March 25, 2016

Remembering Calvin Coolidge Ermer, baseball manager

Calvin Coolidge Ermer, who managed the Twins for part of 1967 and all of 1968, is one of 991 players in major league history to appear in one game, according to Baseball-Reference.com.

That moment for Ermer, better known as a “cup of coffee” in baseball terms, came on Sept. 26, 1947 with the Washington Senators. He played second base, batted eighth in the lineup, and recorded no hits in three at bats. Still, the Senators won, defeating the Philadelphia A’s — who were led by Hall of Fame manager Connie Mack — 4-3.

And that was it for Ermer and his big league experience as a player.

But for the remainder of his professional career, which would last until 1984, Ermer would become one of the winningest minor league managers in the game, placing him among the top 20 in terms of total wins with more than 1,900 — most of it spent with the Senators and Twins. He managed at all levels in the minors and even won 145 games leading the Twins.

During his minor league managing career he made stops in Tennessee, Alabama, Ohio, Virginia, Colorado, Washington state and Ohio again, where he managed the Toledo Mud Hens until 1984.

In Washington state, he spent three seasons leading the Tacoma Twins from 1974 to 1976. Among those that Ermer managed in Tacoma:

-Randy Bass: Bass was a good minor leaguer, a not-so-good big leaguer and a God-like revelation in Japan, where he played six seasons for the Osaka area Hanshin Tigers. How good was he? In 1985, he hit .350, 54 home runs, drove in 134 runs and accomplished all of it in 126 games. Bass was elected to the Oklahoma State Legislature in 2004.

 

-Lyman Bostock: Bostock, who hit .333 for Tacoma in 1974, would go on to establish himself as a .300 hitter with the Twins. Bostock was shot and killed toward the end of the 1977 season.

-Tom Kelly: Kelly, who apparently was popular enough to earn a plaque at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma, went on to manage the Twins to 1,140 wins, including World Series wins in 1987 and 1991.

-Dave Goltz: Pitcher Goltz would go on to win 20 games for the Twins in 1977, finishing the year with a record of 20-11 and an ERA of 3.36. He finished sixth in the AL Cy Young vote that year, according to Baseball-Reference.com. The winner was Yankees’ relief pitcher Sparky Lyle.

-Rob Wilfong: Second baseman Wilfong would hit .313 for the Twins in 1979, his best season over a 10-year career spent mostly with the Twins and Angels.

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.