Tag Archives: Joel Horlen

Random Rewind: 1967, Game Sixty-six

MINNESOTA 1, CHICAGO 0 IN MINNESOTA

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.

Random Rewind: 1962, Game Fifty-seven

MINNESOTA 8, CHICAGO 4 IN MINNESOTA (FIRST GAME OF DOUBLEHEADER)

Date:  Sunday, June 10.

Batting stars:  Rich Rollins was 3-for-3 with a home run (his ninth), a walk, and three runs.  Don Mincher was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer (his sixth) and a walk.  Harmon Killebrew was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his twelfth.

Pitching star:  Jim Kaat pitched a complete game, giving up four runs on eight hits and two walks and striking out six.

Opposition stars:  Eddie Fisher pitched five innings of relief, giving up one run on one hit and no walks and striking out four.  Jim Landis was 3-for-4 with a three-run homer (his eleventh), a double, and two runs.  Nellie Fox was 2-for-4 with a triple and a double.

The game:  With two out in the first, Landis doubled and Al Smith singled him home to give the White Sox a 1-0 lead.  It was the only lead they would have, and it wouldn't last long.  In the bottom of the first Rollins singled and Mincher hit a two-run homer to give the Twins a 2-1 lead.  In the second, consecutive singles by Earl BatteyBernie Allen, and Zoilo Versalles loaded the bases, a fourth consecutive single, by Kaat, plated two runs, and a double play scored a third to make the score 5-1 Twins.

Rollins hit a solo homer in the fifth to make it 6-1, and it looked like the Twins had total control of the game behind Kaat.  In the eighth, however, Cam Carreon singled, Joe Cunningham walked, and with two out Landis hit a three-run homer to cut the margin to 6-4.  But in the bottom of the eighth Rollins walked and Killebrew hit a two-run homer to make it 8-4.  Chicago put two runners on in the ninth but did not get the tying run to the plate.

WP:  Kaat (5-4).  LP: Joel Horlen (5-3).  S:  None.

Notes:  Mincher was at first base in place of Vic Power, who was apparently out with an injury.  Other than that, the Twins used their standard 1962 lineup.  Bill Tuttle came in for defense in the ninth.  He replaced Killebrew, who had been in left, but Tuttle went to center, with Lenny Green moving to left.

Rollins was batting .353.  He would finish at .298, which would lead the team.  Battey was batting .326.  He would finish at .280.  The Twins batted .260, which was third in the league.  New York led with .267.

Every one of the Twins' eight regulars finished with double digit home runs.  Not surprisingly, Killebrew led the team with 48.  Bob Allison hit 29, Versalles 17, Power and Rollins 16 each, Green 14, Allen 12, and Battey 11.  The Twins hit 185 home runs, again third in the league.  Detroit led with 209.

Either Kaat or Camilo Pascual would've been the ace of the staff:  both had fine years.  Kaat was 18-14, 3.14, 1.18 WHIP; Pascual was 20-11, 3.32, 1.15 WHIP.  The third starter, Jack Kralick, was 12-11, 3.85, 1.24.  The fourth starter role was split between Dick Stigman and Joe Bonikowski, with Don Lee given a handful of starts as well.  Bonikowski, a twenty-one year old rookie, seems to have gotten most of the starts early in the season, but he went 3-6, 4.82, 1.45 as a starter.  He did much better out of the bullpen, going 2-1, 1.57, 1.05.  It was his only major league season--he pitched poorly in the minors over the next few years.  Stigman got most of the starts late and did better, going 9-3, 3.82, 1.32.  The Twins only finished five games behind they Yankees--perhaps, had they moved Stigman into the rotation sooner, they'd have made up those five games.

The Twins had a 3.89 ERA, sixth in the league.  Baltimore led at 3.69.  The Twins were second in WHIP at 1.29.  New York led at 1.28.

The Twins scored their early runs off Horlen, who lasted just two innings and allowed five runs on seven hits while striking out one.  Horlen would become a fine pitcher, but he was not yet one in 1962.  It was his first full season in the majors, and he went 7-6, 4.89.  He would be substantially better in 1963, and he went five seasons, 1964-1968, in which he posted ERAs under three while pitching over 200 innings.  In four of those seasons his ERA was less than 2.50.  Even in a pitcher's era, that's impressive.  Somehow he only made one all-star team and only once got Cy Young consideration.  That was in 1967, when he went 19-7, 2.06, 0.95 WHIP.  He led the league in ERA, WHIP and shutouts (6), but still lost the award to Jim  Lonborg (22-9, 3.16, 1.14 WHIP).  Lonborg had a fine season, but had Horlen won a twentieth game it might have made a difference.

We mentioned Eddie Fisher above.  There was also, of course, a popular singer of roughly that era named Eddie Fisher, although his career had started to wane by this time.  I wonder if a person could come up with a team of ballplayers who had the same name as singers.  Michael Jackson comes immediately to mind, but I don't know if there are very many others.

The Twins would sweep the doubleheader.  They were in a stretch where they would win five of six, seven of nine, and nine of twelve.

As you may be able to tell, the 1960s era is my favorite era of Twins baseball.  I guess it's because they were the team I followed when I was a kid--I think most of us tend to think of the way sports were when we were young as a golden era.  1962 was a little early--I was only three then--but by 1965 I had started to pay attention and by 1969 I was completely hooked.

Record:  The Twins were 34-24, in second place in the American League, percentage points behind New York.  They would finish 91-71, in second place, five games behind New York.

The White Sox were 29-29, in sixth place in the American League, five games behind New York.  They would finish 85-77, in fifth place, 11 games behind New York.

Random Record:  The Twins are 45-44 in Random Rewind games.