Tag Archives: Tony O

Random Rewind: 1964, Game One Hundred Twenty


Date:  Sunday, August 16.

Batting stars:  Zoilo Versalles was 3-for-5 with a home run (his fourteenth), a stolen base (his eleventh), and four RBIs.  Tony Oliva was 2-for-4 with a double, a walk, and three runs.  Bob Allison was 2-for-4 with a walk, a stolen base (his seventh), and two RBIs.  Rich Rollins was 2-for-5 with a double and two runs.  Don Mincher was 2-for-5 with a double.  Jerry Kindall was 2-for-5.  Harmon Killebrew was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer (his forty-second), a walk, and two runs.

Pitching star:  Mudcat Grant pitched a complete game, giving up two runs on six hits and a walk and striking out three.

Opposition stars:  Sonny Siebert pitched six innings, giving up three runs on six hits and no walks and striking out five.  Chico Salmon was 2-for-4 with a double.  Woodie Held was 1-for-1 with a two-run homer, his sixteenth.

The game:  It was close most of the way.  Versalles started the scoring by leading off the third inning with a home run.  In the fourth Oliva led off with a double and Killebrew hit a two-run homer to make it 3-0.

It stayed 3-0 until the seventh.  The Indians had four hits, but never more than one in an inning.  The Twins put the game away in the seventh inning.  Grant walked and scored from first on a two-out double from Rollins.  Oliva was intentionally walked and Killebrew was accidentally walked to load the bases.  Mincher hit a two-run single.  Allison then walked to re-load the bases.  Versalles hit a two-run single, and with men on first and third Allison and Versalles pulled off a double steal of second and home, making the score 9-0.

Cleveland got on the board in the eighth.  Joe Azcue singled and Held hit a two-run homer.  The Twins got the runs back with interest in the bottom of the eighth.  Grant led off with a double, followed by singles by Jerry KindallRollins, and Oliva.  A couple of popups followed, but then Allison had a two-run single and Versalles had an RBI single, making the final score 13-2.

WP:  Grant (10-9).  LP:  Siebert (3-5).  S:  None.

Notes:  Jerry Zimmerman was behind the plate in place of Earl Battey, who missed five or six games.  Allison usually played first base in 1964, but he was in right field in this game, with Mincher at first.  Oliva, normally in right field, was in center in place of Jimmie Hall, who appears to just have been given the day off.  Kindall was at second base in place of Bernie Allen, who was battling injuries.  Hall came in to play center in the ninth, with Oliva moving to right, Allison to left, and Killebrew, who had been in left, leaving the game.

Oliva was the only Twin over .300, at .339.  He finished at .323.  This was his rookie season and, as you probably know, he was Rookie of the Year.  It's interesting that he was inserted into the third spot in the order very early in the season, after batting second 33 times.  It's rare these days to see a rookie put in an important batting order spot like that--I don't know if it was more common then.

Grant had only been with the Twins for a couple of months at this point.  He was acquired at the June trade deadline for George Banks and Lee Stange.  He would be instrumental in the Twins AL Championship team in 1965.  While Stange went on to have some good years, I think it's fair to see the Twins came out well on that trade.

Despite his good day at the plate, Grant falls into the "good hitter for a pitcher" category, rather than actually being a good hitter.  His numbers were .178/.216/.240. in 853 plate appearances.

It's interesting that the Twins chose to play Killebrew in left field and Allison primarily at first base, rather than the other way around.  Not that Allison won any Gold Gloves, but I have to think that he covered more ground in the outfield than Killebrew.  Harmon had played well over a hundred games at first in his career at this point, so it's not like he was unfamiliar with the position.

Record:  The Twins were 59-60, in sixth place in the American League, 14.5 games behind Baltimore.  They would finish 79-83, tied for sixth with Cleveland, 20 games behind New York.

The Indians were 54-64, in seventh place in the American League, 19 games behind Baltimore.  They would finish 79-83, tied for sixth with Minnesota, 20 games behind New York.

And you say, this was game 120, but the Twins record was 59-60.  59 plus 60 is only 119.  What gives?  Well, the Twins played 163 games in 1964.  Their game on June 22 with Cleveland was a ten-inning tie.  I guess it's fitting that two teams that ended up tied would play a tie game.

Random Rewind: 1976, Game One Hundred Twenty-four


Date:  Sunday, August 22.

Batting stars:  Mike Cubbage was 3-for-5 with a home run (his second), a walk, and two RBIs.  Lyman Bostock was 3-for-6 with a double, two runs, and two RBIs.  Rod Carew was 2-for-4 with a walk.  Butch Wynegar was 2-for-6 with a double.  Larry Hisle was 2-for-6.

Pitching stars:  Dave Goltz pitched eight innings, giving up four runs (two earned) on seven hits and five walks and striking out one.  Tom Johnson pitched 1.1 scoreless innings, giving up a hit and a walk.  Bill Campbell struck out three in 2.2 scoreless innings, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  Vern Ruhle pitched 6.1 innings, giving up three runs on nine hits and a walk and striking out four.  Rusty Staub was 2-for-5 with a double, a walk, and a stolen base (his third).  Ron LeFlore was 2-for-6 with a double.

The game:  With two out in the first, the Twins got consecutive singles from CarewWynegar, and Bostock to take a 1-0 lead.  It stayed that way, with no particular threats, until the bottom of the fifth.  With one out, Mark Wagner singled, Chuck Scrivener reached on an error, LeFlore singled home a run, and Ben Oglivie delivered a two-out two-run single to put the Tigers up 3-1.

The Twins got one back in the sixth on singles by CarewBostock, and Hisle.  They tied it in the seventh on singles by Steve Braun and Roy Smalley and Carew's sacrifice fly.  Cubbage homered in the eight to give the Twins a 4-3 advantage, but the Tigers tied it back up in the bottom of the eighth.  Staub led off with a double, Aurelio Rodriguez drew a one-out walk, and Bill Freehan singled to load the bases.  Alex Johnson hit a sacrifice fly, but that was all Detroit could do.

The Twins put men on first and second in both the ninth and tenth.  The Tigers put men on first and second in the tenth and got a one-out double in the eleventh.  Then came the twelfth.  Wynegar and Bostock led off with consecutive doubles and Cubbage contributed an RBI single to give the Twins a 6-4 lead.  The Tigers went down in order on three ground balls and the Twins had the win.

WP:  Campbell (13-3).  LP:  John Hiller (11-7).  S:  None.

Notes:  Braun was the DH and batted leadoff.  I'd forgotten this, but Braun was often used as the leadoff batter that year, batting first sixty-two times.

Tony Oliva pinch-hit for second baseman Bobby Randall in the seventh.  It was his last season and he was used primarily as a pinch-hitter, getting an occasional start at DH.  Jerry Terrell went in to play second base in the bottom of the seventh.

Steve Brye went to right field to replace Dan Ford in the tenth.  Ford had doubled in the top of the inning--perhaps he tweaked something running the bases.  He would not miss any games.

Craig Kusick pinch-hit for Braun in the eleventh.

Carew was batting .322 after this game.  He would end the season at .331.  Bostock was batting .321.  He would end the season at .323.

This was the year Campbell won seventeen games, all out of the bullpen.  He would become a free agent and sign with Boston.  His "closer" role would be filled by Johnson, who would win sixteen games, all out of the bullpen, the next year.

Goltz was the Twins' ace, to the extent they had one, at this point of the season.  Bert Blyleven had started the season with the Twins, but had been traded to Texas by this point.  Goltz had a pretty good year, going 14-14, 3.36, 1.32 WHIP.  He would win twenty games for the only time in his career in the following season.

Record:  The Twins were 62-62, in third place in the American League West, fourteen games behind Kansas City.  They would finish 85-77, still in third place, but just five games behind Kansas City.

Detroit was 58-64, in fourth place in the American League East, fifteen games behind New York.  They would finish 74-87, in fifth place, twenty-four games behind New York.