Tag Archives: Al Newman

Happy Birthday–June 30

Davy Jones (1880)
Ron Swoboda (1944)
Chuck Meriwether (1956)
Bud Black (1957)
Al Newman (1960)
Tony Fernandez (1962)
Mark Grudzielanek (1970)
Garret Anderson (1972)
Chan Ho Park (1973)
Pat Venditte (1985)
Trea Turner (1993)

Chuck Meriwether was a major league umpire from 1993-2010.

We would also like to wish a happy birthday to spookymilk’s wife and to hungry joe’s son, Famished Pete.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–June 30

Happy Birthday–June 30

Davy Jones (1880)
Ron Swoboda (1944)
Chuck Meriwether (1956)
Bud Black (1957)
Al Newman (1960)
Tony Fernandez (1962)
Mark Grudzielanek (1970)
Garret Anderson (1972)
Chan Ho Park (1973)
Pat Venditte (1985)

Chuck Meriwether was a major league umpire from 1993-2010.

We would also like to wish a happy birthday to spookymilk’s wife and to hungry joe’s son, Famished Pete.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–June 30

2003 Rewind: Game One Hundred Thirty-nine


Date:  Wednesday, September 3.

Batting stars:  Shannon Stewart was 3-for-5 with a double and three runs.  Luis Rivas was 2-for-4 with a stolen base, his fifteenth.

Pitching stars:  Carlos Pulido pitched 3.2 innings of relief, giving up an unearned run on one hit and no walks and striking out two.  LaTroy Hawkins struck out two in 1.2 scoreless innings, giving up two hits.

Opposition stars:  Chone Figgins was 2-for-4 with a walk.  Shawn Wooten was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his sixth.

The game:  The Angels drew three walks in the first inning, loading the bases with one out, but did not score.  In the second, walks to Adam Kennedy and Wilson Delgado put men on first and second with one out.  This time, Figgins delivered an RBi single to put Anaheim up 1-0.  In the third, Scott Spiezio doubled, Bengie Molina hit an RBI single and Wooten blasted a two-run homer, giving the Angels a 4-0 lead.

The Twins got on the board in the fourth.  Stewart singled, went to third on a Rivas single, and scored on a ground out to make it 4-1.  The Twins really got back into the game in the sixth.  Cristian Guzman and Stewart started with singles and Rivas followed with an RBI single.  A walk to Corey Koskie loaded the bases and a pair of infield outs brought home two more runs, tying the score 4-4.

The tie lasted until the seventh.  DaVanan doubled with one out.  With two out he went to third on a passed ball, and he scored on a strikeout-plus-wild pitch, putting Anaheim up 5-4.

It was still 5-4 going to the bottom of the ninth.  The first two Twins went out.  Justin Morneau walked and Dustan Mohr pinch-ran for him.  Stewart then doubled down the left-field line and Mohr tried to score from first.  The throw beat him, but Mohr's slide knocked the ball from the catcher's glove.  Before it could be retrieved, Stewart had also scored and the Twins had an improbable 6-5 win.

WP:  Eddie Guardado (2-5).  LP:  Troy Percival (0-5).  S:  None.

Notes:  Matthew LeCroy was again at first base in the absence of Doug Mientkiewicz.  Stewart was in left, Michael Ryan in right, and Jacque Jones at DH.  Denny Hocking pinch-ran for LeCroy in the eighth and stayed in the game at first base.  Morneau pinch-hit for Guzman in the ninth and, as mentioned above, Mohr pinch-ran for him.

Ryan was 0-for-4 and was batting .350.  Stewart was batting .311.  Jones was 0-for-4 and was batting .304.  A. J. Pierzynski was 1-for-3 and was batting .302.

Grant Balfour started but lasted just 2.2 innings, allowing four runs on four hits and five walks and striking out three.  This was the only start of his major league career.  He had not started in the minors since 2000.  While he didn't pitch well, it must be admitted that he was put into a difficult position--a pitcher with little major league experience pressed into an unfamiliar position during a pennant race.  At least he can say his team was unbeaten in games he started in the major leagues.

Pulido's ERA remained at zero through 8.1 innings.  Hawkins lowered his ERA to 2.04.

Ramon Ortiz started for the Angels.  He pitched 5.1 innings, giving up four runs on six hits and one walk and striking out two.

I remember listening to the end of this game on the radio.  As I recall it, the Twins had never scored a run off Troy Percival in his nine-year career.  Third base coach Al Newman was asked during the post-game show why he had sent Mohr home when it looked like he had little chance to score.  He said something like "I thought there was probably less than a ten percent chance that he'd score, but I thought our chances of getting another hit off Percival were less than that, so I sent him."  The logic may be questionable, but you have to admit it worked, and it was a big win for the Twins in the pennant race.

Kansas City won, but the White Sox lost in ten innings, so the Twins moved up.

Record:  The Twins were 73-66, tied for first with Chicago, one game ahead of third-place Kansas City.

Happy Birthday–June 30

Davy Jones (1880)
Ron Swoboda (1944)
Chuck Meriwether (1956)
Bud Black (1957)
Al Newman (1960)
Tony Fernandez (1962)
Mark Grudzielanek (1970)
Garret Anderson (1972)
Chan Ho Park (1973)
Pat Venditte (1985)

Chuck Meriwether was a major league umpire from 1993-2010.

We would also like to wish a happy birthday to spookymilk’s wife and to hungry joe’s son, Famished Pete.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–June 30

Random Rewind: 1989, Game Eighty-four


Date:  Thursday, July 6.

Batting stars:  Wally Backman was 3-for-5.  Jim Dwyer was 2-for-3.  Kent Hrbek was 2-for-4 with a three-run homer (his eighth) and two runs.  Randy Bush was 2-for-5.

Pitching star:  Randy St. Claire pitched 1.2 scoreless innings, walking one and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Jerry Reed pitched four shutout innings, giving up four hits and striking out one.  I guess when you're hot, you're hot.  Edgar Martinez was 2-for-3.  Darnell Coles was 2-for-4 with a double, two runs, and two RBIs.  Dave Valle was 2-for-4 with a double.  Jeffrey Leonard was 2-for-4.  Harold Reynolds was 2-for-5.

The game:  It looked good early.  The Twins got on the board in the second when Hrbek and Dwyer singled, a ground out advanced both runners, and Tim Laudner delivered a two-out two-run double.  The Mariners got one of the runs back in the bottom of the inning when Coles doubled and scored on a Martinez single.  The Twins took what appeared to be a commanding lead in the third.  Backman and Bush singled and Hrbek hit a three-run homer, putting the Twins up 5-1.

But that was as good as it would get.  The Twins had men on first and second with one out in the fifth, but were taken out of the inning when Gary Gaetti was caught stealing third.  In the bottom of the inning, Omar Vizquel and Reynolds started the inning with singles, Henry Cotto hit an RBI double, a run scored on a ground out, Leonard drove in a run with a single, cutting the margin to 5-4.

The Twins held the lead until the eighth.  Leonard led off the inning with a single and Ken Griffey reached on an error, putting men on second and third.  Jeff Reardon came in and gave up a two-run single to Coles.  A bunt again put men on second and third, and Valle singled home a run to make the scored 7-5 Seattle.

The Twins went down in order in the ninth.

WP:  Mike Jackson (3-2).  LP:  Gary Wayne (3-1).  S:  Mike Schooler (20).

Notes:  Laudner was behind the plate in place of Brian Harper.  Both caught a significant number of games, Harper 101 and Laudner 68.

Al Newman was in left field in place of Dan Gladden, who was out with an injury.  It was one of four times that Newman played left field in 1989.

Johnny Moses was in center field in place of Kirby Puckett.

Harper pinch-hit for Dwyer in the eighth.  Gene Larkin pinch-hit for Greg Gagne in the eighth.  Puckett came in for defense, with Moses moving to left, Newman to shortstop, and Larkin leaving the game.

Puckett was leading the team in batting at .333.  He would finish at .339.  Dwyer was batting .331.  He would finish at .316.  Harper was batting .289, but would finish at .325.

Shane Rawley started for the Twins and pitched five innings, allowing four runs on nine hits and a walk and striking out one.  This was the last year of his career and he was, to put it simply, not very good.  He went 5-12, 5.21, 1.57 WHIP in 25 starts.

This was Reardon's seventh blown save of the season, although admittedly this was a tough save situation.  He would finish with 31 saves and eight blown saves, with the last one coming July 16.  This would be his last season with the Twins.  He became a free agent after the season and signed with Boston.

Mike Schooler had 63 saves for the Mariners from 1989-1990.  He was injured in August of 1990, however, and while he did all right in limited action in 1991 he never really got back to being the pitcher he had been.  By 1993 he was done.

We again caught the Twins in the middle of a losing streak.  This was the third of eight consecutive defeats for the Twins.

Record:  The Twins were 41-43, in fifth place in the American League West, 9.5 games behind Oakland.  They would finish 80-82, in fifth place, 19 games behind Oakland.

The Mariners were 40-43, in sixth place in the American League West, 10 games behind Oakland.  They would finish 73-89, in sixth place, 26 games behind Oakland.

1991 Rewind: Game One Hundred Forty-eight


Date:  Friday, September 20.

Batting stars:  Chili Davis was 2-for-3 with a walk.  Shane Mack was 2-for-4 with a double.  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-5 with two RBIs.  Kent Hrbek was 2-for-5.

Pitching stars:  Denny Neagle pitched four innings, giving up two runs on six hits and two walks and striking out three.  Rick Aguilera struck out two in a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Julio Franco was 3-for-5 with a double.  Dean Palmer was 2-for-4 with two home runs (his eleventh and twelfth) and three RBIs.  Jack Daugherty was 2-for-4.

The game:  Singles by Chuck KnoblauchHrbek, and Davis plated a run for the Twins in the first inning.  While each team missed a good chance, the score stayed 1-0 until the fourth, when Palmer homered to tie it 1-1.  The Rangers took the lead in the fifth when Brian Downing walked, went to third on Franco's double, and scored on a sacrifice fly.

The Twins went back in front in the sixth.  Hrbek walked, Davis singled, Brian Harper had an RBI single, and Mack had a run-scoring double.  A wild pitch brought home one more run to give the Twins a 4-2 advantage.  That advantage lasted until the next half-inning.  Franco singled and Palmer hit a two-out two-run homer to once again tie the score, this time a 4-4.

The Twins finally took the lead to stay in the eighth.  Mack led off with a single, followed by a sacrifice/fielder's choice and a walk to Randy Bush which left the bases loaded with one out.  With two down, Puckett delivered a two-run single to put the Twins up 6-4.  Texas went down in order in the ninth.

WP:  Gary Wayne (1-0).  LP:  Wayne Rosenthal (1-3).  S:  Aguilera (40).

Notes:  Al Newman started at short in place of Greg Gagne.  Paul Sorrento pinch-hit for him in the eighth.  Bush pinch-hit for Dan Gladden in the eighth.  Gagne pinch-ran for him and stayed in the game at shortstop.  Jarvis Brown replaced Sorrento and went to right field, with Mack moving to left.

Puckett raised his average to .322.  Harper was 1-for-4 and was batting .311.  Mack raised his average to .310.

Carl Willis allowed two runs in three innings to raise his ERA to 2.47.  Terry Leach pitched a third of an inning and allowed no runs to make his ERA 3.03.  Wayne retired both men he faced to make his ERA 3.38.  Aguilera's ERA fell to 2.13.

Newman was 1-for-15 and 2-for-26, dropping his average to .197.

The losing pitcher, Wayne Rosenthal, was with Texas for a little over half of 1991 and also appeared in six games in 1992.  That was his entire major league career.  His numbers were 1-4, 5.40, 1.56 WHIP in 42 games (75 innings).  He didn't pitch very well in AAA, either:  7-12, 4.36, 1.45 WHIP.  He was a reliever his entire career and pitched well at lower levels, but topped out at AA.

This would be Wayne's only win in 1991. He would have fourteen of them for his career.

This was the first time in Aguilera's career that he reached forty saves.  He would do it again in 1992, the only two seasons of his career in which he had forty saves.

The White Sox defeated California 3-2 in eleven innings to avoid losing ground, but as we've observed before, time was running out on them.

Record:  The Twins were 88-60, in first place in the American League West, six games ahead of Chicago.

In the East, Toronto lost and Boston won, so the Red Sox cut the Blue Jays' lead to 1.5 games.

1991 Rewind: Game Seventy-three


Date:  Thursday, June 27.

Batting stars:  None.  The Twins had three hits, all singles, and no Twin had more than one.

Pitching star:  Kevin Tapani pitched a complete game, giving up one unearned run on four hits and no walks and striking out seven.

Opposition stars:  Juan Guzman pitched 7.2 scoreless innings, giving up three hits and two walks and striking out six.  Tom Henke struck out two in a perfect inning.

The game:  Neither team got a men past first base until the fourth.  Roberto Alomar led off with a single.  A forceout meant the runner on first was Kelly Gruber with two out.  Rance Mulliniks then hit a line drive to left on which Shane Mack was charged with an error, allowing Gruber to score.

That was the only run of the game.  The only time the Twins got a man past first was in the eighth, when Chuck Knoblauch walked and stole second.  Duane Ward came in and got Mack on a ground out to end the inning.

WP:  Guzman (2-2).  LP:  Tapani (5-7).  S:  Henke (14).

Notes:  In a day game, Mack was in left field, with Dan Gladden on the bench.  Mack batted second, with Knoblauch moving up to the leadoff spot.  Randy Bush was at first base in place of Kent Hrbek.  Pedro Munoz was in right field.  Junior Ortiz was behind the plate in place of Brian Harper.  Al Newman was at shortstop in place of Greg Gagne.

Kirby Puckett was 0-for-4 and dropped to .319.  Tapani's ERA fell to 3.06.

Bush went 0-for-4 and dropped to .197.  Newman was 0-for-3 and fell to .196.

It remains amazing to me how much Newman was playing when he wasn't hitting.  This was the fifty-fifth game he had appeared in.  He had started twenty-five of them.  His OBP at this point was .281 and his slugging average was .215, giving him a robust OPS of .496.  I know he was popular, and I know he could play a lot of positions.  But that's a lot of playing time for a guy who has a sub-.500 OPS.

By game scores, this was the best game Tapani pitched in 1991.  The next best was his first game of the season, a complete game shutout on April 12.  He would not lose another game for over two months, as his next loss would come on September 11.  He really didn't pitch all that much better--his ERA over his winning streak fell only from 3.06 to 2.82.  The Twins just started scoring some runs for him.

This was Juan Guzman's rookie year, and he was very good.  He did not come up until June--this was his fourth start--but he ended up 10-3, 2.99, 1.18 WHIP.  He finished second in Rookie of the Year voting to--spoiler alert--Chuck Knoblauch.  He was even better in 1992, when he made his only all-star team.  His ERA went up by over a run in 1993, to 3.99, but he went 14-3 and so got the only Cy Young support of his career.  He then had two very poor years--I suspect he had injuries, but I don't remember and couldn't quickly find out.  But he came back in 1996 to lead the league in ERA, WHIP, and hits per nine innings.  That was his last really good year.  He continued to pitch in the majors through 2000 and was not terrible, but was pretty average.  He did pitch well for Cincinnati in twelve starts in 1999 after being traded at the July deadline.  For his career, he was 91-79, 4.08, 1.37 WHIP in 240 games, all starts.  For a few years, though, he was one of the top pitchers in the league.

Record:  The Twins were 44-29, in first place in the American League West, three games ahead of California.

1991 Rewind: Game Sixty-four


Date:  Monday, June 17.

Batting starsAl Newman was 3-for-4.  Kirby Puckett was 3-for-5 with two doubles and a stolen base, his third.  Brian Harper was 2-for-4 with a double.  Kent Hrbek was 2-for-5.   Chili Davis was 1-for-4 with a home run, his fifteenth.

Pitching stars:  Allan Anderson pitched 6.1 innings, giving up three runs (two earned) on eight hits and two walks and striking out two.  Steve Bedrosian pitched 1.2 scoreless innings, giving up a hit and a walk.

Opposition stars:  Cal Ripken was 2-for-4 with a home run (his fourteenth), a double, a walk, and two runs.  Mike Devereaux was 2-for-4 with a home run (his ninth) and a double.  Randy Milligan was 2-for-4 with a double, a walk, and two RBIs.  Brady Anderson was 2-for-4 with two runs.

The game:  Each team missed a chance in the first inning.  Puckett hit a two-out double and was stranded, while the Orioles had men on second and third with one out and the bases loaded with two out.  Davis homered in the second to give the Twins a 1-0 lead, but home runs by Devereaux and Ripken put the Orioles up 2-1 in the fourth.

Baltimore lengthened their lead in the fifth.  Anderson singled, went to third on an error, and scored on a sacrifice fly to make the score 3-1.  The Twins tied it in the fifth.  Mike Pagliarulo led off with a double, followed by singles by Newman and Chuck Knoblauch to cut the margin to 3-2.  A pair of ground outs scored another run to make it 3-3.

The Twins took the lead in the seventh when Puckett hit a two-out double and scored on Hrbek's single.  It went to 5-3 in the fifth when Harper singled, pinch-runner Dan Gladden was bunted to second, and Newman delivered a two-out RBI single.

Rick Aguilera came in to pitch the ninth.  He gave up singles to David Segui and Anderson.  A bunt moved the runners to second and third.  Joe Orsulak's sacrifice fly made it 5-4, but also provided the second out.  Ripken was intentionally walked, but Milligan wrecked that strategy with a two-run double that ended the game and the Twins' winning streak.

WP:  Mark Williamson (1-2).  LP:  Aguilera (2-3).  S:  None.

Notes:  Shane Mack replaced Gladden in left field, with Pedro Munoz in right.  Knoblauch moved up to the leadoff spot, with Mack batting second.  As shown above, Gladden was used as a pinch-runner and stayed in the game in left field, with Mack moving to right.  With Harper removed, Junior Ortiz came in to catch.  Newman started at shortstop in place of Greg Gagne.  Gene Larkin pinch-hit for Mike Pagliarulo in the eighth, and Gagne came in to play shortstop, with Newman moving to third base.

Harper raised his average to .347.  Puckett went up to .327.  Munoz was 1-for-3 and was batting .300.

Aguilera gave up three runs in two-thirds of an inning to raise his ERA to 2.97.

You may remember that yesterday we questioned using Aguilera in the eighth inning for no apparent reason.  He ended up pitching three innings in that game.  It came back to bite the Twins in this game.  Despite having thrown three innings the day before, Tom Kelly brought Aguilera into this game in the ninth.  He clearly did not have much left, and really should not have been expected to.  Yes, it's easy to criticize after the fact, and yes, times have changed since 1991.  Still, it does not seem very smart to have brought Aguilera into this game.

Kelly clearly loved Al Newman.  To this point in the season he had played in 49 of the Twins' 64 games.  Yes, a fair number of those were when he was used as a defensive replacement, but that's still a lot of playing time for a guy whose OPS is around .500 and whose batting average is around the Mendoza line.  Many of those defensive replacement games were at third base.  I've admitted before that I don't understand defensive stats very well--was Newman clearly superior to Pagliarulo and Scott Leius at third base?  I'm skeptical of that, but I don't have anything to base that on other than memories.

So the winning streak came to an end at fifteen.  The Twins had still won eighteen of twenty, which is obviously pretty good.  They would try to start another winning streak the next day.

Record:  The Twins were 38-26, in first place in the American League West, a half game ahead of Oakland.

1991 Rewind: Game Twenty-three


Date:  Friday, May 3.

Batting stars:  Chuck Knoblauch was 3-for-5 with two doubles.  Dan Gladden was 2-for-5.  Brian Harper was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his third.

Pitching stars:  None.

Opposition stars:  Paul Molitor was 4-for-4 with a triple and three runs.  Jim Gantner was 2-for-4.  Franklin Stubbs was 1-for-2 with a walk and a sacrifice fly.

The game:  Molitor led off the first with a single, went to second on a ground out, took third on a wild pitch, and scored on another ground out to give the Brewers a 1-0 lead.  The Twins responded with five in the second.  Chili Davis led off with a single and Harper hit a two-run homer.  It did not kill the rally, as the Twins strung together four consecutive one-out singles.  The hits came from Mike PagliaruloAl NewmanGladden, and Knoblauch and made the score 4-1.  A ground out brought home the fifth run of the inning and left the Twins with a 5-1 lead.

Unfortunately, that was as good as it got for the Twins.  After wasting a leadoff double by Greg Vaughn in the second, Milwaukee got back into the game in the third.  Molitor and Gantner led off with singles and Robin Yount walked to load the bases with none out.  Stubbs hit a sacrifice fly and Vaughn had an RBI ground out to cut the Twins' lead to 5-3.  Molitor struck again in the fifth, leading off with a triple and scoring on Gantner's single to make the score 5-4.

The Twins clung to that lead until the eighth.  Stubbs got a one-out single, driving Jack Morris from the game and bringing in Rick Aguilera.  He walked Vaughn, a passed ball moved the runners to second and third, and Dante Bichette tripled to bring them both home and give the Brewers a 6-5 advantage.  The Twins had just two hits after the second inning and they did not get one in the ninth, and so the game ended.

WP:  Jaime Navarro (2-0).  LP:  Aguilera (0-2).  S:  Edwin Nunez (3).

Notes:  Gene Larkin was once again in right, with Kirby Puckett in center.  Shane Mack came in for defense in the eighth, playing center with Puckett moving to right.  Newman was at shortstop, replacing Greg Gagne.

Knoblauch raised his average to .330.  Harper was batting .321.  Puckett was 0-for-4 and was batting .311.  Larkin was 0-for-4 and was 1-for his last-11.  He was batting .310.  Aguilera gave up a run on a hit and two walks in two-thirds of an inning, but still had an ERA of 2.16.

Newman was 1-for-3 with a walk and was batting .174.  Kent Hrbek was 1-for-4 and was batting .176.  Pagliarulo was 1-for-4 and was batting .192.  Gladden raised his average to .210 and left the Mendoza line behind permanently.  Morris pitched 7.1 innings, but was charged with five runs on eight hits and three walks.  He struck out five.  His ERA was 5.49.

Milwaukee starter Navarro pitched eight innings and allowed five runs on ten hits and no walks and struck out two.

Four runs in the game scored on productive outs.  Three of them scored on ground outs and one on a sacrifice fly.  The Brewers scored three runs on productive outs and the Twins scored one.  Thus, the teams were able to score eleven runs despite going 4-for-18 with men in scoring position.

Because batting average was considered so much more important back then, I didn't realize what a truly awful batter Al Newman was.  I knew he was bad in 1991, when he batted .191, but even his good years were bad.  He never had an OPS above .650, with his highest being .643 in 1989.  He did have an OBP of .341 that year, but that was the only year he had a positive OBP.  He only had one other year when his OPS was over .600 (.601 in 1987).  Yes, he could play a lot of positions, and he had a reputation as a good glove man all over the infield (although someone who understands defensive stats better than I do will have to say whether that reputation was justified).  He was also popular in the clubhouse.  But when he was up to bat, there was not much good that was likely to happen.

Edwin Nunez was pretty much the Brewers' closer at the start of the season, but he got hurt shortly after this game and missed much of the campaign.  Doug Henry, who made his big league debut in mid-July, led the team in saves with 15.  Nunez and Dan Plesac each had eight.  Plesac had been the team's closer from 1986-1990, but lost the job in 1990.  He regained it temporarily when Nunez got hurt, but then lost it to Henry.  The other ten Milwaukee saves were spread around four pitchers.

Record:  The Twins were 10-13, tied for fifth with Seattle in the American League West, 5.5 games behind Oakland.

1987 ALCS Champs’ Domecoming

I found this gem shortly after JeffA started his 1987 Rewind. This evening seemed like the appropriate time to share it. I didn't want to detract from Jeff's content, and in any case figured there were enough goodies that this would be worth its own post. Hope you don't mind, Chaps.