Tag Archives: Cesar Tovar

Random Rewind: 1967, Game One Hundred Sixty-one


Date:  Tuesday, September 26.

Batting stars:  Bob Allison was 3-for-3 with a home run (his twenty-fourth), a triple, a walk, and three runs.  Rod Carew was 3-for-4 with a stolen base, his fifth.  Harmon Killebrew was 2-for-4 with two home runs (his forty-second and forty-third) and three RBIs.

Pitching star:  Jim Kaat struck out thirteen in a complete game.  He gave up three runs (two earned) on five hits and two walks.

Opposition stars:  Bobby Knoop was 1-for-3 with a walk.  Aurelio Rodriguez was 1-for-4 with two RBIs.

The game:  Allison hit a one-out triple in the second and scored on Carew's single to give the Twins a 1-0 lead.  It didn't last long, as the Angels scored all three of their runs in the third.  Knoop singled, Bob Rodgers walked, and an error loaded the bases with none out.  Rodriguez then singled in two runs to put California ahead.  After a ground out Rick Reichardt walked to reload the bases and Bubba Morton singled home the third run.  Kaat then struck out Don Mincher and Woodie Held to limit the damage.

Allison homered in the fourth to cut the lead to 3-2.  Then came the sixth.  Cesar Tovar singled and Killebrew followed with a two-run homer to put the Twins in front.  With one out Allison walked and Carew singled.  Ted Uhlaender hit into a force out, but an error allowed Allison to score and make it 5-3.  Jerry Zimmerman was intentionally walked and Kaat reached on an error, increasing the lead to 6-3.

That was pretty much it.  The Angels managed only a single single in the last three innings.  Killebrew homered in the seventh to make the final score 7-3.

WP:  Kaat (16-13).  LP:  Jim McGlothlin (11-8).  S:  None.

Notes:  Tovar was at third, which was one of his two primary positions (the other was center field).  He played 72 games at third and 64 in center--I wonder if anyone else has ever played more than sixty games at each of those two positions in the same season.  If so, I suspect it's a pretty short list.  Rich Rollins played the most games at third with 97 and Uhlaender played the most in cetner at 118.  As I mentioned before, Tovar played in every Twins game this year (which was 164 thanks to two ties) without having a regular position.

I've been through the stats of the 1967 team fairly recently, so I won't do it again.

I suppose walking Zimmerman to face Kaat was the thing to do, but there really wasn't much to choose between the two at bat.  Zimmerman batted .167/.243/.192.  Kaat batted .172/.226/.253.  Zimmerman was intentionally walked twelve times in his career, a direct result of always batting ahead of the pitcher.  In fact, he had a lower OPS than three of the Twins pitchers in 1967, KaatJim Perry, and Dave Boswell.

Kaat, of course, would be injured later that week in the season's penultimate game, an injury which would contribute to the Twins not winning the pennant.

Record:  The Twins were 91-68, in first place in the American League, one game ahead of Chicago and Boston.  They would finish 91-71, tied for second with Detroit, one game behind Boston.

The Angels were 81-75, in fifth place in the American League, 8.5 games behind Minnesota.  They would finish 84-77, in fifth place, 7.5 games behind Boston.

Random record:  The Twins are 53-49 in Random Rewind games.

Random Rewind: 1967, Game Sixty-six


Date:  Friday, June 23.

Batting stars:  Bob Allison was 2-for-3.  Jerry Zimmerman was 2-for-3.  Harmon Killebrew was 1-for-3 with a home run, his twenty-second.

Pitching star:  Dean Chance pitched a complete game shutout, giving up three hits and one walk and striking out four.

Opposition star:  Joel Horlen pitched seven innings, giving up one run on six hits no walks and striking out two.  He was also 1-for-2 at the plate.

The game:  It was a pitchers' duel.  No one got past first base until the third, when Horlen singled with two out and went to second when Tommie Agee reached on an error.  Don Buford struck out to end the inning.  No one got past first after that until the sixth, when Agee hit a one-out double.  He was stranded on second.

With one out in the seventh Killebrew hit a home run to give the Twins a 1-0 lead.  And that was pretty much it.  Chance retired the last eight men he faced and the Twins won 1-0.

WP:  Chance (10-5).  LP:  Horlen (8-1).  S:  None.

Notes:  Cesar Tovar was at third base in place of Rich Rollins.  Rollins played 97 games at third compared to Tovar's 72, so this was not an unusual arrangement.  Tovar also played 64 games in center and 35 at second base, as well as a handful of games at short and each of the corner outfield positions.  He's mostly forgotten now, other than by old Twins fans, but you can make the argument that Tovar is among the greatest multi-position players ever.

Sandy Valdespino came in for defense in the ninth, replacing Allison in left field.

Carew was batting .319.  He would finish at .292, which still led the team.  On the other end, Zimmerman was batting .157.  He would finish at .167 with an OPS of .436.  He was the regular catcher this year due to injuries to Earl Battey.  He was reputed to be a superior defensive catcher, and I certainly hope he was, because he contributed nothing on offense.  The Twins batted .240, which was tied for third in the league.  Boston led at .255, well above second-place Detroit, which batted .243.

Killebrew naturally led the team with 44 home runs.  Allison hit 24 and Tony Oliva 17.  The Twins hit 131 home runs, tied for fourth in the league.  Boston led there, too, with 158.

We went through the 1967 pitching staff a couple of weeks ago, so we won't repeat that.  The Twins had 58 complete games in 1967.  Chance led with 18.  Jim Kaat had 13, and Jim Merritt and Dave Boswell each had 11.  Jim Perry, who made 11 starts and relieved 26 times, had three complete games.  Mudcat Grant, who battled injuries all season, still had two complete games.  Al Worthington was the relief ace, going 8-9, 2.84 with 16 saves.  Ron Kline went 7-1, 3.77 with 5 saves and Jim Roland posted a 3.03 ERA with 2 saves.  The Twins were second in ERA at 3.14, although that was well behind league-leading Chicago at 2.45.  The Twins were third in WHIP at 1.19.  Chicago led there, too, at 1.12.

In the sixth, with the game still scoreless, Zimmerman led off with a single and then was caught stealing second.  Zimmerman had one career stolen base, in his rookie year of 1961.  He had two stolen base attempts that season.  He had only one more stolen base attempt in his career, this one.  My guess is that the batter, Chance, was supposed to bunt and missed.  I have no real evidence for that, but I can't think of any other reason you'd have Zimmerman try to steal.  You'd have the element of surprise on your side, I guess, but that's about it.

I wonder if, in 1968, manager Cal Ermer made a statement to the effect that who they really missed was Jerry Zimmerman.

This was Horlen's best year.  He went 19-7 and led the league in ERA at 2.06.  He also led in shutouts with 6 and WHIP at 0.95.  It was the second time he'd led the league in WHIP (1964, 0.94).  He made the all-star team for the only time in his career.  He was second to Jim Lonborg in Cy Young voting.  You can make the argument that he should have won the award, but Lonborg won 22 games and played for the "Impossible Dream" Red Sox.  He finished fourth in MVP voting, ahead of Lonborg but behind Carl Yastrzemski, Killebrew, and Bill Freehan.

Record:  The Twins were 33-32, in fourth place in the American League, six games behind Chicago.  They would finish 91-71, tied for second with Detroit, one game behind Boston.

The White Sox were 38-25, in first place in the American League, three games ahead of Detroit.  They would finish 89-73, in fourth place, three games behind Boston.

People who read carefully may have noticed that this is the Twins 66th game, but their record was 33-32, which only adds up to 65.  Why, you ask?  Two days earlier they had played a tie game with Detroit, 5-5.  They would play another tie game on July 25 with New York, 1-1, so they actually played 164 games in 1967.  Tovar played in all 164 games despite not having a regular position.  The record is 165, by Maury Wills in 1962.  That total includes a best-of-three playoff.

Random record:  The Twins are 50-48 in Random Rewind games.

Happy Birthday–July 3

Nig Cuppy (1869)
Curt Walker (1896)
Buddy Rosar (1914)
Art Fowler (1922)
Ed Roebuck (1931)
Cesar Tovar (1940)
John Verhoeven (1952)
Frank Tanana (1953)
Matt Keough (1955)
Danny Heep (1957)
Warren Newson (1964)
Greg Vaughn (1965)
Moises Alou (1966)
Brian Cashman (1967)
Juan Rivera (1978)
Edinson Volquez (1983)
Tommy Hunter (1986)
Yangervis Solarte (1987)

Brian Cashman has been the general manager of the New York Yankees since 1998.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–July 3

Random Rewind: 1967, Game Forty-one


Date:  Tuesday, May 30.

Batting stars:  Harmon Killebrew was 3-for-4 with a double.  Cesar Tovar was 2-for-4 with a double.

Pitching star:  Jim Merritt struck out eleven in a complete game, giving up two hits and no walks.

Opposition star:  Hal Reniff pitched three shutout innings, giving up only a walk and striking out two.

The game:  With one out in the first, Rod Carew doubled.  Zoilo Versalles drove him in with a single and went to second on an error.  Killebrew drove him in with a single and went all the way to third on an error.  Tony Oliva drove him in with a single and the Twins had a 3-0 lead.

And there it stood the rest of the game.  The Yankees never threatened.  Horace Clarke got a leadoff single in the second but never got past first base.  He reached on an error in the third but again stayed at first.  Bill Robinson reached on an error in the fifth and had a similar fate.  Charley Smith hit a one-out double in the seventh and went to third on a ground out, but stayed there.

WP:  Merritt (3-0).  LP:  Fritz Peterson (0-4).  S:  None.

Notes:  Earl Battey was injured much of 1967, catching only forty-one games, so Jerry Zimmerman was the regular catcher.

Tovar was in center field in this game in place of Ted Uhlaender.  As you probably know, Tovar could play pretty much anywhere on the diamond.  In 1967 he played 72 games at third base, 64 in center field, 35 at second base, 10 in left field, 9 at shortstop, and 6 in right field.  I can't tell you how good he was defensively, but he was good enough that his managers kept making sure he was in the lineup someplace.  In 1967 he led the league in games played with 164 (I assume there were a couple of games that were called for weather as ties or something), plate appearances at 726, and at-bats at 649.

This was Merritt's best year in the majors.  He went 13-7, 2.53, 0.99 WHIP.  Some might say his best years were 1969-1970, when he went a combined 37-21 for Cincinnati (winning twenty games and making the all-star team in 1970), but his ERA, his WHIP, and his FIP are all substantially lower in 1967.  This was one of four shutouts he pitched that year--he had no more than one in any other season and nine for his career.  This was only his second start of the season--he had started the year in the bullpen.  His first start, on May 26, was a shutout of Kansas City.

I like the good old days, when the Twins could beat the Yankees.

Record:  The Twins were 20-21, in sixth place in the American League, 6.5 games behind Detroit.  They would finish 91-71, tied for second place, one game behind Boston.

The Yankees were 17-22, in ninth place in the American League, 8.5 games behind Detroit.  They would finish 72-90, in ninth place, twenty games behind Boston.

Random Rewind: 1966, Game One Hundred Thirty


Date:  Saturday, August 27.

Batting stars:  Rich Rollins was 3-for-4.  Ted Uhlaender was 2-for-3.

Pitching star:  Jim Kaat pitched a complete game shutout, giving up three hits and two walks and striking out seven.

Opposition star:  Gary Peters pitched eight innings, giving up one run on eight hits and three walks and striking out five.

The game:  Rollins hit a one-out single in the second.  With two down, Bob Allison and Uhlaender hit back-to-back singles to bring home a run and put the Twins up 1-0.

And that was the only run there was.  The only real White Sox threat came in the second, when Jerry Adair and John Romano hit consecutive one-out singles.  Jim Hicks struck out and Lee Elia popped up, and Chicago did not get another hit the rest of the game.  They did get a pair of two-out walks in the seventh, but Hicks grounded out to end the inning.  The Twins got two on in the seventh and again in the eighth, but they did not score and Kaat made sure they didn't need to.

WP:  Kaat (20-9).  LP:  Peters (11-10).  S:  None.

Notes:  Cesar Tovar was at second base.  Bernie Allen is listed as the starting second baseman, but he only played eighty-nine games there compared to Tovar's seventy-four, so it looks like the two basically shared the position.  Of course, Tovar could play pretty much anywhere on the field.

Rollins was at third base with Harmon Killebrew at first.  The normal lineup was for Don Mincher to be at first and Killebrew at third.  It looks like the Twins essentially used a platoon, with Rollins at third and Killebrew at first against left-handers and Mincher at first and Killebrew at third against right-handers.

Tony Oliva was leading the team in batting at .314.  He would end the season at .307.

Kaat would finish the season 25-13, 2.75, 1.07 WHIP.  He led the league in wins, starts (41), complete games (19), and innings (304.2).  Had there been separate AL and NL Cy Young Awards back then, he surely would've been in the running.  As it was, though, there was only one Cy Young Award, and it went to Sandy Koufax, who was 27-9, 1.73, 0.99 WHIP and had 27 complete games.

Remarkably, Kaat had only three no-decisions all year.

I wonder when the last time was someone had twenty wins before September.  Bob Welch in 1990 comes to mind, but there certainly may have been someone since then.

The Twins stranded ten men and went 1-for-9 with men in scoring position.

The Twins had nine hits and Chicago had three.  All the hits were singles.

Record:  The Twins were 69-61, in third place in the American League, fourteen games behind Baltimore.  They would finish 89-73, in second place, nine games behind Baltimore.

The White Sox were 66-64, in sixth place in the American League, seventeen games behind Baltimore.  They would finish 83-79, in fourth place, fifteen games behind Baltimore.