Happy Birthday McKinley Wheat

Yup. Zach’s younger half-brother Mack was born on 9 June 1893. Mack was a catcher, played a bit with Zach on the Brooklyn Robins, and also played for the Phillies. He finished out his career in 1922 with LA in the Pacific Coast League, where it looks like he played in three games, going 0 for 2 at the plate. Still, he got a pretty nice baseball card out of the deal.

Mack was not quite as good a hitter as Zach, finishing up with a batting average of .204 in just over 600 plate appearances over 7 seasons in the majors. Still: seven years in the majors. Perhaps he was an excellent windpaddist.

Also of note in baseball history today, the Twins hit five home runs in the seventh inning against the Angels in 1966, the first time in the American League there was ever a five home run inning. Rollins, Versalles, Oliva, Mincher, and then, finishing up, the fat kid, Harmon Killebrew. True Twins fans know that the game was never in the bag, but the Twins did manage to hang on somehow to win it, 9-4.

And then, some years later, the great Zoilo Casanova Versalles passed away on 9 June, 1995. American League MVP in 1965, leading the Twins to the World Series. Good game, Zoilo.

Zach Wheat

Happy Birthday Zach Wheat! Born 23 May, 1888.

Lifetime batting average, .317, with 2884 hits. Played for the Millers a bit, in 1928. One of the best baseball names ever.

“One of the grandest guys ever to wear a baseball uniform, one of the greatest batting teachers I have seen, one of the truest pals a man ever (had) and one of the kindliest men God ever created.”

– Casey Stengel

Passed away 11 May, 1972.

Good game, Zach!

Vargas. With an HR.

So far, so good.

If you are a Twins fan you have to be pretty happy with the way the team is playing this year. Last night, a two-run pinch hit home run by Kennys Vargas ties the game up in the bottom of the 9th, and a fly-ball by Polanco brings Mauer in to score in the 10th for the win over KC.

Hector Santiago gave up 3 runs in his five innings, and Duffy, Belisle, Rogers, and Kintzler (W) shut the door after that.

Last year at this time: 10-28. (ouch.)

Today’s a rain out, and, so, a very good day to read a book about baseball. I have been busy in that regard, and have read some excellent books, and I’ll leave that teaser there for another post.

 

 

walk-off

Joe Mauer gets his first career walk-off homer last night as the Twins take one from Boston. As all Twins fans know, a Twins game isn’t over until it’s OVER. That is to say, the Twins took a 3-1 lead into the top of the ninth, and started the bottom of the frame tied 3-3. Nothing is ever really in the bag for the Twins, except for this, the walk-off HR in the bottom of the ninth. That’s a lead that’s pretty safe. In the bag. Put it in the win column. Touch ’em all, Joe Mauer.

The boys have been showing some resiliency this season. Or maybe it’s just that Ervin Santana has been untouchable? No, I guess there’s a bit more too it than that. But, as we say in Minnesota, So Far, So Good.

Rosario Rocks

Eddie Rosario finds a four-seam fastball in a convenient location and sends it air-express to a fan in the centerfield bleachers. His first homer of the year drives in three and puts the Twins up 6-3 against the Tigers in the sixth. That’s how it ends, and the boys are back at .500 and within a game of the division leading Spiders of Cleveland.

Afternoon games coming up Saturday and Sunday; good seats are still available!

 

 

…and it’s nice to be back in first place

The Twins found some hits yesterday, and beat Detroit 11-5 in Detroit, moving back into a first place tie wit dem Tigers. They unleashed the heavy lumber, as Grossman, Kepler and Sano all homered, and the boys came back from an early 2-0 deficit to grab an 11-2 lead in the 6th. Hughes goes 5 and two-thirds for the win, gives up a couple of homers himself, five hits and three walks, but also strikes out five.

Tomorrow, a home game against the Pale Hose.

Last season at this time: 0 – 9. Ugh.

 

Saturday evening, April 30th, 1904: “Brilliantly played Game”

The millers won a tight one in Louisville yesterday, 2-1, a “brilliantly played game,” according to our man in Louisville, though there were four errors in the game. Gene Ford got the win, giving up 6 hits and a walk while striking out five. Ford also scored the winning run in the sixth, getting a hit, going to second on a sacrifice, to third on an error, and coming home on a fielder’s choice. It’s miller time!

The colonels lone run came in the second. Brashear singled, then went from first to third on an infield out, a grounder to short. Not sure how that’s possible, but there it is, black and white. Brashear must have blazing speed? Anyway, he then scored (probably easily) on a fly-ball out. Denny Sullivan tied it up for the millers in the bottom of the frame (YES, the millers are batting last, though the game’s in Louisville. What’s up with that?) hitting a long home run (!) into the center field pasture.

Catcher Weaver has a cannon for an arm, apparently, catching four of the five colonels attempting to steal. McNichol was at third again, and handled eight changes without “a skip.” He also dazzled in a double play in the ninth: with runners on first and second, Hart hit a stinger down to McNichol. He stepped on third for one and tossed across to Lally, but too late to catch the speedy Hart. Lally, though, noted that the runner from first had rounded second and was headed to third, and he gunned the ball back across the diamond to McNichol, who applied the tag for the out. Score that 5-3-5, folks, and some heads-up ball by the millers. The colonels love to run too, apparently.

Meanwhile, our scribe gets a few column inches to provide analysis, and, yes, the millers are speedy. Speedy speedy speedy. Everybody agrees. Can we give it a rest for awhile?

Our scribe is highly optimistic that the club will come home from this road trip above the .500 mark. It’s a shame that they only got to play one game against the Columbus team, because the millers clearly outclassed the Ohioans, and they probably would have won two or three games, if they could only have been played. (Instead of just losing the one game, which was, I guess, an anomaly.)

The pitching has been good, though Ford reported late, so he’s still a question mark. (Analysis apparently done pre-game, as Ford rocked the colonels.) Katoll’s arm, meanwhile, is still said to be in good shape, but Watkins “intends to save Big Katoll until warm weather arrives.” But his arm is fine. But he doesn’t want to take any chances. But his arm is healthy. (Why do I think that Katoll’s got a bad arm? I don’t know, but I suspect he won’t make it through the season. Watty should be looking for more pitching.)

McNichol and Demontreville are having a good contest for third base, with McNichol playing a bit better, but Demontreville has not been released yet because of Fox’s sickness. It looks like Watty will hang onto them both for two or three weeks. Fox is in there playing, yesterday, but I guess Watkins like to have a little depth on the bench.

Hitting is a concern. Only 51 safeties in six games, our analyst reports, which, using a little 1904 sabremetrics, breaks out to just eight and a half hits per game: “This is not good enough batting to suit the fans entirely, but six games is hardly a criterion of the team’s real strength.”  Yes, I think I get what he’s trying to say. He’s right. Hardly a criterion.

Finally, catcher Weaver looks good, as does Leslie. Our reporter thinks that Leslie will probably play most of the games, as long as he keeps hitting.

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Meanwhile, at UW Madison, it’s the same old same old.

“Seranaded the professors?” I can imagine what that was like. But I’m not sure what happened with the “vaudeville performance.” Why do I suspect that beer was heavily involved with this? Anyway, thank the lord that the police were on hand to break up the shenanigans. I suspect that that’s the last we’ll hear of Mr. Larue of Chicago and Mr. Davies of Davenport.