March 17, 2024

Rod Carew, 1970

Another addition to my growing collection of Twins memorabilia is a Rod Carew baseball card from 1970, which appears to show him on the road at Yankee Stadium, if I’m not mistaken.

Carew’s career numbers versus the Yankees, like most teams he faced, were sensational. He slashed .331/.396/.447 against the Pinstripers with 222 hits. But at Yankee Stadium, Carew did not hit very well, his batting average falling to .264, which is pretty pedestrian for the Hall of Fame infielder who hit .328 for his career and collected 3,053 hits.

So be it. He didn’t hit well at Yankee Stadium, including in 1970, according to Baseball-Reference.com.

In late May of that year, the Twins welcomed the Bronx Bombers to the Met, taking two of three games from the New Yorkers, including a 10-6 win on May 30 in which the Twins banged out 15 hits.

Yankee pitcher Stan Bahnsen was chased out of the game after three innings.

Over those three games, Carew had five hits in 14 at bats with two doubles and two runs scored to lift his batting average into the stratosphere.

The Minneapolis Tribune took note:

“The hitting streaks of (Tony) Oliva and (Leo) Cardenas are the best in the American League this year. Rod Carew, who had two hits yesterday, has hit in six straight games and leads the league with a .394 average.”

But a week later the Twins were on the road at New York for a short, two-game series and lost both games.

On June 9, Bahnsen was back on the mound and this time he struck out Carew three times in a 5-2 win. For Bahnsen, it was sweet relief: He had finally beaten the Twins, according to the Minneapolis Star.

“Stan Bahnsen had had it with losing to the Twins.

“I think I was just due,” said the Yankee right-hander after throwing a four-hitter at Minnesota Tuesday night and winning a 5-2 decision.

Bahnsen, the American League’s rookie of the year in 1968 when he won 17 while losing 12, hadn’t beat Minnesota in six trys.

He was 1-6 lifetime against the Twins before last night with that lone victory ironically also (a) 5-2 decision back on June 22, 1968 in Metropolitan Stadium.”

Extra innings…

-The Twins finally got back in the win column and snapped a six-game Grapefruit League losing streak with a nail-biting 6-5 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday.

The good news: Byron Buxton had two hits, including a double, and Royce Lewis connected for an extra-base hit as well.

Not such great news: Pablo Lopez took the hill for the Twins, and although he struck out six batters, he also served up four solo home runs. He has allowed six spring dingers.

Sources: Baseball-Reference.com, Newspapers.com

COMMENTS

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.