the bases in the second on an error and two walks but did not score.  Long homered in the fourth to put Oakland up 3-0.  Pierzynski put the Twins on the board with an RBI single in the fourth. The Twins tied it in the fifth as Jones walked, Corey Koskie tripled, and Hunter singled.  The Athletics got another home run leading off the sixth, as Jermaine Dye went deep.  In the seventh, Durham walked and scored from first on a Randy Velarde double.  He scored on a sacrifice fly to put Oakland ahead 6-3.  The Twins did not get the tying run up to bat after that.

WP:  Barry Zito.  LP:  Reed.  S:  Billy Koch.

Notes:  Cuddyer was again the right fielder, going 1-for-4.

Rick Reed started and struck out eight in five innings, but gave up four runs (all on solo homers), six hits and two walks.

The Twins stranded nine runners and were 3-for-11 with men in scoring position.  Oakland stranded seven and went just 0-for-2 with men in scoring position.

Record:  Oakland took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series.

Happy Birthday–March 17

Fred Pfeffer (1860)
Oscar Stanage (1883)
Joe Fitzgerald (1897)
Charlie Root (1899)
Sammy Baugh (1914)
Hank Sauer (1917)
Pete Reiser (1919)
Vic Voltaggio (1941)
Cito Gaston (1944)
Kurt Russell (1951)
Tim Lollar (1956)
Frank Wren (1958)
Danny Ainge (1959)
John Smiley (1965)
Dan Masteller (1968)
Bill Mueller (1971)
Raul Chavez (1973)
Scott Downs (1976)
Robb Quinlan (1977)
Chris Davis (1986)

Joe Fitzgerald had a long association with the Minnesota/Washington franchise, serving as bullpen catcher from 1945-1947, coach from 1948-1956, and scout from 1957 until he passed away in 1967.

Hall of Fame quarterback Sammy Baugh was an infielder in the minors for St. Louis in 1938, batting .200 in the American Association and the International League.

Vic Voltaggio was an American League umpire from 1997-1996.

Actor Kurt Russell spent three years in the low minors (1971-1973), batting .292 in 356 at-bats.

Frank Wren has been the general manager of the Baltimore Orioles and the Atlanta Braves.

NBA star Danny Ainge was a third baseman for Toronto from 1979-1981.

We would also like to wish a happy birthday to AMR's sister.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–March 17

2002 Rewind: ALDS Game Two


Date:  Wednesday, October 2.

Batting stars:  Matthew LeCroy was 2-for-4.  Dustan Mohr was 1-for-1 with a double.  Cristian Guzman was 1-for-3 with a home run.

Pitching stars:  Kyle Lohse struck out two in two shutout innings, giving up one hit.  LaTroy Hawkins struck out two in a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Mark Mulder pitched six innings, giving up one run on five hits and two walks and striking out three.  Mark Ellis was 3-for-4 with a double.  Eric Chavez was 2-for-4 with a three-run homer and a walk.

The game:  In the bottom of the first, Ray Durham walked, Scott Hatteberg doubled, and Chavez hit a three-run homer to give the Athletics a 3-0 lead.  Oakland loaded the bases in the third but did not score.  The Twins were not so lucky in the fourth.  The Athletics had a man on first and two out when Miguel Tejada hit an RBI double to make it 4-0.  An intentional walk and an accidental walk loaded the bases.  David Justice unloaded them with a triple, making it 7-0.  An Ellis double increased the lead to 8-0.  Hatteberg's RBI single in the sixth boosted the lead to 9-0.  Guzman got the Twins on the board with a home run leading off the sixth, but that was as good as it got.  Oakland cruised to the victory and evened the series 1-1.

WP:  Mulder.  LP:  Joe Mays.  S:  None.

Notes:  LeCroy was the DH rather than David Ortiz.

Cuddyer was again in right field, going 0-for-1 with a walk.  He was replaced by pinch-hitter Bobby Kielty in the seventh inning.

Mays lasted 3.2 innings, allowing six runs on nine hits and two walks and striking out one.

I don't remember what people thought at the time, but Mays seems like a really odd choice to start Game Two.  Of the seven pitchers to start more than three games for the Twins in 2002, he had the worst ERA and was only better than Matt Kinney in FIP and WHIP.  He had pitched better in September than he had the rest of the season, but it's not like he was on a roll.  It's obviously easy to criticize a choice after the fact, but still.  You had weeks to get your rotation set up, you have Rick Reed and Johan Santana available, and you go with Joe Mays?  It seems strange.

Record:  The best-of-five series was tied 1-1.

Happy Birthday–March 16

Bud Fowler (1847)
Blondie Purcell (1854)
Jerry Denny (1859)
Patsy Donovan (1865)
Jake Flowers (1902)
Buddy Myer (1904)
Lloyd Waner (1906)
Ken O'Dea (1913)
Tom Gorman (1919)
Clint Courtney (1927)
Hobie Landrith (1930)
Don Blasingame (1932)
Rick Reichardt (1943)
Rick Renick (1944)
Charles Hudson (1959)
Fieldin Culbreth (1963)
Abraham Nunez (1976)
Curtis Granderson (1981)
Stephen Drew (1983)
Brandon League (1983)
Mickey Storey (1986)

Bud Fowler was the first African-American to play professional baseball, playing in the minors in 1878 and from 1884-1894.

Tom Gorman was a National League umpire from 1951-1977.  His son Brian is currently a major league umpire.

Fieldin Culbreth has been a major league umpire since 1993.  His full name is Fieldin Henry Culbreth III.

Mickey Storey was drafted by Minnesota in the 22nd round in 2007, but did not sign.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–March 16

2002 Rewind: ALDS Game One


Date:  Tuesday, October 1.

Batting stars:  A. J. Pierzynski was 4-for-4 with a triple.  Michael Cuddyer was 2-for-3 with a double and a walk.  Cristian Guzman was 2-for-4 with a walk.

Pitching stars:  Johan Santana struck out two in 1.2 scoreless innings, giving up two hits and a walk.  J. C. Romero pitched 1.1 scoreless innings, giving up a hit and striking out one.  Eddie Guardado pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit and a walk and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Ray Durham was 2-for-5 with two doubles.  Eric Chavez was 2-for-5.  David Justice was 2-for-5.

The game:  A walk and an error put men on first and second with one out in the first for the Athletics.  Chavez then hit a single-plus-error that scored two runs, giving Oakland a 2-0 lead.  Justice delivered an RBI single that made it 3-0.  The Twins got on the board in the second on doubles by Torii Hunter and Cuddyer, but the Athletics scored two in the the bottom of the second to make it 5-1.  Their first two batters went out in that inning, but Durham doubled, Hatteberg singled him in, and error put men on first and third, and Chavez singled in a run.  So, through two innings, the Twins had made three errors and allowed four unearned runs.  Koskie hit a two-run homer in the third to make it 5-3.  The Twins opened the fourth with a walk and a single, but did not score.  Doug Mientkiewicz opened the sixth with a home run to cut the lead to 5-4.  With one out, Pierzynski and Luis Rivas singled and Jones doubled to tie it 5-5.  A walk loaded the bases and Koskie's grounder to first put the Twins ahead 6-5.  Oakland put men on first and second with one out in the sixth, but did not score.  With two out in the seventh, Cuddyer singled and scored on a Pierzynski triple to bring home an insurance run at 7-5.  With two out in the ninth, a single and a walk put two Athletics on with two out, but Guardado retired pinch-hitter Adam Piatt on a fly to left to end the game.

WP:  Brad Radke  LP:  Ted Lilly.  S:  Guardado.

Notes:  Ron Gardenhire made kind of a daring move by playing the rookie Cuddyer in right field, rather than Bobby Kielty or Dustan Mohr.  As you can see, it paid off.

It was also kind of a daring move to use Radke as the game one starter.  He'd had an injury plagued season and did not appear to be the best starter on the team that year.  He gave up five runs in five innings, but only one of the runs was earned.  He allowed eight hits and a walk and struck out three.  It's a matter of opinion whether it "paid off" or if they just got away with it, but either way, it worked out.

Oakland starter Tim Hudson did have a fine season, going 15-9, 2.98, 1.26 WHIP.  He was not really the best starter on his staff either, though--Barry Zito went 23-5, 2.75, 1.13.  Mark Mulder was just about as good, too.  The Athletics definitely appeared to have stronger starting pitchers than the Twins.  Still, in this game, Hudson pitched just 5.1 innings and gave up four runs on eight hits and two hits, striking out four.

Ted Lilly was primarily a starting pitcher throughout his career.  He did, however, make six relief appearances in 2002, including one for Oakland after his trade from the Yankees.  He pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up two runs on three hits and a walk and struck out one.  Coincidentally, he was traded from Oakland to Toronto after the 2003 season for Bobby Kielty,

Record:  The Twins took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five series.

Happy Birthday–March 15

Arlie "The Freshest Man on Earth" Latham (1860)
Doc Casey (1870)
Ralph Miller (1873)
Fred Lieb (1888)
Rosy Ryan (1898)
Jimmie Crutchfield (1910)
Sid Hartman (1920)
Bob Locker (1938)
Wayne Granger (1944)
Bobby Bonds (1946)
Jim Kern (1949)
Steve Stroughter (1952)
Mickey Hatcher (1955)
Harold Baines (1959)
Mike Pagliarulo (1960)
Kim Batiste (1968)
Robert Fick (1974)
Vladimir Nunez (1975)
Dan Perkins (1975)
Kevin Youkilis (1979)

Ralph Miller was the first major league player to live to be a hundred years old.

Fred Lieb was a sportswriter who covered baseball for seventy years.

Jimmie Crutchfield was a star outfielder in the Negro Leagues.

Sid Hartman is a sportswriter/broadcaster who has been covering sports in Minnesota since the earth cooled.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–March 15

2002 Rewind: Game One Hundred Sixty-one


Date:  Sunday, September 29.

Batting stars:  Jacque Jones was 3-for-3 with two doubles.  Todd Sears was 2-for-2 with a double.  Bobby Kielty was 1-for-2 with a two-run homer, his twelfth.

Pitching stars:  Eric Milton struck out six in five shutout innings, giving up three hits and a walk.  Rick Reed struck out two in a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.  Bob Wells pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  Jon Garland pitched seven innings, giving up one run on seven hits and a walk and striking out three.  Aaron Rowand was 2-for-4.  Willie Harris was 1-for-3 with a walk.

The game:  There was no score until the third, when Luis Rivas hit a two-out single and scored from first on Jones' double.  The White Sox nearly tied it in the fifth, but were thwarted when Aaron Rowand was thrown out at the plate trying to score from second on an infield single.  They did tie it in the seventh, when Rowand scored on a double by Miguel Olivo.  The Twins started the bottom of the seventh with two singles but did not get the runners past first and second.  The first two Twins in the eighth were retired, but Matthew LeCroy walked and Kielty delivered a two-run homer to put the Twins up 3-1.  Joe Crede opened the ninth with a double, bringing the tying run up to bat.  The next two batters were retired, but a wild pitch and a walk put men on first and third.  Harris then struck out to end the game.

WP:  Bob Wells (2-1).  LP:  Mike Porzio (2-2).  S:  J. C. Romero (1).

Notes:  The Twins again treated this like a spring training game.  The only player to play the entire game was Michael Cuddyer, and he shifted from right field to third base in the fifth inning.

Jones raised his average to .300.

Sears ended the season at .333 (4-for-12).

A. J. Pierzynski was 0-for-2 and closed out his season at .300.

Michael Restovich was 0-for-1 and ended the season at .308 (4-for-13).

Reed made his only relief appearance of the season and his first since 1997.  Presumably he just wanted an inning to help stay sharp for the playoffs.

Eddie Guardado was held out of the game.  As shown above, Romero got his lone save of the season.

Record:  The Twins closed out the season 94-67, in first place, leading Chicago by 13.5 games.  They would take on Oakland in the American League Division Series.

Happy Birthday–March 14

Candy Nelson (1849)
Bill Holbert (1855)
Marty McManus (1900)
Jack Rothrock (1905)
Santos Amaro (1908)
Dave McKay (1950)
Butch Wynegar (1956)
Steve Lake (1957)
Jerry Willard (1960)
Kirby Puckett (1960)
Kevin Brown (1965)
Brent Gates (1970)
Matt Kata (1978)
Bobby Jenks (1981)

Santos Amaro is the father of Ruben Amaro Sr. and the grandfather of Ruben Amaro Jr.  He was a star player in Cuba and in Mexico and is a member of the Salon de la Fama.

Matt Kata was drafted by Minnesota in the twentieth round in 1996, but did not sign.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–March 14

2002 Rewind: Game One Hundred Sixty


Date:  Saturday, September 28.

Batting stars:  Michael Cuddyer was 3-for-3 with a double.  Bobby Kielty was 1-for-1 with a two-run homer, his eleventh.  Matthew LeCroy was 1-for-2 with a walk.

Pitching stars:  Kyle Lohse struck out seven in five innings, giving up two unearned runs on three hits and four walks.  Johan Santana struck out two in 1.1 scoreless innings, giving up a hit and a walk.  LaTroy Hawkins struck out two in a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Mark Buehrle pitched a complete game, giving up three runs on ten hits and a walk and striking out seven.  Frank Thomas was 2-for-4.  D'Angelo Jimenez was 1-for-3 with two walks.

The game:  The White Sox put men on first and second with none out in the first and failed to score.  LeCroy singled home a run in the bottom of the first to give the Twins a 1-0 lead.  The Twins missed a chance to increase the lead in the second, opening the inning with two singles but not bringing them home.  In the fifth, an error and two walks loaded the bases and Maggilo Ordonez delivered a two-out two-run single to give Chicago a 2-1 lead.  The White Sox had men on first and second with one out in the sixth and did not score.  They had men on second and third in the seventh but again did not score.  The Twins had a similar failure in the bottom of the seventh, putting men on first and third with none out and not scoring.  In the eighth, Kielty came through with a two-out two-run homer to put the Twins up 3-2.  Chicago got a walk leading off the ninth but did not advance the runner past first base.

WP:  LaTroy Hawkins (6-0).  LP:  Mark Buehrle (19-12).  S:  Eddie Guardado (45).

Notes:  LeCroy was the DH in place of David Ortiz.  Ortiz came in to play first base later in the game and went 1-for-2 with a double.

Cuddyer was the right fielder.

A. J. PIerzynski was 1-for-2 to make his average .301.

Denny Hocking was the second baseman in place of Luis Rivas.  He moved to short later in the game, with David Lamb taking over at second.  Hocking was 0-for-2.

The Twins basically treated this like a spring training game.  The only players to play the entire game were CuddyerHocking, and Corey Koskie.  Lohse came out after five innings, throwing 81 pitches.

The Twins won a bunch of games late in 2002, and that's reflected in the won-lost records of some of their relievers.  Tony Fiore was 10-3.  J. C. Romero was 9-2.  As shown above, LaTroy Hawkins was 6-0.

Santana got his ERA below three at 2.99.

Hawkins' ERA was 2.13.

Guardado pitched a scoreless inning to drop his ERA to 2.93.

Chicago stranded eleven runners and went 1-for-10 with men in scoring position.

While it was basically a meaningless game, one suspects the Twins may have taken some pleasure in denying Buehrle his twentieth win.

Record:  The Twins were 93-67, in first place, leading Chicago by 12.5 games.

Happy Birthday–March 13

Frank "Home Run" Baker (1886)
Patsy Gharrity (1892)
Alejandro Oms (1895)
C. Arnholt Smith (1899)
Doug Harvey (1930)
Bill Dailey (1935)
Steve Barber (1948)
Randy Bass (1954)
Terry Leach (1954)
Yoshihiko Takahashi (1957)
Luis Aguayo (1959)
Mariano Duncan (1963)
Will Clark (1964)
Jorge Fabregas (1970)
Scott Sullivan (1971)
Johan Santana (1979)
Mike Aviles (1981)

Outfielder Alejandro Oms was a star in Cuba and in the Negro Leagues.

C. Arnholt Smith was the original owner of the San Diego Padres.

Doug Harvey was a National League umpire from 1962-92.

Infielder Yoshihiko Takahashi has the longest hitting streak in Japanese professional baseball.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–March 13