Category Archives: Keeping Track

Happy Birthday–May 21

Fred Dunlap (1859)
Eddie Grant (1883)
Earl Averill (1902)
Hank Johnson (1906)
Mace Brown (1909)
Monty Stratton (1912)
Larry Napp (1919)
Ed Fitz Gerald (1924)
El Tappe (1927)
Moe Thacker (1934)
Barry Latman (1936)
Bobby Cox (1941)
Kent Hrbek (1960)
Bryce Florie (1970)
Tom Martin (1970)
Chris Widger (1971)
Mark Quinn (1974)
Josh Hamilton (1981)
Andrew Miller (1985)
Matt Wieters (1986)

Larry Napp was an American League umpire from 1951-1974.

El Tappe had a twin brother, Mel Tappe, who also played in the minors.

We would also like to wish a happy birthday to zooomx.2 and a happy anniversary to Mr. and Mrs. MagUidhir.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–May 21

Random Rewind: 1995, Game One Hundred Thirty-one


Date:  Monday, September 18.

Batting stars:  Kirby Puckett was 4-for-5 with a double and three runs.  Pedro Munoz was 3-for-4 with a double, a walk, and three RBIs.  Marty Cordova was 2-for-5 with two runs and two RBIs.  Pat Meares was 2-for-5 with two doubles.

Pitching star:  Pat Mahomes pitched 3.1 scoreless innings of relief, giving up two hits and a walk and striking out two.

Opposition stars:  Keith Lockhart was 3-for-4 with two runs.  Wally Joyner was 2-for-3 with two doubles and a walk.  Jon Nunnally was 2-for-3 with a walk.  Brent Mayne was 2-for-4 with a double.  Tom Goodwin was 2-for-5 with a double and a stolen base, his forty-fourth.

The game:  It was scoreless through three.  In the fourth, Puckett doubled and Cordova reached on an error.  Munoz had an RBI single to put the Twins on the board.  A double play threatened to take them out of the inning, but Matt Walbeck had an RBI single, stole second (!), and scored on a Jeff Reboulet single to put the Twins up 3-0.

The lead lasted until the next time the Royals batted.  Joyner led off the inning with a walk.  He was still on first with two out, but Lockhart singled, Nunnally had an RBI double, and Greg Gagne (yes, that Greg Gagne) had a two-run single, tying the game at three.

It stayed tied until the Twins batted in the next inning, as the once low-scoring game got wild.  Meares led off with a double and went to third on Brian Raabe's single.  Puckett and Cordova had RBI singles and Munoz had a run-scoring double to put the Twins up 6-3.  This time the lead would not only hold, but the Twins would add to it.  In the sixth Meares walked, and with two out PuckettCordova, and Munoz all singled, plating two runs and making the score 8-3.

It was pretty much over at that point.  Kansas City got a run in the sixth on singles by Lockhart, Nunnally, and Mayne.  The Twins added two in the eighth.  Raabe walked, Puckett singled, and Munoz walked, loading the bases.  Ron Coomer then delivered a two-run single, making the final score 10-4.

WP:  LaTroy Hawkins (1-3).  LP:  Dilson Torres (1-2).  S:  Mahomes (3).

Notes:  1995 was a strike year in which the season did not start until late April.  Thus, game 131 was in the middle of September.  The Twins would play 144 games.

Coomer was at first base in place of Scott Stahoviak.  This was Coomer's rookie season, as he came up on August 1.  He played both first and third that season, as he would do for much of his career.

Raabe was at second base in place of Chuck Knoblauch, as this was the second game of a doubleheader.  Reboulet was at third in place of Scott Leius, presumably for the same reason.  Puckett was the DH, with Munoz in right field.  Most of the time, that was reversed.

Matt Lawton pinch-ran for Munoz in the eighth and stayed in the game in right field.  It was Lawton's first season--he was a September call-up.  Dan Masteller pinch-ran for Coomer in the eighth and stayed in the game at first base.  This was Masteller's only season in the majors.

Puckett was batting .321.  He would finish at .314.  Munoz was batting .311--he would finish at .301.  Reboulet was batting .300--he would finish at .292.  Knoblauch, who did not play, would lead the team in batting at .333.

Starter Hawkins pinched 5.2 innings and allowed four runs on ten hits and one walk while striking out two.  This was also Hawkins' first season.  He would make six starts for the Twins and go 2-3, 8.67.  He would, of course, have better seasons.

Mahomes pitched very well in this game.  That didn't happen very often in 1995--he finished 4-10, 6.37.  He would have better seasons, too, although, to be honest, not a lot of them.  This was one of his five career saves.

The Walbeck stolen base was one of three he had for the season and one of 13 in his career (13-for-25).  Three was his career high in stolen bases, which he attained three times.

It was quite a group of pitchers the Royals sent out there.  Dave Fleming started, followed by Dilson Torres, Jim Converse, and Billy Brewer.  Fleming and Brewer at least had a couple of decent seasons, but I suspect one would have to be as much of a die-hard Royals fan as I am a Twins fan to remember much about them.

No one knew it at the time, but this was one of the last games of Puckett's career.  He would play ten more games in 1995, then be forced to retire.

This game started a four-game winning streak for the Twins.

Record:  The Twins were 49-82, in fifth (last) place in the American League Central, 42 games behind Cleveland.  They would finish 56-88, in fifth place, 44 games behind Cleveland.

The Royals were 68-64, in second place in the American League Central, 23.5 games behind Cleveland.  They would finish 70-74, in second place, 30 games behind Cleveland.

Happy Birthday–May 20

Walt Burnham (1860)
Joe Harris (1891)
George Grantham (1900)
Pete Appleton (1904)
Hal Newhouser (1921)
Herman Wedemeyer (1924)
Tom Morgan (1930)
Ken Boyer (1931)
Sadaharu Oh (1940)
Bobby Murcer (1946)
Ralph Bryant (1961)
David Wells (1963)
Todd Stottlemyre (1965)
Ramon Hernandez (1976)
Jayson Werth (1979)
Austin Kearns (1980)
Adam Rosales (1983)

Walt Burham was a minor league manager from 1885-1907, winning 1,164 games.

Outfielder Herman Wedemeyer played for Class C Salt Lake City in 1950.  He was a star running back in the All-America Football Conference and later appeared in over 300 episodes of the original Hawaii Five-O, playing Sergeant Edward “Duke” Lukela.

Right-hander Tom Morgan was with Washington at the end of 1960, appearing in fourteen games with them.  On January 31, 1961, before the franchise played a game in Minnesota, he was sold to the Los Angeles Angels.

Sadaharu Oh hit 868 home runs in Japan.

Outfielder Ralph Bryant was drafted by Minnesota in the thirteenth round of the January draft in 1981, but he did not sign.

This is not connected to the Twins or baseball in any way we're aware of, but we'd like to wish a happy 93rd birthday to Bud Grant.

We would also like to wish a very happy birthday to hungry joe.

There do not appear to be any other major league players with connections to the Minnesota Twins born on this day.

Random Rewind: 1979, Game One Hundred Fifty-four


Date:  Friday, September 21.

Batting stars:  Butch Wynegar was 2-for-4 with a home run, his seventh.  Ken Landreaux was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his fifteenth.

Pitching stars:  Jerry Koosman pitched eight innings, giving up two runs on eight hits and two walks and striking out six.  Mike Marshall pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  Moose Haas pitched a complete game, giving up three runs on six hits and two walks and striking out five.  Ben Oglivie was 4-for-4.  Robin Yount was 2-for-3 with a walk.  Gorman Thomas was 1-for-3 with a home run (his forty-third) and a walk.

The game:  The Twins missed chances early, stranding a man on third in the first and men on first and second in the second.  Thomas started the scoring in the bottom of the second with a home run, putting the Brewers up 1-0, but they similarly left men on first and second.

There was really not much for threats from there until the seventh, when Oglivie hit a one-out single, Yount walked, and Charlie Moore delivered a two-out RBI single.  Milwaukee left men on first and third, but they still led 2-0, and that remained the score through eight.

Then came the ninth.  Roy Smalley led off with a walk.  A popup followed, but then Landreaux hit a two-run homer to tie the score.  Wynegar followed with a home run and the Twins took their only lead of the game at 3-2.

The Brewers did not give up.  Oglivie led off the ninth with a single, which brought Marshall into the game.  With one out Yount singled, putting men on first and second.  Moore hit into a force out at second, moving the tying run to third, but Paul Molitor popped up and the game belonged to the Twins.

WP:  Koosman (19-13).  LP:  Haas (11-10).  S:  Marshall (31).

Notes:  Rick Sofield was in center, with Landreaux moving to left.  Sofield had started the season with the Twins, but was sent to AAA in mid-May and came back as a September call-up.  Landreaux had played center most of the season.  Bombo Rivera is listed as the Twins' left fielder, but in fact they used a few players there:  Rivera (61 games), Landreaux (49), Glenn Adams (45), and Dave Edwards (36).

Adams was the DH in this game.  He spent 54 games at DH, sharing the position with Jose Morales (77), Danny Goodwin (51), Mike Cubbage (22), Willie Norwood (17), and Craig Kusick (12).

The Twins had three batters over .300 this late in the season.  Rob Wilfong was at .317--he would finish at .313.  Landreaux was at .304--he would finish at .305.  Adams was at .300--he would finish at .301.

Smalley led the team in home runs with 24.  Landreaux had 15 and Ron Jackson 14.  No one else had double digits in homers.

Koosman would go on to win twenty games for the second and last time of his career.  He finished 20-13, 3.38, 1.33 WHIP at age thirty-six.  This was his first season with the Twins, having been traded from the Mets with Greg Field for Jesse Orosco.

The Twins had three decent starters in Koosman, Geoff Zahn, and Dave Goltz.  They struggled to fill out the rotation, however, with Paul Hartzell and Roger Erickson each posting an ERA over five in more than twenty starts.

Robin Yount was batting eighth for Milwaukee.  He was in his sixth major league season, but was still just twenty-three.  He batted .267 in 1979, but with an OPS of just .679.  The next season he would really become Robin Yount, batting .293 with 23 homers, leading the league with 49 doubles, posting an OPS of .840, and making his first all-star team.  Surprisingly, Yount only made the all-star team three times in his career and did not make it in one of his two MVP seasons, 1989.

They don't give pitch counts for games in the '70s, but these days Haas would probably not have started the ninth, and almost certainly would have been removed after the leadoff walk to Smalley.  The Brewers really didn't have a closer, and in fact had only twenty-three team saves, distributed over five pitchers.  They threw sixty-one complete games.  Presumably, George Bamberger saw no reason to take a pitcher out when he was doing well, regardless of what his pitch count was.

The Twins were still in the pennant race at this point, but after winning the next game they would drop six in a row to take them out of it.

Record:  The Twins were 80-74, in third place in the American League West, three games behind California.  They would finish 82-80, in fourth place, six games behind California.

The Brewers were 90-63, in second place in the American League East, ten games behind Baltimore.  They would finish 95-66, in second place, eight games behind Baltimore.


Happy Birthday–May 19

Goose Curry (1905)
Gil McDougald (1928)
Curt Simmons (1929)
Larry McCoy (1941)
Dan Ford (1952)
Rick Cerone (1954)
Ed Whitson (1955)
Luis Salazar (1956)
Eric Show (1956)
Turk Wendell (1967)
Brandon Inge (1977)
Brian Anderson (1993)

Outfielder Goose Curry was a star in the Negro Leagues, batting over .300 several times.

This author's first baseball glove was a Gil McDougald model.

Larry McCoy was an American League umpire from 1971-1999.

Eric Show was drafted by Minnesota in the 36th round in 1974, but did not sign.

Brian Anderson was drafted by Minnesota in the 20th round in 2011, but did not sign.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–May 19

Random Rewind: 1964, Game One Hundred Twenty


Date:  Sunday, August 16.

Batting stars:  Zoilo Versalles was 3-for-5 with a home run (his fourteenth), a stolen base (his eleventh), and four RBIs.  Tony Oliva was 2-for-4 with a double, a walk, and three runs.  Bob Allison was 2-for-4 with a walk, a stolen base (his seventh), and two RBIs.  Rich Rollins was 2-for-5 with a double and two runs.  Don Mincher was 2-for-5 with a double.  Jerry Kindall was 2-for-5.  Harmon Killebrew was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer (his forty-second), a walk, and two runs.

Pitching star:  Mudcat Grant pitched a complete game, giving up two runs on six hits and a walk and striking out three.

Opposition stars:  Sonny Siebert pitched six innings, giving up three runs on six hits and no walks and striking out five.  Chico Salmon was 2-for-4 with a double.  Woodie Held was 1-for-1 with a two-run homer, his sixteenth.

The game:  It was close most of the way.  Versalles started the scoring by leading off the third inning with a home run.  In the fourth Oliva led off with a double and Killebrew hit a two-run homer to make it 3-0.

It stayed 3-0 until the seventh.  The Indians had four hits, but never more than one in an inning.  The Twins put the game away in the seventh inning.  Grant walked and scored from first on a two-out double from Rollins.  Oliva was intentionally walked and Killebrew was accidentally walked to load the bases.  Mincher hit a two-run single.  Allison then walked to re-load the bases.  Versalles hit a two-run single, and with men on first and third Allison and Versalles pulled off a double steal of second and home, making the score 9-0.

Cleveland got on the board in the eighth.  Joe Azcue singled and Held hit a two-run homer.  The Twins got the runs back with interest in the bottom of the eighth.  Grant led off with a double, followed by singles by Jerry KindallRollins, and Oliva.  A couple of popups followed, but then Allison had a two-run single and Versalles had an RBI single, making the final score 13-2.

WP:  Grant (10-9).  LP:  Siebert (3-5).  S:  None.

Notes:  Jerry Zimmerman was behind the plate in place of Earl Battey, who missed five or six games.  Allison usually played first base in 1964, but he was in right field in this game, with Mincher at first.  Oliva, normally in right field, was in center in place of Jimmie Hall, who appears to just have been given the day off.  Kindall was at second base in place of Bernie Allen, who was battling injuries.  Hall came in to play center in the ninth, with Oliva moving to right, Allison to left, and Killebrew, who had been in left, leaving the game.

Oliva was the only Twin over .300, at .339.  He finished at .323.  This was his rookie season and, as you probably know, he was Rookie of the Year.  It's interesting that he was inserted into the third spot in the order very early in the season, after batting second 33 times.  It's rare these days to see a rookie put in an important batting order spot like that--I don't know if it was more common then.

Grant had only been with the Twins for a couple of months at this point.  He was acquired at the June trade deadline for George Banks and Lee Stange.  He would be instrumental in the Twins AL Championship team in 1965.  While Stange went on to have some good years, I think it's fair to see the Twins came out well on that trade.

Despite his good day at the plate, Grant falls into the "good hitter for a pitcher" category, rather than actually being a good hitter.  His numbers were .178/.216/.240. in 853 plate appearances.

It's interesting that the Twins chose to play Killebrew in left field and Allison primarily at first base, rather than the other way around.  Not that Allison won any Gold Gloves, but I have to think that he covered more ground in the outfield than Killebrew.  Harmon had played well over a hundred games at first in his career at this point, so it's not like he was unfamiliar with the position.

Record:  The Twins were 59-60, in sixth place in the American League, 14.5 games behind Baltimore.  They would finish 79-83, tied for sixth with Cleveland, 20 games behind New York.

The Indians were 54-64, in seventh place in the American League, 19 games behind Baltimore.  They would finish 79-83, tied for sixth with Minnesota, 20 games behind New York.

And you say, this was game 120, but the Twins record was 59-60.  59 plus 60 is only 119.  What gives?  Well, the Twins played 163 games in 1964.  Their game on June 22 with Cleveland was a ten-inning tie.  I guess it's fitting that two teams that ended up tied would play a tie game.

Happy Birthday–May 18

Babe Adams (1882)
Arndt Jorgens (1905)
Gil Coan (1922)
Jack Sanford (1929)
Carroll Hardy (1933)
Brooks Robinson (1937)
Reggie Jackson (1946)
Osamu Higashio (1950)
Eric Gregg (1951)
Dennis Leonard (1951)
Jim Sundberg (1951)
Andre David (1958)
Jim Bowden (1961)
Erik Hanson (1965)
Eric Young (1967)
Rich Garces (1971)
Joakim Soria (1984)
Randy Rosario (1994)

Pitcher Osamu Higashio is a member of the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame.

Eric Gregg was a National League umpire from 1975-1999.

Jim Bowden was the general manager of Cincinnati and of Washington and is currently a broadcaster for MLB Network Radio.

Two players who share a name with Minnesota Twins players, Scott Baker (1970) and Roy Smith (1976), were also born on this day.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–May 18

Random Rewind: 1968, Game Thirty-five


Date:  Monday, May 20.

Batting stars:  Rich Reese was 2-for-3 with a three-run homer, his second.  Tony Oliva was 2-for-4 with a double.

Pitching star:  Jim Merritt pitched 9.2 innings, giving up four runs (one earned) on six hits and two walks and striking out six.

Opposition stars:  Denny McLain pitched a ten-inning complete game, giving up three runs on seven hits and no walks and striking out seven.  Willie Horton was 1-for-5 with a home run, his tenth.

The game;  With one out in the second Oliva and Rich Rollins hit consecutive singles and Reese followed with a three-run homer.  Unfortunately, that was all the Twins offense did.

For a while it looked like it would be enough.  The Tigers closed the gap in the fourth.  Mickey Stanley reached on an error and Jim Northrup singled, putting men on first and third with one out.  A force out scored a run, another error put men on first and second with two out, and Don Wert had an RBI single to cut the margin to 3-2.

It stayed 3-2 until the ninth, when Horton may not have heard a who, but he hit a homer to tie the score and send the game to an extra inning.  The first two Detroiters were retired in the tenth, but Al Kaline reached on a two-base error and scored on another error, putting the Tigers in front for the first time.  The Twins went down in order in the tenth and the game was gone.

WP:  McLain (6-1).  LP:  Merritt (3-4).  S:  None.

Notes:  Cesar Tovar was at shortstop.  Jackie Hernandez had the most games at shortstop with 79.  Ron Clark had 44, Rick Renick 40, and Tovar 35.  Tovar was the only one of them who could hit in 1968, and I suspect that, as good as he was at playing all over the field, he was somewhat stretched at shortstop.

Reese was in left field in place of Bob Allison.  I didn't remember Reese playing the outfield, but he played 74 games there over the course of his career.  He was,  of course, primarily a first baseman.

Hernandez came in for defense in the seventh.  He went to short, with Tovar moving to third and Rollins leaving the game.  Clark cae in for defense in the ninth.  He went to third, with Tovar moving to left and Reese leaving the game.  Allison was used as a pinch-hitter for the pitcher in the tenth.

Carew was leading the team in batting at .295.  He would finish at .273.  Oliva ended up leading the team in batting at .289.  I didn't check, but memory tells me that was second in the league to Carl Yastrzemski, who led at .301.

Merritt pitched a tremendous game and really deserved to win.  The Twins made four errors behind him, one each by TovarHernandezRollins, and Clark.  Two of those players, of course, were brought in for defense.  Well, nobody's perfect.

As you probably know, this was the year McLain won 31 games.  He also led the league in starts (41), complete games (28), innings (336) and batters faced (1288).  He would have another tremendous year in 1969, but would never have another one again.  Throwing 51 complete games and 661 innings over two years will do that to you.  He pitched through 1973, but he was basically done at age 25.

It was, of course the Year of the Pitcher, but the Twins' rotation numbers are still pretty impressive.  Dean Chance, 16-16, 2.53, 0.98 WHIP.  Jim Kaat, 14-12, 2.94, 1.12.  Merritt, 12-16, 3.25, 1.09.  Dave Boswell, 10-13, 3.32, 1.24.  When a fifth starter was needed, there was Jim Perry, 8-6, 2.27, 1.00.  Again, it was the Year of the Pitcher, but those are still good numbers.

Record:  The Twins were 18-17, tied for fourth in the American League, 5 games behind Detroit.  They would finish 79-83, in seventh place, 24 games behind Detroit.

The Tigers were 23-12, in first place in the American League, 2.5 games ahead of Cleveland.  They would finish  103-59, in first place, 12 games ahead of Baltimore.

Happy Birthday–May 17

Hal Carlson (1892)
Del Webb (1899)
Cool Papa Bell (1903)
Ace Parker (1912)
Billy Hoeft (1932)
Ozzie Virgil (1932)
Dan Monzon (1946)
Carlos May (1948)
Pascual Perez (1957)
Greg Mathews (1962)
Jose Guillen (1976)
Carlos Pena (1978)

Del Webb was an owner of the New York Yankees from 1945-1964.

As you probably know, James "Cool Papa" Bell was a star in the Negro Leagues.  It was said that he was so fast he could turn out the light and be in bed before the room got dark.

Ace Parker is a member of both the College Football and Pro Football Hall of Fame.  He was an infielder for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1937-1938.

Left-hander Greg Mathews was drafted by Minnesota in the ninth round of the January draft in 1982, but did not sign.

We would also like to wish a very happy birthday to Philosofer.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–May 17

Random Rewind: 1993, Game One Hundred Fifty-two


Date:  Wednesday, September 22.

Batting starsDave Winfield was 3-for-4 with two doubles.  Pedro Munoz was 1-for-4 with a three-run homer, his thirteenth.  Kent Hrbek was 1-for-4 with a home run, his twenty-second.

Pitching stars:  Kevin Tapani pitched seven innings, giving up two runs on five hits and no walks and striking out five.  Carl Willis pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.  Rick Aguilera pitched a scoreless inning.

Opposition stars:  Randy Velarde was 2-for-3.  Mike Gallego was 1-for-3 with a home run, his tenth.

The game:  The Twins did almost all of their damage in the second inning.  Hrbek led off the inning with a home run.  Winfield doubled, Brian Harper singled, and Munoz hit a three-run homer, putting the Twins ahead 4-0.

The Yankees had only two hits through the first four innings.  They got on the board in the fifth when Bernie Williams doubled and Velarde singled.  It stayed 4-1 until the eighth.  In the top of the inning Chuck Knoblauch walked, went to second on a ground out, and scored on Kirby Puckett's single.  Gallego homered leading off the bottom of the eighth to make it 5-2.  New York got one man on in the ninth but did not bring the tying run to the plate.

WP:  Tapani (10-15).  LP:  Scott Kamieniecki (9-7).  S:  Aguilera (32).

Notes:  Scott Stahoviak was at third base.  I had completely forgotten that Stahoviak came up as a third baseman.  He played 19 games there in 1993 and 22 in 1995 before moving to first base.  Terry Jorgensen and Jeff Reboulet also saw significant time at third.  Mike Pagliarulo had been the regular third baseman, but he was traded to Baltimore in mid-August.

David McCarty was in right field.  The person who actually got the most games in right field was Puckett, with 47, but he also had the most games in center with 95.  Shane Mack played center when Puckett did not and usually played left when Puckett did.  Munoz had the next highest number of games in right field with 41.  McCarty had 34, Winfield had 31, and Gene Larkin had 25.  Munoz moved to left for this game, which he often did when someone else was in right.

Harper was the lone Twin over .300, at .305.  He would finish at .304.  Chip Hale, who did not play in this game, batted .333 in 186 at-bats.

Stahoviak was batting .175 after this game.  He would finish at .193.  It was his rookie season at age 23.  I'd forgotten that he actually had a fine year in 1996--.284/.376/.469 with 13 homers and 30 doubles.  If he'd been able to stay near that level, he'd have been a good player.  Unfortunately, the next season he batted .229 and he played in only nine big-league games after that.

Tapani pitched well in this game but did not have a good year, going 12-15, 4.43.  Maybe it's because of his fine 1991 season, when he was instrumental in the World Championship, but Tapani really does not appear to have been as good as I remember him.  He wasn't awful, but his career numbers--143-125, 4.35, 1.31 WHIP--are really pretty average.  He was really good in 1991, though.

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

Record:  The Twins were 64-88, in sixth place in the American League West, 22.5 games behind Chicago.  They would finish 71-91, tied for fifth with California, 23 games behind Chicago.

The Yankees were 83-70, in second place, 5 games behind Toronto.  With only nine games left, the loss to the lowly Twins really hurt them.  They would finish 88-74, in second place, 7 games behind Toronto.