Saturday, June 14, 2014

#695-696 In Action Rod Carew

AKA "Hot Rod"…Wow! Arguably the best hitter of the 70’s…HOF,ROY,MVP…A Minnesota icon on par with Killebrew, Oliva, Kaat, Puckett, Hrbek….7 time AL batting champ….named to the all star team 18 consecutive seasons…Born in Panama, grew up in NYC…signed by the Twins as amateur free agent in 1964…in 2 ½ years jumped from Florida Instructional league to Carolina League…Made the jump to bigs in 1967 adjusting seamlessly to big league pitching…hit a career low of .272 in 1968 when no one hit well…Entered into superstar status in 1969 winning the batting crown…Acquired a new skill that year, stealing home, accomplishing the feat 7 times falling one short of Ty Cobb’s record for a season…1970 Carew has fantastic start, hitting .366 on his way to possibly his best season…lost for remainder of season to a knee injury on June 22 while making a pivot on a double play…Could have ended his career….Did pinch hit in the playoffs that year in a move that was stupid and reckless given the two games and series were already decided…Rod was still in a slow recovery in beginning of 1971…seemingly played in low gear but gradually picked up steam and finished with a .307 BA….Rod returns to his former self in 1972 regaining the batting crown with a .318 figure….BA improves to an average of .350 over the years of 1973-75 collecting three more batting crowns…Becomes first player since Ty Cobb to get that many consecutive titles…A defensive liability in the 2nd becomes more apparent…At the tail end of 1975 starts playing 1st base…In 1976 has slower than normal start but battles for the batting title with George Brett and Hal McRae up to the last day…Roars back with a vengeance in 1977…Overwhelms competition with .388 mark and is leader in 6 other offensive categories…Time Magazine Cover with Ted Williams…MVP with 70% of votes …Comes back in ’78 to win his last BA crown with a seemingly pedestrian .333 mark…title almost as an afterthought…Overshadowing the season was disillusionment with Twin management and talent drain free agent departures…Demanded trade and sent to the Angels for plethora of young players …Continues All-Star performance but does not surpass production seen with the Twins…Plays 7 years with halo’s obtaining a .318 BA…Returns to ALCS two more times but never made it to the World Series…1st ballot HOF....Became a hitting coach for Angels and Milwaukee (I regret not meeting him)…Note to Adam Sandler: Rod has never converted to Judism. 

In Action shot:  Once again the assumption the photo was taken during July 21st  game…over Rod’s right should there appears to be a Yankee in the bullpen…No other distinguishing features but it is a cool shot of Carew’s intensity nevertheless.

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