November 25, 2019

The day the Twins’ Mike Cubbage bailed out over an old flame

It’s back to the well with another look at “The Baseball Codes,” a book about the unwritten rules of the game, including the business of beanballs. Hitting a batter, it turns out, is not always about retaliating after the batter takes the pitcher deep, or tosses the bat too far, or stares too intently at the ball leaving the ballpark. Sometimes, it’s about off-the-field issues. 

A week ago we learned that former Twins pitcher Bert Blyleven beaned ex-Oriole Phil Bradley in 1990 because of “Bradley’s hard-line stance in labor negotiations that, in Blyleven’s opinion, prolonged settlement of the 32-day lockout that delayed the start of the season.”

And then there was the time an old flame came between pitcher and hitter.

On July 10, 1977, the Twins’ Mike Cubbage, who spent five seasons with the club as an infielder, found himself bailing out of the batter’s box four times after Seattle Mariners pitcher Stan Thomas repeatedly tried to hit him. The year 1977 was the M’s inaugural season.

Thomas “uncorked four wild pitches in the first two innings against Minnesota. All four, including three in the first inning, were aimed at the head of Cubbage in response to a five-year-old tiff over a woman the pair knew when they were minor-league teammates.”

“Thomas got his priorities mixed up today,” Cubbage later said. “He’s supposed to be trying to win a game instead of throwing at me.”

It would be a long afternoon for the Mariners because the Twins rolled to a 15-0 win, scoring all those runs on 16 hits. Roy Smalley doubled twice, Cubbage tripled and Dan Ford hit a home run, but the rest of those hits were all singles. Rod Carew was hitting .401 and Lyman Bostock had three hits in six at bats to raise his average to .333.

The Twins led 7-0 after three innings, then scored eight more runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings. Mariners pitching walked nine batters that afternoon.

Twins pitcher Geoff Zahn, who spent four seasons with the Twins, pitched a complete game three-hitter with a walk and six strikeouts.

The M’s Thomas allowed five runs (four earned) on three hits with two walks, including the aforementioned wild pitches, in an inning of work. He never pitched in the majors again after the ‘77 season.

Sources: The Baseball Codes: Beanballs, Sign Stealing, and Bench-Clearing Brawls: The Unwritten Rules of America’s Pastime by Jason Turbow and Michael Duca;

November 18, 2019

The day Bert Blyleven beaned a batter over a labor dispute

As the baseball offseason rolls on, the need for content for this blog rolls on, too, and that means reading various books about the game to find an interesting Twins-related nugget. In 2010, Jason Turbow and Michael Duca published “The Baseball Codes,” a book about the unwritten rules of the game regarding a number of... Continue Reading »

November 10, 2019

Twins’ Baldelli will win AL Manager of the Year award, but he shouldn’t

Despite the record number of home runs, the number of runs scored, the number of team wins (second most in franchise history) and any number of things that Twins manager, Rocco Baldelli, did right this season, he does not deserve to be AL Manager of the Year. Oh, he’s going to win the award, of... Continue Reading »

November 4, 2019

The day the Twins gave up 9 stolen bases and still won

In 1976, Gene Mauch took over as Twins manager, Rod Carew hit better than .330 and the club would go on to have one of its best seasons since 1970. They were especially good down the stretch — 21-8 in September and October — but in mid-May they were still trying to overcome a slow... Continue Reading »

October 28, 2019

P.G. Wodehouse: novelist, lyricist, Mets fan

English author, Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, a widely read comic novelist of the 20th century who wrote nearly 100 books, but who also contributed lyrics to musicals and dabbled in Hollywood, became a baseball fan after he settled in the U.S. Wodehouse was essentially unwelcome in his native England after he unwittingly participated in what amounted... Continue Reading »

October 21, 2019

Let’s spend a few moments with Leroy Robert Paige, baseball’s greatest pitcher

Satchel Paige, the best pitcher of all time,* is wonderfully remembered in “Bill Veeck: Baseball’s Greatest Maverick,” a biography of the legendary team owner and promoter by Paul Dickson. (I’m sure there’s a great biography of Paige as well, but, for the moment, I’ve read the Veeck book, which was published in 2012). According to... Continue Reading »

October 14, 2019

The Twins are cursed. But why?

I’m not sure there’s anything that can explain the Twins’ futility against the New York Yankees. Except perhaps a curse. There has to be a curse, right? How else do you go 2-16 against the Yanks in the postseason since 2004? And the record-setting 2019 team, which won 101 games and hit 307 home runs,... Continue Reading »

October 8, 2019

No words, a poem

October 5, 2019

Twins fall to 2-14 against Yankees in postseason

Fucking Yankees. Continue Reading »

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Hi, I’m Rolf Boone, Twins fan.

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.