May 28, 2018

The day Johnny Goryl grounded out on May 22, 1959

Johnny Goryl was a player, base coach and manager for the Twins, but before he was connected to the Twins organization, Goryl played for the Chicago Cubs, according to “The Long Season,” a book by Jim Brosnan, a former reliever for the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds.

My interest in typewriters led me to Oz Typewriter, an excellent blog on typewriters and those who use them, and it was there that I first learned about Brosnan the pitcher and writer. In addition to “The Long Season,” his account of the 1959 season, he also wrote “Pennant Race,” which is about the Reds’ run to the pennant in 1961.

Whenever I’m about to read a new baseball book, I tend to flip to the index to see whether any former Twins will make an appearance in the book. If so, it just might be fodder for this blog. I did the same with “The Long Season,” and there it was, a reference to Goryl when he was with the Cubs. Then I flipped to that specific page and here’s what I found:

“Goryl hit the first pitch on the ground to my right.”

And that was it. That was the only reference to Goryl in the entire book.

Despite the brief account of Goryl grounding out on May 22, 1959, “The Long Season” has still been an enjoyable read. And yet… after watching the Twins get swept by the Seattle Mariners over the weekend, that sentence has stayed with me. In fact, perhaps it’s a fitting symbol for the lackluster, underwhelming and punchless display of baseball we’ve seen from the Twins these first two months of the season.

The Twins scored five runs in three games against the Mariners, including one run in Sunday’s loss, in which starter Jose Berrios struck out eight over seven-plus innings and limited the M’s to two runs. On most teams, that’s a win, but the Twins couldn’t do anything, for some reason, against Mike Leake and his 5.46 ERA. Seriously? The Twins had four hits on Sunday and Eddie Rosario had two of those hits. They also were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position.

Lance Lynn gets the ball Monday versus the Kansas City Royals. Maybe the Twins can beat the Royals.

Extra innings…

-After Berrios was lifted for a reliever in the seventh inning of Sunday’s game, Ryan Pressly came in and struck out Nelson Cruz on four pitches and was done. He stepped aside for Zach Duke and Addison Reed, who gave up three hits and the game, although Berrios took the loss. But why remove Pressly? I know the Twins were most likely considering matchups and the percentages, but Pressly appeared to have no problem with Cruz. In that moment, I like the pitcher with the hot hand.

-Phil Hughes was traded Sunday to the San Diego Padres in exchange for minor league catcher, Janigson Villalobos.

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.