Tag Archives: Minnesota Twins

Pitchers Hitting In The Postseason

It Still Happens – Pitchers Hitting In The Postseason (And Making A Difference)

sandy-koufax-singles-world-series-october-12-1965This photograph of pitcher Sandy Koufax shows a rarity.

In 20 times at bat, Dodger great, Sandy Koufax got only one hit in postseason play.

Koufax is leaving the batters box after stroking a single in game six of the 1965 World Series driving in Ron Fairly. Koufax’s single gave the Dodgers a 6-0 lead in the bottom of the seventh in an eventual 7-0 shutout over the Minnesota Twins. It wasn’t Koufax’s hitting that won the game, it was the complete game, four hitter with 10 strikeouts that he hurled. Still to everyone watching, sans Twin fans, Koufax’s hit was a pleasant surprise.

The Dodgers went on to win the seventh game and Koufax was named the series MVP.

Koufax was one of the worst hitters ever, compiling a miniscule .097 career batting average over 12 seasons. But no one ever came to see Koufax hit, they came to see him pitch. As bad as a hitter as Koufax was there was always the slim chance that he might get a base hit. And when he did guess what? It was exciting.

The use of the designated hitter in the American League and the DH’s use in World Series games only in American League ballparks has effectively eliminated the thrill out of watching the pitcher impacting the game with his bat.

So in this day and age when it is considered a shock when a pitcher comes to the plate and gets a hit, it is refreshing to see pitchers in the 2016 postseason hitting and making a difference in many games.

Travis Wood homers photo: Dennis Wierzbicki USA Today

Travis Wood homers photo: Dennis Wierzbicki USA Today

Giants starter Madison Bumgarner was actually used as a pinch-hitter in game two of the NLDS playoff game against the Cubs.  In that same game, Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks singled in two runs and reliever Travis Wood blasted a home run against the Giants pitcher George Kontos.

Then in the next game of the series Cubs starter Jake Arrieta hit a three run homer against the Giants. In the fourth inning of game 4 Giants pitcher Matt Moore singled home the go ahead run in a losing effort.

Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw helped his own cause in game four against the Washington Nationals by doubling and scoring the go-ahead run in what ended up being a 6-5 L.A. victory.

If you polled baseball fans most would say they want more offense and never have pitchers bat. Continue reading

Minnesota’s Original Baseball Stadium

Metropolitan Stadium Under Construction

Construction of Metropolitan Stadium 12 22. 1955

Although the weather can be unpredictable in Minnesota, this scene was not photographed during baseball season. Taken 60 years ago today, December 22, 1955, this photograph predates the Twins baseball team by more than five years.

Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, MN is shown nearing completion here.

The caption reads:

Here’s something that should be a smile-bringer to bond drivers and bond buyers both as the Metropolitan Stadium push hits the final post. You see the Bloomington project stands are this far along looking from the right field approach. Johnson Drake and Piper, the construction firm in charge, says work is progressing very satisfactorily despite the weather. Both dugouts are in and you may see the first base bench in the picture. 12-22-55 photo – Chester Freden

Built  to attract a major league baseball team, Metropolitan Stadium was originally home to the American Association’s Minneapolis Millers. Continue reading

Wes Parker Battles Fans For A Foul Ball In The 1965 World Series

Hey Dodgers Fans Get Out Of The Way!

Wes Parker catch attempt WS game 4 Oct 10 1965 photo UPI

Wes Parker goes after a ball in game 4 of the World Series Oct 10 1965 photo: UPI

The Los Angeles Dodgers played the Minnesota Twins in the 1965 World Series with the Dodgers prevailing in seven games.

At Dodger Stadium on October 10, 1965, in game four with two outs in the top of the ninth, Twins slugger Don Mincher hit a pop fly that was drifting into the stands in foul territory. With the Dodgers leading 7-2, Dodgers first baseman Wes Parker made a desperate leap into the stands to try and catch Mincher’s foul ball and end the game.

Parker’s jump fell short and he missed the ball.

Mincher ended up striking out and Don Drysdale got the complete game win for the Dodgers. Time of the game two hours and fifteen minutes.

Crazy Baseball All-Star Game Ticket Prices

$2.40 For An All-Star Game Box Seat?

Fenway Park ticket booth before the 1946 All Star Game

$2.40 for a box seat is not the crazy price we are talking about. Those days are long gone.

The scene above is Fenway Park where the 1946 All-Star Game was played. As fans lined up for tickets the night before the game at the box office (what a novel idea), they had the choice of purchasing box seats for $2.40 or reserved seats for $1.80.

Please direct your attention to the kids, wearing suits no less, neatly lined up waiting for tickets. Yes, even kids could save up $1.80 by delivering newspapers, mowing lawns or doing chores in 1946.

The crazy prices we are talking about are for the current baseball All-Star game.

According to a May 9 Forbes Magazine story, the 2014 baseball All Star Game in Minneapolis is the second most expensive ticket in All-Star game history. The article points out that according to a ticket broker who owns hundreds of MLB All-Star tickets the average ticket price for the 2014 All-Star Game is significantly higher than the previous four All-Star games, with a current average ticket price of $1,096. Continue reading

The No-hitter, Break-up King

Cesar Tovar

Pitchers who come close to baseball immortality by throwing a one-hitter will always remember the batter who broke up their no-hitter.

Of all the players who have played big league baseball, you’d think some great or pesky contact hitter like Pete Rose, Ty Cobb, Joe Sewell or Lloyd Waner would hold the record for getting the only hit in a game that otherwise would have been a no-hitter.

But the man who set the record for having the only hit in a game, that ended up being a one-hitter is Cesar Tovar.

Tovar, a .278 career hitter, who played from 1965-1976 spoiled five no-hitters, a record now shared with Eddie Milner.

Tovar got the only hit of the game off of:

  1. Barry Moore of the Washington Senators (April 30, 1967)
  2. Dave McNally of the Baltimore Orioles (May 15, 1969)
  3. Mike Cuellar  of the Baltimore Orioles (August 10, 1969)
  4. Dick Bosman of the Washington Senators (August 13, 1970)
  5. Jim “Catfish” Hunter of the Oakland Athletics (May 31, 1975)

The first four times, Tovar was playing for the Minnesota Twins.  The last time versus Hunter, he was with the Texas Rangers. Tovar’s hits against McNally and Cuellar came in the ninth inning.

Tovar is also one of four players to play all nine positions in one major league game.

Cesar Tovar died at the age of 54 on July 14, 1994.

Mickey Mantle After Retirement

3 Photographs of Yankees First Base Coach – Mickey Mantle

 

 

 

 

And Bobby Murcer gets playfully pushed away after reaching first base

Mickey Mantle announced his retirement March 1, 1969. In 1970, Mickey Mantle was an announcer on the NBC Game of the Week, but left in late August and  joined Yankee manager Ralph Houk’s coaching staff for the remainder of the season.

Mantle’s first game coaching was on August 30 against the Minnesota Twins. Bobby Murcer walked to lead off the fourth inning. When Murcer came over to talk with Mantle, who would coach first base only for the middle three innings, Mantle kiddingly pushed Murcer back to first base. The Twins first baseman is Rich Reese. The Yankees won this game 5-2. Continue reading

Stealing Home

The Most Exciting Play in Baseball Was Accomplished by Rod Carew Seven Times in 1969

Rod Carew’s 2nd steal of home in 1969 – April 19, 3rd inning vs. California Angels. Harmon Killebrew is #3.

It’s a play you hardly see anymore-  the pure stealing of home plate. Not part of a double steal or a failed suicide squeeze attempt.

At the urging of Minnesota Twins manager Billy Martin in 1969, second baseman Rod Carew swiped home an astonishing seven times in one season, tying the major league record of Pete Reiser of the Brooklyn Dodgers set back in 1946.

You’d think that Carew must have stolen a lot of bases that year considering his constant stealing of home. Amazingly, Carew stole a total of only 19 bases that year!

Carew, the future Hall of Famer, told the story of how he perfected the steal of home in his 1979 autobiography Carew by Rod Carew with Ira Berkow (Simon and Schuster ,1979) which is excerpted here.

Carew stole home his record tying seventh time on July 16, 1969  in the second inning against the Chicago White Sox in the first game of a double header at the Twins home park, Metropolitan Stadium. The Twins ended up winning the game 9-8. Continue reading