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  1. Twins fans fans may have been spoiled by the team in their first decade. The second decade started out strong with 98 wins and a playoff berth in 1970. That was their lone playoff appearance of the decade. In 1971, they finished in fifth place in the division. Each other season, they finished either third or fourth in the AL West. Some of the Twins stars of the 1960s were still around and contributing early in the 1970s, though generally just a shell of themselves after 1971. Rod Carew and Bert Blyleven certainly led the way during the decade, but there were other really solid players throughout the decade. The 1976 and 1977 Twins won 85 and 84 games. The 1977 team scored 867 runs, but the pitching was not real strong. Bill Rigney began the decade as the team's manager. He was replaced by Frank Quilici midway through the 1972 season. Gene Mach took over in 1976 and remained through the decade. He managed his nephew, Roy Smalley who was voted the starting shortstop for the American League in the 1979 All-Star Game. Let's get to the lineup... and be sure to leave your thoughts on this roster, or who I missed. http://traffic.libsyn.com/sethstohs/GTKE_Podcast_Ep16_Patrick_Reusse.mp3 C - Butch Wynegar (1976-1979) 577 games, .256/.344/.350 (.694) with 85 doubles, 31 homers, 250 RBI. Wynegar was the Twins second-round pick out of high school in 1974 and debuted just after he turned 20 in April of 1976. He finished second to Mark Fydrich in 1976 Rookie of the Year voting, and he was an All-Star his first two seasons. He caught between 131 and 146 games in each of his first five seasons. 1B - Harmon Killebrew (1970-1974) 634 games, .247/.373/.451 (.824) with 68 doubles, 113 homers, 391 RBI. After winning the AL MVP in 1969, Killebrew hit 41 homers and finished third in the voting in 1970. He was an All-Star in 1970 and 1971, his 10th and 11th of the year. While things went downward from there, the Twins great and future Hall of Famer was still the easy choice for this position. His 113 homers from over these five years still led the organization by 25. 2B - Rod Carew (1970-1978) 1,248 games, .345/.407/.460 (.867) with 226 doubles, 57 homers, 584 RBI. Carew was the choice in the 1960s for second base as well, but he was just getting started. Look at that, a .345 average over NINE seasons. He didn’t hit under .307 in any season, and he led the league in batting average six of those nine years. He was the AL MVP in 1977 when he hit .388/.449/.570 (1.019) with 38 doubles, 16 triples, 14 home runs and 100 RBI. He had four other Top 5 MVP seasons as well. He was an All-Star each of the 12 seasons he played with the Twins. If you’re into bWAR, his 53.7 mark is 36.5 more than anyone else in the organization during the decade. 3B - Steve Braun (1971-1976) 751 games, .284/.376/.381 (.757) with 103 doubles, 35 homers, 273 RBI. Braun was the team’s 10th-round pick in 1966 out of high school. He debuted with 128 games in 1971. He spent six seasons with the Twins. He played around the diamond, but mostly at third base the first three seasons and then in left field the next three years. He had a good, patient approach at the plate. In 1973, he hit .283 but also had a .408 on-base percentage. SS - Roy Smalley (1976-1979) 573 games, .261/.346/.388 (.734) with 96 doubles, 51 homers, 264 RBI. Smalley was the Rangers' first-round pick in 1974 from USC and debuted in 1975. On June 1, 1976, he came to the Twins as part of a package for Bert Blyleven. His best season was in 1979. He was an All-Star and received MVP votes. He led the league in games played and plate appearances. He hit 28 doubles and a career-high 24 homers. Side note - It’s inexplicable to me why Roy Smalley is not in the Twins Hall of Fame. LF - Larry Hisle (1973-1977) 662 games, .286/.354/.457 (.811) with 109 doubles, 87 homers, 409 RBI. Hisle was traded to the Twins from the Cardinals after the 1972 season and spent the next five seasons in a Twins uniform. He immediately became an impact player, hitting for average, getting on base and showing some power. He was good the first four years, but in 1977, he hit .302 with 36 doubles, 28 homer and a league-leading 119 RBI. He was an All-Star and earned MVP votes. That offseason, he left via free agency and signed with Milwaukee where he had one more really strong season. CF - Lyman Bostock (1975-1977) 379 games, .318/.366/.416 (.812) with 78 doubles, 18 homers, 179 RBI. Bostock was the Twins 26th-round pick in 1972 out of Cal State, Northridge. He debuted at the start of the 1975 season. He hit .282 in 98 games as a rookie. Then he hit .323 in 1976. In 1977, he hit .336/.389/.508 (.897) with 36 doubles, 12 triples and 14 home runs. He became a free agent and signed with the Angels. He was tragically killed in September of 1978. RF - Cesar Tovar (1970-1972) 459 games, .293/.348/.384 (.732) with 85 doubles, 13 homers, 130 RBI. Tovar continued to play all over the diamond in the early 1970s. In 1970, he led the league with 36 doubles and 13 triples. In 1971, he led the league with 204 base hits. He batted .300 in 1970 and 1971 and received MVP votes. He was traded to the Phillies after the 1972 season and played through the 1976 season. DH - Tony Oliva (1970-1976) 764 games, .299/.345/.446 (.791) with 116 doubles, 88 homers, 412 RBI. Oliva was a star for the Twins in the 1960s, and he entered the 1970s as one of the best players in the league. In 1970, he hit .325, finished second in MVP voting and led the league with 204 hits and 36 doubles. In 1971, he won his third career batting title by hitting .337. He also led the league with a .546 slugging percentage. Knee injuries cost him most of the 1972 season and lowered the trajectory of his career. He kept playing through the 1976 season. Your turn. Who would make your Twins 1970s All-Decade team? And what might that lineup look like?
  2. Last week, I broke down my choices for a Minnesota Twins All-Decade Team of the 1960s in three parts (Hitters, Pitchers, Podcast). This week, we advance to the 1970s. Today, we will share the potential lineup for a Twins team of the '70s. Tomorrow we will be back with the pitching staff. On Thursday night, we'll share another fun, story-filled podcast with someone who covered the team during the decade.Twins fans fans may have been spoiled by the team in their first decade. The second decade started out strong with 98 wins and a playoff berth in 1970. That was their lone playoff appearance of the decade. In 1971, they finished in fifth place in the division. Each other season, they finished either third or fourth in the AL West. Some of the Twins stars of the 1960s were still around and contributing early in the 1970s, though generally just a shell of themselves after 1971. Rod Carew and Bert Blyleven certainly led the way during the decade, but there were other really solid players throughout the decade. The 1976 and 1977 Twins won 85 and 84 games. The 1977 team scored 867 runs, but the pitching was not real strong. Bill Rigney began the decade as the team's manager. He was replaced by Frank Quilici midway through the 1972 season. Gene Mach took over in 1976 and remained through the decade. He managed his nephew, Roy Smalley who was voted the starting shortstop for the American League in the 1979 All-Star Game. Let's get to the lineup... and be sure to leave your thoughts on this roster, or who I missed. C - Butch Wynegar (1976-1979) 577 games, .256/.344/.350 (.694) with 85 doubles, 31 homers, 250 RBI. Wynegar was the Twins second-round pick out of high school in 1974 and debuted just after he turned 20 in April of 1976. He finished second to Mark Fydrich in 1976 Rookie of the Year voting, and he was an All-Star his first two seasons. He caught between 131 and 146 games in each of his first five seasons. 1B - Harmon Killebrew (1970-1974) 634 games, .247/.373/.451 (.824) with 68 doubles, 113 homers, 391 RBI. After winning the AL MVP in 1969, Killebrew hit 41 homers and finished third in the voting in 1970. He was an All-Star in 1970 and 1971, his 10th and 11th of the year. While things went downward from there, the Twins great and future Hall of Famer was still the easy choice for this position. His 113 homers from over these five years still led the organization by 25. 2B - Rod Carew (1970-1978) 1,248 games, .345/.407/.460 (.867) with 226 doubles, 57 homers, 584 RBI. Carew was the choice in the 1960s for second base as well, but he was just getting started. Look at that, a .345 average over NINE seasons. He didn’t hit under .307 in any season, and he led the league in batting average six of those nine years. He was the AL MVP in 1977 when he hit .388/.449/.570 (1.019) with 38 doubles, 16 triples, 14 home runs and 100 RBI. He had four other Top 5 MVP seasons as well. He was an All-Star each of the 12 seasons he played with the Twins. If you’re into bWAR, his 53.7 mark is 36.5 more than anyone else in the organization during the decade. 3B - Steve Braun (1971-1976) 751 games, .284/.376/.381 (.757) with 103 doubles, 35 homers, 273 RBI. Braun was the team’s 10th-round pick in 1966 out of high school. He debuted with 128 games in 1971. He spent six seasons with the Twins. He played around the diamond, but mostly at third base the first three seasons and then in left field the next three years. He had a good, patient approach at the plate. In 1973, he hit .283 but also had a .408 on-base percentage. SS - Roy Smalley (1976-1979) 573 games, .261/.346/.388 (.734) with 96 doubles, 51 homers, 264 RBI. Smalley was the Rangers' first-round pick in 1974 from USC and debuted in 1975. On June 1, 1976, he came to the Twins as part of a package for Bert Blyleven. His best season was in 1979. He was an All-Star and received MVP votes. He led the league in games played and plate appearances. He hit 28 doubles and a career-high 24 homers. Side note - It’s inexplicable to me why Roy Smalley is not in the Twins Hall of Fame. LF - Larry Hisle (1973-1977) 662 games, .286/.354/.457 (.811) with 109 doubles, 87 homers, 409 RBI. Hisle was traded to the Twins from the Cardinals after the 1972 season and spent the next five seasons in a Twins uniform. He immediately became an impact player, hitting for average, getting on base and showing some power. He was good the first four years, but in 1977, he hit .302 with 36 doubles, 28 homer and a league-leading 119 RBI. He was an All-Star and earned MVP votes. That offseason, he left via free agency and signed with Milwaukee where he had one more really strong season. CF - Lyman Bostock (1975-1977) 379 games, .318/.366/.416 (.812) with 78 doubles, 18 homers, 179 RBI. Bostock was the Twins 26th-round pick in 1972 out of Cal State, Northridge. He debuted at the start of the 1975 season. He hit .282 in 98 games as a rookie. Then he hit .323 in 1976. In 1977, he hit .336/.389/.508 (.897) with 36 doubles, 12 triples and 14 home runs. He became a free agent and signed with the Angels. He was tragically killed in September of 1978. RF - Cesar Tovar (1970-1972) 459 games, .293/.348/.384 (.732) with 85 doubles, 13 homers, 130 RBI. Tovar continued to play all over the diamond in the early 1970s. In 1970, he led the league with 36 doubles and 13 triples. In 1971, he led the league with 204 base hits. He batted .300 in 1970 and 1971 and received MVP votes. He was traded to the Phillies after the 1972 season and played through the 1976 season. DH - Tony Oliva (1970-1976) 764 games, .299/.345/.446 (.791) with 116 doubles, 88 homers, 412 RBI. Oliva was a star for the Twins in the 1960s, and he entered the 1970s as one of the best players in the league. In 1970, he hit .325, finished second in MVP voting and led the league with 204 hits and 36 doubles. In 1971, he won his third career batting title by hitting .337. He also led the league with a .546 slugging percentage. Knee injuries cost him most of the 1972 season and lowered the trajectory of his career. He kept playing through the 1976 season. Your turn. Who would make your Twins 1970s All-Decade team? And what might that lineup look like? Click here to view the article
  3. March 5 Happy 60th Birthday to Jerry Ujdur It's the birthday 1975 Hermantown High School graduate Jerry Ujdur. Jerry made the Hermantown varsity team as an 8th grader. In ‘75 he met Dick Siebert halfway in Hinckley to audition for the legendary Gophers coach. He would win 27 games as a Gopher, second only to his teammate, Minnetonka High School grad Steve Comer's 30 wins. Ujdur appeared in 49 games, starting 37 for Detroit from 1980 to '83, winning 10 games for the Tigers in ‘82. He would pitch in four games for the Cleveland ballclub in 1984 before retiring with a major league record of 12-16. Though he pitched in only 53 major league games, Ujdur sure had the number of a few Hall of Famers, including Eddie Murray who went 0-for-11 with two walks vs. the Hermantown Hawk. Carlton Fisk went 0-for-10 with a walk, Paul Molitor 2-for-14 with a walk, and Dave Winfield and Rickey Henderson each went 1-for-9 with 2 walks. March 5, 2006 Kirby Puckett Suffers Stroke Twins legend Kirby Puckett suffers a massive stroke at the home he shares with his fiancee in Scottsdale, Arizona. Old friend Ron Washington, in camp with the Athletics nearby, was one of the first at his bedside. Ken Griffey Jr. also rushed to his side, while former teammates including Shane Mack and Kent Hrbek made their ways to Arizona. Puckett’s weight had spiralled out of control following the abrupt end to his career. "That's what really hurt him bad, when he was forced out of the game," Hrbek told the Associated Press. "I don't know if he ever recovered from it." "We would tell him. But he enjoyed life. He enjoyed the size he was. That's who he was," Jacque Jones told ESPN from Cubs camp in Mesa, AZ. "You can't do anything about it until he decides to change. Hopefully, he'll pull through this, and it'll be like a call for him to change some things in his life.” March 6, 1973 Larry Hisle Becomes First DH in MLB History In an exhibition game vs. the Pittsburgh Pirates, Larry Hisle becomes the first Designated Hitter in major league history. Back on January 11, American League owners had voted 8-4 to adopt the DH, and in this game Hisle made them look like geniuses, hitting two home runs and driving in seven. The Yankees’ Ron Blomberg was the first DH to bat in a regular season game. The Twins’ Tony Oliva would hit the first regular season home run by a DH on April 6th (Opening Day) off of Oakland's Catfish Hunter. Interestingly, Oakland owner Charlie Finley is generally credited with leading the push for the DH. March 6, 2006 Kirby Puckett Passes Away A day after suffering a massive stroke, Kirby Puckett passes away at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix. After unsuccessful emergency surgery to relieve pressure on his brain, friends and family were notified that the end was near. Many people rushed to be with Kirby in his final hours. Former teammates Shane Mack and Kent Hrbek travelled to Arizona. Ron Washington, who was in spring training with the Athletics nearby, was one of the first friends to arrive. Another friend who rushed to the hospital and was reportedly at his bedside when he passed was Ken Griffey Jr. "There's certain people that you owe it to, for the things they've done for you," Griffey told the Los Angeles Time. "No matter where you are. He was that important to my family. It was for the things he said to me, not for the way he played." Kirby Puckett was just 45 years old, the second-youngest person to pass away after having already been enshrined in Cooperstown. Lou Gehrig was just 37. March 7, 2013 Aaron Hicks Has Himself a Day Entering spring training it was unclear whether or not 2008 first-round draft choice Aaron Hicks had a legitimate chance of making the Opening Day roster. On this day, though, he made the front office’s decision just a little bit easier, going 4-for-5 with 3 home runs, 6 RBI and a stolen base vs. the Phillies in Clearwater. He would indeed make his major league debut on April 1st, playing 81 big league games in 2013 but also spending some time back in Rochester. March 8 Happy 60th Birthday to John Butcher It’s the birthday of former Twins pitcher John Butcher, born in Glendale, California in 1957. The Twins acquired Butcher along with pitcher Mike Smithson and minor league catcher Sam Sorce from Texas in exchange for Gary Ward on December 7, 1983. Butcher pitched a remarkable 1 hour and 55 minute complete game shutout on April 21, 1985. The Twins had lost 9 in a row, falling to 2-9 on the season, entering the Sunday series finale in Oakland when Butcher hurled an 81-pitch gem, allowing three hits, but facing just 28 batters, one over the minimum. Leadoff hitter Kirby Puckett went 3-for-5, driving in both Twins runs in the 2-0 victory. It was the beginning of a 10-game Twins winning streak. March 8 Happy 55th Birthday to Mark Salas It’s the birthday of former Twins catcher Mark Salas, born Montabello, California in 1961. The Twins acquired Salas from the Cardinals in the December ‘84 Rule 5 Draft, and traded him to the New York Yankees for knuckleballer Joe Niekro on June 6, 1987. Today Salas is the Chicago White Sox bullpen catcher. Yes, I was surprised, too, but “Bullpen Catcher” is really what he’s listed as on the White Sox roster. March 9 Happy 54th Birthday to Terry Mulholland It’s the birthday of former Twins pitcher Terry Mulholland, born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania in 1963. The Twins purchased the 1993 All-Star from Seattle on April 2, 2004. He was 41 years old. He pitched in 39 games for the ‘04 Twins, starting 15. The following season, at age 42, Mulholland made 49 relief appearances for Minnesota. He pitched briefly for Arizona in 2005, his 20th and final major league season. March 11, 1961 The First Game in Twins History Winona Senior High School graduate and 2x All-American Golden Gopher tailback Paul Giel started the first game in Minnesota Twins history, an exhibition game against the Detroit Tigers at Tinker Field in Orlando. The Tigers won the game 4-1. Pedro Ramos was the first Opening Day starter in Twins history, pitching a 3-hit shutout vs. Berra, Mantle, Maris and the gang at Yankee Stadium on April 11. One of the three hits that Ramos allowed was to Yankees ace Whitey Ford, with Yogi Berra and Moose Skowron collecting the other two. The game was scoreless through six until Bob Allison led off the seventh with a home run. It was Twins pitcher Ramos who knocked Ford out of the game with a 2-RBI single with one away in the seventh. The Twins went on to win 6-0. After the Twins jumped out to a hot 5-2 start in New York and Boston, Camilo Pascual took the ball in the first home opener in Twins history vs. the new expansion Washington Senators who wound up beating the home team 5-3. Keep in touch with the @TwinsAlmanac on Twitter and Facebook.
  4. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/20160430_104657_zpswsn6rbqy.jpg May 5th It’s the Birthday of Larry Hisle It’s the birthday of Larry Hisle, born on this day in 1942 in Portsmouth, OH. The 14-year Major Leaguer played five seasons for the Twins, from 1973 to ‘77 when he hit .302 with 28 home runs and an American League-leading 119 RBI. In 2010, Fox Sports North included Hisle among their “50 Greatest Twins.” Hisle was the hitting coach for the back-to-back World Series champion Toronto Blue Jays in 1992 and ‘93. In ‘93 the Blue Jays’ John Olerud, Paul Molitor and Roberto Alomar had the first, second and third best batting averages in the American League. Hisle is currently the Milwaukee Brewers’ Manager of Youth Outreach. May 5, 2001 LaTroy Hawkins Blows First Save After Record Streak On a Saturday night in Kansas City, the first place (20-8) Twins handed LaTroy Hawkins a 10-8 lead in the bottom of the ninth. Hawkins had converted the first 23 save opportunities of his career, an MLB record. After pulling within a run on a sacrifice fly, however, former Twin David McCarty tied the game with a two-out, line drive single to center, scoring Jermaine Dye. With McCarty aboard in the twelfth, Royals outfielder Dee Brown hit a walk-off home run off of Travis Miller. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/20160430_103847_zpsqmjepuuy.jpg May 6, 2011 Twins Score Two Runs on Balks The Twins scored two runs on balks en route to a 9-2 win over the Red Sox at Fenway. In the second inning, Denard Span scored on a Tim Wakefield balk, after which manager Terry Francona was ejected. Up 8-2 in the sixth, Trevor Plouffe scored the Twins' second run on a balk, this time by Alfredo Aceves. May 6, 2015 Eddie Rosario Homers on First MLB Pitch Leading off the bottom of the third against Oakland’s Scott Kazmir at Target Field, Eddie Rosario hit the first pitch he saw in the Major Leagues for an opposite field home run. He was hitless in three subsequent at-bats. The Twins went on to beat Oakland 13-0. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/Rosario.2015Topps_zpsn20jsyqv.jpg Six Twins have homered in their first Major League at-bat: Rick Renick, Dave McKay, Gary Gaetti, Andre David, Luke Hughes and Rosario. Fifteen players in the history of Major League Baseball have homered on their first big league pitch. In 2010, Boston’s Daniel Nava hit a grand slam on his first Major League pitch. In 1981, in the span of less than a month, Kent Hrbek, Tim Laudner and Gary Gaetti each homered in their first Major League game. Keep in touch with the Twins Almanac on Facebook, and by following @Twins Almanac on Twitter.
  5. The Vikings were beaten by the Raiders in the Super Bowl and Seattle Slew won the Triple Crown. In the movie theaters we were introduced to Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker and Rocky Balboa. We also lost the King, Elvis Presley. But for one 14-year old kid from North Dakota the highlight of the year was a 19-12 Twins win over the White Sox in Metropolitan Stadium. This was my first and only trip to the Met. The Twins had a pretty good team, led by Rod Carew, Larry Hisle, Lyman Bostock and 20-game winner Dave Goltz. The game was played on Sunday, June 26th and the promotion was Carew's jersey day. From the farm to the big city I made the trip with my parents and two of my sisters, ages 15 and 11, from eastern North Dakota to Bloomington, home of Met Stadium. My mother was a native of Mahtomedi, Minnesota so I know that we had other things on the agenda for this trip that included visiting family and friends. However, I was so caught up in seeing a Twins game I have no memory of anything outside of the ballpark and game. Our hometown is in the Red River valley, near Grand Forks, with a population of about 1,200 people. I was a farm kid, so at the time I was bit overwhelmed by the "big city" and spent a lot of time with my mouth open looking up. My sisters would tell you they were more sophisticated and not fazed by it all, but I know better. Thanks to Baseball-Reference I can look at the box score for this game and jog my memory about some specifics of the Twins' 19-12 win. But the game was just part of a crazy day full of events experienced by a family out of their element in the Twin Cities. As we walked into the stadium we were handed a crisp, white Twins #29 jersey with Carew on the back. This became my prize possession as Rodney was my favorite player at the time. It would be nice to say that I still have the jersey, as it would be a great keepsake. But when I was a kid, if you had a jersey with the name and number of your favorite player, you wore it. And wear it I did. So much so that it did not survive long enough for me to outgrow it. The two jerseys my sisters received are long gone as well although they did not prize theirs nearly as much as I did mine. My next vivid memory is of walking into Met Stadium, looking through the opening and out onto the field. I couldn't believe the green grass, the white, straight foul lines and what seemed to me a massive stadium. I couldn't wait to get to my seat. The heat takes a toll At this point circumstances delayed our arrival to our assigned seats. It was one of those hot, muggy afternoons in Minnesota; the box score listed the game time temperature at 87 degrees. The game was a sell-out, so the combination of the weather and all the people made the stands a hot and cramped place. Here is where it gets interesting. My 11 year old sister, who probably had not eaten much if anything leading up to the game, was overcome by the heat and fainted. My father had to scoop her up and carry her into the stadium. Doing the math on my father's age in June 1977 put him at 51 years old, ironically the same age that I am now. My dad was a strong man, about 6-feet tall and worked a lot of physical labor during his life as a farmer. But at this time of his life, to say that he did not take care of himself and was not physically fit would be an understatement. So picture near 90 degree weather, humidity, a crowded stadium, and a 51-year-old man carrying an 11-year-old girl. Add to that, the pack of cigarettes my father had already polished off earlier in the day. A certain recipe for disaster. So it should be no surprise that my father got heat stroke and needed medical attention himself. My mother, being the even-tempered one in group, managed to find some security people, who in turn got my father and younger sister to the first aide room. The air conditioned room did wonders for my dad and sister. The medical staff put some fluids into my sister and got her back on her feet. They got my dad cooled off and I'm certain something was said to him about it not being a good idea to smoke on such a hot, muggy day. I was certainly concerned for the well-being of my sister and father, but at the same time I was a selfish 14-year old whose main concern was getting inside the ball park and finding my seat. So I was happy to see the two of them bounce back. We got to our seats in plenty of time. Finally, the game We had great seats, directly behind home plate, about 20 rows up. Whenever my dad attended a game he wanted to have the best seats. I inherited that trait from him. I did not know this until just a few weeks ago but our seats were actually compliments of one of my dad's best friends, a man he served in the navy with during World War II. This man and his wife were also responsible for getting my parents together. So I am eternally grateful to him for helping to make this memory possible, and for making ME possible. I learned of this and several other tidbits from this trip thanks to a letter given to me by one of my other sisters. She was working in New York that summer, this letter was written by my mother on June 29, 1977. It reviewed all our activities over the course of our three day trip. As mentioned above, I forgot about everything except for the game. The White Sox and Twins entered the game tied for first in the AL Central, with the Sox at 38-30 and the Twins 39-31. Bill Butler made the start for the Twins that day and future Cy Young winner Steve Stone took the hill for the visitors. There were a few interesting personalities on the field that day. Besides Carew, there were two other members of the Hall of Fame in uniform. Bob Lemon, a 207-game winner for the Indians in the 40's and 50's, was the Chicago manager. Larry Doby, the first African-American to play in the American League was the third base coach for the Sox. The scoring started quickly with the Twins leading 2-1 after one inning. In the second inning, after Butler held Chicago scoreless the Twins put up six runs to take the lead 8-1. Carew plated two runs with a single and three batters later Glenn Adams hit a grand slam. That ended the day for Stone. In the third inning the White Sox chased Butler from the game, getting four runs when Lamar Johnson and former Twin Eric Soderholm hit home runs. Two more runs were scored against Butler's replacement, Tom Johnson, so in the middle of the third the Twins were up 8-7. I was happy to see Johnson in the game as he was my favorite Twins pitcher that year. The lead swelled to 12-7 at the end of three as the Twins managed four runs on four singles and a walk. The White Sox got one in the fourth and two more in the fifth to counter the Twins' three-run fourth. After the Twins had their first scoreless inning in the bottom of the fifth their lead was 15-10. Record days for Carew and Adams Johnson settled in and retired 11 of the next 12 batters to shut the door on the visitors from Chicago. But with the game no longer in doubt there was still some drama unfolding on the field. Adams, a part time outfielder, in right field this day, was having a career game. He doubled in two runs in the first, hit the grand slam in the second, singled home another run in the third giving him seven RBI on the day. In the bottom of the seventh he came to the plate with the bases loaded, his sacrifice fly scored Carew and set the single game standard for runs batted in by a Twin with eight, a mark he shares today with Randy Bush. Carew had come into the game hitting .396 on the season. He came up for the final time in the bottom of the eighth. On the day he had already managed three hits in four at-bats - a double in the first, a two-run single in the second, a run-scoring ground out in the third, and a single in the fourth that scored a run. He also walked and scored in the seventh. This would be his last plate appearance of the day. As it turned out, it was the last time I saw him hit in person because it would be the late 80's before I got to another Twins game. With the 3-4 effort Carew's average was right at .400 or .401 for the season. A hit would put him over .400 and an out would put him under. Everyone in the stadium wanted to see Rodney end the game over the magical .400 plateau. His average was at .444 after the second game of the season on April 10. But a 0-5 showing in the second half of a doubleheader that day dropped him to .286; it had taken him 69 games to get back to .400. Adding to that, he had already scored four runs in the game, if he managed to cross the plate again the five runs would be a Twins' record. Carew did not disappoint. He not only got his fourth hit, but it was a home run. The two RBIs gave him six for the day and the five runs in a game still holds up today, since tied by Tim Tuefel in 1983, Paul Molitor in 1996 and Luis Rivas in 2002. It is interesting that all of these players played a lot of second base in their careers. Carew and Molitor were not playing second when they set the record but they both came into the majors at that position. Why did I have to get that hot dog? So where was I when Carew hit this home run? Well, as much as I love baseball, and the Twins, you cannot get between a growing 14-year old and his appetite. I thought I could dash up to the concession stand after the Twins batted in the 7th inning, get myself a hot dog and return before the Twins' turn at bat in the eighth. Needless to say I got stuck in line and the top of the eighth turned into the bottom of the eighth. I soon heard the thunderous ovation while the Twins were batting. I was curious what it was. As I got back to my seat my dad was waiting for me with a big grin on his face. "Did you see the home run?" He says. Followed by, "How was the hot dog?" There were no TV's in the concourse in those days like there are now so I was clueless. I could not believe I missed seeing the Carew home run. I learned my lesson that day, when I'm at a ball game I will most often stay in my seat from first pitch to final out (barring emergencies of course). The White Sox got two in the ninth off Johnson to make it 19-12. Besides the big days for Carew and Adams, Butch Wynegar was 3-4 with three runs and an RBI. Smalley and Mike Cubbage each had a pair of hits. Johnson had an interesting line as the winning pitcher: six and two-thirds innings, ten hits and seven earned runs. Johnson went on to win 16 games out of the bull pen that season. Adams finished 1977 with a .338 average in platoon duty on 290 plate appearances. Carew kept his average over .400 for the next 12 games, falling below for good after a July 11 game against his future team, the Angels, in Anaheim. He would finish at .388 and win the AL MVP award. By defeating the Sox the Twins broke the first place tie in the AL West. They held the lead until July 2, when they lost to the White Sox in Chicago. After holding at least a share of the division lead since April 30 the Twins managed to get back into first place on August 12, flipping between first and second until August 16. From that point they finished the season 16-26, giving them a record of 84-77 and a fourth-place finish behind the West champion Royals (102-60), the Rangers and White Sox. Going back home After the game it was back to the farm, where the days were hot and the mosquitoes big and hungry. I got back to the business of driving my big brother crazy by breaking most of the equipment on the farm. It's no wonder I went into computers. The summer ended quickly as it always did. But the rest of the season I could listen to the game on the radio and picture myself sitting behind home plate watching the game. This ended up being the last real family adventure I was able to take part in with my siblings and parents. Before the next year ended my mother had passed way, then my sisters and I got busy with high school, then college, then families and careers of our own. I cannot remember the next Twins game I saw in person, but it was at the 'Dome, either in 1987 or 1988. Around the year 2000 I was finally able to find the time to get to ball games on a regular basis. Since then I have been able to attend several games each year. I may not ever see another game like that 19-12 contest from back in 1977 but I do know I won't miss another big home run because of a hot dog. Game photos from my father All the photos with this post were taken by father, William J. Shide (1925-1995). He loved baseball, his big family and his many hobbies, one of which was photography. However, it was my mother, Helen Shide (1925-1978) that really fostered my interest in baseball and the Twins. She was a Twin Cities girl, she told me about this team in her home town that played baseball, she also helped me organize my baseball cards. I believe it was her idea to take the three "little kids" (that was the term of endearment our six siblings bestowed on us) to the big city to see my favorite team. Want to see images from the game? View the gallery here.
  6. It was 1977, Jimmy Carter had just become President. New York City celebrated the opening of the World Trade Center and suffered through a 25-hour blackout in the middle of a hot summer. Two guys named Steve (Jobs and Wozniak) gave us the Apple II computer.The Vikings were beaten by the Raiders in the Super Bowl and Seattle Slew won the Triple Crown. In the movie theaters we were introduced to Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker and Rocky Balboa. We also lost the King, Elvis Presley. But for one 14-year old kid from North Dakota the highlight of the year was a 19-12 Twins win over the White Sox in Metropolitan Stadium. This was my first and only trip to the Met. The Twins had a pretty good team, led by Rod Carew, Larry Hisle, Lyman Bostock and 20-game winner Dave Goltz. The game was played on Sunday, June 26th and the promotion was Carew's jersey day. From the farm to the big city I made the trip with my parents and two of my sisters, ages 15 and 11, from eastern North Dakota to Bloomington, home of Met Stadium. My mother was a native of Mahtomedi, Minnesota so I know that we had other things on the agenda for this trip that included visiting family and friends. However, I was so caught up in seeing a Twins game I have no memory of anything outside of the ballpark and game. Our hometown is in the Red River valley, near Grand Forks, with a population of about 1,200 people. I was a farm kid, so at the time I was bit overwhelmed by the "big city" and spent a lot of time with my mouth open looking up. My sisters would tell you they were more sophisticated and not fazed by it all, but I know better. Thanks to Baseball-Reference I can look at the box score for this game and jog my memory about some specifics of the Twins' 19-12 win. But the game was just part of a crazy day full of events experienced by a family out of their element in the Twin Cities. As we walked into the stadium we were handed a crisp, white Twins #29 jersey with Carew on the back. This became my prize possession as Rodney was my favorite player at the time. It would be nice to say that I still have the jersey, as it would be a great keepsake. But when I was a kid, if you had a jersey with the name and number of your favorite player, you wore it. And wear it I did. So much so that it did not survive long enough for me to outgrow it. The two jerseys my sisters received are long gone as well although they did not prize theirs nearly as much as I did mine. My next vivid memory is of walking into Met Stadium, looking through the opening and out onto the field. I couldn't believe the green grass, the white, straight foul lines and what seemed to me a massive stadium. I couldn't wait to get to my seat. The heat takes a toll At this point circumstances delayed our arrival to our assigned seats. It was one of those hot, muggy afternoons in Minnesota; the box score listed the game time temperature at 87 degrees. The game was a sell-out, so the combination of the weather and all the people made the stands a hot and cramped place. Here is where it gets interesting. My 11 year old sister, who probably had not eaten much if anything leading up to the game, was overcome by the heat and fainted. My father had to scoop her up and carry her into the stadium. Doing the math on my father's age in June 1977 put him at 51 years old, ironically the same age that I am now. My dad was a strong man, about 6-feet tall and worked a lot of physical labor during his life as a farmer. But at this time of his life, to say that he did not take care of himself and was not physically fit would be an understatement. So picture near 90 degree weather, humidity, a crowded stadium, and a 51-year-old man carrying an 11-year-old girl. Add to that, the pack of cigarettes my father had already polished off earlier in the day. A certain recipe for disaster. So it should be no surprise that my father got heat stroke and needed medical attention himself. My mother, being the even-tempered one in group, managed to find some security people, who in turn got my father and younger sister to the first aide room. The air conditioned room did wonders for my dad and sister. The medical staff put some fluids into my sister and got her back on her feet. They got my dad cooled off and I'm certain something was said to him about it not being a good idea to smoke on such a hot, muggy day. I was certainly concerned for the well-being of my sister and father, but at the same time I was a selfish 14-year old whose main concern was getting inside the ball park and finding my seat. So I was happy to see the two of them bounce back. We got to our seats in plenty of time. Finally, the game We had great seats, directly behind home plate, about 20 rows up. Whenever my dad attended a game he wanted to have the best seats. I inherited that trait from him. I did not know this until just a few weeks ago but our seats were actually compliments of one of my dad's best friends, a man he served in the navy with during World War II. This man and his wife were also responsible for getting my parents together. So I am eternally grateful to him for helping to make this memory possible, and for making ME possible. I learned of this and several other tidbits from this trip thanks to a letter given to me by one of my other sisters. She was working in New York that summer, this letter was written by my mother on June 29, 1977. It reviewed all our activities over the course of our three day trip. As mentioned above, I forgot about everything except for the game. The White Sox and Twins entered the game tied for first in the AL Central, with the Sox at 38-30 and the Twins 39-31. Bill Butler made the start for the Twins that day and future Cy Young winner Steve Stone took the hill for the visitors. There were a few interesting personalities on the field that day. Besides Carew, there were two other members of the Hall of Fame in uniform. Bob Lemon, a 207-game winner for the Indians in the 40's and 50's, was the Chicago manager. Larry Doby, the first African-American to play in the American League was the third base coach for the Sox. The scoring started quickly with the Twins leading 2-1 after one inning. In the second inning, after Butler held Chicago scoreless the Twins put up six runs to take the lead 8-1. Carew plated two runs with a single and three batters later Glenn Adams hit a grand slam. That ended the day for Stone. In the third inning the White Sox chased Butler from the game, getting four runs when Lamar Johnson and former Twin Eric Soderholm hit home runs. Two more runs were scored against Butler's replacement, Tom Johnson, so in the middle of the third the Twins were up 8-7. I was happy to see Johnson in the game as he was my favorite Twins pitcher that year. The lead swelled to 12-7 at the end of three as the Twins managed four runs on four singles and a walk. The White Sox got one in the fourth and two more in the fifth to counter the Twins' three-run fourth. After the Twins had their first scoreless inning in the bottom of the fifth their lead was 15-10. Record days for Carew and Adams Johnson settled in and retired 11 of the next 12 batters to shut the door on the visitors from Chicago. But with the game no longer in doubt there was still some drama unfolding on the field. Adams, a part time outfielder, in right field this day, was having a career game. He doubled in two runs in the first, hit the grand slam in the second, singled home another run in the third giving him seven RBI on the day. In the bottom of the seventh he came to the plate with the bases loaded, his sacrifice fly scored Carew and set the single game standard for runs batted in by a Twin with eight, a mark he shares today with Randy Bush. Carew had come into the game hitting .396 on the season. He came up for the final time in the bottom of the eighth. On the day he had already managed three hits in four at-bats - a double in the first, a two-run single in the second, a run-scoring ground out in the third, and a single in the fourth that scored a run. He also walked and scored in the seventh. This would be his last plate appearance of the day. As it turned out, it was the last time I saw him hit in person because it would be the late 80's before I got to another Twins game. With the 3-4 effort Carew's average was right at .400 or .401 for the season. A hit would put him over .400 and an out would put him under. Everyone in the stadium wanted to see Rodney end the game over the magical .400 plateau. His average was at .444 after the second game of the season on April 10. But a 0-5 showing in the second half of a doubleheader that day dropped him to .286; it had taken him 69 games to get back to .400. Adding to that, he had already scored four runs in the game, if he managed to cross the plate again the five runs would be a Twins' record. Carew did not disappoint. He not only got his fourth hit, but it was a home run. The two RBIs gave him six for the day and the five runs in a game still holds up today, since tied by Tim Tuefel in 1983, Paul Molitor in 1996 and Luis Rivas in 2002. It is interesting that all of these players played a lot of second base in their careers. Carew and Molitor were not playing second when they set the record but they both came into the majors at that position. Why did I have to get that hot dog? So where was I when Carew hit this home run? Well, as much as I love baseball, and the Twins, you cannot get between a growing 14-year old and his appetite. I thought I could dash up to the concession stand after the Twins batted in the 7th inning, get myself a hot dog and return before the Twins' turn at bat in the eighth. Needless to say I got stuck in line and the top of the eighth turned into the bottom of the eighth. I soon heard the thunderous ovation while the Twins were batting. I was curious what it was. As I got back to my seat my dad was waiting for me with a big grin on his face. "Did you see the home run?" He says. Followed by, "How was the hot dog?" There were no TV's in the concourse in those days like there are now so I was clueless. I could not believe I missed seeing the Carew home run. I learned my lesson that day, when I'm at a ball game I will most often stay in my seat from first pitch to final out (barring emergencies of course). The White Sox got two in the ninth off Johnson to make it 19-12. Besides the big days for Carew and Adams, Butch Wynegar was 3-4 with three runs and an RBI. Smalley and Mike Cubbage each had a pair of hits. Johnson had an interesting line as the winning pitcher: six and two-thirds innings, ten hits and seven earned runs. Johnson went on to win 16 games out of the bull pen that season. Adams finished 1977 with a .338 average in platoon duty on 290 plate appearances. Carew kept his average over .400 for the next 12 games, falling below for good after a July 11 game against his future team, the Angels, in Anaheim. He would finish at .388 and win the AL MVP award. By defeating the Sox the Twins broke the first place tie in the AL West. They held the lead until July 2, when they lost to the White Sox in Chicago. After holding at least a share of the division lead since April 30 the Twins managed to get back into first place on August 12, flipping between first and second until August 16. From that point they finished the season 16-26, giving them a record of 84-77 and a fourth-place finish behind the West champion Royals (102-60), the Rangers and White Sox. Going back home After the game it was back to the farm, where the days were hot and the mosquitoes big and hungry. I got back to the business of driving my big brother crazy by breaking most of the equipment on the farm. It's no wonder I went into computers. The summer ended quickly as it always did. But the rest of the season I could listen to the game on the radio and picture myself sitting behind home plate watching the game. This ended up being the last real family adventure I was able to take part in with my siblings and parents. Before the next year ended my mother had passed way, then my sisters and I got busy with high school, then college, then families and careers of our own. I cannot remember the next Twins game I saw in person, but it was at the 'Dome, either in 1987 or 1988. Around the year 2000 I was finally able to find the time to get to ball games on a regular basis. Since then I have been able to attend several games each year. I may not ever see another game like that 19-12 contest from back in 1977 but I do know I won't miss another big home run because of a hot dog. Game photos from my father All the photos with this post were taken by father, William J. Shide (1925-1995). He loved baseball, his big family and his many hobbies, one of which was photography. However, it was my mother, Helen Shide (1925-1978) that really fostered my interest in baseball and the Twins. She was a Twin Cities girl, she told me about this team in her home town that played baseball, she also helped me organize my baseball cards. I believe it was her idea to take the three "little kids" (that was the term of endearment our six siblings bestowed on us) to the big city to see my favorite team. Want to see images from the game? View the gallery here. 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