1985 All Star Game

July 14, 2014

1985 All Star Game

asg.gif
56th All-Star Game
Metrodome
Minneapolis, MN

The Pre-Game

The buzz surrounding the 56th All-Star game was dominated by the disparity between the leagues, specifically in home runs. The AL lineup collected a total of 118 in the first half of 1985, while the NL’s eight starting position players only had 69 home runs.

The question was not if the AL would knock some out of the “homer dome”, it was simply a matter of how many.

The senior circuit, however, had dominated the mid-summer classic. Since 1962, the NL had posted a 20-2 record. The junior circuit won roughly once a decade, first in 1971, and two years earlier in 1983.

The hosts were represented by the league minimum one player: Tom Brunansky (.265/.359/.508 19 HR). Also on the AL roster was former Twins pitcher, now with the Indians, Bert Blyleven, and St. Paul natives Paul Molitor (MIL) and Dave Winfield (NYY).

NL Lineup
1. Tony Gwynn SD LF .302/.342/.419 4 HR
2. Tom Herr STL 2B .332/.397/.441 3 HR
3. Steve Garvey SD 1B .261/.284/.426 13 HR
4. Dale Murphy ATL CF .290/.383/.558 22 HR
5. Darryl Strawberry NYM RF .229/.356/.438 8 HR
6. Graig Nettles SD 3B .250/.392/.405 8 HR
7. Terry Kennedy SD C .286/.302/.397 7 HR
8. Ozzie Smith STL SS .283/.346/.383 4 HR
9. LaMarr Hoyt SD P 12-4 2.93 ERA

AL Lineup
1. Rickey Henderson NYY CF .357/.441/.552 11 HR
2. Lou Whitaker DET 2B .309/.393/.495 15 HR
3. George Brett KC 3B .358/.456/.580 12 HR
4. Eddie Murray BAL 1B .274/.353/.465 13 HR
5. Cal Ripken BAL SS .282/.342/.472 15 HR
6. Dave Winfield NYY RF .297/.340/.461 12 HR
7. Jim Rice BOS LF .274/.326/.453 17 HR
8. Carlton Fisk CHW C .238/.320/.528 23 HR
9. Jack Morris DET P 10-6 3.04 ERA

The Game

National League Continues Domination, 6-1

by Michael Wilbon
Washington Post Staff Writer

MINNEAPOLIS, July 16-The American League arguably has superior players in seven out of eight positions. But the National League could have fielded a neighborhood softball team behing the brilliant pitching it got tonight, and the result might have been the same.

Five National League pitchers allowed only five hits and one run-an unearned one at that-to shut down the American League, 6-1, before 54,960 in the 56th All-Star Game in the Metrodome.

Full Boxscore

MVP
hoyt.gif
LaMarr Hoyt SD 3 IP 2 H 1 ER 0 W 0 K

Scoring (from Retrosheet)

AMERICAN LEAGUE 1ST: Henderson singled to center; Whitaker made
an out to right; Henderson stole second [Henderson to third
(error by Kennedy)]; Brett lined out on a sacrifice fly to left
[Henderson scored (unearned)]; Murray popped to shortstop; 1 R,
1 H, 1 E, 0 LOB.  National League 0, American League 1.
NATIONAL LEAGUE 2ND: Murphy made an out to shortstop; Strawberry
singled to left; Strawberry stole second; Nettles made an out to
left; Kennedy singled to center [Strawberry scored]; Smith
popped to third;over the shoulder catch; 1 R, 2 H, 0 E,
1 LOB.  National League 1, American League 1.
NATIONAL LEAGUE 3RD: Hoyt struck out; Cruz grounded out (first
to pitcher); Herr doubled to left; Garvey singled to center
[Herr scored]; Murphy doubled [Garvey to third]; Strawberry
walked; KEY REPLACED MORRIS (PITCHING); Nettles popped to third
in foul territory; 1 R, 3 H, 0 E, 3 LOB.  National League 2,
American League 1.
NATIONAL LEAGUE 5TH: Garvey grounded out (shortstop to first);
Murphy struck out; Strawberry was hit by a pitch; hit on the
leg; Wallach doubled [Strawberry to third]; Virgil singled
to left [Strawberry scored, Wallach scored, Virgil out at second
(pitcher to second)]; Rice's throw got past Fisk; 2 R, 2
H, 0 E, 0 LOB.  National League 4, American League 1.
NATIONAL LEAGUE 9TH: MOLITOR CHANGED POSITIONS (PLAYING CF);
BOGGS REPLACED MOORE (PLAYING 3B); PETRY REPLACED BRADLEY
(PITCHING); Sandberg walked; RAINES BATTED FOR CRUZ; Raines
walked [Sandberg to second]; Pena struck out; Clark walked
[Sandberg to third, Raines to second]; HERNANDEZ REPLACED PETRY
(PITCHING); McGee doubled [Sandberg scored, Raines scored, Clark
to third]; Parker struck out; Wallach was walked intentionally;
WILSON BATTED FOR REARDON; Wilson struck out; 2 R, 1 H, 0 E, 3
LOB.  National League 6, American League 1.

Top WPA
1. Nolan Ryan NL 0.18
2. Ozzie Virgil NL 0.16
3. 3 Tied at 0.07 – Terry Kennedy NL, Steve Garvey NL, Jimmy Key NL

Worst WPA
1. Jack Morris AL -0.13
2, Bert Blyleven AL -0.11
2. Craig Nettles AL -0.11

The Post-Game

The 1985 All-Star game was the first and last held at the Metrodome. It is also the last one held in the Twin Cities. It has been a 29 year wait.

1985 also marked the end of the National League’s dominance. Since that game, the American League has put up a 20-7-1 record in the All-Star Game.

Bert Blyleven pitched two innings (4th and 5th) and gave up two runs. He would be back in the Metrodome less than a month later. On August 1, Blyleven was acquired by the Twins in a trade. He would go on to pitch three full season with the Twins, including the World Series year of 1987.

The Pioneer Press has a link to video of the entire game (including Vin Scully’s play-by-play) in an article by Kevin Cusick:

– The game featured more former Twins (Bert Blyleven, Graig Nettles, Gary Ward) than 1985 Twins (Tom Brunansky). As for future Twins, this game had a six-pack (Paul Molitor, Jack Morris, Dave Winfield, Tom Herr, Jeff Reardon and Blyleven).

– Pete Rose became the only player to appear in both Minnesota all-star games, going hitless as he did at the Met in 1965. It’s not known, though, whether he won big by betting on the National League.

– Vin Scully did play-by-play for NBC, nearly two decades after calling Sandy Koufax’s shutout of the Twins in Game 7 of the 1965 World Series at the Met. While the golden voice hadn’t changed, his golden “hair” certainly had.

 

Originally published in 2006. Just a few edits in 2014.


1970: A Crazy Play

April 24, 2014

From baseballlibrary.com:

Tiger P Earl Wilson fans for the 3rd out in the 7th inning against the Twins. On the 3rd strike by Jim Kaat‚ Twins C Paul Ratliff traps the ball in the dirt‚ and must either throw to 1B or tag the batter. Instead he rolls the ball back to the mound‚ ignoring the fact that ump John Rice has not signaled a K. As the Twins head for their dugout‚ Wilson begins running the bases and is around 3B when OF Brant Alyea retrieves the ball and throws to SS Leo Cardenas‚ who is standing by home. Wilson turns back to 3B but Cardenas and Alyea run him down for a 7-6-7 out on a 3rd strike. Wilson pulls a hamstring on the play and leaves‚ trailing‚ 2-1‚ and Detroit ties it up 3-3 in the 9th. But Killebrew singles home Oliva in the bottom of the 9th for the win.

Here’s the boxscore.

Wilson was told to run by third base coach Grover Resinger. When the Twins noticed the pitcher running, most of the fielders were already in the dugout. Brant Ayela was “trotting” in from left field when he noticed the play unfolding. He retrieved the ball from the pitcher’s mound and threw to Leo Cardenas, who emerged from the dugout to cover home. Cardenas returned the throw to Alyea who tagged Wilson.

Mike Lamey’s recap in TSN added some color:

If Earl Wilson had been a little faster or Twin outfielder Brant Alyea a little quicker, the Detroit pitcher might have become the first player ever to circle the bases on a strikeout.

So all Wilson has to show is a strikeout and a sore hamstring muscle that could cost him a round of turns in the pitching rotation.


2005: 74 Pitches

May 21, 2012

May 20, 2005

In December 2003 the Twins sent Eric Milton to the Phillies in exchange for Nick Punto, Carlos Silva, and the famous player-to-be-named-later. To that point in his career, Silva had been used only out of the bullpen. The Twins thought he had the stuff to be a starter, and immediately plugged the Venezuelan into the starting rotation. Silva responded with a solid 2004 season in which he won 14 games and allowed only 35 walks in 203 innings pitched.

2005 started out even better for the 26-year-old Silva. In his first six starts he had a 3.77 ERA and had allowed, incredibly, only two walks in 43 innings pitched. Silva was scheduled to go against the Brewers in a Friday night game at the Metrodome on May 20, 2005; but Silva’s pitching performance could have just as likely have happened 100 years earlier.

The game was a perfect combination of a sinking sinker and an opponent that was more than happy to swing at it. Silva allowed just one run and five hits in a complete game victory. The complete game was rare enough, particularly in the Ron Gardenhire era, but that is not what made this effort by Silva special.

At the end of the night, Silva completed the 7-1 Twins’ victory by throwing just 74 pitches, 50 for strikes. It was, and is, the lowest pitch count in a complete game since 2000, when Elias started keeping track of low pitch counts in complete games.

LaVelle E. Neal offered some perspective in his game story in the Star Tribune (5/21/05):

Chew on this for a minute. A pitcher throws eight warmup tosses before each inning. That means Silva entered the ninth inning with 64 warmup throws and 64 actual pitches. And that means he threw more warmup pitches than actual pitches in the first, second, sixth and seventh innings.

Silva finished the 2005 season leading the league with an incredible 0.4 walks per nine inning rate and 7.89 strikeout to walk ratio. His numbers weren’t great in 2006 or 2007, but he managed to get a big contract with Seattle, where he has struggled for the past season and a half.


1988: Brunansky for Herr

April 26, 2012

Originally posted at Tony, the Killer, and Carew on 4/26/2007. For more on the trade, here is the report from my Hot Stove 1988 series a few years back.

April 22, 1988

Fresh off of the club’s first ever World Championship, the Twins’ front office was looking for another. Impatient with the team’s 4-10 start, it seemed inevitable that a shakeup was going to occur. That shakeup was announced shortly after an 11-6 home loss to lowly Cleveland.

The Twins announced that they were trading 27-year old Tom Brunansky, a six-year regular in right field for the Twins, to the Cardinals for 32-year old second baseman Tom Herr.

Brunansky originally came to the Twins from the California Angels in a 1982 trade that sent Doug Corbett and Rob Wilfong to the Angels. Brunansky immediately became the team’s starting right fielder, and didn’t relinquish that spot until he was traded to the Cardinals. The Twins had come to expect pretty consistent numbers from Bruno, who quickly became a fan favorite in Minnesota. He generally only hit in the .240-.250 range, but was a patient hitter and had some power. He started slowly in 1988, batting only .184/.286/.265 with one home run; a line that likely made him expendable in the eyes of GM Andy MacPhail.

The previous fall, Tom Herr had competed against the Twins in the World Series. He batted .250/.300/.357 in seven games against his future team in a losing effort in the series. From the time he had signed as an amateur free-agent as an 19-year-old in 1974, Herr had been a part of the Cardinals’ organization. He had some good offensive seasons, most notably in 1985 when he hit .302/.379/.416 for an NL Championship team; but Herr was mostly known for his glove, although today’s defensive metrics indicate that he was a touch overrated in that department.

Andy MacPhail, quoted by Mark Vancil in the Star Tribune (4/23/88), explained his reasoning.

“It’s tough to do when a guy has done so much for the club for several years,” said MacPhail. “We just felt we needed to improve our balance, and I think Tommy Herr is one of the four or five best second basemen in all of baseball. He gives us a lefthanded bat at the front of the order and he can steal a base.”

It was speculated that this move would be followed by a move sending Steve Lombardozzi away in exchange for a starting pitcher, but that move never came to fruition. Lombo was never a big hitter, and, like most Twins, had a poor start in 1988 (.094/.194/.188 at the time of the trade).

To replace Brunansky in right, the Twins looked to 29-year-old Randy Bush. Bush made his reputation as a versatile back up and a good left-handed pinch hitter, but had few chances to play a regular position with the Twins. Bush figured to give the Twins a similar hitting line as Brunansky, with a lower slugging percentage and fewer home runs.

The 1988 numbers tell part of the story of this trade:

Tom Brunansky STL 143 G .245/.345/.428 22 HR 79 RBI 121 OPS+ 7.6 WARP3
Tom Herr MIN 86 G .263/.349/.326 1 HR 21 RBI 89 OPS+ 2.9 WARP3

The story the numbers don’t tell is that Tom Herr did not want to play for the Twins. The first wind of it showed up in the papers three weeks after the trade, when Herr was quoted saying that he felt like an “intruder” in Minnesota. By the end of May, Herr had already announced that he would not return to the team in 1989. He took a trip on the DL in the middle of the season, though many on the team and in the media privately believed that the injury may have been in Herr’s head.

The Twin Cities media had passed judgment on Herr, and the writing was on the wall. Herr was eventually traded to Philadelphia as part of the deal that brought Shane Rawley to the Twins. The Twins had some trouble filling the second base position for several years, and didn’t really settle on a regular until Chuck Knoblauch’s rookie season in 1991.

The immediate impact of the trade looked horrible for the Twins, but as the years passed history was a little more kind to MacPhail. Brunansky lasted in the majors until 1994. Aside from a mini-resurgence with the Red Sox in 1992, he never really returned the the form that had made him a favorite in Minnesota. The Twins ultimately got one poor season from Tom Herr and one poor season from Shane Rawley in exchange for Bruno. While it wasn’t as bad as it initially looked, it is not one of the proudest trades in Twins’ history.


1988: “Bean Ball” Blyleven

April 24, 2012

Friday April 22, 1988

In a losing effort against the Cleveland Indians at the Metrodome, Bert Blyleven tied a league record by beaning four Cleveland batters. Blyleven also hit the final batter he faced on the day.

He started on his record pace quickly, hitting Julio Franco on the second pitch of the game. He also hit Ron Kittle in the first inning. Both Franco and Kittle came around to score in the inning (along with just about every other member of the Cleveland lineup).

In all, it was a forgettable day for Bert Blyleven.

Bert made another run at history when he hit three Oakland A’s in the same inning on September 28 of the same year.


1983: Deflated

April 16, 2012

April 14, 1983

For the third time in its brief history, the Metrodome deflated.

The first time it happened was in November of 1981, just weeks after the dome was inflated for the first time. The cause was a 10-inch snowfall.

A little more than a year later, in December of 1982, the roof collapsed again, this time as a result of melting snow.

An April snowfall in 1983 didn’t figure to cause too many problems for the roof. Snow removal at the time was handled by people on the roof with shovels. One of the shovelers ran into a chunk of ice which tore a hole in the roof as the crew attempted to move it. The roof deflated on the evening of April 14. Though there was a game scheduled that night, it had been already been canceled due to the fact that the California Angels weren’t able to fly in due to the winter storm.

Though it was the last time that the roof collapsed, the issue was not dead. Seven years later, the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission was awarded $3.6 million in damages from the Dome’s builders.

The roof, of course, collapsed one more time in December of 2010. By that time the Twins had already played a season in their new home, and didn’t have to worry about the dome anymore.


1982: RD

April 9, 2012

Ed: I originally wrote this in 2007, but have reposted it several times. I don’t get a large amount of comments here, but I have to excerpt this one from a 2009 version of this same post from a commenter named “hurt for life”:

Oh God, do I remember RD. RD is an icon. Any given ineffectual relief pitcher the Twins now bring in is to be referred to as RD. The year is 1984….

…I’ll omit the details about 1984 blown saves….

I made an oath at this time: I will not listen to the Twins until RD is GONE. It took one entire year plus, until I could listen again.

April 10, 1982

The Twins traded veteran infielder Roy Smalley to the New York Yankees for relief pitcher Ron Davis and minor leaguers Greg Gagne (SS) and Paul Boris (P).

Ever since the mid-1960’s, the Twins have had a revolving door for players to fill the role of “bullpen ace”. The most recent was Doug Corbett, who filled the role pretty admirably in 1980 and 1981 (220 and 154 ERA+, respectively).

In early 1982, the Twins went into full cost-cutting mode (or “build for the future” mode, depending on your point of view), and unloaded a lot of veteran players. Roy Smalley was the first to go.

Smalley came into the league with Texas in 1975. He came to the Twins in 1976 as a part of the deal that sent Bert Blyleven to Texas. The second-generation ballplayer put up solid if unspectacular numbers in his first stint with the Twins (’76-’82); his best season being 1978 when he went .273/.362/.433 and had a 122 OPS+ and 10.4 WARP3.

In exchange for Smalley, the Twins got something they really didn’t seem to need and a couple of minor leaguers. With Corbett pitching so well in previous years, it seemed odd that Davis was the player the Twins went after. About a month later, a struggling Corbett was traded to California in exchange for a couple of young players (including Tom Brunansky) and cash.

Though Corbett had been good for the Twins, Davis had been even more impressive for the Yankees. As a rookie in 1979, he compiled a 14-2 record with 2.85 ERA (144 ERA+). In 1981, he was able to strike out 13 of 15 batters he faced in one three-game stretch of appearances. Davis did it all as a middle reliever, however. The role of closer in New York belonged to Goose Gossage.

The trade represented a chance for Davis to be a closer. This is what he had been waiting for. Instead, the trade in 1982 marked the beginning of the most miserable seasons of his career.

It wasn’t so much that his numbers were bad in his tenure with the Twins. They were actually pretty good until his final season with the team:

Year-Record-ERA-ERA+-WARP3
1982 3-9 4.42 96 3.8
1983 5-8 3.34 128 5.8
1984 7-11 4.55 92 3.5
1985 2-6 3.48 126 4.0
1986 2-6 9.08 47 -1.2

The numbers weren’t Davis’ problem. His difficulties seem to come from the fact that he tended to blow saves in memorable ways. He quickly earned a reputation for blowing leads in big games, a legend that seems to have been fanned by the local media. One of RD’s critics during his Twins years, Patrick Reusse, still seemed bitter years later when he recalled some of the memorable blown saves on the 20th Anniversary of the trade that sent Davis out of town to the Cubs.

RON DAVIS‘ TOP FIVE BLOWN SAVES

Two words: Jamie Quirk

Sept. 27, 1984: Davis relieved Mike Smithson with two runners on in the bottom of the eighth and the Twins leading 3-1 at Cleveland. Both runners scored and, with the score tied in the bottom of the ninth, Davis gave up a two-out home run to Jamie Quirk, who was making his only plate appearance in a one-week stint with the Indians. The game basically eliminated the Twins from the AL West race.

.

Saturday the 13th

April 13, 1985: The Twins led the Mariners 7-4 in the bottom of the ninth inning. Davis came in with a runner on and no outs, struck out two and walked two, then gave up a game-winning grand slam to Phil Bradley.

.

Monday the 13th

May 13, 1985: The Twins led 8-6 in the bottom of the ninth at Yankee Stadium. With two outs and a runner on, Ken Griffey walked and Don Mattingly hit a three-run home run for a 9-8 victory.

.

Roof collapses, then Twins collapse

April 26, 1986: The roof collapsed at the Metrodome, causing a delay in the bottom of the eighth inning. In the top of the ninth, with a 6-1 lead, Frank Viola gave up a two-run homer to the Angels’ George Hendrick. Davis relieved. Rob Wilfong singled and Ruppert Jones homered. Davis walked Reggie Jackson and, with two outs, Wally Joyner homered. The Angels won 7-6.

.

Ifs, ands and butts

May 19, 1986: The Twins led the Red Sox 7-6 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth at Fenway Park when Marty Barrett walked and Wade Boggs doubled. Bill Buckner was intentionally walked, loading the bases. Davis walked Jim Rice, forcing in the tying run, then hit Marc Sullivan in the butt, bringing in the winning run.

The fact that Reusse and the editors at the Star Tribune felt the need, 20 years later, to mark the Anniversary of the Davis trade by remembering his top blown saves is indicative of the strong feelings that still exist in this town towards Davis.

It is surprising, then, to learn that Davis was 106 for 134 in save opportunities during his Twins career, a 79% rate of success. Take away his miserable 1986 season, when he was successful in only two of eight save situations, and Davis converted 83% of his save opportunities. Not a great number, but it certainly seems high for a guy who, based on reputation, couldn’t save a game if his life depended on it (in 1987, Jeff Reardon was called the team MVP by many with only 77% of his save opportunities converted).

Whether he deserved it or not, most of the negative feelings of Twins fans over the course of some losing seasons fell squarely on the shoulder of Ron Davis. It was a relief to him when he was traded to the Cubs late in the 1986 season.

As for the other players involved in the 1982 trade the brought Davis to Minnesota: Roy Smalley ended up back with the Twins for the 1985 season. Paul Boris pitched in 23 games for the Twins, all in 1982, and that was the extent of his career. Greg Gagne became the everyday shortstop by 1985 and had a long and productive career with the Twins, including a big role on the two World Series teams in 1987 and 1991.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.