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2002 Rewind: Game Ninety-four


Date:  Monday, July 15.

Batting stars:  Torii Hunter was 3-for-4 with a home run (his twenty-second) and a stolen base (his sixteenth).  Luis Rivas was 3-for-4 with two doubles.  Cristian Guzman was 1-for-4 with a three-run homer, his fifth.

Pitching stars:  LaTroy Hawkins retired all five batters he faced.  Eddie Guardado pitched a perfect inning, striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Troy Glaus was 3-for-3 with a double and a walk.  Garret Anderson was 1-for-4 with a double.  Tim Salmon was 0-for-3 with two walks.

The game:  The Twins got on the board in the second, but the third inning was a disaster for them, as they gave the Angels five runs.  With one out a walk, a single, and a walk loaded the bases.  An error scored one run and another error scored a second.  A sacrifice fly made it 3-1, Glaus had an RBI single, and a wild pitch made it 5-1.  It the fifth, Shawn Wooten hit a two-run single to increase the lead to 7-1. The Twins got back in the game in the bottom of the fifth, as Rivas had an RBI double, Doug Mientkiewicz singled home two, and another run scored on a ground out, cutting the margin to 7-5.  Glaus had another RBI single in the seventh to make it 8-5.  Hunter hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh to pull the Twins within one at 8-7.  The first two Twins went out in the eighth, but singles by Rivas and Bobby Kielty were followed by Guzman's three-run homer to put the Twins in front to stay.  The Angels did not get a baserunner after Glaus' seventh-inning single.

WP:  Hawkins (4-0).  LP:  Scott Schoeneweis (7-7).  S:  Guardado (29).

Notes:  Michael Cuddyer played right field, with both Kielty and Dustan Mohr on the bench.  He went 0-for-4.  Kielty and Mohr were both used as pinch-hitters.

Hunter raised his average to .310.

A. J. Pierzynski was 1-for-3 and was batting .307.

Hawkins lowered his ERA to 1.43.

Johan Santana started.  He pitched 4.2 innings, giving up seven runs (three earned) on four hits and seven walks while striking out three.  It was the most walks he had given up in a game all season.  He would not walk more than three in any game the rest of the year.  His ERA was still good at 2.80.

Santana was relieved by Kevin Frederick, who was making his major league debut.  He pitched 1.2 innings, giving up a run on two hits.  He would appear in eight games for the Twins that season, giving up at least one run in six of them.  This was his only season with the Twins.  He got back to the majors with Toronto in 2004, but unfortunately did not fare significantly better.

John Lackey started for Anaheim.  He pitched six innings, giving up five runs (three earned) on seven hits and a walk and striking out five.

Shawn Wooten was the catcher in this game.  He never really did have a defined position.  He was used at first base more than anywhere in the majors, but he also caught, played first, and played third.  He actually started more games at DH than he did anywhere else.  He came up with the Angels in mid-August of 2000 at age twenty-seven but played in just seven games and started only one of them.  He was a part-time player for Anaheim through 2003, never getting more than 300 plate appearances.  He actually did pretty well through 2002, batting .312/.340/.464 in 343 at-bats.  It seems like that would've earned him more playing time, especially since he didn't have a big platoon split.  My first thought was that he was probably terrible in the field and didn't hit enough to be a DH.  That might be, but the Angels main DH in 2001 was Orlando Palmeiro, who batted .243/.319/.322.  It's hard to think Wooten wouldn't have done better than that.  Wooten fell off in 2003, though, batting just .243/.303/.349, and as he was now thirty the Angels let him become a free agent.  He signed with Philadelphia for 2004, but the National League is no place for a man without a position.  He was in the majors over half the season but got just fifty-three at-bats, batting .170.  He got one more at-bat with Boston in 2005, then his major league career was over.  He played in the minors a few more seasons, though.  In fact, I see that I've missed him in our Twins biographies, as he was a Rochester Red Wing in 2006.  He was in the minors for both San Diego and the Mets in both 2007 and 2008 before ending his playing career.  For his career, he batted .272/.314/.398 in 669 at-bats.  He has stayed in baseball as a minor league coach and manager, and most recently has been the batting coach of the Oklahoma City Dodgers from 2016-2017.  As one who remembers the days of the Oklahoma City 89ers, I find it a bit depressing that their AAA team is now boringly called the Dodgers.

Record:  The Twins were 54-40, in first place, leading Chicago by ten games.

Happy Birthday–January 5

Ban Johnson (1864)
Bob Carruthers (1864)
Bill Dahlen (1870)
Jack Norworth (1879)
Art Fletcher (1885)
Rube Foster (1888)
Riggs Stephenson (1898)
Luke Sewell (1901)
Jack Kramer (1918)
Earl Battey (1935)
Bud Bloomfield (1936)
Charlie Hough (1948)
Jim Gantner (1953)
Bob Dernier (1957)
Ron Kittle (1958)
Milt Thompson (1959)
Henry Cotto (1961)
John Russell (1961)
Danny Jackson (1962)
Jeff Fassero (1963)
Brian Runge (1970)
Fred Rath (1973)
Mark Redman (1974)
Eduardo Escobar (1989)
Danny Ortiz (1990)

Ban Johnson was one of the founders of and the first president of the American League.

Jack Norworth wrote the lyrics to "Take Me Out to the Ball Game".

Rube Foster was a player, manager, and owner in the Negro Leagues, eventually becoming president of the Negro National League.

Brian Runge was a major league umpire from 1999-2012.  He is the son of major league umpire Paul Runge and the grandson of major league umpire Ed Runge.

Oddly, there are three players born on this day who go by their initials:  J. P. Arencibia, C. J. Cron, and A. J. Cole.

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

Continue reading Happy Birthday–January 5

Happy Birthday–January 4

Tommy Corcoran (1869)
Ernest Lanigan (1873)
Al Bridwell (1884)
Ossie Vitt (1890)
George Selkirk (1908)
Gabe Paul (1910)
Herman Franks (1914)
Don McMahon (1930)
Tito Fuentes (1944)
Charlie Manuel (1944)
Ken Reynolds (1947)
Paul Gibson (1960)
Daryl Boston (1963)
Trey Hillman (1963)
Ted Lilly (1976)
Willie Martinez (1978)

Ernest Lanigan was the nephew of the Spink brothers who founded The Sporting News and worked for the publication from the time he was 15.  Among other things, he compiled baseball's first encyclopedia, published in 1922, and served as curator, historian, and director of the Hall of Fame from 1946 until his death in 1962.

Gabe Paul was the general manager of the Cincinnati Reds, the Cleveland Indians (twice), and the New York Yankees.

Trey Hillman was the manager of the Kansas City Royals from 2008-2010.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–January 4

2002 Rewind: Game Ninety


Date:  Thursday, July 11.

Batting stars:  Corey Koskie was 2-for-2 with two doubles, two walks, and a stolen base, his eighth.  Doug Mientkiewicz was 1-for-4 with a double.

Pitching stars:  Eric Milton struck out ten in seven innings, giving up three runs on five hits and two walks.  Eddie Guardado pitched a scoreless inning, giving up two hits and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Kevin Mench was 2-for-3 with a two-run homer, his tenth.  Herbert Perry was 2-for-4 with a double.  Juan Gonzalez was 2-for-4.

The game:  Michael Young led off the game with a triple and scored on a ground out to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead.  Mench hit a two-run homer in the second to make it 3-0.  Koskie got the Twins on the board in the bottom of the second, as he led off the inning with a walk, stole second, went to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a failed pickoff throw by the catcher.  The Twins tied it in the third on consecutive RBI doubles by Mientkiewicz and Koskie.  The Twins loaded the bases in the sixth on a walk and two hit batsmen, but did not score.  In the seventh, the Twins got walks to Jacque Jones and Cristian Guzman and a double by Koskie to take a 4-3 lead.  The Rangers put men on second and third in the eighth and first and second in the ninth, but did not score.

WP:  Milton (11-6).  LP:  Chan Ho Park (3-5).  S:  Guardado (27).

Notes:  Texas out-hit the Twins 9-4...The Twins had only four hits, but drew five walks and had two hit batsmen...Jones was restored to the leadoff spot and went 0-for-3 with a walk...Torii Hunter was 0-for-3 with a hit-by-pitch, dropping his average to .303...Bobby Kielty was 0-for-3 with a hit-by-pitch to make his average .312...A. J. Pierzynski was 0-for-4 and was batting .315...Park pitched 6.1 innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on three hits and five walks and striking out five...Kevin Mench was a solid outfielder for the Rangers for about five years.  He came up at the start of the 2002 season and was a mostly regular outfielder, seeing about equal time in left and right.  He hit .260 with fifteen homers and finished seventh in rookie of the year voting.  He got off to a poor start in 2003, went back to AAA for a month, and went on a tear when he got back, batting .354 from June 1 through July 8.  Unfortunately, he then got hurt and missed the rest of the season.  2004 was his best year, as he batted .279 with 26 home runs and an OPS of .874.  He again saw about equal time in left and right fields.  In 2005 he was the regular left fielder and had another fine season, batting .264 with 25 homers.  He was having another solid year for the Rangers in 2006 when he was traded to Milwaukee at the July deadline.  That was the beginning of the end for him.  He was terrible for the last two months of 2006 and decent, but no more, as a part-time player for the Brewers in 2007.  He signed back with Texas for 2008, but after a month in AAA was sold to Toronto.  He saw some part-time action with the Blue Jays that year, played in Japan in 2009, came back to play (poorly) for Washington in 2010, and then his career was over.  For Texas, he batted .274/.335/.480.  The rest of his career he batted .246/.288/.379.  He does seem to have been helped by playing in Arlington, but I don't know if that's the entire explanation.  At any rate, he at least was a pretty good player from 2002 through July of 2006.  At last report, Kevin Mench was working in the medical technologies industry.

Record:  The Twins were 51-39, in first place, leading Chicago by 7.5 games.

Happy Birthday–January 2

Red Kress (1905)
Pinky Whitney (1905)
Ted Strong (1914)
Jim Essian (1951)
Bill Madlock (1951)
David Cone (1963)
Edgar Martinez (1963)

Greg Swindell (1965)
Royce Clayton (1970)
Rick Greene (1971)
Jeff Suppan (1975)
Aaron Barrett (1988)
Felix Jorge (1994)

Ted Strong was a star in the Negro Leagues, making the all-star team seven times.
Aaron Barrett was drafted by Minnesota in the 20th round in 2008 but did not sign.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–January 2