Category Archives: Keeping Track

1991 Rewind: Game One Hundred Thirty-six


Date:  Saturday, September 7.

Batting starsChuck Knoblauch was 3-for-5.  Chili Davis was 2-for-4 with two doubles.  Gene Larkin was 2-for-4 with a double.  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-4 with two runs.

Pitching stars:  Jack Morris pitched 8.2 innings, giving up two runs on four hits and three walks and striking out five.  Carl Willis struck out two in a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Pascual Perez pitched six innings, giving up one run on seven hits and a walk and striking out two.  Matt Nokes was 2-for-4 with two doubles.

The game:  The Yankees took the lead in the first inning.  Leadoff batter Bernie Williams walked, stole second, was bunted to third, and scored on a two-out double by Nokes to make it 1-0.  The Twins put two on with one out in the bottom of the first, but Kent Hrbek hit into a double play.  Davis led off the second with a double, but was thrown out at third trying to advance on a short passed ball.  The Twins put two on with two out in the third but again could not score.

The Twins finally broke through in the sixth.  Larkin led off with a double and scored on Knoblauch's single, tying it 1-1.  The Twins again missed a chance, though, as Puckett reached on an error to put two on with none out and nothing came of it.

The Twins took the lead in the eighth.  Puckett hit a one-out single, went to second on a ground out, and scored on a Davis double.  The Yankees came right back to tie it in the ninth.  Their first two batters went out, but Nokes doubled.  Morris came out of the game and Rick Aguilera came in, but he gave up an RBI single to Roberto Kelly, tying the score at two and sending the game to extra innings.

In the tenth, Puckett again hit a one-out single.  He again went to second on a ground out.  Pedro Munoz pinch-hit and delivered a game-winning single, giving the Twins the victory.

WP:  Carl Willis (8-3).  LP:  Lee Guetterman (3-3).  S:  None.

Notes:  Dan Gladden was out of the starting lineup.  Shane Mack went to left, with Larkin playing right.  Larkin batted leadoff.

The Twins made extensive use of the bench.  Paul Sorrento pinch-hit for Greg Gagne in the seventh.  Al Newman then came in to play shortstop.  Jarvis Brown pinch-ran for Davis in the eighth.  He was officially the DH at that point, but Munoz pinch-hit for him when his spot in the order came up in the tenth.  Gladden came in for defense at the start of the ninth.  He went to left field, with Mack moving to right.  Scott Leius pinch-hit for Mike Pagliarulo in the ninth and stayed in the game at third base.

Puckett raised his average to .332.  Brian Harper was 0-for-4 and was batting .316.  Mack was 1-for-4 and was batting .308.

Aguilera officially pitched a third on an inning and was not charged with a run, lowering his ERA to 2.23.  Willis' ERA fell to 2.26.

Morris threw just 98 pitches in his 8.2 innings.

Steve Howe pitched a scoreless inning.  This was his first year with the Yankees, and it was a really good one--3-1, 1.68, 3 saves, 0.95 WHIP.  This, however, would be the last game he would pitch for the  Yankees this season.  I could not quickly find whether he was injured or if this was one of the numerous times he got into trouble.  He would go on to pitch very well in 1992, struggle in 1993, and pitch very well again in 1994, which was his last good season.

The White Sox defeated Texas 11-6, so the distance between them and the Twins remained the same.

Record:  The Twins were 82-54, in first place in the American League West, 7.5 games ahead of Chicago.

1991 Rewind: Game One Hundred Thirty-five


Date:  Friday, September 6.

Batting star:  Chuck Knoblauch was 2-for-4 with a triple and a double.

Pitching stars:  Kevin Tapani pitched eight innings, giving up one run on seven hits and no walks and striking out six.  Rick Aguilera struck out two in a perfect inning.

Opposition star:  Wade Taylor pitched 7.1 innings, giving up three runs on six hits and three walks and striking out six.

The game:  The Yankees got a pair of one-out singles in the first, but a popup and a ground out ended the inning.  They scored their run in the third.  A Pat Kelly single and a Bernie Williams double put men on second and third with one out.  Steve Sax then had an RBI fielder's choice, with Williams thrown out trying to go to third.

The Twins had only one hit through three innings.  In the fourth, however, Knoblauch led off with a triple and scored on a Kirby Puckett double.  Kent Hrbek walked, and with one out Brian Harper had an RBI single to put the Twins ahead.  A run-scoring ground out made it 3-1 Twins.

And that was it for the scoring.  New York had just two hits after that, both singles.  Neither man got past first base.

WP:  Tapani (14-7).  LP:  Taylor (7-8).  S:  Aguilera (38).

NotesScott Leius was at shortstop in place of Greg Gagne, with Mike Pagliarulo at third.  Paul Sorrento pinch-hit for Leius in the seventh, with Gagne coming in to play short.

Puckett was 1-for-4 and was batting .331.  Harper was 1-for-3 and was batting .320.  Shane Mack was 1-for-3 and was batting .308.  Tapani lowered his ERA to 2.82.  Aguilera lowered his ERA to 2.24.

This was the one major league season of Wade Taylor's career.  It was not a very good one--he went 7-12, 6.27, 1.69 WHIP in 23 games (22 starts).  He did have a few good starts--three of his starts topped the game score of 57 that he had in this game.  He obviously did not have enough of them, though.  He had injury trouble after this season.  He pitched just thirteen minor league innings in 1992 and thirty in 1993, and then was done.  He pitched pretty well in AAA, and since he was only twenty-five in 1991 he might have figured it out had he stayed healthy, but unfortunately for him, he didn't.  He was a major league scout until 2016, when he lost his job due to salary cutbacks.  He was working for UPS at last report.

I apologize, but the notes section is probably going to be short for a while.  Too much other stuff going on.

The White Sox defeated Texas 11-6, so they did not lose any more ground to the Twins.

Record:  The Twins were 81-54, in first place in the American League West, 7.5 games ahead of Chicago.

Happy Birthday–February 20

Sam Rice (1890)
John Wesley Donaldson (1892)
Muddy Ruel (1896)
Pete Monahan (1902)
Tommy Henrich (1913)
Frankie Gustine (1920)
Jim Wilson (1922)
Roy Face (1928)
Shigeo Nagashima (1936)
Clyde Wright (1941)
Bill Gullickson (1959)
Shane Spencer (1972)
Livan Hernandez (1975)
Ryan Langerhans (1980)
Justin Verlander (1983)
Jose Morales (1983)
Brian McCann (1984)
Johnny Field (1992)

John Wesley Donaldson pitched in the Negro Leagues and averaged nearly twenty strikeouts per game for the All Nations team in the 1910s.  He pitched three consecutive no-hitters in 1913.

Pete Monahan played in the minors from 1921-1940, batting .301 and collecting 2,462 hits, but never played in the major leagues.

Third baseman Shigeo Nagashima played for the Yomiuri Giants from 1958-1974 and is considered by some to be the greatest player in the history of Japanese baseball.

We would also like to wish a happy birthday to CarterHayes' daughter.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–February 20

Happy Birthday–February 19

John Morrill (1855)
Dick Siebert (1912)
Hub Kittle (1917)
Russ Nixon (1935)
Dave Niehaus (1935)
Jackie Moore (1939)
Walt Jocketty (1951)
Dave Stewart (1957)
Keith Atherton (1959)
Alvaro Espinoza (1962)
Miguel Batista (1971)
Juan Diaz (1974)
Chris Stewart (1982)

Hub Kittle’s baseball career spanned 68 years.  In 1980, he became the oldest player to appear in organized baseball, pitching a perfect inning for AAA Springfield on August 27 at age 63½.

Jackie Moore is a long-time major league coach and minor league manager.  He also was the manager of the Oakland Athletics from 1984-86,

Walt Jocketty was the general manager of the St. Louis Cardinals from 1995-2007 and was the general manager of the Cincinnati Reds from 2008-2015, when he became president of baseball operations.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–February 19

1991 Rewind: Game One Hundred Thirty-four


Date:  Wednesday, September 4.

Batting stars:  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-4 with a double.  Chili Davis was 2-for-4.  Dan Gladden was 2-for-5.  Kent Hrbek was 1-for-4 with a three-run homer, his sixteenth.

Pitching stars:  Allan Anderson pitched two shutout innings, giving up two hits and striking out one.  Mark Guthrie struck out three in a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  Alex Cole was 4-for-5 with a double.  Albert Belle was 2-for-5 with a home run (his twenty-fifth), a double, and five RBIs.  Willie Blair pitched eight innings, giving up three runs on eight hits and one walk and striking out one.

The game:  With one out in the first Chuck Knoblauch and Puckett singled and Hrbek followed with a three-run homer to put the Twins ahead 3-0.  That was as good as it got for them.  In the third, a walk, an error, and a bunt single loaded the bases for the Indians with none out.  A force out followed, but Carlos Baerga was hit by a pitch to force in a run and Belle followed with a bases-clearing double to give Cleveland a 4-3 lead.

The Indians added a run in the fourth when Jim Thome led off with a single, went to third on a pair of productive outs, and scored on Cole's single.  In the fifth Baerga led off with a single and Belle hit a two-run homer to make the score 7-3.  In the seventh, singles by Jose Gonzalez, Carlos Martinez, and Thome brought home another run to make it 8-3.

Meanwhile, the Twins did not get a man past first base in innings two through seven.  Puckett hit a two-out double in the eighth.  The Twins tried to get back into it in the ninth.  Singles by Davis and Brian Harper and a walk to Shane Mack loaded the bases with none out.  Mike Pagliarulo then hit into a double play, scoring a run but pretty much taking the Twins out of the inning.

WP:  Blair (2-2).  LP:  David West (4-4).  S:  Shawn Hillegas (7).

Notes:  The Twins used their standard lineup.  Paul Sorrento pinch-hit for Greg Gagne in the seventh.  Al Newman then went in to play shortstop.  Gene Larkin pinch-hit for Newman in the ninth.

Puckett raised his average to .331.  Harper was 1-for-4 and was batting .320.  Mack was 0-for-2 with two walks and was batting .308.

West started for the Twins.  He pitched well for two innings.  His line was 2.1 innings, four runs (three earned), two hits, two walks, and two strikeouts.  It seems like a pretty quick hook--again, the sequence in the third was walk, error, bunt single, ground out, hit batsman, double.  Only one hard-hit ball, although obviously the walk and the hit batsman weren't helpful.  Still, with a big lead in the division, Tom Kelly might have given West more of a chance to work out of trouble.  As it happened, the Twins burned through five relievers, including Carl Willis and Terry Leach, in a game they didn't win anyway.

Willis allowed two runs in one inning to raise his ERA to 2.29.  Leach gave up a run in one inning to make his ERA 2.88.

Tom Edens gave up a run in 1.2 innings to raise his ERA to 7.20.

People have forgotten what an awesome hitter Albert Belle was.  He had a reputation for being a jerk, and he way have been, but the jerk could hit.  1991 was his first season as a regular, and it was the first of ten consecutive seasons in which he hit twenty-three or more home runs.  He had eight consecutive seasons in which he hit thirty homers or more, and in three of them he hit forty-eight or more.  He had an OPS of over 1.000 four times and an OPS of over .900 two more times.  Injuries forced him to retire in 2000, after his age-thirty-three season, but his career numbers were .295/.369/.564 with 381 home runs in basically ten seasons.  Whatever else he may have been, Albert Belle was a great batter.

This was the last save of Shawn Hillegas' career.  He had ten total, seven of them in 1991.  Steve Olin is listed as the closer, but he had just seventeen saves, and Hillegas and Dave Otto each had seven.  He was not a particularly good pitcher:  in 181 major league games (62 starts) he was 24-38, 4.61, 1.47 WHIP.  He was substantially better as a reliever, although not a star or anything:  9-12, 3.77, 1.37 WHIP.  Given his lack of success as a starter, I don't know why teams kept giving him starts rather than putting him in the bullpen, but they did.  There was obviously something about him that convinced teams he could be a successful starting pitcher, even though the stats provide no evidence to back it up.

Chicago defeated Kansas City 4-1 and Oakland lost to Milwaukee 2-0, so the White Sox moved back into second place.

Record:  The Twins were 80-54, in first place in the American League West, eight games ahead of Chicago.

In the East, Toronto took a three game lead over Detroit.

Happy Birthday–February 18

Ray Ryan (1883)
George Mogridge (1889)
Sherry Smith (1891)
Jake Kline (1895)
Huck Betts (1897)
Joe Gordon (1915)
Herm Wehmeier (1927)
Frank House (1930)
Manny Mota (1938)
Dal Maxvill (1939)
Bob Miller (1939)
Jerry Morales (1949)
John Mayberry (1949)
Bruce Kison (1950)
Marc Hill (1952)
Rafael Ramirez (1958)
Kevin Tapani (1964)
John Valentin (1967)
Shawn Estes (1973)
Jamey Carroll (1974)
Chad Moeller (1975)
Alex Rios (1981)

Ray Ryan was involved in minor league baseball for six decades.  He had one baseball card, a part of the T206 tobacco series.  This is the series that produced the famous Honus Wagner card.

Jake Kline was the baseball coach at Notre Dame from 1934-1975.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–February 18

Happy Birthday–February 17

Pat Pieper (1886)
Nemo Leibold (1892)
Wally Pipp (1893)
Ed Brandt (1905)
Red Barber (1908)
Rod Dedeaux (1914)
Roger Craig (1930)
Cliff Gustafson (1931)
Dick Bosman (1944)
Dave Roberts (1951)
Jamie Easterly (1953)
Mike Hart (1958)
Michael Jordan (1963)
Scott Williamson (1976)
Cody Ransom (1976)
Juan Padilla (1977)
Josh Willingham (1979)

Pat Pieper was the public address announcer for the Chicago Cubs from 1916-1974.  For the first sixteen of those years, he made the announcements with a megaphone.

Rod Dedeaux and Cliff Gustafson were highly successful college baseball coaches, Dedeaux with USC and Gustafson with Texas.

Already known as a basketball star, Michael Jordan played one year of minor league baseball for AA Birmingham in the White Sox organization before returning to the less-challenging sport.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–February 17

1991 Rewind: Game One Hundred Thirty-three


Date:  Monday, September 2.

Batting stars:  Chuck Knoblauch was 2-for-3 with a walk.  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-4 with a double, two runs, and two RBIs.  Kent Hrbek was 2-for-4 with two runs.  Shane Mack was 1-for-3 with a grand slam, his seventeenth home run.

Pitching stars:  Scott Erickson struck out seven in seven shutout innings, giving up six hits and two walks.  He threw 119 pitches.  Rick Aguilera pitched two perfect innings.

Opposition stars:  Mike Aldrete was 2-for-3 with a walk.  Albert Belle was 2-for-4 with a double.  Alex Cole was 2-for-4 with a walk.

The game:  Despite the final score, it was a pitchers' duel for six innings.  The Indians had a couple of mild threats, getting a two-out double from Carlos Baerga in the first and putting men on first and second with one out in the third.  The Twins did not get a hit until the fourth.  Knoblauch led off with a single and went to third with none out on a pickoff error, but he was thrown out trying to score on a ground ball to short (one assumes it was the contact play).  Cleveland put men on first and second with one out in the fifth and had men on first and third with one out in the sixth, but the latter threat went away when Carlos Martinez was thrown out at home on the back end of a second-and-home double steal.  So the game remained scoreless in the sixth.

The Twins broke through in the seventh.  Randy Bush led off with a walk.  Jarvis Brown pinch-ran and scored from first on Puckett's double.  Hrbek followed with an RBI single.  A pair of productive outs moved Hrbek to third and he scored on an error.  Junior Ortiz delivered an RBI double to put the Twins up 4-0.

The Indians came right back in the eighth.  Steve Bedrosian came in to pitch and walked Baerga.  Belle doubled, and RBI singles by Martinez and Aldrete made it 4-2.  Aguilera came on and got Jeff Manto to hit into a double play, but a run scored to make it 4-3.

Undaunted, the Twins put it away in the bottom of the eighth.  Knoblauch led off with a single and Chili Davis walked.  Puckett delivered an RBI single.  Hrbek laid down a bunt single, loading the bases.  Mack then hit a grand slam, making the score 9-3 and effectively ending the game.  Not literally, of course--Cleveland still batted in the ninth, but they went down in order.

WP:  Erickson (17-6).  LP:  Eric King (5-9).  S:  Aguilera (37).

Notes:  Mack was in left field, with Dan Gladden getting the day off.  Gene Larkin was in right.  Once again Ortiz caught Erickson, with Brian Harper on the bench.  Randy Bush was at DH in place of Davis.  Knoblauch led off, with Bush batting second.

Again, we had plenty of bench players used.  Brown pinch-ran for Bush in the seventh.  Davis pinch-hit for Brown in the eighth.  Al Newman then pinch-ran for Davis in the eighth.  Gladden pinch-ran for Larkin in the seventh and stayed in the game in left field, with Mack moving to right.  Paul Sorrento pinch-hit for Greg Gagne in the eighth.  Scott Leius went into the game at shortstop in the ninth.

Puckett raised his average to .330.  Mack raised his average to .310.  Mike Pagliarulo was 0-for-4 and was batting .300.  Erickson lowered his ERA to 3.08.

Tom Kelly allowing Erickson to throw seven innings and 114 pitches is at least questionable.  Yes, he was pitching well, and yes, it was a scoreless game until the seventh.  But he was obviously still hurting, this was the first good game he'd pitched in a month, and the Twins were in first place by eight games.  Plus, TK gave Gladden and Davis the day off, so he clearly did not consider this a must-win game.  It seems to me a lower pitch-limit would have been indicated, even though such things were not as common back then.

Using three pinch-runners in a game is certainly unusual.  Even back then the only way you could do it is with September call-ups, and with the new limit on September call-ups it may never happen again.  I think if I ran a team, I'd have a couple of pitchers practiced up so they could be used as pinch-runners when necessary.  It used to not be uncommon to use pitchers as pinch-runners--there's no real reason you couldn't do it today.  Yes, there's a chance someone could get hurt, but there's also a chance someone could get hurt running in the outfield before the game.  To me, with today's shorter benches, it makes perfect sense.

Oakland did not play, but the White Sox defeated Kansas City 5-1, so the two teams were once again tied for second place.

Record:  The Twins were 80-53, in first place in the American League West, 8.5 games ahead of Chicago and Oakland.

Toronto continued to lead Detroit by 2.5 games in the East.

1991 Rewind: Game One Hundred Thirty-two


Date:  Sunday, September 1.

Batting stars:  Brian Harper was 3-for-4 with a home run (his ninth), a double, and three runs.  Shane Mack was 3-for-5 with a double and two runs.  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-3.  Gene Larkin was 2-for-4 with a double, two runs, and two RBIs.  Chili Davis was 1-for-3 with a three-run homer (his twenty-seventh), a walk, and two runs.  Paul Sorrento hit a pinch-hit two-run homer, his second.

Pitching stars:  Jack Morris pitched seven innings, giving up three unearned runs on six hits and two walks and striking out three.  Mark Guthrie struck out three in two shutout innings, giving up a hit and a walk.

Opposition stars:  Brady Anderson was 2-for-3 with a triple and two walks.  Chito Martinez was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer, his tenth.

The game:  Anderson led off the game with a triple but failed to score.  That was the only time the Orioles threatened to take the lead.  In the second, Harper and Mack led off with back-to-back doubles, with a bunt and a sacrifice fly bringing home the second run.  The Twins took control in the fourth.  Davis led off with a walk, which was followed by five consecutive singles.  HarperMackScott LeiusLarkin, and Greg Gagne all got base hits, making the score 5-0 with the bases loaded.  With one out Knoblauch walked to bring in a run and a sacrifice fly brought home another, giving the Twins a 7-0 lead.  Harper led off the fifth with a home run to make it 8-0.

Baltimore got on the board in the sixth.  Anderson led off with a single and went to third on a pair of productive outs.  Glenn Davis then reached on an error, bringing home a run, and Martinez hit a two-run homer to cut the margin to 8-3.

That was as close as the Orioles would come.  Davis hit a three-run homer in the sixth to make it 11-3.  They added three more in the seventh, two of them coming on a Sorrento pinch-hit two-run homer, to bring the final score to 14-3.

WP:  Morris (16-10).  LP:  Arthur Rhodes (0-2).  S:  None.

Notes:  Larkin was at first base in place of Kent Hrbek.  At least some of the September call-ups arrived, and with a blowout game there were numerous substitutions.  Jarvis Brown went to center field in the seventh, replacing Puckett.  Al Newman pinch-hit for Gagne in the seventh and stayed in the game at second base.  Sorrento pinch-hit for Gladden in the seventh and stayed in the game at first base.  Lenny Webster came in to catch in the eighth, replacing Harper.  Knoblauch moved from second base to shortstop in the eighth.  Mack moved from right field to left in the eighth.  Larkin went from first base to right field in the eighth.  Randy Bush pinch-hit for Davis in the eighth.

Puckett raised his average to .329.  Harper went up to .321.  Webster went 1-for-1 and was batting .313 (5-for-16).  Mack raised his average to .310.

Rhodes lasted just three innings and allowed seven runs on eight hits and a walk.  This was his rookie season, and was just his third start.  He would make eight starts in 1991, five of them with game scored of forty or lower.  He would go on to have a long and relatively successful career as a reliever, pitching in twenty major league seasons and lasting until he was forty-one.

This was Knoblauch's second game at shortstop.  He had played one inning there on July 18.  For his career he played thirteen games at shortstop.  He started two of them, one in 1993 and one in 1997.  It's interesting that Tom Kelly played Newman at second and Knoblauch at short, rather than vice-versa.  It was a blowout game--maybe TK just wanted to give Knoblauch a little time at short in case injuries came up and he needed to play him there.

Oakland lost to Detroit 5-2, so the Twins regained the game they'd lost yesterday.

Record:  The Twins were 79-53, in first place in the American League West, eight games ahead of Oakland.

There was a closer race in the American League East.  Toronto had a record of 73-59 and was in first place, 2.5 games ahead of Detroit.


Happy Birthday–February 16

Alex Ferguson (1897)
Parnell Woods (1912)
Creepy Crespi (1918)
Atsushi Aramaki (1926)
Bobby Darwin (1943)
Terry Crowley (1947)
Bob Didier (1949)
Glenn Abbott (1951)
Jerry Hairston (1952)
Barry Foote (1952)
Bill Pecota (1960)
Eric Bullock (1960)
Dwayne Henry (1962)
Jerome Bettis (1972)
Eric Byrnes (1976)
Tommy Milone (1987)

Parnell Woods was an infielder in the Negro Leagues for fourteen years.  He later became the business manager for the Harlem Globetrotters.

Atsushi Aramaki was a dominant pitcher in Japan in the 1950s and is a member of the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame.

Better known as an NFL running back, Jerome Bettis is a part-owner of the Altoona Curve and the State College Spikes.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–February 16