1-0

The Twins beat the Astros the old-fashioned way yesterday, 1-0, in a game harkening back to the classic “no-hitting” era of the late ’60s. As we all know, good pitching will beat good hitting at least half the time, and yesterday it was Justin Verlander being out-dueled by the Twins Jake Odorizzi. Verlander gave up only 2 hits in his six innings, but one of them was to Ehire Adrianza, who launched it deep into the right field concourse.

 

All in all: very satisfying.

 

Advertisements

Good ol’ Halsey Hall

 

Halsey Hall, for those not in the know, was a newspaper reporter and broadcast journalist in the Twin Cities, and covered the Twins on radio with WCCO and Herb Carneal from 1961 to 1972. He passed away in 1977 at age 79, but the legend lives on, and the local branch for SABR is named the Halsey Hall chapter.

They’ve put a nice little bio of Halsey on line, it’s practically mandatory reading for all true fans of the Minnesota Twins.

Holy cow!

Halsey said it first, and he said it best.

Hall Carneal and Scott

Good game, Halsey

Best Cup of Coffee Ever?

While looking into Red Bird’s brief career, I came across this career line:good coffee
1 Game, 5 plate appearances, 3 at bats, 3 hits, 2 walks, 4 runs, 3 rbis

John Paciorek was 18 when the Houston Colt 45’s called him up to close out the season with the big club. He’d spent just one season in the minors, and only hit .219 with the Modesto Colts. Additionally, he’d injured his back and shoulder late in the season, and was told to rest. However the Houston club brought him and six other rookies up to play in the last game of the season, September 29, 1963.

If this was a ploy to get fans in the seats, it doesn’t seem to have worked, as the box score puts attendance that day at 3899 for the day. This was just the second year of existence for both clubs, and their records were not so great. (Houston, 66-96, NY 51-111). The thrill of seeing “major league baseball” may have worn off for the Houston fans. But the Astros, excuse me, the Colt 45s, had some pretty good players in their line-up that day: Rusty Staub, Jimmy Wynn, and Joe Morgan in particular. And led by Paciorek they pounded the Mets, 13-4.

john paciorek 1963 c sm

After that performance, Paciorek was considered as a sure bet to make the roster in ’64, but he had a terrible spring and was sent down. In the minors that year he hit only .135, and his season ended with spinal fusion surgery, which pretty much explains the .135 average. Recovering from surgery cost him both the ’64 and ’65 seasons. He came back in ’66, playing in Houston’s minor leagues in ’66 and ’67, and in the Cleveland minor leagues in ’68, where he was finally seeming to come around, hitting .268 with 20 home runs. In ’69 he was promoted to AA ball, but then he tore his Achilles tendon early in the season, and that injury finally ended his pro ball career.Paciorek Box Score - NYT - 9-30-63 b

Looking at his career, that’s a lot of pain and suffering and probably heart-ache. He was obviously playing with injuries for way too long, and not being able to perform season after season must have been hard. I wonder if he considered a different career while he was recovering from back surgery? What did he do for those two years? Was he still in baseball? Back surgery in ’63 was probably not a cake-walk. I wonder how much his 3 for 3 day impacted the choices he made?

After baseball John had a successful career in coaching, and wrote a couple of books about baseball. John’s 74 years old now. Hope his health is good and that he’s still enjoying the game.

Also…

 

While looking into Paciorek’s cup of coffee, I came across this picture of the Bulldog, signing balls, preparing for the upcoming World Series against the Dodgers. (Which the Dodgers managed to sweep, by the way, 4-0. Tough luck, Bulldog.)

Bouton - NYT - 9-30-63 b fr

 

And..

Those Twins are pounding the ball, by the way. 21 home runs in the last five games? Holy Cow, as Halsey Hall might say.

The boys are 15-9 and a game up over the Naps.

It’s nice to be in first…

A Morning Cup of Coffee

(4/25/19)

Happy (belated) Birthday Red Bird!

Bird1 - WashTimes9-18-21

James Edward “Red” Bird was born on this date in 1890. He pitched for the Washington Senators back in 1921, at age 31. One game. Saturday, Sept 17, 1921. Relief. Five innings pitched, five hits, 3 runs, a walk, 2 strikeouts. One at bat. One Strike out.

The Washington Times was there to cover the action, and reports that Bird was “well received by the fans,” whatever that means. Perhaps fans then were more discerning, and sometimes booed the new guys coming up from the minors? That seems hard to believe.

The independent minor leagues of the day made baseball ownership a bit more entrepreneurial back then. Or something. Mercantile?  This article, (below,) from the same Times, 13 September, reports that Griffith went out and got some new players at the behest of the fans. (Really?) In any case, for whatever reason, Griffith went out shopping in the minor leagues, and came back with a number of “prospects” for the club. Besides Red Bird, “a southpaw from Shreveport in the Texas League,” there were a couple of pretty good players in that shopping cart: fella name of Goose Goslin, from Columbia in the Sally League, fella name of Ossie Bluege from Peoria in the Three I League.

Bird5 - WashTimes 9-13-21

Also a guy named McIree, a northpaw from Virginia Minnesota (no league.) I wonder if McIree ever made it to the bigs?

All told, Griffith harvests 12 new players from the hinterlands. Nothing like a little new blood to motivate your players and stir a little fan interest at the end of a long season.

Anyway, Bird gets his cup of coffee in the bigs. The reporter is fairly positive about his performance, but perhaps for 31-year-old rookies trying to make it big, you cut them some slack.

He calls Bird “a well put-up southpaw from the Texas League…” I wonder what he meant by that. Was Bird highly touted? A prize catch? A sturdy lad?

Bird comes in in the 5th and does as well as anyone could ask, the reporter says, except for the 7th inning. I guess one bad inning out of five isn’t so bad. Bird gives up a single in the fifth, and hits a batter, but nobody scores. Sixth inning, nobody scores. Then in the 7th, with one out, a walk, a single, and Sewell nails a well-hit triple to left-center. Rice was apparently playing over in right center with Sewell at bat, and couldn’t flag it down. But the hit was a hummer, maybe Rice couldn’t have got it in any case, so what can you do? A sacrifice fly brings Sewell home, and three runs are on the board against Mr. Bird.

“Bird disposed of the foe in good style in the remaining two innings.”

So. Not so bad. One rocky inning. One good hit, really. If Sewell flies out to Rice, maybe nobody scores. Maybe Bird plays a few more games, settles down, has himself a major league career, instead of a cup of coffee. But that’s the way baseball go. I wonder what became of Red Bird after his cup of coffee. Did he stick with the club for the rest of the season? Was he let go the next day?

Baseball Reference.com tells us that Bird went 17-12 with Shreveport in 1921, with a 3.76 ERA. In 1922 he was back with Shreveport, but had less fun, going 9-13, with a 4.59 ERA. In 1923 he started the year with the Shreveport club, then went to Memphis in the Southern League, where he went 11-11, and then on to Mobile. In 1924 he started at Galveston, back in the Texas League, then went back to the Southern League, to Mobile and Nashville. In 1925, Texas league, Waco and then Houston. His record was 19-11 in ’25, but more detail than that is lacking. In ’26 and ’27 the peripatetic Red Bird landed in Fort Worth, and he finished out his career there in the Texas League. Red Bird

I looked around a bit in old newspapers for a picture of Red, but found nothing. Baseball Reference has an old picture, looks like from a newspaper, not very good quality, but the best available.

Red passed away 23 March 1972 in Murfreesboro, Arkansas, at age 81, and he’s buried in Stephenville, Texas, where he was born. Back in the Texas League again.

Good game, Red.

Bird3 - WashTimes9-18-21 (1)

 

Sweep!

I have not found a good source of data on a team’s record in doubleheaders. I’m sure there must be a source out there that will tell you everything you want to know about twin bills, and will tell you when the last time the Twins swept a double header. But I did not find it. I should look a little harder, probably.

I figured the Twins had not swept a double header since, oh, 1991, maybe. Or maybe in the late 60’s. But no. I was wrong. A very reliable source — this very blog — tells me that the Twins swept a double header in 2013. And in 2014.

Being a Twins fan, I think it’s Highly Unlikely that they’ve swept a doubleheader since then. Twins fans usually go into doubleheaders with nervous trepidation, hoping for — best of all possible worlds — a split, with a win in the first game so we can relax a bit in the second. It would be interesting to know the Twins overall record in Doubleheaders. I would guess something like 5 sweeps, 17 splits, and 46 swepts. That’s what it feels like, anyway. Statistics be damned.

Back in 2013 and 2014 I don’t even mention the hapless team that we victimized. I was probably stunned. Perhaps I didn’t want to embarrass the other team in print. I’m all old-school, and I’m sure I would have said something like, good games, the breaks just happened to go our way today.

Not only did they sweep, yesterday, the Orioles, by the way, they also knocked the ball around quite a bit. Three players hit two home runs, Rosario, Cruz, Garver, and the boys hit 11 homers total, 8 in game two, as they took the first game 6-5 behind Berrios, and game two, 16-7, behind Perez. How often do three players hit 2 home runs in an away game doubleheader? Well, you can look it up, maybe. Or maybe this is a first. Either way, it’s fun.

And thusly we tie the Naps of Cleveland for first in the junior circuit mid-america division.

It was interesting looking back at those old blog posts. Hicks and Florimon and Doumit and Butera and Parmalee and the Great Colabello. Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio? Time moves on. The players come and go. Young rookies turn into seasoned vets turn into, god forbid, managers. We fans, happily, stay the same age forever.

And I find it interesting to note that I had a blog category for “losing,” but not for “winning.” Very telling, I suppose.

And now, the return of…

 

Doubleheader

Two wins in one day!
Ha! Show me a better team!
That was yesterday.

Frenchy Bordagaray

…passed away on this date in 2000, age 90.

Frenchy was the guy who raced a horse in a hundred yard dash. He lost by a few feet. I wonder if more than one guy has done that. That was probably the measure of pure speed back then. Are you faster than a horse? A lot of baseball clubs probably kept a horse around, just for measuring player speed. Oh, those were the days.

He also got fined one time for spitting on an ump, (I’m sure it was accidental,) and said something like “The fine was a bit more than I expectorated.”

When he showed up to training camp in ’36 sporting a mustache and goatee, it was a pretty big deal. Ball players were clean-shaven in those days. Probably most guys were. It was a clean-shaven era. (Our era: the “anything-goes” era. Interesting cultural shift, where facial hair just isn’t very interesting any more, not for more than a few seconds.) Anyway, it was a pretty big deal. Wikipedia reports that it was due to a bit-part in a movie, but I haven’t tracked that down. I did find this article, (Washington Evening Star, 17 March 1936) though:

Boy, they don’t write ’em like that anymore!

However, it was too good to last, I guess. Here’s from the Star, just six days later.

I had read elsewhere that ol’ Casey made him shave off the ‘stache, saying “if anyone’s going to be a clown around here, it’s me.” Sounds like something Casey would say, but I didn’t find the quote in the papers. Could have been made up by a sportswriter. It may have been more fun being a sportswriter back then.

Other than the mustache incident, Bordagaray had a pretty nice career. Eleven years in the bigs, a .283 lifetime average.

I bought an old card of Frenchy a while back, because his name was Frenchy and I thought he looked like a philosophical chap.

Good game, Frenchy. Way to make the game fun.

Also, I love the old graphics in newspapers.

Twins Knock Phils

Twins are 5-2 now, after a nice 6-2 win against Philly, played under more baseball-like conditions. Kepler and la Tortuga led off the scoring with back to back homers in the third.

Buxton made a nice throw home in the sixth on a fly ball to nail Harper at the plate, keeping the game at 3-1. But I thought Astudillo was the key to that play, catching the ball and hanging on as he immediately tagged a flying Harper. I would not like to be the catcher waiting for the throw at home with Harper bearing down on me.

Astudillo focused and made the play.

La Tortuga comes through in the clutch.