Once again I fell down the rabbit hole that is the internet and came across a wild Twins game played in June 1977. I found my way to this tilt after reading about the history of Metropolitan Stadium, otherwise known as the Met, that the Twins called home from 1961 to 1981. It was a notable game for several reasons, including the number of fans in the stands, a new regular-season record for the Met, according to the Society for American Baseball Research.
The Twins, powered that season by infielder Rod Carew, got off to a strong start and were 29-17 after two months of play. Throw in a “jersey day” for fans and more than 46,000 showed up to see the Twins take on the Chicago White Sox on June 26, 1977.
The Twins roared out of the gates on that 87-degree day, scoring 19 runs on 18 hits. The Twins’ Glenn Adams hit a grand slam, but it was Carew, still flirting with .400 to that point, the fans came to see. He didn’t disappoint, collecting four hits in five trips to the plate, including a double and home run. He scored five runs, drove in six and earned a free pass to exit the game with a .403 batting average. White Sox pitcher, Steve Stone, was chased after only five outs, allowing eight runs, all earned.
Meanwhile, the game was almost as interesting off the field. A fan climbed the left field foul pole, and due to the size of the home field crowd, about 100 children got lost and had to be reunited with their parents, according to SABR. The home plate umpire, in his first season of major league umpiring was Steve Palermo, who would later be shot in 1991 and paralyzed for several years after trying to interrupt a mugging outside a Texas restaurant.
But as good as the Twins were to start the season, it ended badly for the club and manager, Gene Mauch, who was no stranger to late season swoons. To start September, the Twins welcomed the New York Yankees to town and were swept in three games, including a complete game six-hitter from lefty Ron Guidry. That was just the beginning for the Twins who slumped to 7-18 that month and finished in fourth place in the AL West at 84-77.
Carew would go on to hit .388 in 1977 and win the AL MVP award. As I have said before, get a load of these numbers: 239 hits, 128 runs, 100 runs batted in, 38 doubles, 16 triples, 14 home runs, all of which helped to produce a slash line of .388/.449/.570.
-The Twins’ hot stove is just a little warmer after they signed defensive shortstop extraordinaire, Andrelton Simmons, to a one-year deal worth $10.5 million. The left side of the infield is going to be very stingy for hitters now that the Twins have Simmons and third baseman, Josh Donaldson. Add Bryon Buxton in center and anything hit up the middle is likely to be gobbled up pretty quick as well.
“It’s not at all a reach to suggest that Simmons is a generational talent on the defensive end,” writes TC Zenka of MLB Trade Rumors.
-Eddie Rosario officially is no longer a member of the Twins after he agreed to a one-year deal with the Cleveland Indians. I would have preferred that Rosie wind up outside the division, but so be it. Twins pitching will have to face his bat throughout the season and Rosie will have to adjust to the team’s pitchers as well. Game on.
Sources: SABR, Baseball-Reference.com, MLB Trade Rumors.