Category Archives: Keeping Track

1970 Rewind: Game Eighteen

MINNESOTA 4, CLEVELAND 1 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Thursday, April 30.

Batting stars:  Leo Cardenas was 3-for-4 with a home run (his second) and a double.  Brant Alyea was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer, his fifth.  Harmon Killebrew was 2-for-4 with a home run, his fourth.  Paul Ratliff was 2-for-4.

Pitching stars:  Luis Tiant pitched 5.2 innings, giving up one run on four hits and one walk and striking out three.  Stan Williams pitched 1.1 scoreless innings, giving up two hits and a walk.  Ron Perranoski pitched two perfect innings.

Opposition stars:  Ted Uhlaender was 2-for-4 with a double.  Graig Nettles was 1-for-3 with a home run and a walk.  Bob Miller pitched two shutout innings, giving up two hits and striking out one.

The game:  The Twins got two singles in the first but did not score.  The Indians got on the board in the fourth on Nettles' homer, taking a 1-0 lead.  The Twins countered in the bottom of the fourth.  Killebrew homered to tie it, Rich Reese singled, and Alyea hit a two-run homer to make it 3-1 Twins.  Cardenas homered in the fifth to make it 4-1.

Cleveland threatened in the sixth.  Uhlaender led off with a double.  He was still on second with two out, but then Tony Horton walked and Roy Foster singled, loading the bases.  But Ray Fosse grounded out to end the inning.  The Indians again threatened in the eighth when Uhlaender led off with a single and Nettles walked, but they never moved off of first and second.  Well, they did once the inning was over, but you know what I mean.  Cleveland went out in order in the ninth.

WP:  Tiant (4-0).

LP:  Steve Hargan (1-2).

S:  Perranoski (4).

Notes:  Paul Ratliff was again behind the plate in place of George Mitterwald.  Frank Quilici was at second in the continuing absence of Rod Carew.  Jim Holt pinch-ran for Alyea in the eighth and stayed in the game in left field.  Minnie Mendoza replaced Killebrew in the ninth.

Alyea was batting .415.  Ratliff was batting .357.  Killebrew was batting .317.  Tony Oliva was 1-for-4 and was batting .316.  Tiant had an ERA of 2.79.  Williams still had an ERA of zero.  Perranoski had an ERA of 1.98.

All three of the Indians designated as "stars" are ex-Twins.

If you were asked "Who led the Twins in homers in the first month of 1970", your default answer would probably be Killebrew.  If you were told that was wrong, you'd probably say "Oliva".  You might even say "Rich Reese".  But unless you're really familiar with the 1970 club, you probably wouldn't say "Brant Alyea".  But that's who it was, with five home runs.  Those five home runs represent thirteen percent of his career total.

Ratliff was batting nearly two hundred points higher than the Twins' "regular" catcher, Mitterwald.  He obviously wouldn't sustain that, but I would assume there were some who thought Ratliff should be the regular catcher.  If so, Bill Rigney didn't listen to them, because Ratliff would get just 149 at-bats.  This was the only good offensive season Ratliff had, as he batted .268 with an OPS of .806.  In fact, not only was it his only good offensive season, it was the only season in which he batted over .200 or had an OPS over .700.

This game closed out a ten-game homestand.  The Twins would now go on a nine-game road trip, traveling to Baltimore, Detroit, and Cleveland.

Record:  The Twins were 12-6, in first place in the American League West by winning percentage, but tied with California in games.

Happy Birthday–October 23

William Hulbert (1832)
Mike Sullivan (1866)
Lena Blackburne (1886)
Rube Bressler (1894)
Billy Sullivan (1910)
Vern Stephens (1920)
Ewell Blackwell (1922)
Jim Bunning (1931)
Greg Thayer (1949)
John Castino (1954)
Dwight Lowry (1957)
Al Leiter (1965)
Todd Sears (1975)
David Riske (1976)
John Lackey (1978)
Bud Smith (1979)
Kyle Gibson (1987)

William Hulbert was one of the founders of the National League and was its president from 1877 until his death in 1882.

Infielder Lena Blackburne discovered and marketed the mud from the driver beds near the Delaware River in New Jersey that has been rubbed on every major league baseball used since the 1950s.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–October 23

1970 Rewind: Game Seventeen

MINNESOTA 1, CLEVELAND 0 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Wednesday, April 29.

Batting star:  Frank Quilici was 2-for-3.

Pitching star:  Jim Kaat pitched 8.2 scoreless innings, giving up six hits and a walk and striking out five.

Opposition stars:  Ray Fosse was 2-for-3 with a double.  Rich Hand pitched seven innings, giving up an unearned run on six hits and a walk and striking out none.

The game:  The Twins put two on with two out in the second but did not score.  They broke through in the third.  Leo Cardenas singled, but Tony Oliva hit into a force out for the second out.  Harmon Killebrew singled, sending Oliva to second, and Rich Reese reached on an error which scored Oliva for a 1-0 Twins lead.

And that was it for the scoring.  The Indians had a chance in the fifth when Fosse singled and then tried to score from first on an Eddie Leon single (perhaps it was a hit-and-run or something).  The next batter Jack Heidemann, also singled, but pitcher Hand grounded out to end the inning.  They threatened in the ninth when Tony Horton hit a two-out double and Roy Foster walked, but Stan Williams came in and picked Horton off second base to end the game.

WP:  Kaat (3-1).

LP:  Hand (0-3).

S:  Williams (1).

Notes:  Quilici remained at second base in place of Rod Carew.  Cardenas continued to bat second.  Paul Ratliff was behind the plate in place of George Mitterwald.

Jim Holt replaced Brant Alyea in left field in the seventh.  Minnie Mendoza replaced Harmon Killebrew at third base in the eighth.

Alyea was 1-for-3 and was batting .408.  Oliva was 1-for-4 and was batting .319.  Cesar Tovar was 0-for-4 and was batting .311.  Killebrew was 1-for-4 and was batting .304.  Ratliff was 0-for-1 and was batting .300.

Hand pitched seven innings without striking anyone out.  That had to be unusual even back then.  Today, of course, just pitching seven innings is unusual.

Williams got a save without retiring a batter.  I know it's not unheard of, but that has to be unusual, too.  Vada Pinson was the batter--he was a .286 hitter, so he certainly would have had a chance to deliver a game-tying single.  But he never got that chance.

It's interesting that Bill Rigney brought in Williams rather than Ron Perranoski.  My guess is that Perranoski was hurting--after appearing in five of six games and pitching 9.2 innings, he then had five days off before he would appear again.

Record:  The Twins were 11-6, in second place in the American League West, one game behind California.

Happy Birthday–October 22

Kid Carsey (1870)
Bill Carrigan (1883)
Johnny Morrison (1895)
Jumbo Elliott (1900)
Jimmie Foxx (1907)
Wilbur Wood (1941)
Jamie Quirk (1954)
Frank DiPino (1956)
Keith Osik (1968)
Hector Carrasco (1969)
Ichiro Suzuki (1973)
Michael Barrett (1976)
Brad Thomas (1977)
Eli Whiteside (1979)
Robinson Cano (1982)
Darren O'Day (1982)
Carlos Torres (1982)

We would also like to wish very happy anniversary to Daneeka's Ghost and Mrs. Ghost.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–October 22

1970 Rewind: Game Sixteen

CLEVELAND 3, MINNESOTA 1 IN CLEVELAND

Date:  Tuesday, April 28.

Batting stars:  Brant Alyea was 2-for-3 with a walk and a stolen base.  Leo Cardenas was 2-for-4.

Pitching stars:  Jim Perry pitched a complete game, giving up three runs (one earned) on seven hits and no walks and striking out five.

Opposition stars:  Tony Horton was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.  Vada Pinson was 2-for-4 with a double.  Roy Foster was 2-for-4.  Barry Moore pitched eight innings, giving up one run on six hits and three walks and striking out four.

The game:  The Twins got two singles in the second but did not score.  They got on the board in the third when Cesar Tovar hit a one-out triple and scored on a Cardenas single.  The Indians tied it in the fifth when singles by Horton and Foster put men on first and third with none out and a double play brought a run home.

The Twins missed chances in the seventh and eighth.  In the seventh Alyea singled and stole second and Frank Quilici was intentionally walked, putting men on first and second with two out and bringing up Perry.  He reached on an error, but Alyea was thrown out trying to score from second, ending the inning.  In the eighth, Cardenas singled and two-out walks to Tony Oliva and Alyea loaded the bases, but Rich Reese fouled out to end the inning.

It cost them, because Cleveland broke through in the ninth.  After Killebrew missed a foul popup, Ted Uhlaender singled with one out.  He was forced out, but a single by Pinson put men on first and second with two down.  Horton then hit a two-run double, making it 3-1 Indians.  The Twins got the leadoff man on in the ninth when Paul Ratliff was hit by a pitch, but the next three batters flied out.

WP:  Moore (2-1).

LPPerry (3-1).

S:  Phil Hennigan (1).

NotesQuilici remained at second base in the absence of Rod Carew.  The Twins used three pinch-hitters in the ninth.  Ratliff batted for George Mitterwald, Jim Holt batted for Quilici, and Charlie Manuel batted for Perry.

Alyea raised his average to .413.  Tovar was 1-for-5 and was batting .329.  Oliva was 0-for-3 and was batting .324.  Killebrew was 0-for-4 and was batting .308.  Perry had an ERA of 2.19.

Mitterwald was 1-for-3 and was batting .170.

It's always fun to second-guess fifty-year-old managerial decisions.  In the seventh, with a man on second and two out, Cleveland manager Alvin Dark intentionally walked Quilici, bringing up the pitcher's spot.  Quilici was not a very good batter (career .214/.281/.287).  He was better than Perry, but not by a lot (career .199/.228/.247).  And, of course, there was the chance that Bill Rigney would use a pinch-hitter.  Dark either was confident that Rigney would not do that or was thinking that at least that would get Perry (who was pitching well) out of the game.  The Twins pinch-hitting options were not particularly good, as you can see from the three they used in the ninth.  At any rate, Rigney did not use a pinch-hitter, and while Perry did reach on an error the Twins did not score.

Barry Moore was a decent pitcher for a few seasons, but that's all.  He posted ERAs in the mid-threes for Washington from 1966-1968, which isn't terrible but is not as impressive as it sounds when you remember the era.  His ERA went up to 4.30 in 1969 and the Senators traded him to Cleveland.  He moved on to the White Sox in mid-June and did not pitch well for them.  He was traded to the Yankees after the 1970 season, later moved on to Pittsburgh, but never got out of AAA for the rest of his career, which ended after the 1973 season.  This game would be the next-to-last win of his career.  "Barry" was actually his middle name.  It would've been really cool if his given first name was "Lionel" or "Drew" or something like that, but in fact it was "Robert".

Record:  The Twins were 10-6, in second place in the American League West, one game behind California.

Happy Birthday–October 21

Bill Lee (1909)
Bill Bevens (1916)
Whitey Ford (1928)
Johnny Goryl (1933)
Ted Uhlaender (1940)
Bill Russell (1948)
Jerry Garvin (1955)
George Bell (1959)
Franklin Stubbs (1960)
John Flaherty (1967)
Steve Holm (1979)
Casey Fien (1983)
Zack Greinke (1983)
Jose Lobaton (1984)

I always find it interesting that anyone who is even rumored to have used PEDs is condemned as a dirty rotten cheater, but Whitey Ford, who admitted to cheating by scuffing baseballs, is acclaimed as a hero and an all-around great guy.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–October 21

1970 Rewind: Game Fifteen

CLEVELAND 5, MINNESOTA 1 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Monday, April 27.

Batting star:  Brant Alyea was 1-for-2 with two walks.

Pitching star:  Bill Zepp pitched four innings, giving up one run on three hits and a walk and striking out three.

Opposition stars:  Ex-Twin Ted Uhlaender was 3-for-5 with a triple and two runs.  Vada Pinson was 2-for-3 with three RBIs.  Ray Fosse was 2-for-3 with a walk.  Sam McDowell was 2-for-4 with two runs.  He also pitched a complete game, giving up one run on six hits and five walks and striking out eight.

The game:  The Indians started the scoring in the third.  McDowell and Uhlaender led off the inning with singles, a ground out advanced them, and a sacrifice fly brought home the first run.  Back-to-back RBI doubles by Tony Horton and Roy Foster made it 3-0 Cleveland.

The Twins got on the board in the fourth.  With one out, Tony Oliva tripled and scored on Alyea's single.  Rich Reese followed with another single, but the Twins could do no more and it was 3-1.  The Twins got a pair of two-out walks in the sixth, but could do nothing with those, either.

The Indians added a run in the seventh when Uhlaender tripled and scored on Pinson's two-out single.  The Twins started the eighth with a walk and an error but McDowell struck out the next three batters.  In the ninth, McDowell and Uhlaender hit one-out singles and ex-Twin Graig Nettles walked to load the bases.  A sacrifice fly brought home the game's final run.  The Twins got two on in the ninth, but again did not score.

WP:  McDowell (3-2).

LP:  Dave Boswell (0-2).

S:  None.

Notes:  Frank Quilici was again at second base in the absence of Rod Carew.  Leo Cardenas took Carew's number two spot in the lineup.

Minnie Mendoza pinch-hit for Boswell in the third.  Bob Allison pinch-hit for Zepp in the seventh.  Rick Renick pinch-hit for Tom Hall in the ninth.

Alyea was batting .395.  Oliva was 1-for-4 and was batting .338.  Cesar Tovar was 0-for-5 and was also batting .338.  Harmon Killebrew was 1-for-4 and was batting .333.  Zepp had an ERA of 2.25.  Hall gave up no runs in two-thirds of an inning and had an ERA of 2.57.

George Mitterwald was 0-for-4 and was batting .159.  Cardenas was 1-for-5 and was batting .193.  Boswell pitched three innings, giving up three runs on six hits and a walk and striking out two.  His ERA was 5.40.

The Twins stranded eleven runners and were 1-for-9 with men in scoring position.

We don't have pitch counts in 1970, but with five walks and eight strikeouts McDowell clearly threw a lot of pitches.  This was his fifth start and his third complete game.  He had pitched 39.1 innings to this point, and had walked 20 and struck out 40.

The Twins did not keep their "win four, lose two" streak going, as their winning streak was snapped at two games.

Record:  The Twins were 10-5, in second place in the American League West, one game behind California.

Happy Birthday–October 20

Jigger Statz (1897)
Bruce Campbell (1909)
Mickey Mantle (1931)
Juan Marichal (1937)
Dave Collins (1952)
Keith Hernandez (1953)
Jerry Meals (1961)
Rudy Seanez (1968)
Juan Gonzalez (1969)

William Julius "Judy" Johnson was a star third baseman in the Negro Leagues.

Jerry Meals has been a major league umpire since 1998.

It appears that no players associated with the Twins were born on this day.

We also want to wish a very happy birthday to GreekHouse and to freealonzo’s mother.

1970 Rewind: Game Fourteen

MINNESOTA 6, DETROIT 0 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Sunday, April 26.

Batting starsLuis Tiant was 3-for-4 with a double and a stolen base.  Cesar Tovar was 2-for-4 with a stolen base, his sixth.  Rich Reese was 2-for-4.  Harmon Killebrew was 2-for-5 with two RBIs.  Tony Oliva was 2-for-5.

Pitching stars:  Tiant pitched a complete game shutout, giving up three hits and a walk and striking out six.

Opposition star:  Dick McAuliffe was 2-for-4.

The game:  The Twins put men on second and third with two out in the third but did not score.  They broke through in the fourth, however.  Oliva singled, Brant Alyea walked, Reese had an infield single to load the bases, and George Mitterwald had another infield single to make it 1-0 Twins.

The Twins put two on in the fifth, but did not score.  They broke the game open in the sixth with a two-out rally.  The first two men were retired, but Frank Quilici singled, Tiant hit an RBI double, Tovar had an infield single, Tiant and Tovar pulled off a double steal, Leo Cardenas tripled them both home, and Killebrew had an RBI single, making the score 5-0 Twins.

The Twins added one more in the eighth.  Tiant singled, a wild pitch moved him to second, Tovar bunted him to third, and Killebrew singled him home.

The Tigers never had a man beyond first base and only once had the leadoff man on base.

WP:  Tiant (3-0).

LP:  Mickey Lolich (4-2).

S:  None.

Notes:  Quilici was again at second in the absence of Rod Carew.  Cardenas remained in Carew's number two spot in the batting order.

Jim Holt replaced Brant Alyea in left field in the eighth inning.  Minnie Mendoza pinch-ran for Killebrew in the eighth and remained in the game at third base.

Tiant was batting .556.  Brant Alyea was 0-for-3 and was batting .390.  Tovar was batting .367.  Oliva was batting .344.  Killebrew was batting .341.  Quilici was batting .308.

Mitterwald was 1-for-4 and was batting .175.  Cardenas was 1-for-5 and was batting .192.

Tiant wasn't a terrible batter over his career, but he wasn't exceptional, either:  a career line of .164/.185/.224.  In 1970, however, he was exceptional:  .406/.424/.531 in 32 at-bats.  Small sample size, obviously, and maybe that's the full explanation.  But it's still pretty amazing.  The stolen base he got in this game was the only one he had in his career, and it was a steal of third on the front end of a double steal.  I don't know how many players have a steal of third as the only stolen base of their career, but I suspect it's a pretty short list.

This was Tiant's only shutout in 1970, and one of two complete games.

Lolich pitched 5.2 innings, allowing five runs on ten hits and a walk and striking out six.  It was the Tigers' fifteenth game of the season, and it was Lolich's sixth start.  The other five had been complete games (one of them 9.2 innings) and two of them had been shutouts.  Lolich pitched over 200 innings every year from 1964-1975; over 220 from 1968-1975; over 240 from 1969-1975; over 270 from 1970-1974, and over 300 from 1971-1974, with a high of 376 in 1971.  Interestingly, he only led the league in starts and complete games once, both 1971, when he had 45 starts and 29 complete games.  He continued to be an effective starter through age 35, and had a really good half-season as a reliever for the Padres in 1978, when he was thirty-seven.  Memory and a google search reveal that he was considered overweight, but he's listed at 6' 1", 170.  If he was overweight, it certainly didn't affect his pitching.

The Twins had won four, lost two, won four, lost two, and now won two.  Could they win four?

Record:  The Twins were 10-4, in first place in the American League West by winning percentage, but a half game behind California.

Happy Birthday–October 19

Mordecai Brown (1876)
Fred Snodgrass (1887)
Bob O'Farrell (1896)
Al Brazle (1913)
Walt Bond (1937)
Sandy Alomar (1943)
Al Gallagher (1945)
Mark Davis (1960)
Tim Belcher (1961)
Dave Veres (1966)
Keith Foulke (1972)
Horacio Estrada (1975)
Michael Young (1976)
Randy Ruiz (1977)
Jose Bautista (1980)
Rajai Davis (1980)
J. A. Happ (1982)
Josh Tomlin (1984)
Daniel Descalso (1986)
Jordan Lyles (1990)

The Twins chose Tim Belcher with the first pick of the 1983 draft, but he did not sign.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–October 19