Category Archives: Keeping Track

1991 Rewind: Game Thirty-one


Date:  Sunday, May 12.

Batting stars:  Chuck Knoblauch was 4-for-5.  Shane Mack was 3-for-5 with two runs.  Pedro Munoz was 2-for-4 with a double.  Chili Davis was 2-for-5 with two home runs (his sixth and seventh) and four RBIs.  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-5 with two RBIs.

Pitching star:  Scott Erickson pitched seven shutout innings, giving up three hits and a walk and striking out three.

Opposition stars:  Milt Cuyler was 2-for-3.  Mickey Tettleton was 2-for-4.  Cecil Fielder was 1-for-4 with a home run, his fifth.  Travis Fryman was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his fifth.

The game:  The Twins got the lead early.  Mack led off the first inning with a single and stole second.  Knoblauch singled to put men on first and third, Puckett singled home a run, and Davis hit a three-run homer to give the Twins a 4-0 lead.  Davis again homered in the third to make it 5-0.

The Tigers threatened in the fifth, putting men on first and third on a couple of errors, but they could not score.  The Twins added single runs in the sixth, seventh, and eighth.  In the sixth it was consecutive two-out singles by Al NewmanMack, and Knoblauch.  In the seventh, walks to Gene Larkin and Scott Leius were followed by a Junior Ortiz single.  In the eighth, consecutive singles by MackKnoblauch, and Puckett produced another run, making it 8-0.

Detroit finally got on the board in the ninth.  Fielder led off the inning with a home run.  With two out, Pete Incaviglia singled and Fryman hit a two-run homer.  Luis de los Santos then grounded out to end the game.

WP:  Erickson (5-2).  LP:  Bill Gullickson (4-1).  S:  None.

Notes:  Mack, who had started only three games since April 19, not only started this game, but was put in left field and in the leadoff spot, taking the place of Dan Gladden (day game).  Randy Bush was at first base with Kent Hrbek still out.  Ortiz was behind the plate.  Newman was at shortstop, replacing Greg Gagne.

Knoblauch raised his average to .336.  Davis went up to .317.  Puckett was up to .314.  Erickson dropped his ERA to 1.45.  Terry Leach did not give up a run in two-thirds of an inning and had an ERA of 3.18.

Tiger starter Gullickson pitched six innings, allowing six runs on twelve hits and no walks and striking out one.  He came into the game with a record of 4-0 despite an ERA of 4.08.  The Tigers had averaged nearly six runs a game in his prior starts.  His luck ran out on him in this game.

1991 was the first full season of Milt Cuyler's career, and the only season in which he was a regular.  He wasn't awful, but he wasn't really good, either:  .257/.335/.337.  He stole 41 bases and was presumably a good defender, which is probably why he finished third in Rookie of the Year voting that season (behind Knoblauch and Juan Guzman).  He'd have probably won the award if he could've played the Twins more:  he batted .353/.450/.471 against them and also hit one of his three home runs.  The rules said he had to face other teams, too, though, and as time went on his playing time diminished.  He was with the Tigers through 1995, but spent time in the minors his last two seasons there.  He played for Boston and Texas and also in the Atlantic League before hanging it up after the 2002 season.  For his career he batted .237/.305/.326 in 1567 plate appearances, over a third of which came in 1991.  As they say, you can talk all you want about the five tools, but none of the others mean much if you can't hit.  He was a coach for the GCL Twins from 2003-2012.

The Twins had finally climbed back over .500 at 16-15.  Could they stay there?  We'll find out!

Record:  The Twins were 16-15, in fourth place in the American League West, three games behind Oakland.  They were a mere three percentage points behind the White Sox for third place.

Happy Birthday–November 8

Bucky Harris (1896)
Tony Cuccinello (1907)
Wally Westlake (1920)
Joe Nossek (1940)
Ed Kranepool (1944)
John Denny (1952)
Jerry Remy (1952)
Jeff Blauser (1965)
Eric Anthony (1967)
Henry Rodriguez (1967)
Jose Offerman (1968)
Edgardo Alfonzo (1973)
Nick Punto (1977)
Giancarlo Stanton (1989)

Bucky Harris was a star for the franchise when it was in Washington in the 1920s.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–November 8

1991 Rewind: Game Thirty


Date:  Saturday, May 11.

Batting stars:  Brian Harper was 4-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.  Chili Davis was 2-for-2 with a home run (his fifth) and two walks.  Dan Gladden was 2-for-3 with a triple and two walks.  Chuck Knoblauch was 2-for-3 with a double and a walk.

Pitching stars:  Carl Willis pitched three shutout innings of relief, giving up one hit and striking out two.  Steve Bedrosian pitched a perfect inning.  Rick Aguilera pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  Milt Cuyler was 2-for-3 with two stolen bases, his eighth and ninth.  Travis Fryman was 2-for-4 with a three-run homer (his fourth) and a stolen base (his fourth).  Jerry Don Gleaton pitched two shutout innings, giving up two walks and striking out one.

The game:  The Tigers jumped on Twins starter Allan Anderson in the first inning.  Singles by Tony Phillips and Alan Trammell and a walk to Rob Deer loaded the bases with none out.  Cecil Fielder popped up, but Pete Incaviglia hit a sacrifice fly and Fryman delivered a three-run homer to give Detroit a 4-0 lead.

That was all they would get, though, and the Twins came back.  They got on the board in the bottom of the first on singles by Knoblauch and Davis and an RBI double by Harper.  The Tigers failed to score in the second despite having men on first and third with one out, and the Twins made them pay for it.  Greg Gagne drew a one-out walk, and with two down Gladden tripled and Knoblauch doubled to cut the margin to 4-3 after two.  The Twins struck again in the third, as Davis led off with a home run to tie it at four.

The Twins had three walks and a single in the fourth, but did not score due to a double play and Kirby Puckett being thrown out trying to score from second on a Harper hit.  There was not much else in the middle innings, but in the seventh Puckett led off with a double.  Davis was intentionally walked.  Harper then got a bunt single which somehow led to Puckett scoring from second and Davis reaching third.  There obviously must be more to the story, but in any event, the Twins took a 5-4 lead.

They lost a chance for more when Davis was thrown out at the plate on the back end of an attempted second-and-home double steal.  It didn't matter, though, as Detroit could manage just one single in the last two innings.

WP:  Willis (1-0).  LP:  Mike Henneman (3-1).  S:  Aguilera (6).

Notes:  Pedro Munoz was again in right field.  Gene Larkin was again at first base with Kent Hrbek out.

Harper raised his average to .377.  Knoblauch went up to .315.  Davis raised his average to .313.  Puckett was 1-for-4 and was batting .310.  Gagne was 0-for-3 with a walk and was batting .301.  Bedrosian dropped his ERA to 3.38.  Aguilera went down to 1.98.

Munoz was 0-for-3 with a walk and was batting .143.  Scott Leius was 0-for-3 and was batting .161.

The double steal in the seventh came with Harper on first and Davis on third.  I can't think of two players on the Twins at that time that I'd be less likely to try a double steal with.  Junior Ortiz, maybe, but that's about it.  They had the element of surprise going for them, but not much else.  The Twins actually lost three men on the bases:  in addition to Davis on the double steal and Puckett thrown out at the plate, Gladden was caught stealing in the eighth.  If you include the two double plays they hit into, it's five men lost on the bases.  They did not have a successful stolen base in the game.

Puckett was in somewhat of a slump, going 8-for-40 over his last ten games.  His average dropped from .355 to .310 over that period.

The Twins got back to .500 in this game.  I suspect most Twins fans were happy about that at the time.  They'd finished last the year before, and had gotten off to the 2-9 start.  A .500 record probably sounded pretty good.

Record:  The Twins were 15-15, in fifth place in the American League West, four games behind Oakland.  They were a half game behind California for fourth place.

Happy Birthday–November 7

Chris Von der Ahe (1851)
Ed "The Only" Nolan (1857)
Bill Brubaker (1910)
Dick Stuart (1932)
Jake Gibbs (1938)
Jim Kaat (1938)
Joe Niekro (1944)
Buck Martinez (1948)
Willie Norwood (1950)
Guy Sularz (1955)
Orlando Mercado (1961)
Russ Springer (1968)
Todd Ritchie (1971)
Glendon Rusch (1974)
Esmerling Vasquez (1983)
Danny Santana (1990)

Promoter/entrepreneur Chris von der Ahe, referred to as "Bill Veeck with a handlebar mustache", owned the St. Louis franchise from 1882-1899.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–November 7

1991 Rewind: Game Twenty-nine


Date:  Friday, May 10.

Batting stars:  Mike Pagliarulo was 3-for-3 with two doubles and two RBIs.  Brian Harper was 2-for-4 with a double and two runs.  Dan Gladden was 2-for-4 with a triple.

Pitching stars:  Mark Guthrie struck out six in six innings, giving up two runs on seven hits and three walks.  Terry Leach pitched 1.2 scoreless innings, giving up one hit.  Rick Aguilera retired all four men he faced, striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Cecil Fielder was 3-for-4 with a double.  Travis Fryman was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer, his third.  Mark Leiter pitched 2.1 scoreless innings, giving up a hit and a walk and striking out one.

The game:  The Twins took the lead in the bottom of the first, as Gladden led off with a triple and scored on a one-out single by Kirby Puckett.  Pagliarulo led off the second with a double but did not get past third.  The Tigers started the third with two singles, but a bunt and two strikeouts ended the inning.

The Twins scored in each of the next three innings. In the third, Chili Davis drew a two-out walk, Harper had an RBI double, and Pagliarulo delivered a run-scoring single to make it 3-0.  In the fourth Greg Gagne reached on an error, went to second on a bunt single, took third on a sacrifice, and scored on a ground out to give the Twins a 4-0 lead.  In the fifth, Harper had a one-out single and scored on Pagliarulo's double to make it 5-0.

Detroit got both of their runs in the sixth.  Fielder had a one-out single and with two down, Fryman hit a two-run homer to cut the Twins' lead to 5-2.  That was as close as they would come, though, as they did not threaten after that.

WP:  Guthrie (2-2).  LP:  Walt Terrell (1-3).  S:  Aguilera (5).

Notes:  Gene Larkin was at first base in place of Kent Hrbek.  Al Newman was at second base in place of Chuck Knoblauch.

Harper raised his average to .342.  Gagne was 1-for-4 and was batting .313.  Puckett was 1-for-4 and was at .312.  Aguilera lowered his ERA to 2.13.

Scott Leius pinch-hit and was 0-for-1, dropping his average to .179.  Despite pitching well in this game, Guthrie still had an ERA of 6.23.

My recollection was that Travis Fryman always hit very well against the Twins.  He did, but not in a way that was completely out of line with what he did against other clubs.  He batted .294/.351/.476 against Minnesota; his career numbers were .274/.336/.443.  Significantly better against the Twins, but not in an "he totally owns them" sort of way.  He was just a very good batter.  He made five all-star teams in thirteen seasons with Detroit and Cleveland.  He won a Silver Slugger and also a Gold Glove.  A darn good ballplayer.

Pedro Munoz made his 1991 Twins debut in this game, starting in right field.  He had played in 22 games for the Twins in 1990 as a September call-up.  He would be with the Twins through mid-July, then come back as a September call-up.  I don't remember if was sent down in mid-July or if he was hurt.  There's no apparent reason to have sent him down--he was batting .283/.333/.434 at the time--but at the same time, the Twins weren't really in need of an outfielder, and sending out the twenty-two year old Munoz would've been the easy thing to do.  If someone with more time than I have wants to look into that, I'd be interested to know.  He stayed with the Twins through 1995, then became a free agent and went to Oakland.  I always thought he should've played more, but he never achieved more than semi-regular status with the Twins and was done after one season with the Athletics.  Part of the problem was probably that he was not a very good fielder (it says a lot about Gene Larkin's outfielding ability that the Twins would sometimes use Munoz as a defensive replacement for him).  But at bat, he hit .273/.315/.444 in 1832 plate appearances.  Not an all-star, but certainly nothing to be ashamed of.

Record:  The Twins were 14-15, fifth in the American League West, four games behind Oakland.  They were a half game behind fourth place California.

Happy Birthday–November 6

Walter Johnson (1887)
Mack Jones (1938)
Jim Gosger (1942)
John Candelaria (1953)
Stine Poole (1958)
Chad Curtis (1968)
Don Wengert (1969)
Bubba Trammell (1971)
Deivi Cruz (1972)
Justin Speier (1973)
Adam LaRoche (1979)

Walter Johnson, of course, was a star for the franchise when it was in Washington, pitching from 1907 to 1927.

Justin Speier is the son of ex-Twin Chris Speier.

Stine Poole was traded by Detroit to the Twins for Sal Butera and played in the Twins minor league system for two seasons.

We would also like to wish a very happy birthday to brianS' mom and spookymilk's brother.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–November 6

1991 Rewind: Game Twenty-eight


Date:  Thursday, May 9.

Batting star:  Shane Mack was 1-for-2 with a walk.

Pitching stars:  Kevin Tapani pitched seven innings, giving up three runs on five hits and two walks and striking out six.  Steve Bedrosian struck out two in two shutout innings, giving up a walk.

Opposition stars:  Dan Petry pitched 6.2 scoreless innings, giving up six hits and one walk and striking out one.  Paul Gibson pitched 2.1 scoreless innings, giving up one hit and striking out one.  Cecil Fielder was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his fourth.  Mickey Tettleton was 1-for-4 with a home run, his fourth.

The game:  The Twins got a man to second in the second and the Tigers got a man to second in the third, but no one went farther until the fourth.  Alan Trammell led off with a walk and with one out Fielder hit a two-run homer to make it 2-0 Detroit.

Each team got a man to third in the sixth, but there was no more scoring until the seventh, when Tettleton led off with a home run.  In the bottom of the seventh came the only time the Twins had more than one man on base.  With two out, Brian Harper and Gene Larkin singled and Shane Mack walked, loading the bases.  Carmelo Castillo pinch-hit and grounded to second, ending the inning.  The Twins had only one baserunner the rest of the game.

WP:  Petry (1-1).  LP:  Tapani (2-2).  S:  Gibson (3).

Notes:  Larkin was at first base in place of Kent Hrbek.  Mack was in right field.

Brian Harper was 1-for-4 and was batting .333.  Kirby Puckett was 1-for-4 and was batting .314.  Chili Davis was 0-for-4 and was batting .308.  Chuck Knoblauch was 1-for-4 and was batting .305.  Tapani had an ERA of 2.66.

Castillo was 0-for-1 as a pinch-hitter and was batting .167.

Mack finally got over the Mendoza line at .205.

The Twins had seven hits, but no batter had more than one.  The seventh was the only time the Twins got more than one hit in an inning.  The two teams combined to go 0-for-10 with men in scoring position.

Dan Petry was a pretty good pitcher for six seasons, before overuse caught up with him.  He came up to the Tigers in July of 1979, at age 20, and went 6-5, 3.95 in fifteen starts.  From 1982-1985, his age 23 through 26 seasons, he made 142 starts (35.5 per season) and pitched 984.1 innings (246 per season).  He went 67-41, 3.45 in those years.  He finished in the top ten in Cy Young voting in two of those years and made his only all-star team in 1985.  He was never able to make more than 23 starts or pitch more than 150 innings after that, nor was he able to have an ERA below 4.30.  The Tigers traded him to California after the 1987 season, but he came back to Detroit as a free agent in 1990.  This was one of only six starts he made in 1991.  He went to the bullpen in late May, was traded to Atlanta at the end of June, and was traded to Boston in mid-August.  1991 was the last season of his career, but it was a fine career.  He went 125-104, 3.95, 1.36 WHIP in 2080.1 innings.  He played in 370 games and made 300 starts.  And for a four year period, he was one of the top pitchers in the game.

Record:  The Twins were 13-15, sixth in the American League West, five games behind Oakland.  They were a half-game behind California and Texas for fourth place.

1991 Rewind: Game Twenty-seven


Date:  Wednesday, May 8.

Batting star:  Brian Harper was 3-for-4 with three RBIs.

Pitching star:  Terry Leach struck out two in two perfect innings.

Opposition stars:  Roger Clemens struck out ten in eight innings, giving up one run on four hits and a walk.  Wade Boggs was 3-for-3 with a double, two walks, and two RBIs.  Jody Reed was 3-for-4 with two doubles, a walk, and three RBIs.  Carlos Quintana was 2-for-4 with a walk and two runs.

The game:  The Red Sox put men on first and third with none out in the first inning and did not score.  They would not be denied in the second, however, as Quintana singled, Luis Rivera walked, and Boggs hit a two-out single to score the first run of the game.  It could've been worse, though, as Boston left the bases loaded.

The Red Sox increased their lead in the third, as three walks and a two-run single by Tony Pena made the score 3-0.  They added another in the fourth on two singles and a sacrifice fly by Tom Brunansky, and got one more in the fifth when Boggs singled and scored on Reed's double, making the score 5-0.

The Twins finally got on the board in the seventh when Kirby Puckett led off with a double and scored on Harper's two-out single.  Boston got the run back with interest in the bottom of the seventh.  A single, an error, and a walk loaded the bases.  Boggs then walked to force in a run and Reed hit a two-run double, making the score 8-1.  The Twins got two in the ninth on two walks and Harper's two-run double, but it was far too little and far too late.

WP:  Clemens (6-0).  LP:  Jack Morris (2-4).  S:  None.

Notes:  Randy Bush was again in right field in place of Shane Mack.  Granted that Mack was off to a slow start, but so was Bush.  With an 0-for-3 in this game, he was batting .189/.286/.216.  Given the difference in defense, there was really no good reason to play Bush in right field this much.

Gene Larkin was again at first base in place of Kent Hrbek.

With the blowout game, there were a lot of late-inning substitutions.  Carmelo Castillo pinch-hit for Dan Gladden and went to right field, with Bush moving to left.  Mack replaced Puckett in center.  Al Newman pinch-hit for Greg Gagne and stayed in to play short.  Scott Leius pinch-hit for Bush and Junior Ortiz pinch-hit for Mike Pagliarulo.

Harper raised his average to .338.  Gagne was 0-for-2 and was at .329.  Chili Davis was 1-for-4 and was batting .322.  Puckett was 1-for-3 to go to .317.  Chuck Knoblauch was 0-for-3 with a walk and was batting .307.

Castillo was 0-for-1 and was batting .182.  Leius walked and remained at .185.  Bush, as stated above, was at .189.  Mack walked and remained at .190.

Morris pitched five innings and allowed five runs on ten his and five walks while striking out six.  His ERA was 5.89.  Carl Willis pitched an inning and allowed three runs (two earned) on two hits and two walks and struck out one.  His ERA was 7.94.

Clemens, as you may remember was Really Good back then.  He would win his third Cy Young Award, and it was the fifth time in six years that he finished in the top six.  He would make it six times in seven years in 1992.  He ended up with seven Cys, 1986, 1987, 1991, 1997, 1998, 2001, and 2004.  His numbers obviously say he should be in the Hall of Fame, and we all know the only reason he's not.

The Twins failed in their attempt to get over .500.  Could they get back to .500 in the next game?

Record:  The Twins were 13-14 and remained tied for fifth with California in the American League West.  They were 4.5 games behind Oakland.

Happy Birthday–November 4

Bobby Wallace (1873)
Tommy Leach (1877)
Skeeter Webb (1909)
Carl Sawatski (1927)
Dick Groat (1930)
Tito Francona (1933)
Dick Selma (1943)
Doug Corbett (1952)
Jon Shave (1967)
Eric Karros (1967)
Carlos Baerga (1968)
Kevin Frederick (1976)
Carmen Cali (1978)
Chih-Wei Hu (1993)

We would also like to wish a very happy birthday to davidwatts, yickit, and kalarson.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–November 4