I’ve been a fan of the team since the early 1980s, but I had no idea until today that Twins Hall of Famer Rod Carew collected his 3,000th hit against the Twins — the same team that was his home for 12 seasons until he was traded to the California Angels in exchange for four players in 1979.
Rod Carew's 3,000th hit came off of Frank Viola. Crazy how well he covered the zone on that pitch. pic.twitter.com/GACiDHOFBm
— Parker Hageman (@ParkerHageman) February 28, 2016
Hit No. 3,000 came on Aug. 4, 1985, the Angels hosting the Twins in Anaheim before 41,000 fans. The Gene Mauch-led Angels were in first place that afternoon with a record of 60-44, while the Twins were in sixth place, 10 games under .500 and 13 games back in the division. Mauch also managed the Twins from 1976 to 1980.
On the mound for the Twins was Frank Viola, the team’s ace.
Viola, better known as “Sweet Music,” won 112 games in eight seasons with the Twins, including 18 in 1985 and 24 in 1988, the year he won the American League Cy Young award. Viola would also win 20 games in the National League with the Mets in 1990 and finally end his career with stops in Boston, Cincinnati and Toronto. For his career he won 176 games.
Viola gave up the hit to Carew in the bottom of the third inning. He didn’t figure in the decision because the Twins came back to tie the game, 5-5, only to eventually lose, 6-5. Carew had only one hit in five at bats that day but one was all he needed. That season was his last.
He retired from the game at age 39 with a batting average of .280 — his lowest average since 1968 when he hit .273. In between, he hit .350 or better five times, including .388 in 1977, the same year he won the AL MVP award. He entered the Hall of Fame in 1991 with a career batting average of .328 and 3,053 hits.
Video credit: Parker Hageman of TwinsDaily.com
Photo credit: By Jim Accordino (The Great Rod Carew) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons