Twins work on base stealing; Oliva sets the record straight on HRs
- Blog Post by: Phil Miller
- September 11, 2013 - 5:00 PM
Tony Oliva cornered me in the Twins' clubhouse today, and had a clipping from today's paper in his hand. I knew what he was going to say before he even started.
He corrected my error, in no uncertain terms. But there's a 49-year-old error that he can't get fixed.
In searching for context for Oswaldo Arcia's 11th home run of the season on Tuesday night, I did a computer search for home runs by a Twin in his first season, which showed that Arcia ranked sixth -- or so I thought. But in searching for "first" season instead of "rookie" season, I slighted Tony O, Gary Gaetti, Kent Hrbek, Tom Brunanski, Justin Morneau, and every other Twin who spent a few days in the big leagues before their official "rookie" season.
Jimmie Hall, I wrote in Wednesday's Star Tribune, holds the Twins' rookie record for home runs with 33, with Marty Cordova second. In reality, Hall is the record holder, but Oliva's 32 in 1964 is second-most; my search credited Oliva with zero, since he had nine at-bats in 1962, his "first" season.
But Oliva had another tidbit: He should be tied with Hall for the Twins' rookie record. "They missed one in Anaheim," he told me of that 1964 season. "I hit a ball high, and it came down behind the fence, but [the umpires] said it bounced over it." He was awarded a ground-rule double, he said, and was robbed of what would have been his 33rd homer.
So for the record, Arcia's 11 homers puts him in a tie for 18th place among rookies in Twins' history. Here's the complete, and correct, top 10. And my apologies to Tony Oliva; I never meant to slight No. 6.
33 - Jimmie Hall, 1963
32 -- Tony Oliva, 1964
25 -- Gary Gaetti, 1982
24 -- Marty Cordova, 1995
23 -- Kent Hrbek, 1982
22 -- Bobby Darwin, 1972
20 -- Tom Brunansky, 1982
19 -- Justin Morneau, 2004
16 -- Rich Rolllins, 1962
15 -- Lew Ford, 2004
15 -- Dan Ford, 1975
On to tonight's game. The Twins' base stealers were on the field before batting practice, working with coaches Joe Vavra, Scott Ullger and Cedar Rapids hitting coach Tommy Watkins on taking good leadoffs and getting better jumps.
The Twins think Alex Presley seems a little hesitant about when to go, and they want their runners to be more aggressive. They rank 13th in stolen bases, and with some of the speed they have on the roster now, they'd like to be more successful at putting pressure on opposing pitchers. It's also a good message that, even with just 19 games remaining, they haven't stopped working.
Josh Willingham remains in the sixth spot in the lineup, where he homered twice last night. Eduardo Escobar is in the lineup for the first time since the All-Star break, playing third base. But manager Ron Gardenhire didn't want Trevor Plouffe's bat out of the lineup, so he's the designated hitter.
Here are tonight's lineups as the Twins try to win their third straight game:
© 2013 Star Tribune