November 25, 2015

Twins Hall of Famer Rod Carew awaits heart transplant

Rod Carew, who accumulated 3,053 hits for the Twins and Angels en route to a 1991 induction into the Hall of Fame, nearly left us in September.

Rod Carew

That’s when Carew, now 70, suffered a massive heart attack while playing golf by himself in California, according to Sports Illustrated and writer Steve Rushin, who recently produced a poignant piece about Carew, his heart attack and his life.
For a star as big as Carew, who once hit .388, life hasn’t been all that easy. For one, there’s the matter of his heart, which is functioning only because doctors performed a six-hour surgery to install a left ventricular assist device. That bit of equipment apparently makes sure that blood is pumped through the heart.
More from Sports Illustrated:

Some patients keep the LVAD permanently when transplantation is not an option. At 70, Carew is near the age border for a transplant, though age standards are considerably more liberal in the western United States, where waiting lists are shorter. “I don’t know if I’m going to be bionic or what,” says Carew, who is concentrating now on becoming healthy enough to qualify for the transplant list.

The news about Carew’s heart attack was shocking enough, but the details about some of the challenges he has faced over the years were just as eye opening. Carew may have “lined, chopped and bunted” his way to 3,053 hits, but life took a couple cuts as well.

Among them: As a child, Carew was routinely beaten by his father. And at 50, he lost his 18-year-old daughter to leukemia, according to the SI story.

Despite his current challenge, Carew is still with us and his contributions to the game will live on forever. The numbers are incredible:

-Seven batting titles.

-Fifteen consecutive seasons of hitting over .300.

-AL Rookie of the Year in 1967 and AL MVP in 1977.

-Lifetime batting average of .328.

-Named to 18-straight All-Star teams.

-Carew’s MVP season: 239 hits, 128 runs scored, 100 RBIs, 38 doubles, 16 triples, 14 home runs, 23 stolen bases and he hit .388.

Wow.

Photo credit: By Tito Herrera (Untitled) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

COMMENTS

Hi, I’m Rolf Boone and I love the Twins.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.