Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Help yourself to some Twin-kies
By late July the Twins fell behind by double digits in the AL West and never recovered. A typical underachieving/underwhelming Gene Mach team finished 16 games under .500 and 19 games behind the division winning Royals.
What they did right: The Twins led the league in OBP, which was a stat that wasn't valued by many in baseball circles during the 70's. They finished 4th in Batting average.
WHat they did wrong: They were dead last in homers and middle of the pack in runs scored. Due to their lack of power the Twins stranded a lot of runners. Their pitching staff was also nothing to write home about either. That staff was ranked 10th in ERA in the AL.
Indidvidual highlights: Rod Carew won his 7th (and final) batting title in what would be his final season in Minnesota. Carew hit .333, which was actually 55 points lower than his near .400 average of a year before. With the lack of power behind him in the order he only scored 85 runs. None of the regulars in the lineup hit close to .300. Part time DH Jose Morales hit .314, but he only had 242 at bats. The Twins did have a strong bench. They just didn't have anyone who could hit the long ball. Roy Smalley (19) and Dan Ford (11) were the only players in double digits in this most important power stat. Both also ecliped the 30 mark for doubles, but no one else came that close. Ford actually was in double figured for doubles (36), triples (10) and homers (11).
Minnesota's top 3 starters all logged over 200 innings and posted .500 or better records. Dave Goltz (15-10, 2.49) had a fantastic season. This team just didn't possess a reliable 4th or 5th starter as Mauch spent the year trying to find one of his 20-something year olds to fit that bill. Veteran Mike Marshall saved 21 games and pitched 99 innings in 54 appearances. He posted a 10-12, 2.45 record. Greg Thayyer and John Sutton were marginal at best in supporting Marshall. The rest of the pen was a crapshoot at best.
Thanks to a great post card set issued by the team for 1978 and 1979 I was able to collect a lot of good photos for these updated cards. 12 of the 16 updated cards posted here were created from that postcard set.
Fun Fact: His college roommate was Orioles manager Buck Showalter.
Interesting tidbit: In 1975 he faced 1 batter the whole season as a Met and gave up a walk off single.
TwinsTrivia. Marshall has invented a new more stress free way to pitch that the mainstream has had trouble adapting. He claims that it will keep pitchers injury free. Marshall bounced around from team to team due to the fact that he was union activist and not due to his pitching performance. The 1974 Cy Young Award winner led he league in appearances (106) and innings pitched in relief (208). During his interview he said his two best years were 1978-79 with the Twins. During that span he finished in the top 10 for Cy Young voting twice. In '78 he posted a 10-12, 2.45, 21sv record in 99 innings or relief work.