Happy Birthday–November 25

Bert Cunningham (1865)
Jakie May (1895)
Charles Baron (1913)
Joe DiMaggio (1914)
Mike Ryan (1941)
Bucky Dent (1951)
Dave Baker (1956)
Chico Walker (1958)
Mark Whiten (1966)
Octavio Dotel (1973)
Nick Swisher (1980)

First baseman Charles Baron played in the minors from 1931-1951, batting .306 with 2,319 hits.  He was a player-manager for the last five of those seasons.

The staff of Happy Birthday would like to wish everyone a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–November 25

November 24, 2021: Numerology

I was picking up an order of green curry for the missus from the local Thai place and I noticed there were numbers written here and there around the restaurant. Like, in the windows, mirrors, menu board, walls, etc. I think I saw them in about 6-7 places. Four digit numbers, not all the same.

I asked the woman who rang me up about it. She just gave a slight smile, said, "Lucky numbers," and walked back into the kitchen.

1970 Rewind: Game Fifty


Date:  Tuesday, June 9.

Batting star:  Jim Holt was 1-for-3 with a double and a walk.

Pitching stars:  Bill Zepp pitched two shutout innings, giving up a walk.

Opposition stars:  Bobby Murcer was 3-for-4 with a walk, a stolen base (his fifth), and two RBIs.  Danny Cater was 2-for-4.  Stan Bahnsen was 2-for-4.  He also pitched a complete game, giving up two runs on four hits and four walks and striking out seven.  Roy White was 2-for-5.

The game:  The Yankees put men on first and third in the first inning but did not score.  It looked like it would cost them, as the Twins scored two in the second.  Harmon Killebrew led off with a walk, Holt hit a one-out double, and Leo Cardenas singled them both home, giving the Twins a 2-0 lead.

New York matched the two runs in the bottom of the second, though.  Ron Woods walked, Gene Michael singled, and Bahnsen had a bunt single, loading the bases with one out.  Horace Clarke struck out, but Murcer delivered a two-run single, tying the score 2-2.

Cesar Tovar led off the third with a single-plus-error but was stranded at second.  Paul Ratliff hit a two-out triple in the fourth but was also stranded.  In the sixth, singles by Thurman Munson and John Ellis and a walk to Woods loaded the bases with none out.  All the Yankees got out of it was a sacrifice fly by MIchael, but it was enough to put New York ahead 3-2.  They added two more in the seventh when Murcer and White singled, moved up on a ground out, and scored on a fielder's choice-plus-error, giving the Yankees a 5-2 lead.  The Twins did not get a hit after the fourth inning.

WP:  Bahnsen (4-4).

LP:  Jim Kaat (5-3).

S:  None.

Notes:  Holt was in left field in place of Brant Alyea.  Ratliff was behind the plate in place of George Mitterwald.  The Twins made no position player substitutions.

Rod Carew returned to the lineup and was 0-for-3.  He was batting .385.  Tony Oliva was 0-for-4 and was batting .332.  Killebrew was 0-for-2 and was batting .320.

Kaat was pitching in consecutive games, although with an off-day in-between.  He didn't do terribly, but he wasn't great, either.  He pitched six innings, giving up five runs (three earned) on twelve hits and two walks and striking out two.  Bringing him in to pitch relief might not have been the best idea, although I'm sure he was more than willing to do it.

It's interesting how many times pitchers have shown up in the best batter lists lately.  I'm all for the DH, but there were at least some pitchers who could hit back in the day.

We think of the Yankees of this era as being bad teams, but they were not bad in 1970.  They were 93-69-1, and no, I did not check to see what happened that they had a tie.  Presumably a rain-shortened game.  But anyway, they had a very good team.  They just weren't as good as Baltimore.

Record:  The Twins were 34-16, in first place in the American League West, two games ahead of California.  Again, the difference was all in the loss column, as the Angels were 34-20.

1970 Rewind: Game Forty-nine


Date:  Sunday, June 7.

Batting stars:  Tony Oliva was 4-for-6 with a double and two runs.  Leo Cardenas was 2-for-4 with a double and a walk.  Harmon Killebrew was 2-for-5 with a walk and two runs.  Cesar Tovar was 2-for-5 with two doubles.  Rich Reese was 1-for-3 with a grand slam, his sixth home run.

Pitching star:  Bill Zepp pitched 1.1 scoreless innings, giving up one hit and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Aurelio Rodriguez was 4-for-6 with three doubles and three runs.  Frank Howard was 2-for-3 with a double, four walks, and two RBIs.  Rick Reichardt was 2-for-5 with a walk and two RBIs.  Lee Maye was 2-for-5 with two walks.  Ed Stroud was 2-for-7 with a double, a stolen base (his eighteenth), and two runs.  Jim Shellenback pitched two shutout innings, giving up one hit and striking out one.

The game:  Tovar led off the game with a double, was bunted to third, and scored on Killebrew's single.  Oliva and Rick Renick followed with singles, plating another run, and an RBI ground out made it 3-0 Twins.  The Senators put men on first and second in both of the first two innings, but did not score until the third, when singles by Stroud, Howard, and Reichardt brought home one run and an RBI ground out cut the lead to 3-2.

Dave Boswell led off the fifth with a double but was stranded at third.  In the bottom of the fifth Maye walked, Stroud doubled, and Howard was intentionally walked, loading the bases with none out.  All Washington got out of it was a sacrifice fly by Reichardt, but it tied the score 3-3.

The Twins had two out and none on in the sixth when Brant Alyea walked.  George Mitterwald singled and Frank Quilici walked, loading the bases.  Bob Allison then pinch-hit for Tom Hall, prompting Ted Williams to take out George Brunet and bring in Dick Bosman.  Bill Rigney then pinch-hit Reese for Allison, and Reese responded by hitting a grand slam, putting the Twins ahead 7-3.

Each team missed a chance to score in the seventh.  In the eighth Rodriguez led off with a double and scored on Eddie Brinkman's single.  Jim French walked and a passed ball moved the runners to second and third.  A sacrifice fly cut the lead to 7-5, but still, the Twins had a two-run lead going to the ninth with Ron Perranoski pitching.  But with one out in the ninth Rodriguez singled, Brinkman walked, and French singled, cutting the margin to 7-6.  Del Unser lined to second, but Maye delivered an RBI single, tying it 7-7 and sending the game to extra innings.

With one out in the eleventh, the Twins hit five consecutive singles to score three runs.  CardenasKillebrewOlivaCharlie Manuel, and Jim Holt all singled, giving the Twins a 10-7 lead.  Jim Kaat came in to pitch the bottom of the eleventh.  With one out, pitcher Joe Coleman walked.  The next man went out and there followed what appeared to be a game-ending grounder to third, but an error on Killebrew kept the game alive.  Howard then hit a two-run double to make the score 10-9.  Reichardt was intentionally walked, and Steve Barber came in to face Dave Nelson.  He got him to fly to center to end the game.

WP:  Zepp (2-0).

LP:  Joe Grzenda (2-3).

S:  Barber (2).

Renick was at third base, with Killebrew moving to first and Reese on the bench.  Reese remained in the game after his pinch-hit grand slam, with Killebrew moving to third.  Quilici was at second in place of Rod Carew.

Holt pinch-ran for Alyea in the sixth and stayed in the game in left field.  Minnie Mendoza pinch-hit for Zepp, but after a pitching change Charlie Manuel pinch-hit for Mendoza.

Oliva was batting .338.  Killebrew was batting .324.  Renick was batting .310.  Hall retired both men he faced and had an ERA of 2.52.  Stan Williams gave up two runs in two innings and had an ERA of 2.00.  Perranoski gave up two runs in 1.2 innings and had an ERA of 2.16.

Quilici was 0-for-4 and was batting .170.  Boswell allowed three runs in 4.1 innings and had an ERA of 7.13,

It's very rare that you see a pinch-hitter for a pinch-hitter these days, because teams just don't have enough players on the bench.  The Twins did it here twice in the same game, and both times it paid off.

The Killebrew error in the eleventh emphasizes why the Twins usually put in a defensive replacement for him when they had the lead.  In this game, however, they had no one left on the bench to use.  The Senators allowed Joe Coleman to bat in the eleventh for the same reason, and it paid off for them as he walked.

The Twins had done their best to make sure Frank Howard did not beat them, walking him four times.  He nearly beat them anyway, as they did pitch to him in the eleventh and he drove in two runs with a double.  The Twins did not walk him there because it would have brought the winning run to the plate in the person of Reichardt.  Reichardt was no Howard, but he did hit double-digit home runs six years in a row, with a high of 21 in 1968, so it's understandable that the Twins would not want him to come up as the winning run.

In the Twins connection report, Bernie Allen was 0-for-2, Johnny Roseboro was 0-for-1.  Shellenback pitched two shutout innings, and Joe Grzenda allowed three runs in 1.1 innings.

Kaat had pitched 5.1 innings on June 4.  This was his first relief appearance of the season, and it obviously did not go well.  He would next pitch June 9.  We'll see how well that one goes.

Record:  The Twins were 35-14, in first place in the American League West, three games ahead of California.


Happy Birthday–November 23

This is a great day for names:

Chief Zimmer (1860)
Hi Church (1863)
Socks Seybold (1870)
George Stovall (1877)
Jimmy Sheckard (1878)
Runt Marr (1891)
Freddy Leach (1897)
Beans Reardon (1897)
Bubber Jonnard (1897)
Prince Hal Schumacher (1910)
Bill Gates (1918)
Charles Osgood (1926)
John Anderson (1929)
Jack McKeon (1930)
Luis Tiant (1940)
Tom Hall (1947)
Ken Schrom (1954)
Brook Jacoby (1959)
Dale Sveum (1963)
David McCarty (1969)
Adam Eaton (1977)
Jonathan Papelbon (1980)
Justin Turner (1984)
Lewis Thorpe (1995)

Runt Marr played in the minor leagues for nineteen years, managed in the minors for fifteen years, and was also a scout for many years.

Beans Reardon was a National League umpire from 1926-1949.

Bubber Jonnard was a long-time coach and scout.

Bill Gates was a minor league pitcher from 1938-1940 and 1946-1951.

Jack McKeon was a long-time manager and general manager, leading the Florida Marlins to a World Series victory in 2003.  In 2011, he became the second-oldest manager in major league history at age 80.  He also managed in the minor leagues for the Senators/Twins from 1957-64 and again in 1968, scouting for the Twins from 1965-67.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–November 23

1970 Rewind: Game Forty-eight


Date:  Saturday, June 6.

Batting stars:  Harmon Killebrew was 2-for-4 with a home run (his fifteenth) and four RBIs.  Tony Oliva was 2-for-4.  Jim Perry was 2-for-4.

Pitching starPerry pitched a complete game, giving up two runs on six hits and a walk and striking out two.

Opposition stars:  Lee Maye was 2-for-4 with a home run (his fifth) and two RBIs.  Ex-Twin Joe Grzenda pitched 2.1 scoreless innings, giving up three hits and a walk and striking out two.  Horacio Pina pitched 2.1 scoreless innings, giving up a walk and striking out two.

The game:  With two out in the first, Tony Oliva singled and Killebrew followed with a two-run homer to give the Twins a 2-0 lead.  The Senators had men on second and third with two out in the bottom of the first but did not score.  In the second, singles by Ed Brinkman and Jim French and a hit-by-pitch of Jim Hannan loaded the bases with one out, but all Washington could get out of it was an RBI ground out to cut the lead to 2-1.  In the fourth, however, Maye hit a two-out home run to tie it 2-2.

The Twins responded in the fifth.  Perry singled. Cesar Tovar was hit by pitch, and Rick Renick walked, loading the bases with one out.  Oliva struck out, but Killebrew hit a two-run single to put the Twins back in front 4-2.

Perry took over from there.  The Senators got only one hit after Maye's homer, a one-out single by Mike Epstein in the eighth inning.

WPPerry (7-5).

LP:  Hannan (0-2).

S:  None.

NotesJim Holt was in left in place of Brant Alyea, who would not return until June 12.  Paul Ratliff remained at catcher in place of George MitterwaldFrank Quilici remained at second in place of Rod CarewRenick pinch-hit for Holt in the fifth and stayed in the game in left field.

Oliva was batting .328.  Killebrew was batting .321.  Renick was 0-for-2 and was batting .308.  Perry had an ERA of 2.90.  He also was batting .300.

Quilici was 0-for-2 and was batting .184.

Killebrew drove in all of the Twins' runs.  It looks like it was important for the Twins to get men on in front of Killebrew, so teams didn't feel as free to just walk him.

Three players with Twins ' connections were used by the Senators:  Bernie Allen (0-for-4), Johnny Roseboro (0-for-2). and Grzenda.

It was Perry's fifth complete game in 13 starts.

Record:  The Twins were 33-15, in first place in the American League West, two games ahead of California.  The difference was all in the loss column--each team had won 33 games, but the Angels had 19 losses.  They had played four more games than the Twins, mostly due to Twins' rainouts.  Seems it never rains in Southern California.

Remodeled basement. Same half-baked taste.