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WP article about 1924 World Series win by pre-Twins

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 11:20 AM
Saw this lovely article today by one of the country's best sports writers. It sounds like 1924 rivaled 1991 for excitement!   https:...
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Zulgad: Is MLB really making return about dollars and cents?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 11:19 AM
https://www.skornort...lars-and-cents/   The owners have made their proposal to the players. The players association will now have t...
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Cosmetic Changes at TF

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:05 AM
I went down to Target Field with the family this weekend (got some Glam Doll donuts and played on the grass by the LRT station for my bir...
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Rent the Blue Wahoos' stadium for whiffle ball and ov...

Twins Minor League Talk 24 May 2020
Kind of unbelievable, but I guess they might as well make money somehow now that baseball is shut down.   https://www.washingt...all...
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Information on Owner's proposal to Player's Union...

Minnesota Twins Talk 24 May 2020
Chuck Garifen of NBC Sports Chicago: https://twitter.com/...3584651264?s=20
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Recent Blogs


Twins Flashback Recap: Oliva Becomes First DH to HR, Blyleven Goes the Distance on 22nd Birthday (4/6/1973)

The defending World Series champion Oakland Athletics and ace pitcher Catfish Hunter had their Opening Day spoiled by the Minnesota Twins. Bert Blyleven, who was celebrating his 22nd birthday, held the A’s offense to three runs, two earned, in a complete game effort.
Attached Image: 0406chart.png
Twins 8, Oakland 3 Box Score
Blyleven: 9 IP, 10 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K
Home Runs: Oliva (1), Holt (1), Hisle (1)
Multi-hit games: Hisle (4-for-5, HR, 2B), Oliva (2-for-4, HR), Carew (2-for-5, 2B)
Top 3 WPA: Hisle .182, Oliva .170, Blyleven .135
Chart via Baseball-Reference

There’s possibly no better poster boy for the American League’s new designated hitter position than Minnesota’s Tony Oliva, so it’s fitting he became the first player to hit a home run as a DH. Oliva, 34, played just 10 games last season and is still recovering from knee surgery and a twisted ankle. Had he been required to play the outfield, it’s unlikely Oliva would have been penciled into the lineup.

Instead, Oliva cracked a homer to put the Twins up 3-0 in the top of the first inning. The Twins added a pair of runs in the second, and chased Hunter, who was credited with two victories in last year's Fall Classic, out of the game after just three innings.



The rubber-armed Blyleven, who ranked seventh in the majors with 287 1/3 innings pitched last season, was the beneficiary of all that offense. He successfully negotiated the dangerous Oakland lineup, recording a clean inning in eight of his nine frames.

“The change up saved me until I could get the curve over the plate,” Blyleven told Minneapolis Star staff writer Dan Stoneking. “Even then it wasn’t a good curve.”

Blyleven capped a memorable 22nd birthday by striking out Joe Rudi and Reggie Jackson in succession to close out the game.

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5 Comments

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Doctor Gast
Apr 07 2020 07:26 AM

This historic feat has been unfortunately over looked & even despised by HoF voters

    • Tom Froemming likes this
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Tom Froemming
Apr 07 2020 08:35 AM

 

This historic feat has been unfortunately over looked & even despised by HoF voters

It's funny to look back at how sour some of the coverage surrounding the DH was. I saw an article that referred to the Twins outfielders from that game as "designated fielders," so salty.

    • Doctor Gast likes this

Bert Blyleven's 1973 season: fWAR: 10.8...bWAR: 9.7

Let that sink in for a minute. That would be the most valuable player in baseball in 2019. By about a half-mile.

 

1973 also the year Calvin Griffith release Jim Kaat. Released him. To have him win over 100 more major-league games after the release (including 57 in the next 3+ seasons). Released him.

 

Patrick Lethert, SABR -

...the 1973 Twins were a .500 team, finishing 81-81. After his outstanding season in 1972, Kaat had used his leverage to push penny-pinching owner Calvin Griffith to raise his salary back to its previous high of $60,000. The negotiations were drawn out and acrimonious but eventually the pitcher prevailed. In early August the Twins lost seven straight games and fell to 10 games behind the AL West-leading Royals. Griffith took the opportunity to get the last word and placed Kaat on waivers. Claimed by the White Sox, Kaat went 4-1 for Chicago to finish 15-13 and avoid his second losing season since 1961.

 

Adjusting for inflation, $60K in 1973 would be about $344K now.

See why I don't complain about the Pohlands?

    • PDX Twin, Dave The Dastardly and Nine of twelve like this

Bert Blyleven's 1973 season: fWAR: 10.8...bWAR: 9.7
Let that sink in for a minute. That would be the most valuable player in baseball in 2019. By about a half-mile.

1973 also the year Calvin Griffith release Jim Kaat. Released him. To have him win over 100 more major-league games after the release (including 57 in the next 3+ seasons). Released him.

Patrick Lethert, SABR -
...the 1973 Twins were a .500 team, finishing 81-81. After his outstanding season in 1972, Kaat had used his leverage to push penny-pinching owner Calvin Griffith to raise his salary back to its previous high of $60,000. The negotiations were drawn out and acrimonious but eventually the pitcher prevailed. In early August the Twins lost seven straight games and fell to 10 games behind the AL West-leading Royals. Griffith took the opportunity to get the last word and placed Kaat on waivers. Claimed by the White Sox, Kaat went 4-1 for Chicago to finish 15-13 and avoid his second losing season since 1961.

Adjusting for inflation, $60K in 1973 would be about $344K now.
See why I don't complain about the Pohlands?


Someday when you're bored, go look up Blyleven's first six seasons with the Twins. Prepare to be amazed, at both how good Bert was, and how much baseball has changed in a few short decades.
    • jkcarew and Nine of twelve like this

Taking up Chief's challenge. And yes, I'm struck by how much the game has changed...in 1973 Blyleven averaged over 8 innings per start, across 40 starts. But, I'm struck even more by how much Blyleven was underappreciated, especially relative to his HoF contemporaries. I do remember that being the case real-time. But, it's worse than you think...

 

Blyleven's first six full seasons (1971-1976...'76 season being when he was traded to Texas)...

 

Lead all major league pitchers in WAR (either flavor). Seaver was the only guy very close. Guys behind him that pitched all six years and were healthy all six years include: Seaver, Gaylord Perry, Sutton, Jenkins, Carlton, Blue, Ryan, Palmer, Lolich, Phil Niekro, Hunter.

 

So, you don't like WAR that much (maybe especially for pitchers)? Can't blame you. So,...

of the 11 above names...names that ranged from really, REALLY good, to legendary...

 

Four had better ERA's than Blyleven over that stretch. One had a better FIP (Seaver) and two had better K/9. Seven had better WIP (Blyleven had the highest BABiP). Three had more innings pitched, four had more complete games, one had more shutouts (Palmer). None had better +WPA or WPA.

 

Back to WAR (fwiw), but looking at career...

 

Blyleven has the most career WAR of anyone to ever play for the Twins. Period.

(Carew not all that close, Steve Carlton the closest).

Blyleven ranks 7th all-time among pitchers in fWAR. All time.

5th all-time among pitchers whose career began after 1907: Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson, and Nolan Ryan.

 

Not bad for a guy named to exactly TWO all-star games (were we really that stupid back then?)...a guy that was never seriously considered for a Cy Young award until he'd already accumulated about 75 career WAR (were the writers really that stupid back then?). Not to mention...a guy that's mocked and ridiculed on a fairly regular basis by several in our TD community because he's not their cup-of-tea as a color analyst.

 

Gregory H. Wolf, SABR -

Blyleven demanded that the Twins double his salary in 1974, leading to tensions with club owner Calvin Griffith, who was notoriously tight-fisted and the last major-league owner who derived his income solely from the team. Though he received a substantial raise to a reported $55,000, Blyleven’s relationship with the front office was in a free-fall. Playing through occasional lower back pain, Blyleven split his 34 decisions, finished a distant second once again to Ryan in strikeouts (249 to 367) and posted a stellar 2.66 ERA, but few saw him as the Twins finished last in attendance. Griffith rejected Kansas City’s offer to buy the hurler for a million dollars, but Blyleven’s days with the Twins nonetheless seemed numbered.

 

By 1972, the Twins were irrelevant. Think 20-teen Twins without regional TV and playing in a cheap football stadium out in the suburbs. It seemed the local and national baseball conscious had room for one Twin...barely. And that was Carew.