Tag Archives: when men were men

1970 Rewind: Game Fourteen


Date:  Sunday, April 26.

Batting starsLuis Tiant was 3-for-4 with a double and a stolen base.  Cesar Tovar was 2-for-4 with a stolen base, his sixth.  Rich Reese was 2-for-4.  Harmon Killebrew was 2-for-5 with two RBIs.  Tony Oliva was 2-for-5.

Pitching stars:  Tiant pitched a complete game shutout, giving up three hits and a walk and striking out six.

Opposition star:  Dick McAuliffe was 2-for-4.

The game:  The Twins put men on second and third with two out in the third but did not score.  They broke through in the fourth, however.  Oliva singled, Brant Alyea walked, Reese had an infield single to load the bases, and George Mitterwald had another infield single to make it 1-0 Twins.

The Twins put two on in the fifth, but did not score.  They broke the game open in the sixth with a two-out rally.  The first two men were retired, but Frank Quilici singled, Tiant hit an RBI double, Tovar had an infield single, Tiant and Tovar pulled off a double steal, Leo Cardenas tripled them both home, and Killebrew had an RBI single, making the score 5-0 Twins.

The Twins added one more in the eighth.  Tiant singled, a wild pitch moved him to second, Tovar bunted him to third, and Killebrew singled him home.

The Tigers never had a man beyond first base and only once had the leadoff man on base.

WP:  Tiant (3-0).

LP:  Mickey Lolich (4-2).

S:  None.

Notes:  Quilici was again at second in the absence of Rod Carew.  Cardenas remained in Carew's number two spot in the batting order.

Jim Holt replaced Brant Alyea in left field in the eighth inning.  Minnie Mendoza pinch-ran for Killebrew in the eighth and remained in the game at third base.

Tiant was batting .556.  Brant Alyea was 0-for-3 and was batting .390.  Tovar was batting .367.  Oliva was batting .344.  Killebrew was batting .341.  Quilici was batting .308.

Mitterwald was 1-for-4 and was batting .175.  Cardenas was 1-for-5 and was batting .192.

Tiant wasn't a terrible batter over his career, but he wasn't exceptional, either:  a career line of .164/.185/.224.  In 1970, however, he was exceptional:  .406/.424/.531 in 32 at-bats.  Small sample size, obviously, and maybe that's the full explanation.  But it's still pretty amazing.  The stolen base he got in this game was the only one he had in his career, and it was a steal of third on the front end of a double steal.  I don't know how many players have a steal of third as the only stolen base of their career, but I suspect it's a pretty short list.

This was Tiant's only shutout in 1970, and one of two complete games.

Lolich pitched 5.2 innings, allowing five runs on ten hits and a walk and striking out six.  It was the Tigers' fifteenth game of the season, and it was Lolich's sixth start.  The other five had been complete games (one of them 9.2 innings) and two of them had been shutouts.  Lolich pitched over 200 innings every year from 1964-1975; over 220 from 1968-1975; over 240 from 1969-1975; over 270 from 1970-1974, and over 300 from 1971-1974, with a high of 376 in 1971.  Interestingly, he only led the league in starts and complete games once, both 1971, when he had 45 starts and 29 complete games.  He continued to be an effective starter through age 35, and had a really good half-season as a reliever for the Padres in 1978, when he was thirty-seven.  Memory and a google search reveal that he was considered overweight, but he's listed at 6' 1", 170.  If he was overweight, it certainly didn't affect his pitching.

The Twins had won four, lost two, won four, lost two, and now won two.  Could they win four?

Record:  The Twins were 10-4, in first place in the American League West by winning percentage, but a half game behind California.

1970 Rewind: Game Twelve


Date:  Friday, April 24.

Batting stars:  Brant Alyea was 2-for-4 with two doubles and four RBIs.  Cesar Tovar was 2-for-5 with a triple and a double.  Rich Reese was 2-for-5.  Harmon Killebrew was 1-for-1 with a home run (his third), four walks, and three runs.

Pitching stars:  Stan Williams struck out two in 1.2 innings, giving up one hit.  Ron Perranoski struck out two in a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Al Kaline was 5-for-5 with two doubles.  Bill Freehan was 2-for-3 with a home run (his second), two walks, and three RBIs.  Cesar Gutierrez was 2-for-5 with two runs.  Dick McAuliffe was 1-for-5 with a home run, his third.  John Hiller pitched 5.2 innings of relief, giving up one run on three hits and three walks and striking out three.

The game:  McAuliffe led off the game with a home run.  Gutierrez singled and scored on Kaline's double, making the score 2-0 Tigers before an out was recorded.  The Twins tied it in the bottom of the first.  Tovar doubled, and walks to Jim Holt and Killebrew loaded the bases.  With two out, Alyea delivered a two-run double, making the score 2-2.

Detroit went back ahead in the third.  Singles by Gutierrez, Kaline, and Norm Cash loaded the bases with none out.  Willie Horton struck out, but Jim Northrup's ground ball was booted by second baseman Tovar, resulting in all three runs scoring and Northrup ending up at second base.  Freehan's RBI single made it 6-2 Tigers.

The Twins again came back.  Tony Oliva doubled, Killebrew walked, and with two out Alyea again hit a two-run double, making it 6-4 after three.  In the fourth Tom Hall singled and Tovar tripled, cutting the lead to 6-5.  Killebrew homered leading off the sixth, tying the score 6-6.

But in the seventh, the Tigers went into the lead to stay.  Northrup drew a one-out walk and Freehan hit a two-run homer, making it 8-6.  The Twins put two on with two out in the seventh, but never got a man past first base after that.

WP:  Hiller (1-0).

LP:  Tom Hall (0-1).

S:  None.

Notes:  Tovar was at second base, rather than in center field, with Rod Carew out of the lineup.  Holt went to center field.  Minnie Mendoza pinch-hit for Holt in the seventh and stayed in the game at second, with Tovar moving to center.  Bob Allison pinch-hit for Williams in the eighth.  Frank Quilici pinch-ran for Killebrew in the ninth.

Alyea was batting .429.  Tovar was batting .385.  Killebrew was batting .343.  Oliva was 1-for-5 and was batting .327.  Williams had an ERA of zero.  Perranoski had an ERA of 2.31.  Jim Perry started and gave up six runs (four earned) on eight hits and no walks in three innings and had an ERA of 2.57.  Hall gave up two runs on three hits and three walks in 3.1 innings and had an ERA of 2.84.

Reese raised his average to .194.  George Mitterwald was 0-for-4 and was batting .167.

Joe Niekro started for Detroit and pitched 3.1 innings, allowing five runs on six hits and three walks.  He struck out none.  No other players with Twins connections played for the Tigers in this game.

Despite the fact that Twins were trailing late, Perranoski appeared for the fifth time in six games.  He had pitched 9.2 innings in those games.  It would be six days before he pitched again.

Alyea was really tearing it up early, batting .429/.474/.857 in the season's first twelve games.  He had three doubles, four home runs, and twenty RBIs.

Detroit manager Mayo Smith apparently decided Killebrew was not going to beat them in this game, as he walked four times.  It's not that there was always a base open--he walked in the first with men on first and second, walked in the third with a man on second, walked in the seventh with the bases empty, and walked in the ninth with the bases empty.  The one time they pitched to him he led off the fifth with a home run.  The walks were not intentional, but it seems clear the Tigers were trying hard not to give Harmon much to hit.

Hall pitched better than his line looks.  He pitched three scoreless innings before giving up a two-run homer to Freehan.  One could argue that he was left in the game too long, but on the other hand, Freehan was a fine batter (200 career home runs), so it's possible that he simply hit a good pitch.

The Twins had won four, lost two, won four, and lost two.  We'll see if they could start another four-game winning streak.

Record:  The Twins were 8-4, tied for first in the American League West based on winning percentage, but a half game back of California.

1970 Rewind: Game Eleven


Date:  Thursday, April 23.

Batting stars:  Paul Ratliff was 2-for-3 with two runs.  Cesar Tovar was 2-for-4 with a stolen base, his fifth.

Pitching stars:  Steve Barber pitched 2.2 innings, giving up one run on four hits and a walk and striking out two.  Stan Williams struck out two in a scoreless inning, giving up on hit.

Opposition stars:  Luis Aparicio was 3-for-4 with a walk and two RBIs.  Bobby Knoop was 3-for-5 with a home run, his second.  Gail Hopkins was 2-for-3 with a double.

The game:  Each team got a man to second in the first, but there was no score until the second, when Hopkins doubled and scored on Buddy Bradford's single.  The White Sox put two on again in the third and scored again in the fourth on singles by Bradford, Knoop, and Aparicio.

The Twins got on the board in the fifth:  Ratliff singled, Leo Cardenas walked, a bunt advanced the runners, and a sacrifice fly scored Ratliff.  Chicago got the run back in the sixth when Knoop singled, was bunted to second, and scored on an Aparicio single.

The Twins took the lead in the bottom of the sixth.  With one out Harmon Killebrew walked and Rich Reese singled.  With two out Ratliff delivered an RBI single and Cardenas followed with a two-run double, putting the Twins up 4-3.  They put two in the seventh with one out, but did not add to their lead.

It cost them, as Chicago went into the lead to stay in the eighth.  Knoop led off the inning with a home run to tie the score.  Syd O'Brien pinch-hit a single and was bunted to second, with bunter Walt Williams also reaching base on a fielder's choice.  Aparicio then reached on a three-base error on pitcher Ron Perranoski, putting the White Sox up 6-4.  A sacrifice fly then made it 7-4.

The Twins got one in the ninth.  Tovar singled and went to second on a wild pitch.  Killebrew reached on an error, scoring Tovar and bringing the winning run up to bat.  But pinch-hitter Rick Renick flied out to center to end the game.

WP:  Tommie Sisk (1-0).

LP:  Perranoski (0-1).

S:  Wilbur Wood (3).

Notes:  Ratliff was again behind the plate in place of George Mitterwald.  Mitterwald would pinch-hit for him in the eighth and go behind the plate.

Rod Carew started the game, but was pinch-hit for in the first inning by Minnie Mendoza.  One assumes he was dealing with an injury or illness.  Charlie Manuel and Bob Allison pinch-hit for pitchers.  It was the first action Allison had seen in what would be his last season.  Jim Holt replaced Brant Alyea in left field in the seventh.  Renick pinch-hit for Reese in the ninth.

Bill Zepp started and pitched three innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on seven hits and one walk and striking out one.

Alyea was 0-for-2 and was batting .419.  Tovar was batting .383.  Tony Oliva was 1-for-5 and was batting .340.  Ratliff was batting .333.  Manuel was 0-for-1 and was batting .333.  Killebrew was 1-for-4 and was batting .324.  Holt and Renick were each 0-for-1 and each was batting .300.  Zepp had an ERA of 2.25.  Perranoski gave up four runs (one earned) in two innings and had an ERA of 2.53.  Tom Hall struck out the only man he faced and had an ERA of zero.  Williams also had an ERA of zero.

Reese was 1-for-4 and was batting .161.

This was the last good season Perranoski would have, and part of the reason may be that Bill Rigney seemed determined to drive him into the ground in April.  In the space of five games, Perranoski had come in four times, pitching a total of 8.2 innings.  I know men were men back then, but even so, this seems like overdoing it, especially in the first month of the season.

The White Sox' starter was Gerry Janeski.  He pitched 5.2 innings, allowing four runs on five hits and three walks and striking out four.  He was a rookie, and this was just his third major league start.  He started the season strong, with a 2.91 ERA in his first eight starts, but would end going 10-17, 4.77, 1.51 WHIP.  1970 was his only full major league season.  He would be traded to Washington after the season and would make 27 more appearances (11 starts) over two seasons for the Senators/Rangers.  His career numbers were 11-23, 4.73, 1.55 WHIP.  After baseball, Janeski had a successful career in real estate in California.

This would be the last win of Tommie Sisk's career.  He'd had some solid seasons with PIttsburgh, but had a poor year in 1969 with the expansion San Diego Padres and would struggle in 1970, his last major league season.  The White Sox traded him to Cleveland in June and he was traded to Montreal after the season, but he never pitched in the majors for either of those clubs.

The loss snapped a four game winning streak for the Twins.  They had won four, lost two, then won four again.  We'll see if they go on to lose two again.

Record:  The Twins were 8-3, in first place in the American League West by winning percentage, but a half game behind California.

1970 Rewind: Game Eight


Date:  Sunday, April 19.

Batting stars:  Cesar Tovar was 3-for-3 with a stolen base (his third) and two walks.  Brant Alyea was 2-for-4 with a home run (his fourth), a double, and four RBIs.  Rich Reese was 2-for-4 with a double and two runs.

Pitching stars:  Jim Perry pitched seven innings, giving up three runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks and striking out four.  Ron Perranoski struck out two in two perfect innings.

Opposition stars:  Rick Monday was 2-for-4 with a double.  Dick Green was 2-for-4.  Reggie Jackson was 1-for-4 with a home run, his second.  Mudcat Grant pitched two shutout innings, giving up one hit and striking out one.

The game:  The Twins started the scoring in the third inning, when Perry singled, Tovar walked, and Rod Carew hit an RBI single.  A sacrifice fly made it 2-0 Twins.  In the fourth, Reese led off with a single and Alyea hit a two-run homer to increase the Twins' lead to 4-0.

The Athletics got on the board in the bottom of the fourth when Monday doubled, went to third on a passed ball, and scored on a ground out.  In the sixth, however, Harmon Killebrew singled, Reese doubled, and Alyea delivered a two-run double to make it 6-1.

Oakland loaded the bases in the sixth but did not score.  In the seventh, Green singled and Jackson followed with a two-run homer to cut the lead to 6-3.  But the Athletics had just one single after that, and the Twins went on to victory.

WP:  Perry (3-0).

LP:  Chuck Dobson (0-3).

S:  Perranoski (2).

Notes:  Jim Holt pinch-ran for Alyea in the sixth and stayed in the game in left field.  Frank Quilici replaced Killebrew at third base in the seventh.

Alyea raised his average to .458.  Tony Oliva was 0-for-3 and was batting .400.  Holt was 0-for-1 and was batting .375.  Carew was 1-for-5 and was batting .371.  Tovar was batting .324.

Reese got his average into triple digits at .160.

Perry had an ERA of 1.44.  Perranoski had an ERA of 2.25.

I mentioned yesterday the rarity of the four-inning save.  I has to be rarer still to get a four-inning save and then get a two-inning save the very next day.  I don't have time to research that, but it would be cool if someone did.

It's also probably rare for a team to use two pitchers, and have each pitcher have the same first four letters of their last name.

Dobson pitched five innings, allowing six runs on ten hits and a walk and striking out five.  His ERA for the young season was 9.22.  He would get straightened out--he would go 16-15, 3.74, and lead the league is starts (40) and shutouts (5).  Those were the only times he ever led the league in anything, but he was a fine pitcher until an elbow injury derailed his career after the 1971 season.

Oakland used three ex-Twins:  Don Mincher, Grant, and Jim Roland.

Record:  The Twins were 6-2, in first place in the American League West, a half game ahead of California.

2003 Rewind: Game Twenty-seven


Date:  Thursday, May 1.

Batting stars:  Cristian Guzman was 3-for-6 with a triple and a double.  Corey Koskie was 2-for-5 with a home run (his fourth), a walk, and two runs.  Luis Rivas was 2-for-5 with a walk.  Jacque Jones was 2-for-7 with two doubles.

Pitching stars:  J. C. Romero pitched 1.2 scoreless innings, giving up only a walk.  LaTroy Hawkins struck out two in 1.1 perfect innings.  Eddie Guardado struck out two in two scoreless innings, giving up one hit.  Tony Fiore struck out two in two scoreless innings, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  Javier Valentin was 2-for-4 with two walks.  Aubrey Huff was 2-for-5 with a home run (his fifth), a walk, and two runs.  Lance Carter pitched three innings, giving up one run despite allowing three hits and three walks.

The game:  The Devil Rays jumped on starter Joe Mays for four runs in the first inning.  With one out, Rocco Baldelli doubled and scored on a Travis Lee single.  Huff walked.  Mays then had Lee picked off but threw the ball away, putting men on second and third.  Marlon Anderson doubled but only one run scored--Huff apparently thought the ball might be caught and only advanced to third.  He scored on a ground out, however, and Valentin singled in the fourth run.

Mays settled down after that, and the Twins worked on cutting that lead.  In the second Bobby Kielty singled, went all the way to third on a passed ball, and scored on a ground out to make it 4-1.  Koskie led off the fourth with a home run to cut it to 4-2.  Matthew LeCroy followed with a single, but the next two men flied out.  Todd Sears walked, however, and A. J. Pierzynski singled home a run, making it a one-run game at 4-3.

Huff hit a two-out homer in the fifth, increasing Tampa Bay's lead back to two at 5-3.  In the sixth, the Twins loaded the bases with none out.  Torii Hunter doubled, Kielty walked, and Sears was hit by a pitch.  Pierzynski brought home one run on a ground out, but that was all the Twins could do, and they remained behind 5-4.  They again loaded the bases with one out in the seventh, but Kielty lined into a double play.

It was still 5-4 going to the bottom of the ninth.  With one out Koskie singled, Dustan Mohr doubled, and Hunter was intentionally walked, once again loading the bases.  Kielty hit a sacrifice fly to tie the score, but Mohr apparently tried to score from second on the fly ball and was thrown out at the plate, sending the game to extra innings.

This was back when men were men:  none of this weak "start with a runner on second" garbage.  Guzman hit a one-out triple in the eleventh, but the Twins couldn't score him.  The Devil Rays got a man to third with one out in the thirteenth, but also couldn't score him.  With one out in the bottom of the thirteenth, Jones hit a ground-rule double and Guzman followed with another double, winning the game for the Twins.

WP:  Fiore (1-0).  LP:  Travis Harper (0-2).  S:  None.

Notes:  Kielty was in right field.

Jones was batting .324.  Kielty was 1-for-4 and was batting .319.

Mohr was 1-for-2, raising his average to .143.

Mays did well after the first inning, but of course the first inning counts, too.  He pitched six innings and gave up five runs on seven hits and three walks, striking out five.  His ERA was 5.30.  Fiore lowered his ERA to 5.74.

Hawkins kept his ERA at zero.  Guardado's ERA was 0.77.

I assume there must by more to the story of Mohr trying to score from second on a sacrifice fly.  I'm guessing that either the outfielder crashed into the fence and fell down, or the throw in from the outfield got away, or something like that.  Or, as I look at it, he may have overrun third base or fallen down between third and home.  What the play-by-play on b-r.com tells me is that he was thrown out at home and that the play went 8-3-5.

Fiore seems like an odd choice to pitch in the extra innings.  He had pitched an inning the day before, was having a poor year, and there appear to have been better relievers available.  Maybe Ron Gardenhire just didn't want to blow out the bullpen and decided Fiore was expendable to pitch as long as he could.  We have to say, he got away with it.

The Twins had now won three in a row and once again were involved in a series sweep.

Record:  The Twins were 13-14, in third place in the American League Central, five games behind Kansas City.

Random Rewind: 1977, Game Ninety-eight


Date:  Monday, July 25.

Batting stars:  Rod Carew was 2-for-5.  Mike Cubbage was 1-for-4 with a home run (his third) and a walk.

Pitching star:  Dave Goltz pitched a complete game, striking out fourteen.  He gave up one run on eight hits and a walk for a game score of 90.  I don't know what his pitch count was.

Opposition stars:  Rick Langford also pitched a complete game, although he only had to go ten innings.  He gave up two runs on seven hits and five walks and struck out eight.  Jeff Newman was 2-for-4.  Tony Armas was 2-for-4.  Sheldon Mallory was 2-for-5 with a double.

The game:  The Twins loaded the bases with one out in the first, but a pair of strikeouts ended the inning.  Cubbage led off the third with a home run, getting the Twins on the board with a 1-0 lead.  It stayed 1-0 until the fifth, when Newman singled, went to second on a ground out, and scored on Mallory's double.

It stayed 1-1 for quite a while.  The Twins put two on with one out in the sixth and got a man to second with one out in the seventh.  The Athletics put a man on second with two out in the eighth and with one out in the tenth.

Carew led off the eleventh with a single.  Lyman Bostock followed with a single, moving Carew to third.  Glenn Adams was walked, loading the bases.  Larry Hisle then singled to bring home the deciding run.

WP:  Goltz (12-6).  LP:  Langford (7-11).  S:  None.

Notes:  Hisle was in center field, with Bostock in left.  Hisle played 71 games in center and 63 in left.  Bostock played 90 games in center and 60 in left.  I'm sure Gene Mauch had some reason for deciding who would play where--the pitcher, the ballpark, how much the other team run, who knows?  But knowing Mauch, it was not just random.

Rich Chiles batted for Bobby Randall in the tenth.  Jerry Terrell went in to play second.

Carew was batting .386.  He would finish at .388.  Glenn Adams was batting .357.  He would finish at .338.  Bostock was batting .338.  He would finish at .336.  Hisle was batting .302.  He would finish at .302.  The Twins led the league in batting  at .282.

Hisle led the team with 28 home runs.  Carew and Bostock each hit 14.  Craig Kusick hit 12 homers, Dan Ford 11, and Butch Wynegar 10.  The Twins hit 123 home runs, eleventh in the league.  Boston led with 213.

Goltz was 20-11, 3.36.  It was the best year of his career.  He was the only starter who the Twins could rely on.  The others were Paul Thormodsgard (11-15, 4.62), Geoff Zahn, (12-14, 4.68), and Pete Redfern (6-9, 5.18).  The bullpen was nothing to shout about, either.  Closer Tom Johnson did well--16-7, 3.13.  The next lowest ERA was Ron Schueler at 4.41.  The Twins were twelfth in ERA at 4.36.  Kansas City led at 3.52.  They were eleventh in WHIP at 1.42.  Texas led there at 1.28.

This was one of 19 complete games for Goltz.  He pitched 303 innings.  He led the league in wins and starts and was sixth in Cy Young voting.

Record:  The Twins were 55-43, in third place in the American League West, five games behind Chicago.  They would finish 84-77, in fourth place, 17.5 games behind Kansas City.

The Athletics were 40-56, in seventh (last) place in the American League West, 19 games behind Chicago.  They would finish 63-98, in seventh place, 38.5 games behind Kansas City.

Random record:  The Twins are 56-52 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.

Random Rewind: 1961, Game One Hundred Forty-three


Date:  Sunday, September 10.

Batting stars:  Earl Battey was 2-for-4 with a home run (his seventeenth) and two runs.  Joe Altobelli was 2-for-5.  Harmon Killebrew was 1-for-2 with a three-run homer (his forty-third), three walks, and two runs.

Pitching star:  Pedro Ramos pitched a complete game shutout, giving up five hits and four walks and striking out five.

Opposition stars:  Lew Krausse pitched two perfect innings.  Ed Rakow pitched two shutout innings, giving up two hits and a walk and striking out one.

The game:  Each team put two men on in the first, but neither scored.  In the third Lenny Green singled with one out, Billy Martin walked, and Killebrew hit a three-run homer.  Battey homered later in the inning to make the score 4-0 Twins.

The Athletics drew a pair of one-out walks in the fourth, but a line drive double play took them out of the inning.  It was still 4-0 until the eighth.  Altobelli led off the inning with a single.  Battey reached on an error, and Bob Allison bunted the runners to second and third.  A wild pitch scored a run, Bill Tuttle walked, and Zoilo Versalles got a bunt single to make the score 6-0.

The Twins added one more in the ninth when Killebrew walked, Battey singled, and Allison had an RBI single.  Kansas City put two men on in the ninth but could not break the shutout.

WP:  Ramos (11-17).  LP:  Bill Kunkel (3-4).  S:  None.

Notes:  Altobelli was in left field in place of Jim Lemon.  He had come up from the minors in early August.  This was his last season in the majors, but he would continue to play in the minors for several more years.  In 1966-1967 and in 1970 he was a player-manager in the minors, although he did not play very often.

Battey was batting .303.  He would finish at .302, the only regular player on the team to bat .300.  The Twins batted .250, which was seventh on the team.  Cleveland and Detroit led the league at .266.

Killebrew led the team in home runs with 46.  Allison was second with 29, followed by Battey with 17 and Lemon with 14.  The Twins hit 167 home runs, fourth in the league.  New York led at 240.

We went through the Twins' rotation in another 1961 game recently, so we won't repeat the discussion.  Ramos had three shutouts and nine complete games on the season.  Camilo Pascual led the team in both categories, throwing eight shutouts and fifteen complete games.  Jack Kralick had two shutouts and eleven complete games.  Jim Kaat had one shutout and eight complete games.  Don Lee, who only made ten starts, had four complete games and Al Schroll, who made eight starts, had two complete games.

The Bill Kunkel who started and lost for Kansas City is the same Bill Kunkel who was a major league umpire from 1968-1984.  He is the last person to have been both a major league player and a major league umpire.  He was a Rule 5 pick for the Yankees in 1963 and had a good year for them, pitching in 22 games and going 3-2, 2.72, 1.19 WHIP.  It looks like he mostly pitched mopup relief, but still, that's pretty good.  For some reason, though, he never got another chance in the majors.  Instead, he was in AAA for Milwaukee in 1964 and in AAA for Baltimore and Detroit in 1965.  He obviously had a much longer career as an umpire.  He retired in August of 1984 when his son, Jeff, reached the major leagues.  Sadly, he did not get much time to enjoy his retirement.  The cancer he had been fighting for years came back even stronger, and he passed away on May 4, 1985.

The Athletics used Joe Nuxhall as a pinch-hitter in the seventh.  Yes, that's the Joe Nuxhall who pitched for many years for Cincinnati and other teams.  As you probably know, he's the youngest player ever to appear in a major league game, pitching an inning in 1944 at age fifteen.  He would not reappear in the majors for eight years, but he went on to have a fine career.  He was, as they say, a good hitter for a pitcher, batting .198/.240/.292 in 861 plate appearances.  He was a good hitter, period, in 1961.  Small sample size, obviously, but he batted .292/.352/.446 with 2 home runs in 76 plate appearances.  Still, it's hard to understand using him as a pinch-hitter.  Kansas City had only used two substitutes, so they surely had position players remaining, especially in a September game.  Apparently, though, this was not unusual--it appears that he was used as a pinch-hitter 26 times in 1961, batting .250/.423/.300 in those appearances.

Record:  The Twins were 61-81, in eighth place in the American League, 37 games behind New York.  They would finish 70-90, in seventh place, 38 games behind New York.

The Athletics were 53-90, in ninth place in the American League, 45.5 games behind New York.  They would finish 61-100, tied for ninth with Washington, 47.5 games behind New York.

Random Record:  The Twins are 47-46 in Random Rewind games.

Random Rewind: 1961, Game Twenty-five


Date:  Friday, May 12.

Batting stars:  Pedro Ramos was 2-for-3 with a home run and three RBIs.  Jim Lemon was 1-for-3 with a double, a walk, and two RBIs.

Pitching stars:  Pedro Ramos struck out eight in eight innings, giving up four runs on six hits and five walks.  Ray Moore pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a walk.

Opposition stars:  Earl Averill was 2-for-4 with a home run (his sixth) and a double.  Eli Grba was 1-for-2 with a home run.  Ken Hunt was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his fifth.  Johnny James struck out three in two shutout innings, giving up a walk.

The game:  Neither team got a hit for the first three innings.  In the fourth, Leon Wagner led off with a walk and Hunt hit a one-out two-run homer to give the Angels a 2-0 lead.  The Twins tied it in the bottom of the fourth.  Harmon Killebrew drew a one-out walk, Earl Battey singled, and Lemon hit a two-run double, making the score 2-2.

Los Angeles pitcher Grba homered in the top of the fifth, but Twins pitcher Ramos answered with a homer of his own in the bottom of the fifth, once again tying the game.  In the sixth, Lemon led off with a walk and went to second on a ground out.  Bob Allison was intentionally walked and Reno Bertoia was accidentally walked, loading the bases.  Ramos then came through again, knocking a two-run single to left to give the Twins a 5-3 lead.

The Angels put men on second and third with two out in the seventh, but did not score.  Averill led off the ninth with a home run, cutting the margin to 5-4, but Moore came in and allowed only a two-out walk to Faye Throneberry before closing the door.

WP:  Ramos (3-2).  LP:  Grba (3-3).  S:  Moore (4).

Notes:  Billy Gardner was the second baseman.  He would be replaced by Billy Martin after he was acquired on June 1 for Billy Consolo.  The Twins had quite the Billy club in 1961.  A little odd, too, that one future Twins manager was replaced by another.

Bertoia was at third base.  Bill Tuttle was the mostly regular at third, with Killebrew playing a fair number of games there as well.  At this stage of the season, however, Tuttle was an outfielder; he did not shift to third until late June, and had not played the position in the majors before.  He would not play it again, either, as he shifted back to the outfield in 1962.

The only position player substitution came in the ninth inning, when Dan Dobbek came in to replace Lemon in left field.

Battey was batting .345 in the young season.  He would finish at .302.  Killebrew was batting .342.  He would finish at .288.  Zoilo Versalles was batting .319.  He would finish at .280.  Lenny Green was batting .308.  He would finish at .285.  The Twins batted .250, good for seventh in the league.  Cleveland led the league at .266.

Killebrew, naturally, led the team in home runs with 46.  Allison hit 29, Battey had 17 and Lemon hit 14.  The Twins hit 167 home runs, fourth in the league.  New York led with 240.

It would be hard to say who the staff ace was in 1961.  Ramos led the team in starts at 34, and also pitched in relief 8 times.  He was 11-20, 3.95. 1.30 WHIP.  Camilo Pascual was 15-16, 3.46, 1.21.  Jack Kralick was 13-11, 3.62, 1.33, and Jim Kaat was 9-17, 3.90, 1.35.  The only other pitcher to make double digit starts was Don Lee, who was 3-6, 3.52, 1.11.  Closers weren't really a thing then--Moore led the team with 14 saves.  Each of the four main starters pitched over 200 innings and they had 49 complete games, so their weren't just a whole lot relief innings to be concerned about.

As a team, the Twins had an ERA of 4.28, seventh in the league.  Baltimore led at 3.22.  The Twins were fifth in WHIP at 1.39.  Baltimore led at 1.25.

I'm guessing that, back in the day, both starting pitchers hitting a home run wasn't that rare, but it was certainly uncommon.  I don't recall it happening in any of the random rewind games, nor do I recall it in the 1965 or 1969 rewinds, although I certainly could have forgotten.

Record:  The Twins were 13-12, in fourth place in the American League, 5.5 games behind Detroit.  They would finish 70-90, in seventh place, 38 games behind New York.

The Angels were 9-14, tied for eighth in the American League, 8.5 games behind Detroit.  They would finish 70-91, in eighth place, 38.5 games behind New York.

Detroit went 101-61 and finished eight games out of first place.  That had to be discouraging.

Random record:  The Twins are 41-40 in Random Rewind games.  If we do this for 162 games (which we won't, unless there's no 2020 season at all), we'd be at the half-way point of the random season.

Random Rewind: 1985, Game One Hundred Fifty-three


Date:  Thursday, September 26.

Batting star:  Kent Hrbek was 3-for-4.

Pitching star:  Mike Smithson pitched an eight-inning complete game, giving up two runs on six hits and four walks and striking out four.

Opposition stars:  Jose Guzman pitched 8.2 scoreless innings, giving up six hits and a walk and striking out five.  Gary Ward was 3-for-3 with a stolen base, his twenty-second.  Pete O'Brien was 1-for-1 with a home run (his twenty-first) and three walks.  I guess they should've walked him the other time, too.

The game:  The Twins put man on second and third with two out in the first inning but did not score.  That was as close as the Twins would come to scoring all night.

The Rangers didn't get anything accomplished in the first three innings, either, but in the fourth O'Brien hit a one-out homer to give Texas a 1-0 lead.  They added a run in the seventh on singles by Ward and Bob Jones, a walk to Duane Walker, and an infield out.

The Twins put one more threat together in the ninth, when Kent Hrbek and Tom Brunansky singled with two out.  Dwayne Henry came in and struck out Mark Salas to end the game.

WP:  Guzman (2-2).  LP:  Smithson (14-13).  S:  Henry (2).

Notes:  Jeff Reed, who was a September call-up, started behind the plate in place of Salas.  Salas mostly platooned with Tim Laudner in 1985.

Roy Smalley was at shortstop in place of Greg Gagne.  Smalley was used at DH more than any other position, but he still played a significant number of games at short in 1985.  Salas was the DH in this game.

Dave Engle pinch-hit for Reed in the eighth and stayed in the game behind the plate.  Gagne replaced Smalley at shortstop in the eighth.  Smalley would miss the next couple of games--perhaps he tweaked something.  If not, it seems odd to make a defensive substitution in a game you're losing by two runs.

Salas was batting .301.  He would be the team's lone .300 hitter, at least of players with a significant number of at-bats, as he finished at exactly .300.

The team leader in home runs was Brunansky at 27.  Hrbek had 21 and Gary Gaetti 20.  Also in double figures were Smalley (12), Randy Bush (10), and Tim Teufel (10).

Smithson had eight complete games in 1985.  From 1983-1986 he had 36 complete games and led the league in starts in two of those seasons.  That may be why he was pretty much done after 1986.

This was the year Bert Blyleven came back to the Twins in early August.  He was easily the team's best starter the rest of the season.  Other starters were SmithsonFrank ViolaJohn Butcher, and Ken Schrom.  Viola was the best of the rest, going 18-14, 4.09, 1.32 WHIP.

Even though he shut them down in this game, the Twins did pretty well most of the time against Guzman.  He was 5-6, 4.25, 1.45 WHIP against them.  This was only the fourth start of his major league career, as he came up as a September call-up.

Texas really didn't have a closer in 1985.  Seven different pitchers had saves, with Greg Harris leading with eleven.  Henry was in his rookie year, coming up in mid-August.

Record:  The Twins were 70-83, in sixth place in the American League West, 16.5 games behind California and Kansas City.  They would finish 77-85, tied for fourth with Oakland, 14 games behind Kansas City.

The Rangers were 58-94, in seventh (last) place in the American League West, 28 games behind California and Kansas City.  They would finish 62-99, in seventh place, 28.5 games behind Kansas City.

Random record:  The Twins are 29-27 in Random Rewind games.