Minnesota Twins Spring Training Countdown: 29, Rod Carew

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 29: Baseball Hall of Fame member Rod Carew addresses the media as the announcement is made for the location 2014 All-Star Game on August 29, 2012 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 29: Baseball Hall of Fame member Rod Carew addresses the media as the announcement is made for the location 2014 All-Star Game on August 29, 2012 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /
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The Minnesota Twins are just 29 days away from spring training. As we celebrate the end of the blustery temps and the return of the game we love, let’s look at team history surrounding that number.

The Minnesota Twins are preparing for a 2018 season with expectations after making the playoffs in 2017 as a Wild Card. We will have bring out numbers from team history that represent the number of days until spring training from now until pitchers and catchers report on February 13th.

The Minnesota Twins have had some brilliant players in their history, but none has ever accumulated more bWAR in their career than Rod Carew, the man whose #29 will never be worn again by a Twins player.

Minnesota Twins career

Signed out of Panama at 18 years old, Carew quickly worked his way to the major leagues, winning the rookie of the year award in 1967 at age 21 by hitting .292/.341/.409 with 22 doubles, 7 triples, and 8 home runs. He also made the first of 18 straight All-Star games.

Carew was dominant at the plate for the Twins, a machine at putting the bat to the ball. With the Twins, he made 12 All-Star teams, won 7 batting titles, won the 1977 MVP award, and established himself as one of the elite contact hitters in the history of the game.

Carew’s best season with the Twins was his 1977 MVP season, when he threatened .400, hitting .388/.449/.570, leading the majors in runs, hits, batting average, on base, OPS, and OPS+. He also led the American League in triples. Overall he had 239 hits, 128 runs, 38 doubles, 16 triples, 14 home runs, 23 stolen bases, and 100 RBI.

The year after, he had his last season with the Twins, winning another batting title. The Twins traded him for four players before the 1979 season to the California Angels.

Carew’s name dots the Minnesota Twins career leaderboard:

  • 1st in triples, batting average, on base percentage
  • 2nd in hits, stolen bases, OPS+
  • 4th in runs, runs created
  • 5th in plate appearances, doubles, walks
  • 6th in games plated, OPS, total bases
  • 9th in RBI, extra base hits

Angels career

After rarely missing time with the Twins, Carew struggled to stay healthy with the Angels. He did not have a single season of 145 games played with the Angels, and only one season of 140 games played over his 7 seasons.

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Even then, Carew was able to produce five .300 seasons to bring his consecutive streak to 15 straight .300+ seasons.

He was limited primarily to first base, which did make his lack of home run power a bit of an issue for the Angels as his speed had declined significantly, and he could no longer leg out the triples that he once did.

For the Angels, he hit .314/.393/.392 over 834 games, legging out 140 doubles, 22 triples, and 18 home runs with 82 stolen bases.

Carew has been noted nationally for his recovery from a heart and kidney transplant. He was featured on HBO’s Real Sports. He received his organs from a former pro athlete.

Next: Twins 5 best OFs

For 29 days to spring training, we’ll remember the man who gave the Twins the best play they’d ever seen on the field, and now is showing what it means to be a fighter off of the field.

Come soon, spring!!

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