All posts by Jeff A

1969 Rewind: Game One Hundred Seven


Date:  Sunday, August 3.

Batting stars:  Tony Oliva was 2-for-4.  Leo Cardenas was 2-for-4.  Rich Reese was 1-for-1 with a grand slam (his eleventh home run).

Pitching star:  Jim Kaat pitched seven innings, giving up one run on five hits and three walks and striking out five.

Opposition stars:  Andy Etchebarren was 2-for-3.  Paul Blair was 1-for-4 with a home run, his twenty-first.

The game:  Harmon Killebrew hit a two-out double in the first, but he was thrown out trying to score on Oliva's single.  He was the only man to get past first base until the fourth, when Merv Rettenmund and Boog Powell opened with singles to put men on first and third.  Brooks Robinson then hit into a double play to give the Orioles a 1-0 lead.  Baltimore then loaded the bases, as two walks sandwiched a single, but Dave McNally grounded out to end the inning.

It looked like the one run might be enough.  Through six innings, the Twins had just four hits and, again, had just one man get past first base.  Their first two men went out in the seventh as well.  Then, however, Cardenas and Frank Quilici singled and Rick Renick pinch-hit and walked, loading the bases.  Reese then pinch-hit for Kaat and hit a grand slam, giving the Twins a 4-1 lead.

Paul Blair led off the eighth with a home run to cut the lead to 4-2, but that was as close as the Orioles would come.  The Twins added a run in the eighth when Rod Carew singled, went to second on a ground out, and scored on an Oliva single.

WP:  Kaat (11-7).  LP:  McNally (15-1).  S:  Al Worthington (2).

Notes:  This was a rather historic game at the time.  As you can see, it was the first loss of the season for McNally.  Had he won, he would've set an American League record with sixteen consecutive wins to start the season and eighteen consecutive wins including the previous season.  Your author remembers being sick this Sunday afternoon, listening to the game on the radio, and feeling much better after the Reese grand slam.

Bob Allison was again in left.  Frank Quilici was at third base, with Killebrew at first and Reese again on the bench.  Tom Tischinski was behind the plate--apparently George Mitterwald was gone for two weeks to fulfill a military reserve obligation, leaving Tischinski as the backup to Johnny Roseboro.  Renick pinch-hit for Tischinski in the seventh, with Roseboro coming in to catch in the eighth.

Carew was 1-for-4 and was batting .368.  Oliva raised his average to .328.  Reese was batting .320.  Kaat had his ERA drop to 2.86.

While McNally was obviously a fine pitcher, he had not always blown the opposition away during his streak.  He had five starts of four innings or fewer.  He also gave up four runs or more in five of the starts.  His teammates scored more than five runs in nine of his starts.  Again, McNally was a fine pitcher, but a streak like this always involves some luck, too.

Record:  The Twins were 66-41, in first place in the American League West, three games ahead of Oakland.

Happy Birthday–January 17

Louis Santop (1890)
Hank Leiber (1911)
Lum Harris (1915)
Mayo Smith (1915)
Don Zimmer (1931)
Keith Lieppman (1949)
Antonio Munoz (1949)
Pete LaCock (1952)
Darrell Porter (1952)
Mark Littell (1953)
Jerry Turner (1954)
Doug Simunic (1956)
T. R. Bryden (1959)
Chili Davis (1960)
SBG (1965)
Tyler Houston (1971)
Rob Bell (1977)

Catcher Louis Santop was a star in the Negro Leagues, hitting .349 over fifteen seasons.

Keith Lieppman has been Oakland's Director of Player Development since 1992.

Antonio Munoz was a long-time star in Cuba, winning eight home run titles and becoming the all-time leader in walks.

Doug Simunic was the manager of the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks from 1996-2017.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–January 17

1969 Rewind: Game One Hundred Six


Date:  Saturday, August 2.

Batting stars:  Tony Oliva was 2-for-4 with a triple and a walk, scoring twice.  Harmon Killebrew was 1-for-4 with a home run (his thirty-first) and two RBIs.

Pitching star:  Dick Woodson retired all four batters he faced.

Opposition stars:  Paul Blair was 2-for-3 with a double and a walk.  Clay Dalrymple was 2-for-4 with a home run (his second) and two runs.  Dave Johnson was 2-for-4.  Boog Powell was 2-for-5 with a two-run homer, his twenty-ninth.  Don Buford was 2-for-5 with a stolen base, his ninth.

The game:  Each team put a man on second with one out in the first; none scored.  The Orioles had men on first and second with one out in the second; they did not score.  Baltimore finally broke through in the third when Buford singled, stole second, went to third on an error, and scored on a double play, giving the Orioles a 1-0 lead.

Baltimore increased their lead in the third.  Mark Belanger and Dalrymple singled, Mike Cuellar hit a sacrifice fly, and Buford had an RBI single, putting the Orioles up 3-0.

The Twins got on the board in the fourth when Oliva tripled and scored on a Leo Cardenas sacrifice fly.  They went into the lead in the fifth inning.  Frank Quilici singled, Cesar Tovar reached on an error by Belanger, and a Rod Carew bunt put men on second and third.  Killebrew reached on Belanger's second error of the inning to bring home a run, Oliva hit into a force out, but a run scored and Oliva went to second on Belanger's third error of the inning, and Bob Allison delivered an RBI single, giving the Twins a 4-3 advantage.

The lead didn't last long, though.  Dalrymple homered with two out in the sixth to tie it 4-4.  In the seventh, Blair singled and Powell hit a two-run homer to put Baltimore ahead 6-4.  Killebrew homered in the bottom of the seventh to make it 6-5.

But that was it.  The Twins had only one hit after that and did not advance a man past first base.

WP:  Mike Cuellar (13-9).  LP:  Al Worthington (4-1).  S:  Pete Richert.

Notes:  Rick Renick again started at third base, with Killebrew at first and Rich Reese on the bench.  I really don't know why you'd want to do that.  It's possible that Reese had some minor injury, although he continued to be used as a pinch-hitter and defensive replacement.  There might, possibly, be a defensive advantage to be gained, although I don't recall Renick as a whiz at third.  Renick went 0-for-3 in this game to make his average .206 and his OPS of .585.  If anyone knows why Renick was playing so much instead of Reese, please let me know in an LTE.

Tom Tischinski was given a rare start behind the plate.  Johnny Roseboro came in late in the game after Graig Nettles was used as a pinch-hitter.

Twins starter Jim Perry lasted 3.1 innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and a walk and striking out two.  His ERA was 2.99.  Ron Perranoski faced one batter and got two outs, as he got Powell to hit into a double play.  His ERA was 1.72.

Baltimore's starter, Cuellar, pitched 6.1 innings, giving up five runs (two earned) on eight hits and three walks and struck out three.

Mark Belanger was well-known as an excellent fielder.  He won eight Gold Gloves in his career.  Here, he made three errors in the same inning.  I have to think that didn't happen to him very often in his career.

The unsung hero for the Orioles was reliever Al Severinsen.  He came in with a man on first, one out in the seventh, and Baltimore leading 6-5.  He then retired the next seven batters before giving up a two-out walk to Killebrew in the ninth.  Severinsen had a rather strange career.  He was in his first season in 1969 and at this point had an ERA of 2.76 with a WHIP of 1.22 in 16.1 innings.  He would make one more appearance, throwing a scoreless inning, then would get sent back down, coming up for just one September appearance, when he pitched 2.1 scoreless innings.  For the season, he had an ERA of 2.29 and a WHIP of 1.22 in 19.2 innings.  He was back in AAA Rochester in 1970, and despite pitching very well there did not get another chance with the Orioles.  Now, I know Baltimore had a really good pitching staff back then, but it seems like they could've made some use of him.  Instead, they traded him to San Diego.  He was with the Padres all of 1971, his only full year in the majors, and posted an ERA of 3.47, although with a WHIP of 1.53.  He started 1972 back in AAA, coming up for most of the second half of the season.  In seventeen big league games in 1972, he had an ERA of 2.53 and a WHIP of 0.94.  He was twenty-seven at that point, and seemed like a reliever you could do something with.  Instead, they traded him to the Mets for a reserve outfielder named Dave Marshall.  Severinsen did not pitch in 1973, and in fact did not pitch at all after that.  In 88 major league games (111 innings). he had a 3.08 ERA and his playing career was over.  None of my usual biographical sources have any real information about him.  His obituary indicates that he did not sour on baseball, and continued to coach youth, high school, and college players.  He also was involved in baseball clinics sponsored by the MLBPA.  Al Severinsen passed away on January 27, 2015.

Record:  The Twins were 65-41, in first place in the American League West, 2.5 games ahead of Oakland.

Happy Birthday–January 16

Jimmy Macullar (1855)
Art Whitney (1858)
Jimmy Collins (1870)
Ferdie Schupp (1891)
Buck Jordan (1907)
Dizzy Dean (1910)
Jim Owens (1934)
Ron Herbel (1938)
Joe Bonikowski (1941)
Tsuneo Horiuchi (1948)
Dave Stapleton (1954)
Steve Balboni (1957)
Marty Castillo (1957)
Dave Jauss (1957)
Jack McDowell (1966)
Ron Villone (1970)
Jack Cust (1979)
Albert Pujols (1980)
Matt Maloney (1984)
Jeff Manship (1985)

Jimmy Macullar holds the career record for most games by a left-handed-throwing shortstop (325). Oddly, he batted right-handed.

Pitcher Tsuneo Horiuchi made nine all-star teams in Japan and won seven Gold Gloves.  On October 10, 1967 he pitched a no-hitter and also hit three home runs.

Dave Jauss is a long-time minor league manager, scout, and major league coach.

Marty Castillo was drafted by Minnesota in the twenty-first round in 1975, but did not sign.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–January 16

1969 Rewind: Game One Hundred Five


Date:  Friday, August 1.

Batting stars:  Rich Reese was 2-for-4 with a triple and a walk.  Leo Cardenas was 2-for-4 with a triple and a walk.  Harmon Killebrew was 2-for-4 with a double and a walk.  Cesar Tovar was 2-for-5 with a double and a stolen base, his twenty-fifth.  Bob Allison was 1-for-2 with a home run (his fifth) and a walk.

Pitching star:  Ron Perranoski pitched four shutout innings, giving up three hits and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Paul Blair was 2-for-5 with a two-run homer, his twentieth.  Brooks Robinson was 1-for-4 with a home run, his sixteenth.  Ed Watt struck out two in two shutout innings, giving up one hit.

The game:  The Twins got a hit batsman and three walks in the first inning but failed to score, partly because Rod Carew was caught stealing and partly because they did not get any hits.  The Twins again loaded the bases in the second on a single, an error, and a walk, but again did not score.  They finally broke through in the third when Killebrew doubled, went to third on a fly to right, and scored on a Johnny Roseboro sacrifice fly to take a 1-0 lead.  Even so, the Twins managed to leave the bases loaded for the third consecutive inning, as Tovar doubled, Cardenas and Dean Chance walked, but none of them crossed home plate.

Robinson's homer in the fifth tied it 1-1.  The Twins got the lead back in the bottom of the fifth when Reese hit a leadoff triple and scored on another sacrifice fly by Roseboro.  The Orioles got the lead for the first time in the sixth when Marcelino Lopez walked and scored on Blair's two-run homer.  The Twins tied it again in the bottom of the sixth when Allison led off with a pinch-hit home run, making the score 3-3.

The Twins got a pair of singles in the seventh and Baltimore got a pair of singles in the tenth, but they led to nothing.  In the bottom of the tenth, Cardenas hit a one-out triple.  Intentional walks to Allison and Charlie Manuel followed.  Rod Carew then hit an infield single to win the game for the Twins.

WP:  Perranoski (7-5).  LP:  Dave Leonhard (6-4).  S:  None.

Notes:  Ted Uhlaender started the game in left, but came out of the game in the seventh as part of a double switch, with Allison staying in the game in left.

Carew was 1-for-4 and was batting .371.  Tony Oliva was 0-for-4 and was batting .324.  Reese raised his average to .319.

Chance started and pitched 5.1 innings, giving up three runs on two hits and four walks and striking out two.  His ERA was 2.72.  Perranoski lowered his ERA to 1.73.

Elrod Hendricks was the starting catcher, but was replaced five batters into the bottom of the first by Clay Dalrymple.  One assumes he either was injured or was not feeling well.

Baltimore starter Jim Hardin pitched 2.2 innings, giving up one run on three hits and six walks and striking out none.

The Twins stranded the maximum, nine, in the first three innings.  It's got to be rare to leave the bases loaded in three consecutive innings, especially the first three innings of the game.

Hardin came out of the game after walking Chance in the third to load the bases.  Chance was well-known as a terrible batter--he had only one hit in twenty-four at-bats in 1969.  This was one of two walks he drew on the season.  Presumably Earl Weaver thought that if you can't throw strikes to Chance, you have no business remaining in the game.

Chance also walked his opposite number, Marcelino Lopez.  It hurt him, as Blair followed with the home run that gave the Orioles the temporary lead.

The decision to give intentional walks to Allison and Manuel to bring up Carew is interesting.  I don't mean to imply it was wrong, just that it's interesting.  There aren't a lot of good options when you have the deciding run on third with one out.  Walking Allison to set up the double play makes perfect sense.  I'm not sure I'd have walked Manuel to get to Carew, though.  Both Manuel and Carew were left-handed batters, so there was no platoon advantage gained.  It sets up a force play at any base, but you've still got to either get the force at home or get a double play, and Manuel would seem a much easier batter to double up than Carew.  Add in the fact that Manuel was batting .250, over one hundred points lower than Carew.  Again, there were not really good options at this point, but I think I'd have taken my chances with Manuel.

Record:  The Twins were 65-40, in first place in the American League West, 3.5 games ahead of Oakland.

Happy Birthday–January 15

Johnny Nee (1890)
Ray Chapman (1891)
Steve Gromek (1920)
Georges Maranda (1932)
Dr. Mike Marshall (1943)
Bobby Grich (1949)
Rance Mulliniks (1956)
Jerry Narron (1956)
Don Cooper (1956)
Delino DeShields (1969)
Ray King (1974)
Matt Holliday (1980)
Armando Galarraga (1982)
Mitch Garver (1991)

Johnny Nee was a long-time minor league manager and scout.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–January 15

1969 Rewind: Game One Hundred Four


Date:  Thursday, July 31.

Batting stars:  Rick Renick was 2-for-2 with a home run (his second) and a walk.  Cesar Tovar was 2-for-3 with a home run (his fifth) and a walk, scoring twice.

Pitching star:  Dave Boswell pitched a complete game, giving up three runs on five hits and a walk and striking out eight.

Opposition stars:  Norm Cash was 2-for-4 with a home run, his fifteenth.  Ex-Twin Fred Lasher struck out two in two shutout innings, giving up two hits.

The game:  Tovar homered leading off the bottom of the first to give the Twins a 1-0 lead.  Cash tied it when he led off the second with a home run.  Renick homered leading off the bottom of the third to give the Twins a 2-1 lead.

The Twins took control in the sixth.  They opened the inning with consecutive singles by TovarRod CarewHarmon Killebrew, and Tony Oliva, making the score 4-1 with men on first and second.  Lasher relieved Tigers starter Mike Kilkenny and gave up another single, this one to Bob Allison, loading the bases.  The Twins could only score one more, on a Leo Cardenas sacrifice fly, but it put them up 5-1.

Detroit threatened to get back into it in the eighth.  Jim Price and Don Wert singled, and with one out Ike Brown walked to load the bases.  Tommy Matchick struck out, but Mickey Stanley delivered a two-run single, making the score 5-3 and bringing the go-ahead run to the plate in the form of Al Kaline.  Kaline grounded out to end the inning.  The Tigers went down in order in the ninth.

WPBoswell (12-9).  LP:  Mike Kilkenny (1-1).  S:  None.

Notes:  Carew was 1-for-4 and was batting .373.  Oliva was 1-for-4 and was batting .327.

Renick was playing third, with Killebrew at first and Rich Reese, who was batting .316, on the bench.  Frank Quilici came in to play third in the eighth inning and Reese came in to play first in the ninth.  The interesting thing about that is that earlier in the season, Billy Martin would routinely move Killebrew from third to first for defense and pull Reese out of the game.

Allison was in left field.  Ted Uhlaender came in to play defense in the eighth.

George Mitterwald was again behind the plate instead of Johnny Roseboro.

Kilkenny had done well for five innings, but his final line is five innings pitched, five runs, seven hits, two walks, and one strikeout.

Lasher was a favorite of Tigers broadcaster Ernie Harwell.  He came up with a rhyme to introduce him:  "Sound the siren, flash the flasher, here's our fireman, big Fred Lasher."

This was the first big league start for Mike Kilkenny, and his first major league loss.  1969 was his rookie year, and he stayed with Detroit through May of 1972.  He was pretty good in 1969--8-6, 2 saves, 3.37, 1.26 WHIP in 128.1 innings (39 games, 15 starts).  He was not good in 1970-1971, posting ERAs around five and WHIPs around 1.50.  He had an interesting 1972--he started with Detroit, was traded to Oakland in May, traded to San Diego eight days later, and traded to Cleveland in June.  He made five appearances for Cleveland in 1973.  They wanted to send him to the minors at that point, but he refused and eventually retired from baseball.  He apparently pitched in the Intercounty Baseball League, which is in Canada, in 1975 and 1983 (he's a native of Bradford, Canada).  He apparently had a fairly successful business career.

Record:  The Twins were 64-40, in first place in the American League West, 3.5 games ahead of Oakland.  I didn't go back and check, but it seems like the Twins have had about that same lead for at least two weeks now.  That had to be kind of frustrating for them, but even more so for the Athletics.

Happy Birthday–January 14

Billy Meyer (1892)
Smead Jolley (1902)
Phil Piton (1903)
Chet Brewer (1907)
Sonny Siebert (1937)
Dave Campbell (1942)
Ron Clark (1943)
Derrel Thomas (1951)
Terry Forster (1952)
Wayne Gross (1952)
Mike Pelfrey (1984)
Erick Aybar (1984)
Logan Forsythe (1987)
J. R. Graham (1990)

Billy Meyer won 1,604 games as a minor league manager, mostly in the Yankees organization.

Phil Piton was president of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues from 1964-1971.

Chet Brewer was a star pitcher in the Negro Leagues known for his mastery of throwing scuffed baseballs.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–January 14

1969 Rewind: Game One Hundred Three


Date:  Wednesday, July 30.

Batting stars:  Jim Kaat was 2-for-3 with a double.  Tony Oliva was 2-for-4 with a double.

Pitching star:  Kaat struck out eleven in a complete game, giving up three runs on five his and four walks.

Opposition stars:  Earl Wilson pitched seven innings, giving up an unearned run on seven hits and two walks and striking out one.  Don McMahon struck out two in two perfect innings.  Al Kaline was 2-for-4.

The game:  In the second inning, Norm Cash was hit by a pitch, Jim Price doubled, and Don Wert walked, loading the bases with one out.  Dick Tracewski then reached on an error, bringing home the first run on the game.

It stayed 1-0 until the eighth.  The Twins had some chances.  Harmon Killebrew hit a leadoff double in the second but did not move past second.  George Mitterwald hit a one-out double in the fifth and also did not move past second.  The Twins got a pair of walks in the sixth, putting men on first and second with two out, and got a two-out double from Kaat in the seventh.  Again, the Twins could not get to third base.

The missed opportunities cost the Twins, because in the eighth the Tigers scored twice.  Mickey Stanley and Kaline singled, putting men on first and second with one out.  Willie Horton then hit a single-plus-error, bringing home both runners and making the score 3-0.

The Twins got on the board in the eighth.  Rod Carew reached on an error and scored on Oliva's double, cutting the margin to 3-1.  Oliva advanced to third with none out on a wild pitch.  The Twins did not get a baserunner after that, however, and the score did not get closer.

WP:  Earl Wilson (10-7).  LP:  Kaat (10-7).  S:  McMahon (10).

Notes:  Ted Uhlaender was back in the lineup in left field.  George Mitterwald was behind the plate in place of Johnny Roseboro.  Rich Reese was back at first base, with Killebrew at third.

Carew was 1-for-3 with a walk and was batting .374.  Oliva raised his average to .328.  Reese was 0-for-3 with a walk and was batting .316.  Kaat's ERA was 2.92.

The Twins stranded eight men and were 0-for-12 with men in scoring position.

When I think of 1960s baseball, I tend to think of strikeout artists like Sandy Koufax, Sam McDowell, and Bob Gibson.  It has really been surprising to me to see the number of complete games, or seven-to-eight inning starts, with low strikeout totals.  Kaat struck out eleven in this game, which is obviously not a low total, but it was one of only three times he struck out more than six all season.  His opposite number, Wilson, struck out just one in seven innings.  We've seen a number of games like that, where someone pitches seven innings or more and strikes out three or less.  I suppose that's one of the reasons even average pitchers were able to go deeper into games--they weren't running as many deep counts and weren't striking out (or walking) as many batters.  That's not an old guy rant about how the old days were better, just an observation that the game has changed.

Record:  Minnesota was 63-40, in first place in the American League West, 3.5 games behind Oakland.

Happy Birthday–January 13

Ernie Calbert (1887)
Fred Schulte (1901)
Ron Brand (1940)
Makoto Matsubara (1944)
Mike Tyson (1950)
Bob Forsch (1950)
Odell Jones (1953)
Gene Roof (1958)
Kevin Mitchell (1962)
Kevin McClatchy (1963)
Elmer Dessens (1971)
Oliver Drake (1987)

Ernie Calbert won six minor league home run titles.  He also once pitched a minor league no-hitter.

Makoto Matsubara was an eleven-time all-star in Japan.

Kevin McClatchy was the CEO of the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1996-2007.

When Elmer Dessens made his major league debut in 1996, he was the first big leaguer in thirty-five years to have the first name "Elmer".  There have been none since.

Gene Roof is the brother of ex-Twin Phil Roof.

We would like to wish a happy birthday to The Dread Pirate.

Right-hander Oliver Gardner Drake appeared in nineteen games for the Twins at the end of the 2018 season.  He was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, went to high school in Mount Hermon, Massachusetts, attended the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and was drafted by Baltimore in the forty-third round in 2008.  According to, "Drake had attended a year of prep school before the Naval Academy, making him draft eligible after his sophomore year, and he wouldn't have to fulfill his military requirement if he didn't return for his junior year."  He pitched very well as a reliever in rookie ball and low A in 2008.  The Orioles then spent three seasons trying to make him a starter, a plan which did not work.  The only success he had as a starter was a half-season in 2011, when he was a twenty-four-year-old in Class A.  He missed most of 2012 due to shoulder surgery and when he returned he was back in the bullpen, where he has remained.  He made in appearances in AA in 2013 and did well, but was made to repeat it in 2014.  He finally was moved up to AAA in 2015 and dominated the International League, but got only two weeks in the majors before getting September call-up.  He was the second midshipman to make his debut that season (Mitch Harris), but before that there had not been one since Nemo Gaines in 1921.  He posted an ERA of 2.87 in 15.2 innings, but 2016 saw him back in AAA, again getting only about two weeks in the majors before a September call-up.  He began 2017 with the Orioles but made just three appearances before being traded to Milwaukee for a player to be named later. does not indicate who the player was--maybe he still hasn't been named.  Anyway, Drake, pitched the rest of the season for the Brewers, going 3-5, 4.44 as a Brewer.  Then life got really interesting for him.  He started 2018 with Milwaukee, but was sold to Cleveland on May 3.  The Indians waived him, and he was claimed by the Angels on May 31.  The Angels waived him, and he was claimed by Toronto on July 26.  The Blue Jays waived him, and he was claimed by Minnesota on August 3.  He actually pitched very well for the Twins, going 0-0, 2.21, 0.93 WHIP in 20.1 innings (19 games).  The Twins waived him after the season, however, and he was claimed by Tampa Bay on November 1.  Tampa Bay waived him, and he was claimed by Toronto on November 26.  Toronto then sold him back to Tampa Bay on January 4.  If you're keeping score at home, that's seven transfers in one calendar year.  He probably thought that attending the Naval Academy would help him see the world, but I doubt he envisioned it happening this way.  The good news for him, though, is that so far every time someone deemed him expendable someone else has wanted him.  And whatever else may happen, he's appeared in 135 major league games, which is pretty good for a forty-third round draft choice.  He turns thirty-two today.  We hope he will be able to find a home in a major league bullpen in 2019, either with the Rays or someone else.