All posts by Jeff A

Random Rewind: 1993, Game One Hundred Fifty-one

MINNESOTA 5, NEW YORK 4 IN NEW YORK

Date:  Tuesday, September 21.

Batting stars:  Pedro Munoz was 3-for-4 with two home runs (his eleventh and twelfth) and all five RBIs.  Brian Harper was 3-for-4.  Dave Winfield was 2-for-4 with a double and two runs.  Jeff Reboulet was 2-for-4.

Pitching stars:  Willie Banks struck out six in five innings, giving up three runs (two earned) on three hits and five walks.  Carl Willis struck out two in two perfect innings.

Opposition stars:  Danny Tartabull was 2-for-3 with a walk and a hit-by-pitch.  Bobby Munoz pitched 2.1 scoreless innings, giving up one hit and striking out two.

The game:  Dion James hit a one-out double in the first, went to third on a ground ball, and scored on a wild pitch to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead.  It stayed 1-0 until the fourth.  With one out, Winfield and Harper singled and Munoz hit a three-run homer, putting the Twins in front 3-1.

The Yankees got one back in the bottom of the fourth when Mike Stanley walked, Bernie Williams singled, and Wade Boggs reached on an error.  It stayed 3-2 until the sixth, when Winfield doubled and Munoz delivered a two-out two-run homer to make it 5-2 Minnesota.

It couldn't come easy, of course.  New York cut the margin to 5-3 in the bottom of the sixth when Mike Gallego doubled and scored on a Jim Leyritz single.  It stayed 5-3 until the ninth.  Rick Aguilera retired the first two Yankees, but Tartabull singled, Matt Nokes singled, and Stanley hit an RBI single, cutting the margin to 5-4 with Williams coming up to bat.  But Williams grounded out to first, and the game was over.

WP:  Banks (10-11).  LP:  Jim Abbott (10-13).  S:  Aguilera (31).

Notes:  Terry Jorgensen was at first base in place of Kent Hrbek.  Jorgensen was primarily a third baseman--he played just nine games at first in this season, starting only three.  Jeff Reboulet was at third in place of Mike Pagliarulo.  Pags played 79 games at third, Jorgensen 45, and Reboulet 34.

David McCarty was in right field.  Kirby Puckett played the most games in right, 47 (compared to 95 in center).  Munoz played 41, McCarty 34, and Winfield 31.  Munoz was in left in this game, a place he played 64 games (tied with Shane Mack.  Mack played 67 games in center).

Harper was batting .305--he would finish at .304 and was the only .300 hitter on the team.  Puckett came close--he was at .293 and finished at .296,  The Twins batted .264, ninth in the league.  New York and Toronto led at .279.

Hrbek led the team with 25 home runs.  Puckett was second at 22 and Winfield followed at 21.  Munoz hit 13, Harper 12, and Mack 10.  The Twins hit 121 home runs, twelfth in the league.  Texas led at 181.

It was a hitters' year, but even allowing for that the Twins' rotation wasn't very good.  Kevin Tapani led in starts and went 12-15, 4.43.  Scott Erickson was 8-19, 5.19.  Banks led the starters in ERA, going 11-12, 4.04.  Jim Deshaies was 11-13, 4.41.  They never really found a fifth starter.  Rookie Eddie Guardado started 16 games and went 3-8, 6.18.  Mike Trombley made 10 starts and went 6-6, 4.88, stats which obviously include his relief appearances.  Aguilera was solid in the bullpen, posting 34 saves with an ERA of 3.11.  Willis was 3-0, 3.10 with 5 saves and Larry Casian was 5-3, 3.02.  The Twins were next-to-last in ERA at 4.71.  Chicago led at 3.70.  The Twins were twelfth in WHIP at 1.46.  Boston led with 1.33.

In winning this game, the Twins used probably their best starter (Banks) and their three best relievers (Casian, Willis, and Aguilera).  And they did manage to beat the Yankees, even if just barely.

This was the first game of a stretch in which the Twins would win eight out of nine.

Record:  The Twins were 63-88, in sixth place in the American League West, 22.5 games behind Chicago.  They would finish 71-91, tied for fifth place with California, 23 games behind Chicago.

The Yankees were 83-69, in second place in the American League East, 5 games behind Toronto.  They would finish 88-74, in second place, 7 games behind Toronto.

Random record:  The Twins are 55-49 in Random Rewind games.

Happy Birthday–July 14

Jesse Tannehill (1874)
Happy Chandler (1898)
Johnny Murphy (1908)
Robert Creamer (1922)
Ralph Rowe (1924)
Bob Purkey (1929)
Billy McCool (1944)
Steve Stone (1947)
Danny Walton (1947)
Vic Rodriguez (1961)
Robin Ventura (1967)
Derrick May (1968)
Jose Hernandez (1969)
Tim Hudson (1975)

Albert "Happy" Chandler was the commissioner of baseball from 1945-1951.

Author Robert Creamer wrote a biography of Babe Ruth which is still considered to be one of the best baseball books ever.

Ralph Rowe was a coach for the Twins from 1972-1975.  He had been a minor league outfielder in 1942, 1947-1955, and 1957-1961, spending the last three years in the Twins' organization.  He was mainly a manager or coach in those years--I assume he only played if they ran into a shortage of players or something.  He managed in the Twins' organization from 1959-1960 and 1962-1971, winning league championships with Wilson in the Carolina League in 1963, Orlando in the Southern League in 1968, and Charlotte in the Southern League in 1969.  He also coached for Baltimore from 1981-1984.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–July 14

Random Rewind: 2016, Game Twelve

MINNESOTA 3, LOS ANGELES 2 IN MINNESOTA (12 INNINGS)

Date:  Sunday, April 17.

Batting stars:  Trevor Plouffe was 3-for-4 with a double and a walk.  Oswaldo Arcia was 3-for-5 with a walk.  Miguel Sano was 2-for-4 with a double.  Joe Mauer was 2-for-4 with two walks.

Pitching stars:  Kyle Gibson pitched seven innings, giving up two runs on four hits and two walks and striking out four.  Kevin Jepsen pitched a perfect inning, striking out one.  Trevor May pitched a perfect inning, striking out two.  Michael Tonkin struck out four in two perfect innings.

Opposition stars:  Nick Tropeano pitched 5.2 innings, giving up one run on five hits and two walks and striking out three.  Fernando Salas struck out two in two shutout innings, giving up a walk.  Albert Pujols was 1-for-5 with a two-run homer, his second.

The game:  Yunel Escobar led off with a walk and Pujols hit a two-out two-run homer in the first inning, giving the Angels a 2-0 lead.  For a while it looked like that would be enough, as the Twins managed just one single in the first three innings.  In the fourth, however, Sano and Plouffe hit back-to-back doubles to get the Twins on the board at 2-1.  The Twins got a pair of two-out singles in the sixth, but nothing came of it.  In the seventh the Twins got three two-out singles, but Eduardo Nunez was thrown out trying to score from second on the last one, so the score remained 2-1 heading to the eighth.

Sano and Plouffe opened the inning with back-to-back singles, putting men on first and third (Byron Buxton had pinch-run for Sano).  Arcia hit into a double play, but it scored a run to tie it 2-2.  The Twins loaded the bases in the ninth but did not score, sending the game to extra innings.

The pitchers were in control until the bottom of the twelfth.  Mauer led off with a walk.  Buxton bunted into a forceout, but it had the advantage of making Buxton the runner.  He stole second with two out and Arcia delivered a run-scoring single to put the Twins in the win column.

WP:  Tonkin (1-0).  LP:  Cory Rasmus (0-1).  S:  None.

Notes:  John Ryan Murphy was behind the plate in place of Kurt Suzuki.  Eduardo Nunez was at shortstop.  He and Eduardo Escobar shared the position, with Escobar playing more games there (71-51), but Jorge Polanco took over the position in August.

Oswaldo Arcia was in left in place of Eddie Rosario.  Rosario was planned to be the regular left fielder, but he missed time due to injury and also filled in at center, as he did in this game, due to the ineffectiveness at bat of Buxton,   Robbie Grossman actually spent the most time in left field, 75 games to 57 for Rosario.

Sano was in right field.  You probably remember the brilliant plan of the Twins' brain trust to put him out there regularly.  Plouffe was the incumbent third baseman and the Twins refused to either trade him or move him to another position.  I know Twins fans loved Plouffe, and I liked him, too, but he was nothing special as a ballplayer and certainly not worth forcing Sano to the outfield.  Had they traded him prior to the season they might have gotten something worth having for him--not a superstar or anything, but a useful player of some sort.  As it happened, he had a mediocre season for a terrible team, he became a free agent after the season, and the Twins got nothing for him.  Thank you, Terry Ryan.  Max Kepler would eventually take over in right field.

I always love the extreme batting averages you get early in the season.  Nunez was batting .556--he would finish at 2.96.  Mauer was batting .372--he would finish at .261.  Plouffe was batting .302--he would finish at .260.  On the low end, Murphy was batting .056--he would finish at .146.  Rosario was batting .146--he would finish at .269.  Buxton was batting .154--he would finish at .225.  Brian Dozier was batting .167--he would finish at .268.  ByungHo Park was also batting .167--he would finish at .191.  Sano was batting .179--he would finish at .236.  The Twins batted .251 as a team, eleventh in the league.  Boston led at .282, fifteen points higher than second-place Detroit.

Dozier led the team with 42 home runs.  Sano was second with 25.  Remarkably, the Twins had eleven players with double-digit home runs:  Kepler 17, Plouffe 12, Park 12, Nunez 12, Mauer 11, Grossman 11, Buxton 10, Rosario 10, and Kennys Vargas 10.  The Twins hit 200 home runs, which was eighth in the league.  Baltimore led with 253, thirty more than second-place Seattle.

Ervin Santana was the ace of the staff despite a 7-11 record, as he posted an ERA of 3.38 and a WHIP of 1.22.  The rest of the rotation was, well, not good:  Tyler Duffey, 9-12, 6.43, Gibson, 6-11, 5.07, Ricky Nolasco, 4-8, 5.13, Jose Berrios, 3-7, 8.02, Tommy Milone, 3-5, 5.71, Hector Santiago, 3-6, 5.58, and Phil Hughes, 1-7, 5.95.  They weren't all in the rotation at the same time, obviously, but I don't have the time or, frankly, the interest to figure out all the comings and goings of the rotation that year.  Other than Santana it was pretty much garbage in, garbage out.

They did have a few decent pitchers in the bullpen, at least.  Brandon Kintzler had 17 saves and posted an ERA of 3.15.  Ryan Pressly was 6-7, 3.70 with a save.  Taylor Rogers was 3-1, 3.96.  On the other hand, Kevin Jepsen, who was supposed to be the closer, went 2-5, 6.16.  He did get seven saves.

The Twins were dead last in the league in ERA at 5.08, well behind the next worst team (Oakland, 4.51).  They were also dead last in WHIP at 1.45, again well behind the next worst team (Los Angeles, 1.39).

It's amazing how much a team's personnel changes in four years.  Granted, this was a terrible team, so there should have been lots of changes.  But of the seventeen players the Twins used in this game (six pitchers, eleven position players), only four remain with the team:  SanoBuxtonRosario, and May.

There were two future Twins who played for the Angels:  C. J. Cron and Mike Morin.

You may recall that the Twins opened with nine losses, then won their next four.  This was the third of the four wins.  It's rather remarkable that random.org got us a win out of this team.

Record:  The Twins were 3-9, in fifth (last) place in the American League Central, already five games behind Chicago.  They would finish 59-103, in fifth place, 35.5 games behind Cleveland.

The Angels were 5-7, tied for third in the American League West, 1.5 games ahead of Texas.  They would finish 74-88, in fourth place, 21 games behind Texas.

Random record:  The Twins are 54-49 in Random Rewind games.

Happy Birthday–July 13

Tom York (1850)
George Bradley (1852)
Stan Coveleski (1889)
Lee Handley (1913)
Eliot Asinof (1919)
Fritz Dorish (1921)
Ruben Gomez (1927)
Daryl Spencer (1928)
Don Pavletich (1938)
Jack Aker (1940)
Buzz Stephen (1944)
Jerry Terrell (1946)
Bill Caudill (1956)
Mark Brown (1959)
Mike Fitzgerald (1960)
Pat Rapp (1967)
Ryan Ludwick (1978)
Shin-Soo Choo (1982)
Yadier Molina (1982)
Tyler Skaggs (1991)

Author Eliot Asinof played two seasons in the minor leagues.  He has written several books on baseball, most notably "Eight Men Out".

We would also like to wish a happy birthday to uncleWalt’s oldest child.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–July 13

Random Rewind: 1967, Game One Hundred Sixty-one

MINNESOTA 7, CALIFORNIA 3 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Tuesday, September 26.

Batting stars:  Bob Allison was 3-for-3 with a home run (his twenty-fourth), a triple, a walk, and three runs.  Rod Carew was 3-for-4 with a stolen base, his fifth.  Harmon Killebrew was 2-for-4 with two home runs (his forty-second and forty-third) and three RBIs.

Pitching star:  Jim Kaat struck out thirteen in a complete game.  He gave up three runs (two earned) on five hits and two walks.

Opposition stars:  Bobby Knoop was 1-for-3 with a walk.  Aurelio Rodriguez was 1-for-4 with two RBIs.

The game:  Allison hit a one-out triple in the second and scored on Carew's single to give the Twins a 1-0 lead.  It didn't last long, as the Angels scored all three of their runs in the third.  Knoop singled, Bob Rodgers walked, and an error loaded the bases with none out.  Rodriguez then singled in two runs to put California ahead.  After a ground out Rick Reichardt walked to reload the bases and Bubba Morton singled home the third run.  Kaat then struck out Don Mincher and Woodie Held to limit the damage.

Allison homered in the fourth to cut the lead to 3-2.  Then came the sixth.  Cesar Tovar singled and Killebrew followed with a two-run homer to put the Twins in front.  With one out Allison walked and Carew singled.  Ted Uhlaender hit into a force out, but an error allowed Allison to score and make it 5-3.  Jerry Zimmerman was intentionally walked and Kaat reached on an error, increasing the lead to 6-3.

That was pretty much it.  The Angels managed only a single single in the last three innings.  Killebrew homered in the seventh to make the final score 7-3.

WP:  Kaat (16-13).  LP:  Jim McGlothlin (11-8).  S:  None.

Notes:  Tovar was at third, which was one of his two primary positions (the other was center field).  He played 72 games at third and 64 in center--I wonder if anyone else has ever played more than sixty games at each of those two positions in the same season.  If so, I suspect it's a pretty short list.  Rich Rollins played the most games at third with 97 and Uhlaender played the most in cetner at 118.  As I mentioned before, Tovar played in every Twins game this year (which was 164 thanks to two ties) without having a regular position.

I've been through the stats of the 1967 team fairly recently, so I won't do it again.

I suppose walking Zimmerman to face Kaat was the thing to do, but there really wasn't much to choose between the two at bat.  Zimmerman batted .167/.243/.192.  Kaat batted .172/.226/.253.  Zimmerman was intentionally walked twelve times in his career, a direct result of always batting ahead of the pitcher.  In fact, he had a lower OPS than three of the Twins pitchers in 1967, KaatJim Perry, and Dave Boswell.

Kaat, of course, would be injured later that week in the season's penultimate game, an injury which would contribute to the Twins not winning the pennant.

Record:  The Twins were 91-68, in first place in the American League, one game ahead of Chicago and Boston.  They would finish 91-71, tied for second with Detroit, one game behind Boston.

The Angels were 81-75, in fifth place in the American League, 8.5 games behind Minnesota.  They would finish 84-77, in fifth place, 7.5 games behind Boston.

Random record:  The Twins are 53-49 in Random Rewind games.

Random Rewind: 1986, Game One Hundred Thirty-three

MINNESOTA 11, MILWAUKEE 5 IN MINNESOTA

Batting stars:  Kirby Puckett was 4-for-5 with a two-run homer (his twenty-seventh), a double, a stolen base (his sixteenth), and two runs.  Gary Gaetti was 3-for-5 with two runs and two RBIs.  Tom Brunansky was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer (his twenty-first) and a walk.  Steve Lombardozzi was 2-for-4 with two runs.  Al Woods was 1-for-1 with a three-run homer.

Pitching stars:  Mike Smithson pitched seven innings, giving up four runs on eight hits and no walks and striking out six.  Roy Lee Jackson retired all four batters he faced.

Opposition stars:  Robin Yount was 3-for-5 with a home run, his fifth.  Jim Gantner was 2-for-4.  Ernie Riles was 2-for-4 with a double.  Bill Schroeder was 1-for-1 with a two-run homer, his fourth.  Mike Birkbeck pitched three shutout innings of relief, giving up two hits and two walks and striking out two.

The game:  Yount led off the game with a home run, but the Twins took over after that.  In the bottom of the first, Puckett singled, stole second, and scored on Gaetti's single to tie it at one.  Brunansky then hit a single-plus-error that scored Gaetti from first and put the Twins up 2-1.

The Twins took a commanding lead in the second.  Mickey Hatcher drew a one-out walk and went to third on Lombardozzi's single.  A wild pitch scored a run and Puckett hit a two-run homer to make it 5-1. Gaetti then doubled and Brunansky hit a two-run homer, giving the Twins a 7-1 lead.

The Twins kept adding on.  In the fourth, Lombardozzi singled and scored from first on Gaetti's two-out double.  In the fifth, Kent Hrbek and Mark Salas led off with singles and Woods hit a three-run homer to put the Twins ahead 11-1.

The Brewers got the rest of their runs in the eighth.  A tiring Smithson gave up singles to Gantner and Yount and a two-run double to Charlie Moore.  Allan Anderson came in and gave up a two-run homer to Schroeder before retiring the side.  Milwaukee went down in order in the ninth.

WP:  Smithson (12-10).  LP:  Teddy Higuera (17-9).  S:  None.

Notes:  Tim Laudner started at catcher in this game, with Salas pinch-hitting in the fifth.  Laudner, Salas, and Jeff Reed divided the catching duties almost evenly:  Salas caught in 69, Laudner in 68, and Reed in 64.

Billy Beane was in left in place of Randy Bush.  Beane actually played quite a bit of left field in 1986--64 games, with Bush playing 90 and Hatcher 45.  Hatcher was the DH in this game, playing in place of Roy Smalley.

With the blowout game, the Twins made quite a few substitutions.  i already mentioned Salas replacing Laudner.  Woods pinch-hit for Beane in the fifth, with Mark Davidson then taking over in left.  Smalley pinch-hit for Hatcher in the fifth and stayed in the game at DH.  Alvaro Espinoza came in at short to replace Greg Gagne in the seventh.

I must confess that I had no memory that the Twins once had a player named "Al Woods" and in checking it appears that I completely missed him in the birthday list.  His birthday is August 8, so I'll try to include him next month.  In checking on him, I do remember him playing for Toronto as "Alvis Woods".  He was an outfielder for them from 1977-1982 and had a few pretty good years.  He had a poor year in 1982, though, and then spent three and a half years in AAA before resurfacing with the Twins for about a month and a half in 1986.  He did well for them, batting .321/.375/.571 in 28 at-bats, nearly all of them as a pinch-hitter.  It was pretty much his swan song, though--he played in Mexico in 1987 and then was done.

Puckett was batting .349 at this point.  He would finish at .328.  He was the team's only .300 hitter (other than Woods).  The Twins batted .261, which was seventh in the league.  Cleveland led at .284, well ahead of second-place Boston at .271.

Gaetti led the team in homers with 34.  Puckett had 31 homers and Hrbek 29.  Also in double figures were Brunansky (23), Smalley (20), Gagne (12), and Laudner (10).  The Twins hit 196 home runs, second in the league to Detroit (198).

Frank Viola led the team in starts and went 16-13, but with a 4.51 ERA.  Bert Blyleven was 17-14, 4.01 and Smithson was 13-14, 4.77.  Neal Heaton actually had the lowest ERA among the starters, going 4-9, 3.98, but he made just 17 starts, as he was traded to the Twins from Cleveland in June.  Also making double-digit starts were Mark Portugal (6-10, 4.31), Anderson (3-6, 5.51), and John Butcher, who was traded for Heaton (0-3, 6.30).

Six different pitchers had saves.  Keith Atherton led the team with 10, going 5-8, 3.75.  George Frazier had six saves with a 4.39 ERA.  Frank Pastore (4.01) and Ron Davis (9.08) each had two saves, with Roy Lee Jackson (3.86) and Juan Agosto (8.85) each getting one.

The Twins were dead last in ERA at 4.77.  Leading the league was Kansas City at 3.82.  The Twins were twelfth in WHIP at 1.45.  California lead at 1.26.

I remembered Yount as more of a power hitter than he actually was.  He only had four seasons of over 20 homers, with a high of 29 in 1982.  He had nine seasons in which he did not even reach ten.  Maybe I remember him as more of a power threat because of all the doubles and triples--he hit 583 doubles, twice leading the league, and 126 triples, also twice leading the league.  He did hit 251 homers in his career, and I don't mean this as a criticism of him.  He was a great player.  He just wasn't a big home run guy.

Teddy Higuera was a fine pitcher, and 1986 was one of his best years, but you sure couldn't tell it by this game.  He allowed seven runs on seven hits and a walk in just 1.2 innings.  For the season he was 20-11, 2.79 and finished second in Cy Young voting to Roger Clemens.  From 1985-1990 he was 89-54, 3.34.  He then had injury troubles and was never the same pitcher.  He's largely forgotten now, but for several years he was a pitcher you'd have been very happy to have on your team.

This was one of the last games Ray Miller managed for the Twins.  He would be replaced by Tom Kelly a little over a week later.

This was the last of a three-game winning streak.  The Twins would drop their next five.

Record:  The Twins were 58-75, in seventh (last) place in the American League West, 18 games behind California.  They would finish 71-91, in sixth place, 21 games behind California.

The Brewers were 64-68, in seventh (last) place in the American League East, 14.5 games behind Boston.  They would finish 77-84, in sixth place, 18 games behind Boston.

Random Record:  The Twins are 52-49 in Random Rewind games.

Happy Birthday–July 11

Pop Schriver (1865)
Jimmy Slagle (1873)
Milt Stock (1893)
Bob Allison (1934)
John Sevcik (1942)
Ed Ott (1951)
Andy Ashby (1967)
Donne Wall (1967)
Javier Lopez (1977)
Blaine Boyer (1981)
Yorman Bazardo (1984)
Bryan Augenstein (1986)

We would also like to wish a very happy birthday to Mrs. Daneeka’s Ghost.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–July 11

Random Rewind: 1981, Game Ninety-six

TEXAS 6, MINNESOTA 0 IN TEXAS.

Date:  Saturday, September 19.

Batting stars:  Sal Butera was 1-for-3.  Hosken Powell was 1-for-4.  Those were the only two hits the Twins had.

Pitching star:  Bob Veselic pitched 6.2 scoreless innings of relief, giving up four hits and two walks and striking out four.

Opposition stars:  Doc Medich pitched a two-hit shutout, giving up two hits and a walk and striking out four.  Mickey Rivers was 3-for-5.  Al Oliver was 2-for-4.

The game:  All the runs were scored in the second inning.  Twins starter Darrell Jackson struck out Leon Roberts to start the inning.  Then Jim Sundberg and Bill Stein singled, with Stein taking second on a throw to third.  That led to an intentional walk to Billy Sample.  Then Mark Wagner had an RBI single, Bump Wills had a two-run single, Rivers had an RBI single, and Oliver had a run-scoring single.  Veselic then came in and gave up a two-out double RBI double to Roberts, making the score 6-0.

And that was it.  The Twins, as stated above, had just two hits, and both were singles.  Butera broke up the no-hitter in the eighth inning.  Powell singled leading off the ninth.

WP:  Medich.  (9-5).  LP:  Jackson (3-3).  S:  None.

Notes:  Tim Corcoran was at first base.  The Twins didn't really have a regular first baseman.  Danny Goodwin played 40 games there, Ron Jackson 36, Corcoran 16, Kent Hrbek (a September call-up) 13, and Pete Mackanin 10.

Ron Washington was at shortstop.  Roy Smalley had been the regular shortstop, but missed a month due to injury and was the DH when he came back.

Gary Ward, who normally was the left fielder, was in center in place of Mickey Hatcher, who was given the day off.  Rick Sofield was in left.  Powell was in right in place of Dave Engle, who was given the day off.

The Twins didn't have anyone come remotely close to batting .300.  John Castino led the team in batting at .268.  As I recall, Bill James referred to him as the team's "least inadequate player".  The Twins finished next-to-last in batting at .240.  Toronto was last at .226.  Boston led the league at .275.

Smalley led the team in home runs with seven.  That's right, seven.  Yes, it was a strike year, and the Twins only played 109 games (that's why game 96 is in September).  But seven?  I suspect you'd have to go back to the deadball era to find another time someone led their team in home runs with seven.  I suspect that even with a sixty-game schedule this year (assuming it's actually played), every team will have someone who hits more than seven home runs.  That's embarrassing.  Remarkably, the Twins were only next-to-last in home runs with 47.  Cleveland was last with 39 (their leader in home runs was Bo Diaz, who also had seven).  Oakland led the league in home runs with 104.

Jackson lasted just 1.1 innings, allowing all six runs on seven hits and a walk and striking out one.  The Twins' rotation really wasn't awful, although it was nothing to shout about.  Pete Redfern was 9-8, 4.07; Al Williams 6-10, 4.08; Fernando Arroyo 7-10, 3.93; Roger Erickson 3-8, 3.84; Jerry Koosman 3-9, 4.20; and Brad Havens 3-6, 3.58.  The bullpen had Doug Corbett, who posted an ERA of 2.57, a WHIP of 1.30, and 17 saves.  Koosman had five saves--for reasons I forget now, the Twins put him in the bullpen in August before trading him to Chicago in September. Veselic, who pitched so well in this game, was a September call-up who went 1-1, 3.18 in five games (22.2 innings).  He would never get another chance, though--he pitched poorly in AAA in 1982 and again in 1983 and was done.

The Twins were next-to-last in ERA at 3.98.  Seattle was last at 4.23.  New York led the league at 2.90.  The Twins were last in WHIP at 1.43.  New York led there, too, at 1.18.  I hadn't remembered that 1981 was such a pitchers' year, but apparently it was.

Doc Medich has been pretty much forgotten about, but he was a pretty fair pitcher.  124-105, 3.78, 1.33 WHIP in just under two thousand innings.  1981 was probably his best year:  10-6, 3.08, 1.18 WHIP, led the league in shutouts with 4.  I'm not nominating him for the Hall of Fame or anything, but he was a solid major league pitcher for several years.

I have always considered 1981 the nadir of Twins baseball.  Yes, they've had teams with worse winning percentages, although not a lot of them.  But their other bad teams have had a star you could root for, or some young up-and-coming players to give you hope, or something.  The 1981 Twins had none of that until September, when they started calling up players like Hrbek and Gary Gaetti.  Here's the list of the nine players who played the most games for the Twins in 1981:  CastinoHatcherRob WilfongWardEnglePowellMackaninGlenn AdamsSal Butera.  A few of those guys weren't terrible, eventually, but none was good.  The highest OPS out of that group was Engle at .703.  Engle was also the only young player, at 24.  The rest were all 26-27 or older, and so were as good as they were likely to be (granted, Ward was able to develop into a good player for a few years).  It was just a really hard team to root for.

Record:  The Twins were 36-59 overall.  As you may recall, the strike resulted in the schedule being divided into two halves--the Twins were 19-22 in the second half at this point.  They would finish 24-29, in fourth place in the American League West, six games behind Kansas City.  Overall they would finish 41-68, in seventh (last) place, 23 games behind Oakland.

The Rangers were 49-42 overall.  They would finish 24-26 in the second half, in third place in the American League West, 4.5 games behind Kansas City.  Overall they would finish 57-48, in second place, five games behind Oakland.

Random record:  The Twins are 51-49 in Random Rewind games.

Happy Birthday–July 10

Jimmy McAleer (1864)
Bobby Lowe (1865)
John Heydler (1869)
Wayne Blackburn (1914)
Paul Pryor (1927)
Gene Alley (1940)
Hal McRae (1945)
Bob Bailor (1951)
Andre Dawson (1954)
Buddy Groom (1965)
Lee Stevens (1967)
Marty Cordova (1969)
ByungHo Park (1986)
Ryan Wheeler (1988)

John Heydler was the president of the National League from 1918-1934.

Wayne Blackburn was a minor league infielder from 1936-1956.  He drew over 1,400 walks in his career.

Paul Pryor was a National League umpire from 1961-1981 and is an alumnus of the author’s alma mater, the University of South Dakota.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–July 10