October 13, 2018

Let’s remember a time when the Twins crushed the Red Sox, Part 2

The Boston Red Sox had no trouble with the New York Yankees and will now face the Houston Astros in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series later today. But before the coronation continues (Boston wins, right?), let’s remember a time when Beantown was flat on its back and had no answer for those upstart Twins.

The year was 1965 and the Twins are riding high. They can hit, they can pitch and they rolled to 102 wins and a postseason berth in the World Series opposite the Los Angeles Dodgers. Along the way, they absolutely dominated the Red Sox that year, as well as in 1966. Over two seasons, the Twins were 29-7 versus the Sox, including 17 straight wins from late May of ’65 through early in the season of ’66.

Before the winning streak even began, the Twins rolled into Boston on May 25, 1965 and gave the team hell before only 9,500 at Fenway Park, according to Baseball-Reference.com.

Jim “Mudcat” Grant took the mound, and the Twins backed him with 17 runs on 20 hits, including five home runs, four doubles and one triple. Who hit the triple? Grant did. The designated hitter rule would not take effect until the early 1970s, so the bat was still in Grant’s hand. He tripled off a Boston reliever.

The Twins also had plenty of clutch hitting. They hit eight, two-out RBI in the game, getting contributions from Earl Battey, Tony Oliva, Zoilo Versalles and Jerry Kindall. The Twins scored two runs in the top of the first inning, then exploded for 15 runs from the fourth inning on. The final was 17-5, Twins.

Grant went the distance and improved to 5-0 with a 3.34 ERA. Grant had his best professional year in baseball in ’65, finishing 21-7 with a 3.30 ERA. He was named an all-star that year and finished sixth in the MVP vote, according to Baseball-Reference.com.

Extra innings…

-There are a lot of names floating around now that Paul Molitor is no longer managing the Twins. Here are just two of those names, according to MLB Trade Rumors, citing a report by sportswriter, Jon Heyman.

Giants bench coach Hensley Meulens is “in play” for the Twins’ vacancy. Meulens has been a popular candidate in previous managerial searches and has 15 years of coaching experience –mostly as a hitting coach. The Curacao native has also managed Team Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic. Heyman adds that Astros bench coach Joe Espada is also on Minnesota’s radar. Espada is in his first season as Alex Cora’s successor in that role, and he’s already drawn reported interest from the Angels and the Rangers in their own managerial searches.

Others who have been mentioned: Twins hitting coach James Rowson and Twins bench coach, Derek Shelton; former players, Mark DeRosa and David Ross; Tampa Bay Rays field coordinator Rocco Baldelli, Brewers bench coach Pat Murphy and Indians bench coach, Brad Mills.

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.