Tag Archives: Minnesota Twins

1969 Rewind: Game One Hundred Thirty-eight

MINNESOTA 16, OAKLAND 4 IN OAKLAND

Date:  Sunday, September 7.

Batting stars:  Harmon Killebrew was 2-for-2 with two home runs (his forty-first and forty-second), a walk, and seven (!) RBIs.  Tony Oliva was 2-for-2 with a home run (his twenty-second) and three walks, scoring four times and driving in two.  Frank Quilici was 2-for-3 with a home run (his second), three RBIs, and two runs.  Cesar Tovar was 2-for-3 with a walk, a stolen base (his thirty-seventh) and three runs.  Dave Boswell was 2-for-4.  Ted Uhlaender was 2-for-6 with a walk and a stolen base (his fourteenth), scoring twice.

Pitching star:  Joe Grzenda pitched 2.2 scoreless innings, giving up two hits and a walk and striking out two.

Opposition stars:  Tito Francona was 3-for-4 with a triple, a double, and four RBIs.  Bert Campaneris was 3-for-5 with a double and two stolen bases, his fifty-second and fifty-third.

The game:  If yesterday's eighteen-inning win made a statement, this game put an exclamation point on it.  With one out in the first inning Tovar singled, Oliva walked, and Killebrew hit a three-run homer, giving the Twins a 3-0 lead.  To their credit, the Athletics bounced back with three in the bottom of the first.  Campaneris singled and stole second and third.  With one out Reggie Jackson and Sal Bando walked, loading the bases, and Francona hit a three-run double to tie it 3-3 after one inning.

That was as good as it got for Oakland.  The Twins came roaring back again in the second.  Johnny Roseboro led off with a single.  Back-to-back forceouts at second meant Boswell was the runner on first with two out.  Walks to Uhlaender and Tovar filled the bases and a walk to Oliva forced in the go-ahead run.  Walking three guys to get to Killebrew does not sound like a good idea and Harmon showed them why, hitting a grand slam to put the Twins up 8-3.

The Athletics gave themselves a chance to come back in the bottom of the second, putting men on second and third with one out, but could do nothing with it.  The Twins put the game out of reach in the fourth.  Singles by Tovar and Oliva opened the inning, with a walk to Killebrew loading the bases.  Rich Reese was hit by a pitch to force in a run and Rick Renick singled in another, although Killebrew was thrown out at the plate.  No worries, because RBI singles by Leo Cardenas and Boswell followed, making the score 12-3.  The Twins added solo homers by Oliva and Quilici in the fifth to make it 14-3.

Oakland got one in the bottom of the fifth when Bando drew a two-out walk and scored on Francona's triple.  The Twins tacked on two in the ninth when Grzenda walked, Uhlaender singled, George Mitterwald drew a two-out walk, and Quilici delivered a two-run single.

WP:  Boswell (16-10).  LP:  Fred Talbot (5-9).  S:  Grzenda (3).

Notes:  Rod Carew was still not in the lineup.  Tovar was at second and Uhlaender in center field.  Graig Nettles was the left fielder.

Once the Twins got a big lead they made numerous changes.  Charlie Manuel came in to play left.  Jim Holt went to right.  George Mitterwald went behind the plate.  Quilici came in to play third and then moved to second when Renick went to third.

Additionally, this game marked the Twins debut of Cotton Nash, who went to first base in the fourth inning.  He would play a total of ten games for the Twins in 1969 and 1970.  He had some fine years in AAA, hitting 33 homers in 1970 and 37 in 1971, but it was his bad luck to be ready for the majors at a time when the Twins had Killebrew and Reese.  I don't know why the Twins weren't able to trade him, or if they even pursued the idea.  He is also one of the few people to play both major league baseball and professional basketball.  He played for the Lakers, the Warriors, and the ABA Kentucky Colonels.

Reese was 0-for-2 in this game and was batting .326.  Oliva was batting .319.

Boswell pitched well after the first inning.  His line was 6.1 innings, four runs, six hits, four walks, and five strikeouts.  Fred Talbot was the Oakland starter.  He lasted just 1.2 innings, giving up six runs on three hits and three walks.

It can't have been a good feeling for Oakland manager Hank Bauer to have to give the ball to Talbot in what was almost a must-win game for them.  Not that he was the worst pitcher ever, but despite spending most of his career in the best pitcher's era ever, his lifetime ERA was 4.12.  He never had an ERA under four in a season in which he pitched at least a hundred innings.  I don't have time to go back and research whether Bauer would've had a better option available, but this certainly wasn't a good one.  That's not to say it couldn't have worked--this is baseball, after all--but the odds weren't particularly good.

Oakland used five pitchers in the game, each of whom gave up at least two runs.  The best was Ed Sprague, who took four innings to give up his two runs.  He allowed three hits and three walks and struck out three.

One of the five pitchers was Vida Blue, who was in his rookie year.  He pitched just a third of an inning, allowing two runs on a hit and a walk to raise his ERA to 6.81.  As you may be aware, he would do better than this in later years.

Record:  The Twins were 85-53, in first place in the American League West, leading Oakland by 8.5 games.

1969 Rewind: Game One Hundred Thirty-seven

MINNESOTA 8, OAKLAND 6 IN OAKLAND (18 INNINGS)

Date:  Saturday, September 6.

Batting stars:  Cesar Tovar was 4-for-8 with a home run (his ninth), scoring three times and driving in three.  Jim Holt was 2-for-4.  Tony Oliva was 2-for-8 with two home runs (his twentieth and twenty-first) and four RBIs.

Pitching stars:  Bob Miller pitched 3.1 scoreless innings, giving up a hit and a walk and striking out one.  Jim Kaat struck out ten in 9.1 innings of relief (!), giving up one run on eight hits and five walks.

Opposition stars:  Jose Tartabull was 3-for-9 with a triple and two runs.  Bert Campaneris was 3-for-9 with two stolen bases (his fiftieth and fifty-first) and two runs.  Reggie Jackson was 2-for-7 with a home run (his forty-sixth) and four RBIs.  Danny Cater was 2-for-7 with two walks.  Sal Bando was 2-for-7 with two walks.  Marcel Lachemann pitched six shutout innings of relief, giving up two hits and no walks and striking out one.

The game:  In the third, Rick Renick singled and was still on first with two out.  Then came a walk to Ted UhlaenderTovar hit an RBI single, and Oliva hit a three-run homer to give the Twins a 4-0 lead.  The Twins then loaded the bases with two singles and a walk, but Johnny Roseboro fanned to end the inning.

Oakland got on the board in the fourth when Tartabull tripled and Jackson singled.  The Twins got the run back in the fifth when Tovar singled, went to second on a ground out, and scored on a Bob Allison single.  The score was 5-1 Twins, and it looked good for the visitors.  In the bottom of the fifth, however, Tommie Reynolds reached base on an error.  He was on third with two out when Campaneris singled to make the score 5-2.  Tartabull then singled and Jackson followed with a three-run homer, making the score 5-5 through five.

There was no more scoring for a long time.  The Athletics put men on first and second with one out in the sixth, but a double play ended the inning.  They again had men on first and second with one out in the ninth, but a strikeout and a fly out closed out the threat.  They loaded the bases with two out in the thirteenth, but Gene Tenace struck out.  The again loaded the bases with two out in the fourteenth, but Sal Bando struck out.  They had men on first and second with two out in the fifteenth, but Tony LaRussa grounded out.

Meanwhile, the Twins were doing pretty much nothing.  They had only three hits from the sixth through the fifteenth.  With one out in the sixteenth, however, Oliva hit his second home run of the game to put the Twins up 6-5.  It was not enough, however, as in the bottom of the sixteenth the Athletics finally cashed in a threat.  Campaneris led off with a single and stole second and third.  Tartabull got an infield single, but Campaneris remained at third base.  With one out, Bando walked to fill the bases.  Oakland didn't make maximum use of the runners, but Dick Green hit a sacrifice fly to tie the score 6-6.

The game continued.  Neither team threatened in the seventeenth.  In the eighteenth, Holt led off with a single and Tovar hit a two-run homer to put Minnesota in the lead 8-6.  This time they would keep the lead.  Bando drew a one-out walk, but that was as much as the Athletics could do.

WP:  Kaat (12-11).  LP:  George Lauzerique (3-4).  S:  Ron Perranoski (27).

Notes:  Carew was still out of the lineup, so it was again Tovar at second and Uhlaender in center.  This time it was Graig Nettles in left, but Allison pinch-hit for him in the fifth and remained in the game.  Renick was at shortstop to give Leo Cardenas a day off, but after Charlie Manuel pinch-hit for Renick in the ninth Cardenas came in and essentially played a full game.

Rich Reese went 1-for-7 and was batting .328.  Oliva was batting .316.  Perranoski retired the last two batters of the game to make his ERA 2.15.

Tom Hall started for the Twins and pitched 4.2 innings, giving up five runs (one earned) on seven hits and no walks and striking out one.  Chuck Dobson started for Oakland and pitched 2.2 innings, allowing four runs on four hits and a walk.

I wonder when the last time is someone pitched over nine innings of relief in a game.

It's also pretty amazing that Kaat allowed thirteen baserunners but gave up just one run.  For the game, the Athletics stranded eighteen and went 4-for-19 with men in scoring position.  On the other hand, the Twins stranded just seven and went 3-for-7 with men in scoring position.

This had to be a particularly disheartening loss for Oakland in what was almost a must-win game.  They had so many chances to win and just could not push the deciding run across.  And then, not only to lose in extra innings for the second time in three games, but to have both losses come as the result of home runs by Cesar Tovar, of all people.  I'm sure they didn't give up and quit, but I suspect that deep down they knew the pennant race was over.

Record:  The Twins were 84-53, in first place in the American League West, leading Oakland by 7.5 games.

1969 Rewind: Game One Hundred Thirty-six

OAKLAND 5, MINNESOTA 4 IN OAKLAND

Date:  Friday, September 5.

Batting stars:  Rich Reese was 3-for-4 with a double.  Johnny Roseboro was 2-for-4.  Tony Oliva was 1-for-5 with a home run, his nineteenth.

Pitching star:  Dean Chance pitched seven innings, giving up three runs on five hits and three walks and striking out three.

Opposition stars:  Bert Campaneris was 2-for-5 with two stolen bases, his forty-eighth and forty-ninth.  Tito Francona was 1-for-3 with a home run (his fourth) and a walk.  Paul Lindblad struck out two in two shutout innings, giving up a hit and a walk.

The game:  The Athletics threatened in the first, as Jose Tartabull singled and stole second with one out, but he was stranded there.  They got on the board in the second, as Dick Green led off with a double and scored on a Danny Cater single.  The Twins could do nothing with a two-out double by Ted Uhlaender in the third.  Oakland increased its lead to 2-0 when Francona led off the fourth with a home run.

The Twins got a run in the fifth.  Roseboro led off with a single.  With one out, Chance laid down a sacrifice bunt-plus-error, putting men on second and third.  They could only get one, though, as Uhlaender grounded out, leaving the Athletics ahead 2-1.

Oakland threatened in the fifth.  Campaneris hit a one-out single and promptly stole second and third.  Tartabull walked and Sal Bando was hit by a pitch with two out, loading the bases, but Francona grounded out.  It looked like it would cost them, as the Twins took the lead with three in the sixth.  Oliva tied the score with a home run.  Reese hit a one-out double, Graig Nettles walked, and Roseboro delivered an RBI single to give the Twins the lead.  Leo Cardenas followed with a sacrifice fly and the Twins were up 4-2.

The lead lasted until the eighth.  Chance again hit Bando with a pitch leading off the inning, bringing on Ron Perranoski.  He walked Francona, putting the tying run on base.  With one out, Cater hit a grounder to first.  The Twins got a force at second, but a throwing error on Cardenas cut the lead to 4-3 and put the tying run on second.  Pinch-hitter Bob Johnson was intentionally walked, but the strategy failed as Tommie Reynolds and Campaneris hit consecutive RBI singles to put the Athletics ahead 5-4.  The Twins went down in order in the ninth and did not get the ball out of the infield.

WP:  Lindblad (9-4).  LP:  Perranoski (9-9).  S:  Marcel Lachemann (2).

Notes:  Nettles was the left fielder, with Uhlaender moving to center, Cesar Tovar to second base, and Rod Carew out of the lineup.

Reese raised his average to .331.  Oliva was now batting .317.  Chance now had an ERA of 2.78.  Perranoski's ERA went up to 2.17.

This was Perranoski's ninth blown save.  To be fair, he pitched 2.2 innings or more in five of them.

The Twins used just ten players, their eight position players and two pitchers.  Oakland, on the other hand, used nineteen players.  They used four pitchers, three pinch-hitters, two pinch-runners, and two defensive replacements.

Before there was Herb Washington, there was Allan Lewis.  Nominally an outfielder, he appeared as a pinch-runner in 139 of his 156 career games.  In the minors he had hit for a decent average, but didn't draw many walks and had little power.  He could run, though.  In 1963 he stole 57 bases.  In 1965 he stole 76 bases (in 90 attempts).  In 1966 he stole 116 bases (in 134 attempts).  By that time, however, he was twenty-four and had not risen above Class A.  Despite that, he opened 1967 in the major leagues with the Athletics and stayed there through the end of July, appearing in thirty-four games but getting just six plate appearances.  He was 14-for-19 in stolen bases and scored seven runs.  That was pretty much the story of his career--he never spent a full season in the majors, but he would be up for part of almost every season through 1973 and be used almost exclusively as a pinch-runner.  For his career, he appeared in 156 games and had 31 plate appearances.  He was 44-for-61 in stolen bases and scored forty-seven runs.  His batting numbers were .207/.233/.345.  In the minors, he scored 486 bases in 581 attempts.  After his playing career ended, he was a scout and coach in his native Panama until his retirement.

Record:  The Twins were 83-53, in first place in the American League West, 6.5 games ahead of Oakland.

1969 Rewind: Game One Hundred Thirty-five

MINNESOTA 10, OAKLAND 5 IN OAKLAND (10 INNINGS)

Date:  Thursday, September 4.

Batting stars:  Cesar Tovar was 3-for-4 with a grand slam (his eighth homer) a double, and a walk, driving in five.  Tony Oliva was 3-for-4 with a double, a walk, and a stolen base (his ninth).  Harmon Killebrew was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer (his fortieth) and a walk, scoring twice.

Pitching stars:  Dick Woodson pitched 2.2 scoreless innings, giving up a hit and a walk and striking out one.  Ron Perranoski pitched three innings, giving up an unearned run on two hits and three walks and striking out two.

Opposition stars:  Jose Tartabull was 4-for-6.  Sal Bando was 2-for-6 with a home run (his twenty-third) and two runs.  Jim Nash struck out six in four innings, giving up one run on two hits and two walks.  Ex-Twin Jim Roland pitched 2.1 scoreless innings, giving up one hit and two walks.

The game:  In the second Rich Reese walked, stole second, and scored on Tovar's double, giving the Twins a 1-0 lead.  The Athletics loaded the bases in the second on an error and two walks, but did not score.  They opened the third with a pair of singles, but again did not score.  So the Twins carried the 1-0 lead into the fourth.

That was as far as they carried it.  Dick Green led off the fourth with a double.  Danny Cater had an infield single and future Twin Phil Roof walked, loading the bases with none out.  Ramon Webster hit a sacrifice fly to tie the score, an error allowed the lead run to score, and Tartabull singled home an insurance run, leaving Oakland up 3-1.  Bando hit into a double play to avoid further damage.  There was no more scoring until the seventh, when Bando led off the inning with a home run to make it 4-1 Athletics.

The Twins came back in the eighth.  Ted Uhlaender singled and scored on a Rod Carew double.  Oliva singled him in and Killebrew followed with a two-run homer to give the Twins a 5-4 lead.  It looked good, but in the bottom of the ninth Bando got an infield single and was bunted to second.  Green walked, and the Twins then made their four error of the game, allowing Bando to score the tying run and send the game to an extra inning.

There would only be one extra inning, though.  Oliva led off the inning with a double and Killebrew was intentionally walked.  Pinch-hitter Charlie Manuel then drew a walk to load the bases and Tovar unloaded them with a grand slam, giving the Twins a 9-5 lead.  The grand slam did not kill the rally, as Tom Tischinski and Leo Cardenas singled, a bunt advanced them to second and third, and Uhlaender hit a run-scoring ground out to give Minnesota a 10-5 advantage.  Oakland went down in order in the bottom of the tenth.

WP:  Perranoski (9-8).  LP:  Ed Sprague (0-1).  S:  None.

Notes:  The expanded rosters made themselves known.  The Twins used eight reserve position players--three pinch-hitters, two pinch-runners, and three defensive replacements.  Oakland used seven--five pinch-hitters and two defensive replacements.  The Athletics also used seven pitchers, while the Twins used four.

Carew was 1-for-6, making his average .348.  Reese was 1-for-3 with a walk and was batting .327.  Oliva raised his average to .319.

Jim Perry started for the Twins and pitched 3.1 innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits and three walks while striking out four.  His ERA went to 2.94.  Perranoski lowered his ERA to 2.02.

The stolen base was Reese's first of the season.  He was 1-for-6 on the year.  For his career, he was 16-for-31.  His best year was 1971, when he went 7-for-11.  In fact 20 of his 31 career stolen base attempts came from 1970-1971.  We think of Billy Martin having everybody running, but apparently Bill Rigney allowed Reese freedom to steal bases, too.

Oakland went into this four-game series trailing the Twins by 6.5 games.  They really needed a sweep to have a good chance, and one would think they at least had to take three of four to stay in the race at all.  This was a big game, and losing it on a Cesar Tovar grand slam had to hurt.

Oakland starter Nash was removed after four innings for a pinch-hitter.  It worked, in one sense, because the Athletics went on to score three runs in the inning and take a 3-1 lead.  On the other hand, it meant Oakland had to get at least five innings (ultimately six) out of its bullpen, and it looks like the bullpen was a problem for them all year.  The had only one reliever with an ERA of less than 3.7 (Roland) and only two with ERAs under four (Rollie Fingers, 3.71, and Marcel Lachemann, 3.95).  Ed Sprague (4.47) started the tenth inning, and Lew Krausse (4.44) came in to allow the grand slam.  Manager Hank Bauer simply didn't have a lot of good options.

Record:  The Twins were 83-52, in first place in the American League West, 7.5 games ahead of Oakland.

1969 Rewind: Game One Hundred Thirty-four

MINNESOTA 7, CLEVELAND 1 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Wednesday, September 3.

Batting stars:  Cesar Tovar was 2-for-3 with a walk.  Leo Cardenas was 2-for-4.  Rod Carew was 2-for-5 with a double.  Tony Oliva was 2-for-5.  Harmon Killebrew was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his thirty-ninth.

Pitching star:  Dave Boswell pitched a complete game, giving up one run on four hits and a walk and striking out two.

Opposition stars:  Russ Snyder was 2-for-4 with a double.  Ken Harrelson was 1-for-3 with a home run, his twenty-seventh.

The game:  It was scoreless for five innings, and there really were really very few threats to score.  The Indians had one in the third--Eddie Leon singled and Vern Fuller walked, putting men on first and second with none out.  Snyder hit a one-out single, but Leon was thrown out at the plate by Twins left fielder Ted Uhlaender.  In the fourth, Oliva led off with a single and Tovar drew a two-out walk, but George Mitterwald was called out on strikes to end the inning.

When the Twins broke through in the sixth, though, they did it in a big way.  Carew led off with a double and scored on Oliva's single.  Killebrew followed with a two-run homer.  It did not kill the rally, but it did chase Cleveland starter Steve Hargan from the game.  Juan Pizarro came in and gave up a single to Rich Reese.  With one out Mitterwald walked, Cardenas delivered an RBI single, and Boswell drove in a run with a sacrifice/fielder's choice.  It was 5-0 and the Twins had control of the game.

Harrelson homered with one out in the seventh for the lone Indians run.  The Twins scored two more in the eighth.  They opened the inning with consecutive singles by TovarMitterwaldCardenas, and Boswell to make the score 6-1 and Uhlaender hit a sacrifice fly to increase it to 7-1.

WP:  Boswell (15-10).  LP:  Hargan (5-12).  S:  None.

Notes:  It was what appears now to be the more-or-less regular lineup, with Carew back at second, Tovar in center, and Uhlaender in left.  Johnny Roseboro started the game at catcher, but left after lining out to end the second inning.  Mitterwald came in to replace him.  Roseboro would be back in the lineup the next day.

Carew was batting .351.  Reese went 1-for-4 and was batting .327.  Oliva was batting .315.

Hargan was struggling through an injury-plagued 1969 season.  That could be said of several of his seasons.  In his first three years, 1965-1967, he was an excellent pitcher.  He made the all-star team in 1967 and led the league in shutouts that year.  He really only had two good seasons after that, 1970 (11-3, 2.90) and 1974 (12-9, 3.95).  He hung on as a reliever/spot starter through 1977.

I don't have time to write it up properly, but Juan Pizarro had a pretty interesting career.  It was a long career, stretching from 1957 through 1974.  He made two all-star teams, 1963 and 1964, but for most of his career was just a pretty good pitcher.  He was a starter through 1965 and mostly a reliever after that, although he would still make ten or so spot starts every year.  His career numbers are 131-105, 3.43 with 28 saves.  Again, not a star, not a Hall-of Famer, but a good pitcher for a long time.

Record:  The Twins were 82-52, in first place in the American League West, 6.5 games ahead of Oakland.

1969 Rewind: Game One Hundred Thirty-three

MINNESOTA 5, CLEVELAND 2 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Tuesday, September 2.

Batting stars:  Cesar Tovar was 2-for-4 with a stolen base, his thirty-sixth.  Johnny Roseboro was 2-for-4 with two runs.  Harmon Killebrew was 1-for-2 with two walks.

Pitching stars:  Tom Hall pitched 6.2 innings, giving up two runs on seven hits and three walks and striking out four.  Dick Woodson pitched 2.1 scoreless innings, giving up only a walk and striking out two.

Opposition stars:  Eddie Leon was 2-for-3 with a double and a walk.  Mike Paul struck out two in two shutout innings, giving up a walk.

The game:  In the first, Larry Brown hit a one-out single and Ken Harrelson walked, but nothing came of it.  The Twins got the scoring started in the fourth when Tony Oliva doubled with one out and scored on a Killebrew single.  The Indians came back with a run in the fifth on singles by Ken Suarez and Luis Tiant and a double by Leon, making the score 1-1.

The Twins went ahead to stay in the bottom of the fifth.  Roseboro and Leo Cardenas started the inning with singles and Hall walked, loading the bases with none out.  Ted Uhlaender hit a sacrifice fly to put the Twins up 2-1 and Rod Carew singled to re-load the bases.  Oliva hit into a force out to give Minnesota a 3-1 lead.  The Twins scored two more in the sixth when Tovar and Roseboro singled, Cardenas hit a sacrifice fly, and Uhlaender followed Hall's sacrifice bunt with an RBI single.

Cleveland threatened in the seventh.  Suarez walked and Leon and Larry Brown delivered two-out singles, cutting the Twins' lead to 5-2.  Harrelson walked to load the bases and put the go-ahead run at bat, but Tony Horton hit into a force out to end the inning.  The Indians did not get a man on base after that.

WP:  Hall (8-4).  LP:  Tiant (8-18).  S:  Woodson (1).

Notes:  With the return of CarewTovar went back to center field and Uhlaender moved to left.

Carew went 1-for-4 and was batting .351.  Rich Reese was 0-for-4 and was batting .328.  Oliva was 1-for-4 with a double and was batting .314.  Uhlaender was 1-for-3, stretching his hitting streak to fifteen games.

This game saw the major league debut of Herman Hill.  He was a September call-up after batting .300/.346/.398 at AAA Denver.  He pinch-ran for Killebrew in the seventh inning.  He then was replaced by Frank Quilici, who took over at third base.  Hill appeared in sixteen games in 1969, but was a pinch-runner in thirteen of them, so that he got only two plate apperances.  In 1970 he was with the Twins for about three weeks in mid-summer and then again got a September call-up.  He appeared in twenty-seven games but started only two of them, again used mostly as a pinch-runner or defensive replacement.  He got only twenty-three plate appearances, going 2-for-22 with a sacrifice.  And sadly, that's where his career ends.  He was playing winter ball in Venezuela after the 1970 season and drowned in a swimming accident.  He was only twenty-five.

Hall was on quite a roll.  Since July 27 he had pitched 52.2 innings and given up just nine runs, for an ERA of 1,54.  He reduced his season ERA from 4.55 to 3.18 over this span.  He had three complete games and also made five relief appearances, in one of which he pitched eight innings.

Tiant was having the worst year of his career up to this point.  He would end up 9-20, although with an ERA of 3.71.  His ERA+ was 101, which obviously isn't terrible, but he led the league in home runs allowed and walks allowed.  He still pitched 249.2 innings, leading one to think he must have been keeping his team in the game even if he wasn't winning.  He wasn't getting much run support--in nineteen of his twenty losses, the Indians scored three or fewer runs.  He would, of course, be traded to Minnesota after the season.

Record:  The Twins were 81-52, in first place in the American League West, six games ahead of Oakland.

 

1969 Rewind: Game One Hundred Thirty-two

MINNESOTA 7, CLEVELAND 5 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Monday, September 1.

Batting stars:  Bob Allison was 2-for-4 with a triple and four RBIs.  Tony Oliva was 2-for-4 with a triple and two runs.  Leo Cardenas was 2-for-4.  Rick Renick was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his third.

Pitching star:  Ron Perranoski pitched 2.1 scoreless innings, giving up a hit and a walk.

Opposition stars:  Stan Williams struck out six in five shutout innings of relief, giving up three hits and a walk.  Tony Horton was 3-for-5.  Lou Klimchock was 2-for-3 with a double and two runs.  Vern Fuller was 2-for-4.

The game:  Singles by Klimchock and Frank Baker were followed by an error, giving the Indians a 1-0 lead.  The Twins responded in a big way, scoring six runs off Cleveland starter Sam McDowell before anyone was retired.  Cesar Tovar led off with a double and Oliva singled him to third.  Harmon Killebrew walked to load the bases and Allison responded with a bases-clearing triple.  Cardenas singled him home and Renick followed with a two-run homer, putting the Twins up 6-1.  The Twins got one more in the second when Oliva tripled and Allison singled, making the score 7-1.

McDowell came out after two innings and the Twins did not score again.  Meanwhile, the Indians tried to chip away at the Twins' lead.  In the third, Klimchock doubled, went to third on Horton's infield single, and scored on an error to make it 7-2.  In the fourth, singles by Eddie Leon and Fuller, a bunt, and a Russ Snyder two-run single cut the margin to 7-4.

Twins starter Dean Chance then settled down and retired the next eight batters before being pulled for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the sixth.  Jim Kaat came on to pitch the seventh and gave up consecutive one-out singles to Larry Brown and Chuck Hinton.  Al Worthington gave up an RBI single to Horton to make the lead 7-5 before recording the second out of the inning.  Perranoski came in to nail down the victory.  It was not without a little drama, though--with two out in the bottom of the ninth, Hinton walked and Horton singled, bringing the go-ahead run up to bat.  Ken Harrelson flied to center to end the game.

WP:  Chance (5-2).  LP:  McDowell (15-12).  S:  Perranoski (26).

Notes:  Rod Carew returned, but was not in the starting lineup.  Tovar remained at second at Ted Uhlaender remained in center, with Allison in left and George Mitterwald behind the plate.  Carew pinch-ran for Mitterwald in the eighth and went to second base, with Tovar moving to center and Uhlaender to left.  Johnny Roseboro entered the game at catcher.  Renick was at third base in this game, with Killebrew at first.  Frank Quilici came in to play third in the ninth.

Oliva raised his average to .315.  Chance's ERA was 2.66.  Perranoski's ERA dropped to 2.08.

Chance pitched six innings, giving up four runs (two earned) on nine hits and no walks and striking out four.  McDowell pitched two innings, allowing seven runs on seven hits and a walk and striking out two.  By game scores it was easily McDowell's worst game of the season, and raised his ERA from 2.75 to 2.99.

The bases-loaded triple was the last triple of Allison's career.  He had a total of fifty-three of them.

I was vaguely aware that there had been a big-league ballplayer called "Lou Klimchock", but I could've told you nothing about him.  Looking at his career, I can see why.  It was a fairly long career, covering twelve seasons, but 1969 was the only season in which he got a decent amount of playing time.   His 279 plate appearances are more than double what he got in any other season.  In his twelve seasons, he never did get a full year in the majors.  He made his major league debut as a September call-up with Kansas City in 1958 at age eighteen after batting .389 in Class C Pocatello.  He also hit twenty-five home runs that year, and followed it up with nineteen in AA Shreveport in 1959, so one assumes that Athletics thought they had a power-hitting infielder.  It didn't work out that way--he never hit more than nineteen again, and the only two times he reached that number were when he was playing in Denver.  He went back-and-forth between AAA and the majors for the rest of his career.  He was in the Kansas City organization through 1961, went to the Milwaukee Braves in 1962, went to Washington briefly in 1963 before being returned to Milwaukee.  and going to Cleveland in 1966, where he would be the rest of his career.  In all the ups and downs he got 711 major league plate appearances and batted .232/.264/.330.  To be fair, he played most of his career in the 1960s, and it's hard to establish yourself when you don't get consistent playing time.  In AAA, he batted .277/.331/.443.  On the other hand, most of that AAA career was in the Pacific Coast League, which was well-known as a hitters' league, so it's hard to say that baseball was unfair to him.  He is active in the Major League Players Alumni Association, and also is a frequent guest at SABR events.  At last report, he was living in the Phoenix area.

Record:  The Twins were 80-52, in first place in the American League West, 5.5 games ahead of Oakland.

 

1969 Rewind: Game One Hundred Thirty-one

MINNESOTA 6, BOSTON 2 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Sunday, August 31.

Batting stars:  Jim Perry was 2-for-3.  Johnny Roseboro was 2-for-4.  Harmon Killebrew was 1-for-3 with a home run (his thirty-eighth) and a walk.  Ted Uhlaender was 1-for-4 with a three-run homer, his seventh.

Pitching stars:  Perry pitched 7.1 innings, giving up two runs on seven hits and no walks and striking out three.  Ron Perranoski pitched 1.2 scoreless innings, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  Russ Gibson was 2-for-3.  Bill Landis pitched three shutout innings of relief, giving up three hits and a walk.

The game:  It was scoreless until the bottom of the third.  Leo Cardenas led off the third with a walk and Perry singled.  Uhlaender then hit a three-run homer to make it 3-0 Twins.  Later in the inning Killebrew homered to take the lead to 4-0, which was all the Twins would need.

Perry was in complete control for seven innings, allowing just three singles and only once allowing a man to get to second base.  He perhaps tired in the eighth, giving up consecutive singles to Dalton Jones and Gibson.  He struck out Dick Schofield, but then gave up back-to-back RBI singles to Syd O'Brien and Mike Andrews.  Perranoski came in to get a double play and end the inning.  The Twins got the runs back in the bottom of the eighth, as Cesar Tovar reached on an error, Killebrew walked, and Rick Renick and Roseboro delivered two-out RBI singles.

Boston got only a one-out single in the ninth.

WP:  Perry (17-5).  LP:  Vicente Romo (5-10).  S:  Perranoski (25).

Notes:  It was again Uhlaender in center, Tovar at second, and Graig Nettles in left.  Uhlaender extended his hitting streak to thirteen games with his home run.

Rich Reese was 1-for-4 and was batting .331.  Oliva was 0-for-3 with a walk and was batting .313.  Perry's ERA was 2.91.  Perranoski's ERA was 2.12.

Frank Quilici was used as a pinch-runner for Killebrew in the eighth and remained in the game at third base.  Renick pinch-hit for Nettles in the eighth and remained in the game in left field.  Renick was more naturally an infielder--it seems strange that Billy Martin did not put Renick at third, Quilici at second, and move Tovar into the outfield.

Boston's starter was Vicente Romo, who pitched four innings and allowed four runs on three hits and three walks and struck out two.  Romo was generally a relief pitcher, but he made 11 starts for the Red Sox in 1969 and 10 in 1970.  He wasn't very good at it--for his career as a starter he was 7-10, 4.39, 1.42 WHIP and averaged less than five innings per start.  As a reliever he was 25-23, 52 saves, 3.04, 1.28 WHIP.  He played for several different teams.  He made his major league debut with the Dodgers in 1968 as a rule 5 selection, but was returned to Cleveland after one appearance.  He was with the Indians until April of 1969, when he was traded to Boston.  He was traded to the White Sox just before the 1971 season and was traded to San Diego after the 1972 campaign.  He stayed with the Padres through 1974.  He then went to Mexico from 1975-1981.  Surprisingly, he had a major league swan song, pitching quite well for the Dodgers in fifteen games in 1982.  He went back to Mexico for four more seasons before his playing career ended in 1986.  He continues to be a coach in Mexico.  I don't know why he moved around so much, but he looks like he was a pretty good reliever.

Record:  The Twins were 79-52, in first place in the American League West, 4.5 games ahead of Oakland.  I believe that's the largest lead they've had so far.

Happy Birthday–February 10

Horace Wilson (1845)
Jim Keenan (1858)
Curt Welch (1862)
Billy Evans (1884)
Herb Pennock (1894)
Bill Adair (1913)
Allie Reynolds (1917)
George Sobek (1920)
Randy Jackson (1926)
Billy O'Dell (1933)
Dick Bogard (1937)
Jim Barr (1948)
Larry McWilliams (1954)
Lenny Dykstra (1963)
Lenny Webster (1965)
Jayhawk Owens (1969)
Alberto Castillo (1970)
Bobby Jones (1970)
Kevin Sefcik (1971)
Lance Berkman (1976)
Cesar Izturis (1980)
Alex Gordon (1984)
Duke Welker (1986)
Liam Hendriks (1989)
Max Kepler (1993)

Horace Wilson was an American professor English at Tokyo University.  He is credited with introducing baseball to Japan in either 1872 or 1873.

Billy Evans was the youngest umpire in major league history, starting his career at age 22.  He was an American League umpire from 1906-1027.  He would later become general manager of the Cleveland Indians and the Detroit Tigers, and was president of the Southern Association from 1942-1946.

Bill Adair was a long-time minor league player (1935-1956) and manager (1949-1973).  He also was the scout credited with signing Andre Dawson and Tim Raines.

George Sobek was a long-time scout for the White Sox, credited with signing Denny McLain, Steve Trout, and Mike Squires.  He also played in the NBA and was a long-time college basketball referee.

Another long-time scout, Dick Bogard played in the minors for six years, managed for three, and was a scout for nearly thirty years, mostly for Houston and Oakland.  He is credited with signing Walt Weiss, Jason Giambi, and Ben Grieve.

Jim Barr was drafted six different times before finally signing.  Minnesota drafted him in the sixth round of the January Secondary draft in 1970, but he did not sign.

Continue reading Happy Birthday–February 10

1969 Rewind: Game One Hundred Thirty

BOSTON 7, MINNESOTA 5 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Saturday, August 30.

Batting stars:  Cesar Tovar was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer (his seventh) and a double.  Leo Cardenas was 1-for-2 with two walks.

Pitching star:  Dick Woodson pitched two shutout innings, giving up one hit and one walk.

Opposition stars:  Mike Andrews was 3-for-4 with a three-run homer (his eleventh) and a walk, scoring twice.  Tony Conigliaro was 1-for-3 with a home run (his eighteenth) and a walk.  Syd O'Brien was 1-for-4 with a home run (his sixth) and a walk.  Sparky Lyle struck out three in 2.1 scoreless innings, giving up only a walk.

The game:  The Red Sox threatened in the first, putting two men on with two out, but did not score until the second, when Conigliaro led off with a home run to give them a 1-0 lead.  O'Brien led off the third with a home run to make it 2-0.  The Twins did not get a baserunner until the fourth, when Tovar hit a one-out double.  He was stranded a second.

Boston took a commanding lead in the fifth.  Opposing pitcher Mike Nagy was hit by a pitch, O'Brien walked, and Andrews hit a three-run homer to make the score 5-0.  The Red Sox continued to add on runs.  In the sixth, Rico Petrocelli got an infield hit and scored on Jerry Moses' two-out triple.  In the seventh, Andrews reached on a single-plus-error, went to third on a ground out, and scored on a pickoff error to put Boston ahead 7-0.

The Twins tried to come back in the seventh.  Rich Reese led off with a double and scored on a one-out single by George Mitterwald.  Cardenas walked.  With two down, Ted Uhlaender hit a two-run double which was followed by Tovar's two-run homer, leaving the Twins down by only two at 7-5.

But that was it.  Lyle came in after the Tovar home run.  He retired Tony Oliva to end the seventh, retired the Twins in order in the eighth, and allowed only a one-out walk in the ninth.

WP:  Nagy (10-2).  LP:  Dave Boswell (14-10).  S:  Lyle (13).

Notes:  Uhlaender was again in center field, with Tovar at second base.  Graig Nettles was in left.  Johnny Roseboro started the game behind the plate, but was replaced by Mitterwald at the start of the seventh.  The reason is not obvious in the play-by-play, and Roseboro would come back to catch the entire game the next day, so if it was an injury or illness it apparently was nothing serious.

Reese was 1-for-4 and was batting .332.  Oliva was 0-for-4 and was batting .315.

Uhlaender extended his hitting streak to twelve games, going 1-for-5 with a double.  He only got back into the lineup because Rod Carew has been out, which resulted in Tovar moving from center field to second base.  It will be interesting to see if he remains in the lineup once Carew returns.

Boswell pitched five innings.  He allowed five runs on four hits and three walks and struck out two.  Nagy was in control for six innings, but his line is 6.2 innings, five runs, eight hits, one walk, no strikeouts.

This was Mike Nagy's rookie year, and it was a heck of a year.  At age twenty-one, he went 12-2, 3.11 in twenty-eight starts.  He finished second to Lou Piniella in Rookie of the Year voting and had a substantially higher WAR (3.0 to 2.1).  On the other hand, he had a FIP of 4.10, a WHIP of 1.47, and walked 4.9 batters per nine innings, which should have (and probably did) tell people that it wouldn't last.  In 1970 he went 6-5, 4.48, 1.57 WHIP and he never got a full season in the majors again.  He was with the Red Sox through 1972, with St. Louis in 1973, and with Houston through 1975.  His career major league numbers are 20-13, 4.15, 1.53 WHIP in 418.2 innings.  He appeared in 87 games, starting 62 of them.  After his major league career ended, he had four successful years pitching in Mexico (1976-1979).  He posted an ERA of 2.01 in his time there, the lowest of any Mexican League pitcher with over five hundred innings.  He then went into the real estate business and had a successful career before retiring in 2011.  At last report, he was living in West Yarmouth, Massachusetts.

Record:  The Twins were 78-52, in first place in the American League West, 3.5 games ahead of Oakland.