Monday June 16, 1969
In June of 1969 much of the buzz surrounding the Minnesota Twins came from Rod Carew, who, with the green light of manager Billy Martin, had stolen home base five times in the first two months of the season. In each of the first five, the play had been called by Martin.
Carew took matters into his own hands in a June 16 game against the Angels, but not before he had to steal third to get into position for his dash home.
In the first inning with Tom Murphy on the mound for California and Harmon Killebrew at the plate, Carew and Tony Oliva executed a double steal: Carew to third, Oliva to second. On the very next pitch, Carew went for his sixth steal of home. Killebrew, who didn’t know Carew was coming, had to dash out of the way at the last instant. Carew was safe, but it was close to a disaster. Killewbrew was asked to speculate what might have happened had he not seen Carew:
“I hate to think of it,” Killebrew said. “I didn’t know he was coming until the last second, when I saw him out of the corner of my eye.”
Martin, as was usually the case, had a slightly more colorful interpretation:
“Rod could have been a double down the left field line if Harmon had swung.”
The manager explained to Carew why stealing in that situation would not be prudent in the future, and Carew seemed to get the message.
“I know I’ll never do it again in that situation.” Carew said, shaking his head.