Category Archives: Keeping Track

Happy Birthday–March 3

John Montgomery Ward (1860)
Wee Willie Keeler (1872)
Ed Phelps (1879)
Tetsuya Yoneda (1938)
Paul Schaal (1943)
Rick Reed (1950)
Chuck Cary (1960)
Neal Heaton (1960)
Marvin Hudson (1964)
Scott Radinsky (1968)
Mike Romano (1972)
Matt Diaz (1978)
Jorge Julio (1979)

Tetsuya Yoneda is the second-winningest pitcher in Japanese professional baseball with 350 victories.

The Rick Reed whose birthday is today is the major league umpire from 1979-2009, not the ex-Twin.

Marvin Hudson was a major league umpire from 1979-2009.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–March 3

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Fifty-two

MINNESOTA 4, CHICAGO 2 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Wednesday, September 17.

Batting stars:  Luis Rivas was 2-for-3 with a stolen base (his seventeenth), a walk, and two runs.  Michael Ryan was 1-for-3 with a home run, his fourth.

Pitching stars:  Kenny Rogers pitched 6.1 innings, giving up two runs on six hits and no walks and striking out three.  LaTroy Hawkins pitched a perfect inning and struck out one.  Eddie Guardado pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a walk.

Opposition stars:  Carl Everett was 2-for-4.  Joe Crede was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer, his seventeenth.  Scott Sullivan struck out two in two shutout innings of relief.

The game:  The White Sox got a pair of one-out singles in the second, but there was no score until the third.  With one out, Ryan homered to give the Twins a 1-0 lead.  Cristian Guzman then walked and went to second on a wild pitch.  With two out, Rivas hit an RBI single and Doug Mientkiewicz followed with a run-scoring double to make it 3-0 Minnesota.

The Twins had men on first and third with one out in the fourth, but a line drive double-play took them out of the inning.  With two out in the fifth, however, Rivas singled, stole second, and scored on a Jacque Jones single to make it 4-0 Twins.

Chicago got on the board in the seventh when Everett singled and Crede hit a two-run homer.  Magglio Ordonez opened the ninth with a walk, bringing the tying run up to bat, but Everett hit into a double play and Paul Konerko flied out to end the game.

WP:  Rogers (12-8).  LP:  Jon Garland (11-12).  S:  Guardado (37).

Notes:  Shannon Stewart was in left, with Ryan in right and Jones at DH.  Matthew LeCroy pinch-hit for Jones in the eighth.  Dustan Mohr replaced Ryan in right in the ninth.

Ryan was batting .385.  Stewart was 0-for-4 and was batting .308.  A. J. Pierzynski was 1-for-3 and was batting .305.  Mientkiewicz was 1-for-3 and was batting .304.  Jones was 1-for-3 and was also batting .304.

This was Rogers' best game in a month, and it obviously came at a very good time for the Twins.  Hawkins lowered his ERA to 1.92.  Guardado lowered his ERA to 2.80.

The Twins had won the first two of the three-game series, and had won five in a row.  They would be in first place at the end of the series, regardless of how the last game came out.  But if they could get a sweep, they would have a big advantage going into the last week and a half of the season.  The Royals lost, and were nearly out of the race.

Record:  The Twins were 83-69, in first place, 2.5 games ahead of Chicago.  They were 4.5 games ahead of third-place Kansas City.

Happy Birthday–March 2

Horace Fogel (1861)
Moe Berg (1902)
Woody English (1906)
Jack Knott (1907)
Mel Ott (1909)
Mort Cooper (1913)
Jim Konstanty (1917)
Jim Nettles (1947)
Pete Broberg (1950)
Larry Wolfe (1953)
Terry Steinbach (1962)
Ron Gant (1965)
Jay Gibbons (1977)
Glen Perkins (1983)
Bud Norris (1985)

Horace Fogel was a sportswriter who became manager of the New York Giants in 1902.  His time as Giants manager is best remembered for his attempt to move Christy Mathewson to first base.  He was fired 41 games into the season and replaced by Heinie Smith, who put an end to such nonsense.  Instead, he tried to move Mathewson to shortstop.

We assume everyone reading this knows Ron Gant's connection to the Minnesota Twins.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–March 2

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Fifty-one

MINNESOTA 5, CHICAGO 2 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Tuesday, September 16.

Batting stars:  Torii Hunter was 2-for-3 with a walk and a stolen base, his sixth.  Michael Ryan was 2-for-4.  Jacque Jones was 1-for-2 with two walks.

Pitching star:  Brad Radke pitched seven innings, giving up one run on eight hits and no walks and striking out three.

Opposition stars:  Carl Everett was 2-for-4 with a home run (his twenty-eighth) and two RBIs.  Carlos Lee was 2-for-4.  Roberto Alomar was 2-for-4.  Scott Schoeneweis struck out five in 3.2 scoreless innings, giving up one hit and two walks.

The game:  The Twins got on the board in the first inning on three walks and a Corey Koskie sacrifice fly.  In the second, two singles and a walk loaded the bases with one out.  An RBI ground out and a wild pitch followed.  The Twins had not scored a run on a hit, but still led 3-0 through two.  They made it 4-0 in the third on consecutive singles by HunterA. J. Pierzynski, and Ryan.

The White Sox had gotten a pair of singles in the first and again in the third, but did not score either time.  They broke through in the sixth, however, on singles by Lee, Frank Thomas, and Everett, cutting the lead to 4-1.  The Twins got the run back in the seventh.  Jones singled, pinch-runner Lew Ford stole second, and Hunter delivered an RBI single.

Chicago got only one hit after the sixth.  It was a home run by Everett with one out in the ninth, but the White Sox did not bring the tying run even to the on-deck circle.

WP:  Radke (13-10).  LP:  Esteban Loaiza (19-8).  S:  None.

Notes:  Denny Hocking was at second base in place of Luis Rivas.  Stewart was in left, Ryan in right, and Jones at DH.  The only lineup substitution was Ford for Jones as mentioned above.

Ryan raised his average to .389.  Stewart was 0-for-3 and was batting .310.  Pierzynski was 1-for-4 and was batting .305.  Jones raised his average to .304.  Doug Mientkiewicz was 0-for-2 and was batting .304.

Radke again came up big for the Twins.  He had struggled most of the season, but turned it around when he got to September.  In his last three starts he had given up just five earned runs in 23 innings, giving up 22 hits and zero walks.

LaTroy Hawkins gave up one run in two innings, raising his ERA to 1.95.

Loaiza had an excellent year in 2003, but he didn't get it done in this game.  Wildness did him in--he walked five in 2.1 innings, giving up four runs on four hits and striking out one.  He had made the all-star team in 2003 and finished second in Cy Young voting behind Roy Halladay, but the Twins beat him (or he beat himself) in a very important game.

The Twins had one the first of the three-game series, and assured that they could be no worse than a half-game out of first at the end of it.  The Royals won, trying to stay in the race.

Record:  The Twins were 82-69, in first place in the American League Central, 1.5 games ahead of Chicago.  They were 3.5 games ahead of third-place Kansas City.

Happy Birthday–March 1

*Dickey Pearce (1839)
Paul Hines (1855)
Farmer Vaughn (1864)
*Pepper Martin (1904)
Harry Caray (1914)
Bing Devine (1916)
Othello Renfroe (1923)
*Al Rosen (1924)
Larry Brown (1940)
Vern Fuller (1944)
*Steve Mingori (1944)
Jeff Holly (1953)
Dick Bremer (1956)

Johnny Ray (1957)
Mark Gardner (1962)
Rich Rodriguez (1963)
Tony Castillo (1963)
Omar Daal (1972)
Ramon Castro (1976)
*Terrence Long (1976)
Ken Harvey (1978)
Trevor Cahill (1998)

*Born February 29.

Bing Devine worked in baseball front offices from 1939-1978, spending most of that time in the Cardinals organization.  He was the St. Louis general manager from 1957-1964 and 1968-1978, serving as the general manager of the Mets from 1965-1967.

Othello Renfroe played in the Negro Leagues for several years.  He eventually became a broadcaster, sportswriter, scout, and public address announcer.  He was also the first African-American official scorer in major league baseball.

A lifelong Minnesotan, Dick Bremer has been a Twins broadcaster from 1983 to the present with the exception of 1986.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–March 1

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Fifty

MINNESOTA 13, CLEVELAND 6 IN CLEVELAND

Date:  Monday, September 15.

Batting starsA. J. Pierzynski was 2-for-3 with a double, a stolen base (his third), a hit-by-pitch, and two runs.  Jacque Jones was 2-for-4.  Torii Hunter was 2-for-5 with a home run (his twenty-sixth), a double, two runs, and five RBIs.  Cristian Guzman was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his second.

Pitching stars:  Jesse Orosco pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.  Juan Rincon struck out two in a perfect inning.  Carlos Pulido pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a walk.

Opposition stars:  Casey Blake was 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, and two runs.  Chris Magruder was 2-for-4 with a home run.  Coco Crisp was 2-for-4.

The game:  It was close for five innings.  Neither team scored in the first two, but each team scored once in the third.  The Twins got doubles from Pierzynski and Shannon Stewart to get on the board, but the Indians tied it with Magruder's home run.  Cleveland took the lead in the fourth.  Blake walked and was picked off first, but an error on Johan Santana moved him to second.  With one out Santana picked Blake off second but again made an error, sending Blake to third.  Victor Martinez then doubled to make it 2-1 Indians.

But the Twins took control of the game in the sixth.  With one out Stewart walked, Luis Rivas singled, and Doug Mientkiewicz walked, loading the bases.  Jones tied the score with an RBI single, but Rivas was thrown out at the plate for the second out.  An intentional walk to Corey Koskie loaded the bases.  Then Hunter hit a two-run double, Pierzynski had an RBI single and stole second, Michael Ryan had a two-run single, and Guzman killed the rally with a two-run homer.  The Twins scored eight in the inning to take a 9-2 lead.

Cleveland didn't quit, though.  Two walks, an error, and a sacrifice fly brought home two runs in the bottom of the sixth.  The Twins got one in the seventh when Rivas was hit by a pitch, stole second, and scored on Koskie's single.  The Indians came back with two in the bottom of the seventh when Crisp singled, Casey doubled, and a pair of productive outs made the score 10-6.

Cleveland did not get a hit after that, however.  The Twins put it away in the ninth when Michael Restovich singled, Koskie walked, and Hunter hit a three-run homer.

WP:  Santana (11-3).  LP:  Jason Davis (8-11).  S:  None.

Notes:  Stewart was in left with Ryan in right.  Jones was the DH.

Restovich pinch-ran for Jones in the seventh.  Justin Morneau pinch-hit for Rivas in the eighth, when Denny Hocking coming in to play second.  Matthew LeCroy pinch-hit for Pierzynski in the ninth and stayed in the game at catcher.  Lew Ford replaced Stewart in left field in the ninth.

Ryan was 1-for-5 and was batting .375.  Restovich was 1-for-1 and was batting .326.  Stewart was 1-for-3 and was batting .312.  Pierzynski was up to .305.  Mientkiewicz was 0-for-4 and was also batting .305.  Jones raised his average to .302.

Santana pitched well for four innings, but his line was five innings, four runs (three earned), four hits, four walks, and six strikeouts.

Pulido lowered his ERA to 2.19.  He still had not given up a run when used in relief.

Davis started for the Indians.  He pitched 5.2 innings, allowing seven runs on six hits and three walks and striking out two.

Guzman had not hit a home run all year, then hit two in three games.  That's baseball.

This was the only major league home run Chris Magruder would hit in 2003.  He would hit eleven in his career.  He had batted .328/.391/.474 in 41 games in AAA in 2003, then batted .346/.433/.61 in nine games for Cleveland.  The Indians were so impressed that they allowed him to become a free agent.  They were apparently right, as he spent a couple of mediocre-to-poor seasons with Milwaukee and then was done.

The Royals won, but the White Sox were idle, so the Twins moved into first place going into a big three-game series with the White Sox in Minnesota.

Record:  The Twins were 81-69, in first place in the American League Central, a half game ahead of Chicago.  They were 3.5 games ahead of third-place Kansas City.

Happy Birthday–February 28

Terry Turner (1881)
Jud Wilson (1897)
Bob Howsam (1918)
George Maloney (1928)
Frank Malzone (1930)
Bill Haller (1935)
Marty Perez (1946)
Mark Wiley (1948)
Tom Gamboa (1948)
Jim Wohlford (1951)
Mike Milchin (1968)
Trent Oeltjen (1983)
Aaron Thompson (1987)
Aroldis Chapman (1988)
Niko Goodrum (1992)
Randy Arozarena (1995)

Jud Wilson played in the Negro Leagues from 1922-1945 and had a lifetime batting average of .351.

Bob Howsam was the general manager of the Cincinnati Reds and helped put together the Big Red Machine.

George Maloney was an American League umpire from 1969-1983.

Bill Haller is the older brother of Tom Haller and was an American League umpire from 1963-1982.

Tom Gamboa was a minor league manager who won league championships twice and reached the playoffs four other times in a ten year career.  Unfortunately, he is best known as the Kansas City Royals coach attacked by two White Sox "fans" in Comiskey Park in 2002.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–February 28

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Forty-nine

MINNESOTA 5, CLEVELAND 3 IN CLEVELAND

Date:  Sunday, September 14.

Batting stars:  Doug Mientkiewicz was 2-for-4 with a home run (his eleventh), a stolen base (his fourth), and three RBIs.  A. J. Pierzynski was 2-for-4 with two doubles.

Pitching stars:  Eric Milton pitched five innings, giving up two runs on five hits and no walks and striking out two.  Juan Rincon pitched a perfect inning and struck out one.  LaTroy Hawkins struck out two in a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.  Eddie Guardado struck out two in a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Travis Hafner was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer (his twelfth) and a double.  Jody Gerut was 2-for-4 with a home run, his twenty-second.  Victor Martinez was 2-for-4.  Cliff Lee struck out seven in seven innings, giving up three runs on five hits and a walk.

The game:  Each team got a two-out double in the second, but neither team scored until the fourth, when each team did.  In the top of the fifth Pierzynski doubled and scored on a two-out single by Michael Ryan.  The Indians came back with two in the bottom of the inning, as Martinez singled and Hafner followed with a two-run homer.  The Twins went up 3-2 in the sixth when Shannon Stewart singled and Mientkiewicz hit a two-run homer.  Cleveland again came back in the bottom of the inning, with Gerut hitting a home run to tie it 3-3.

Back-to-back hit-by-pitches gave the Twins two on with none out in the eighth.  A bunt moved the runners to second and third.  A fielder's choice resulted in a man thrown out at the plate and men at first and third with two out, but Mientkiewicz came through with a single to put the Twins up 4-3.  The Twins got an insurance run in the ninth when Corey Koskie singled, went to second on a ground out, and scored on Dustan Mohr's single.  The Indians got only one hit in the last three innings and the game went to the Twins.

WP:  Rincon (5-6).  LP:  Danys Baez (2-9).  S:  Guardado (36).

Notes:  Michael Cuddyer was at third base in place of Koskie.  Koskie came in for defense in the eighth.  Stewart was in left with Ryan in right.  Mohr was in center in place of Torii Hunter.  Hunter came in to play center in the seventh, with Mohr moving to right and Ryan coming out of the game.

I wonder if Ryan was injured, possibly in a collision with Mohr.  He was removed after the first out of the seventh inning, which is an odd time to make a defensive substitution.  That first out is recorded, at b-r.com's play-by-play, as "Flyball: RF-CF (CF-RF)".  I don't know what that means, exactly, but it certainly sounds odd.  Ryan played the next day, so if he was injured it wasn't serious.

There was one other substitution.  Jacque Jones pinch-hit for Luis Rivas in the eighth.  Denny Hocking then pinch-ran for Jones and remained in the game at second base.  I wouldn't have thought of Hocking being faster than Jones, although I wouldn't have thought of him as being much slower, either.  Perhaps Jones was still dealing with a minor injury.

Ryan was 1-for-2 and was batting .407.  Stewart was 1-for-4 and was batting .312.  Mientkiewicz raised his average to .308.  Pierzynski went up to .303.  Jones was 0-for-1 and was batting .302.

This was Milton's first start of the season.  He had missed the entire year up to this point with a knee injury, making just one start in Fort Myers prior to this game.  Given that, he did very well in this game.

Hawkins lowered his ERA to 1.88.  Guardado's ERA went down to 2.85.

It's interesting that, with only fourteen games remaining in a pennant race, Ron Gardenhire held out two of his starters and used a starting pitcher who had not pitched all season.  But it worked.

The White Sox and Royals again both won, so the standings remained unchanged.

Record:  The Twins were 80-69, tied for first in the American League Central with Chicago, 3.5 games ahead of third-place Kansas City.

 

Happy Birthday–February 27

Walter Briggs (1877)
Cy Perkins (1896)
Hilton Smith (1907)
Bill Capps (1919)
Buck Elliott (1919)
Johnny Pesky (1919)
Connie Ryan (1920)
John Wockenfuss (1949)
Ron Hassey (1953)
Greg Cadaret (1962)
Pete Smith (1966)
Matt Stairs (1968)
Willie Banks (1969)
Craig Monroe (1977)
Anibal Sanchez (1984)

Denard Span (1984)
Yovani Gallardo (1986)

Walter Briggs was involved in the ownership of the Detroit Tigers from 1920-1952, becoming sole owner in 1935.

Hilton Smith was a star pitcher in the Negro Leagues from 1931-1950.  Some observers considered him the equal of, if not better than, Satchel Paige.

Bill Capps was a third baseman who played in the minors for twenty years, fifteen of them at Class A or below.

Buck Elliott was an outfielder who played in the minors for fourteen years, all but one of them at Class A or below.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–February 27

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Forty-eight

MINNESOTA 2, CLEVELAND 0 IN CLEVELAND

Date:  Saturday, September 13.

Batting stars:  Cristian Guzman was 1-for-3 with a home run.  Torii Hunter was 1-for-4 with a home run, his twenty-fifth.

Pitching stars:  Kyle Lohse struck out nine in 7.1 scoreless innings, giving up six hits and a walk.  Eddie Guardado pitched a perfect inning and struck out one.

Opposition stars:  Jason Stanford pitched seven innings, giving up two runs on four hits and a walk.  Rafael Betancourt struck out three in two shutout innings, giving up two hits.  Jody Gerut was 2-for-4.

The game:  Neither team even got a man to third base for five innings.  Doug Mientkiewicz hit a two-out double in the first.  Travis Hafner hit a two-out single in the second and went to second on a wild pitch.  Those were the only players to even reach second base in the first five innings.

Guzman put that all to rest by leading off the sixth with a home run, the first home run he had hit all season.  In the seventh, Hunter homered with one out to make it 2-0 Twins.

That was all the Twins would need.  The Indians put men on first and second with two out in the seventh and with one out in the eighth, but did not score either inning.

WP:  Lohse (13-11).  LP:  Stanford (0-2).  S:  Guardado (35).

Notes:  Shannon Stewart was in left and Jacque Jones in right.  Lew Ford replaced Jones in right in the fifth inning--presumably Jones injured himself in the prior half-inning trying to break up a double play.  He would pinch-hit in the next game and be back in the lineup after that, although he was often removed late in the game.  Dustan Mohr then replaced Ford in the ninth.  Michael Restovich pinch-ran for Matthew LeCroy in the eighth.

Ford was 0-for-1 and was batting .327.  Stewart was 1-for-4 and was batting .312.  Mientkiewicz was 1-for-3 and was batting .306.  Jones was 1-for-2 and was batting .302.  A. J. Pierzynski was 0-for-3 and was batting .301.

Lohse had been mediocre-to-poor since mid-June, but he came up big in this game.  His game score of 74 was his highest since May 8 and his first over 60 since June 11.  In a pennant race where every game counts, he chose the right time to have an excellent game.

LaTroy Hawkins retired both men he faced to drop his ERA to 1.90.  Guardado lowered his ERA to 2.90.

This was the fifth start of Jason Stanford's career.  He did pretty well in a small sample size in 2003:  1-3, 3.60, 1.28 WHIP in 50 innings (13 games, 8 starts).  He started 2004 with Cleveland and In two starts was excellent:  0-1, 0.82 in 11 innings, although with a 1.55 WHIP.  He then was injured and was never the same pitcher.  He had a couple of mediocre years in AAA with the Indians and got 26.1 more major league innings with the in 2007.  He played for a few minor league teams in 2008, then his playing career came to an end.  He came to the majors late and was 27 when he got hurt, so he probably wouldn't have been a superstar or anything.  But he might well have been a useful pitcher if not for the injury.

The White Sox and Royals both won, so the Twins did not gain any ground on their closest rivals.  On the other hand, they didn't lose any ground, either.

Record:  The Twins were 79-69, tied for first with Chicago in the American League Central, 3.5 games ahead of third-place Kansas City.