October 20, 2018

Let’s remember a time when the forerunner of the Twins crushed the Red Sox, Part 4

The Boston Red Sox are back in the World Series after knocking off the Houston Astros in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series. If the new Evil Empire has you down, read on.

The year is 1917, and on the second-to-last day of the regular season, the Washington Senators, who would eventually become the Minnesota Twins, pay a visit to Fenway Park to play the Red Sox. The Red Sox have had a good year, while the Senators, as they so often were, are out of the running again.

Despite another winning season for the Red Sox, only 2,070 fans bother to show up for the Oct. 3 game, according to Baseball-Reference.com. Why so few? Perhaps people are distracted. The world is at war, including the U.S., which joined the fight in April of that year.

But for those who did attend the game, did they have any idea of what was to become of the two pitchers who took the mound? For the Senators, Walter Johnson gets the ball, and for the Red Sox, Babe Ruth. Yes, that Babe Ruth.

Walter Johnson

As great a player as Ruth was, he was nowhere near Johnson’s equal on the mound. Johnson gets to work and pitches a complete game shutout in ONE HOUR AND FORTY MINUTES to beat the Red Sox, 6-0. It wasn’t a blowout win because this is still the dead ball era when runs are hard to come by. Johnson also helps his own cause by driving in three of the team’s six runs. Ruth goes the distance, too, but gives up six runs on 11 hits.

What would become of these two?

Johnson would go on to win 417 games, pitch 531 complete games, hurl 110 shutouts, strike out 3,500 batters and do it over 21 seasons with a 2.17 ERA. The numbers are mind boggling.

Ruth would win 94 games as a pitcher before becoming the most famous baseball slugger of all time. Over 22 seasons, he would hit 714 home runs, drive in more than 2,000 runs, walk more than 2,000 times and he never struck out more than 100 times in a season. He hit .342 for his career.

Johnson and Ruth, along with Ty Cobb, Christy Mathewson and Honus Wagner, were in the inaugural Hall of Fame class of 1936.

Cobb on Johnson:

The first time I faced him, I watched him take that easy windup. And then something went past me that made me flinch. The thing just hissed with danger. We couldn’t touch him. … every one of us knew we’d met the most powerful arm ever turned loose in a ball park.

October 18, 2018

Let’s remember a time when the Twins crushed the Red Sox, Part 3

The Boston Red Sox beat the Houston Astros again Wednesday night and now have a commanding 3-1 lead in the seven-game series. If you’re rooting against the Red Sox, keep reading. That’s because this is another installment of a time when the Red Sox had no answer for the Twins. It happened in 1977, it... Continue Reading »

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... Continue Reading »

October 6, 2018

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

The Boston Red Sox beat the New York Yankees on Friday in Game 1 of their playoff series. But I’m no fan of either team, so let’s remember the year 1977 when the Twins rolled into Fenway Park for a doubleheader and blew the doors off the place. Of course, I was too young to... Continue Reading »

October 3, 2018

We hardly knew ye, Paul Molitor

You need look no further than the Twins to see how much baseball has changed. I say that after Twins manager, Paul Molitor, was fired Tuesday. It’s a reminder that the young executives running baseball teams today, executives armed with numbers and statistics, are going to run them so that the formulas work. And if... Continue Reading »

October 1, 2018

That’s all, folks (and maybe that’s it for Joe Mauer, too)

So, where was this all season? That’s the question Twins fans might be pondering after the Twins took two of three games from the Detroit Tigers and then swept the four-game series against the Chicago White Sox, including Sunday’s 5-4 win on the last day of the 2018 season. The result is that the Twins... Continue Reading »

September 28, 2018

Twins’ Astudillo strikes out for first time in a month

Internet sensation and stat geek favorite, Willians Astudillo, who has established that he hits and only hits, struck out Thursday in the Twins’ 9-3 rout of the Detroit Tigers. What’s so remarkable about that? It was his first strikeout in a month and only his third in 26 games, according to MLB.com. Meanwhile, Astudillo and... Continue Reading »

September 27, 2018

What I really want to talk about is the ‘opener’

Never mind that the Twins beat the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday — which is all fine and well, of course — because I’m more interested in the experiment that keeps on giving. Once again I’m talking about the “opener,” in which a reliever starts a game to tee up the primary pitcher for an effecting... Continue Reading »

September 25, 2018

Kyle Gibson and the fire next time

Before the 2018 season began, Kyle Gibson went to salary arbitration against his employer, the Twins, and lost, settling for $4.2 million for this season after seeking $4.55 million. I imagine he sought that higher amount based on his second-half performance in 2017, which saw him finally shake off his inconsistent ways and win more... Continue Reading »

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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.