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Rod Carew

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Full Name: Rodney Cline Carew Primary Position: 1B,2B
Height/Weight: 6' 0"/170 First Game: April 11, 1967
Birthdate: October 1, 1945 Final Game: October 5, 1985
Birthplace: Gatun, Canal Zone MLB Experience: 19 years
Bat/Throw: Left/Right
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Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991


Biography

Rodney Cline Carew was born on a train in the Panama Canal Zone on October 1, 1945. In 1962, he moved to New York with his mother to attend high school. On June 24, 1964, one day out of high school, the Minnesota Twins signed Carew as an amateur free agent.

Rod Carew was widely considered both one of the best hitters of his generation, as well as one of the game's best baserunners. In fact, considering his glove, as well, Twins' owner Calvin Griffith considered Carew in the same class as all-time greats at second base Rogers Hornsby and Charlie Gehringer.

Upon his arrival in the Majors, Carew was somewhat of a loner; considered by teammates and coaches as moody and introverted, aloof. As a Panamanian, he often experienced racism and prejudice. And when he became engaged to a Jewish woman (Marilynn Levy), he reportedly received death threats.

As he aged, he became a much more relaxed and easy-going presence in the clubhouse and more of a vocal team leader on the field, as well as a loving and dedicated family man away from it.

After his retirement as a player, Carew stayed in baseball, working as a hitting coach for both the Angels organization and the Brewers organizations.

In 1996, Rod and Marilynn's daughter Michelle died of leukemia at the age of 18.

On January 19, 2004, Panama's National Stadium was renamed Rod Carew Stadium in his honor.

Minnesota Twins

After three seasons in the Minor Leagues, Carew got called up to the Major League Club in 1967.

1967: As a twenty-one year-old rookie in 1967, Carew played 137 games. He recorded 150 hits and a .292 batting average on his way to an All-Star selection, and a nearly unanimous selection as the 1967 American League Rookie of the Year. He received 19 of the 20 votes. Boston Red Sox rookie outfielder Reggie Smith received the only other vote.

1968: Carew followed his excellent rookie campaign with a largely unspectacular season in which he played in only 127 games and batted a paltry (by his own standards, at least) .273. The '68 season was significant for one reason - it would be the last time he wouldn' post a season average over .300 until 1984 - a fifteen year span! Only Ty Cobb, Stan Musial, and Honus Wagner have produced longer such streaks in MLB history.

1969: His third season proved to be a productive one for the twenty-three year-old Carew, although he played in only 123 games. He finished the season with his first batting title, posting a .332 batting average. He also displayed great base running prowess, swiping 19 bases (including 3 in one inning on May 18, 1969). Seven of those steals were of home plate which, to this day, is the second most swipes of the plate by a player in a single season in MLB history. The only player to steal home more in one season was Ty Cobb. His impressive season earned Carew a third straight All-Star Game appearance and 10th place in the 1969 MVP voting. After the season ended, Carew and the Twins lost in the 1969 ALCS to the Baltimore Orioles.

1970: This was to be Carew's "breakout season". In fact, he got off to his hottest start ever and was elected to his fourth straight All-Star Game. But a knee injury kept him from playing in the Mid-Summer Classic, and actually ended his season after just 51 games. At the time of the injury, Rod was batting .366. The Twins lost in the ALCS for the second year in a row to the Baltimore Orioles.

1971: Carew came back from the knee injury in '71 and was able to play in 147 games, but his bat seemed to lack the "pop" that he displayed early in the 1970 season. Lingering issues with the knee likely limited him to just 6 stolen bases. He finished the season with a .307 batting average.

1972: Rod started the 1972 season healthy and in the beginning of his "prime" years. This was the year that he seemed to hit full stride as a Major League hitter. His swing had become an epic thing of beauty, admired by teammates, opposing players, and baseball fans alike. Fully recovered from his 1970 knee injury, Carew played in 142 games, collected 170 hits, and posted a respectable .318 batting average - good for his second batting crown. His impressive offensive stats were but a tease of what was to come.

1973: At the prime age of 27, Rod Carew experienced his breakout year in 1973. In 149 games, Carew posted 203 hits, led the league in triples with 11, scored 98 runs, and reached base at a .411 clip. His .350 batting average was good for his third batting title, and second in as many years. '73 was also his breakout year as a base stealer, as he stole 41 which was good for fourth in the AL. After the season, he finished 4th in the 1973 AL MVP voting.

1974: For the second consecutive year, Carew surpassed the 200-hit mark in 1974, posting 218 base-knocks (the most in all of baseball). He won his fourth batting crown (and third in a row) with a .368 batting average. His .433 on-base percentage was also good enough for best in the AL. He also stole 38 bases.

1975: Carew began playing first base with regularity in 1975. Minnesota manager Frank Quilici began doing so in the hopes of limiting wear and tear to Carew, hoping to maintain his health and extend his career. Carew handled the move with aplomb, never missing a beat. For the fourth year in a row, Rod won the batting title in '75 with a .359 average. In addition, he scored 89 runs, stole 35 bases, and drove in what at the time was a career high 80 runs.

Statistics

Batting Stats

Year Team G AB R H HR RBI AVG OBP SLG 2B 3B BB SO HBP SH SB IBB GDP
1967 MIN A 137 514 66 150 8 51 .292 .341 .409 22 7 37 91 2 7 5 4 12
1968 MIN A 127 461 46 126 1 42 .273 .312 .347 27 2 26 71 1 2 12 1 11
1969 MIN A 123 458 79 152 8 56 .332 .386 .467 30 4 37 72 3 6 19 0 7
1970 MIN A 51 191 27 70 4 28 .366 .407 .524 12 3 11 28 2 0 4 0 1
1971 MIN A 147 577 88 177 2 48 .307 .356 .380 16 10 45 81 1 6 6 1 23
1972 MIN A 142 535 61 170 0 51 .318 .369 .379 21 6 43 60 2 9 12 9 11
1973 MIN A 149 580 98 203 6 62 .350 .411 .471 30 11 62 55 2 7 41 9 16
1974 MIN A 153 599 86 218 3 55 .364 .433 .446 30 5 74 49 1 13 38 9 17
1975 MIN A 143 535 89 192 14 80 .359 .421 .497 24 4 64 40 1 7 35 18 10
1976 MIN A 156 605 97 200 9 90 .331 .395 .463 29 12 67 52 1 8 49 14 12
1977 MIN A 155 616 128 239 14 100 .388 .449 .570 38 16 69 55 3 1 23 15 6
1978 MIN A 152 564 85 188 5 70 .333 .411 .441 26 10 78 62 1 2 27 19 18
1979 CAL A 110 409 78 130 3 44 .318 .419 .391 15 3 73 46 0 8 18 7 9
1980 CAL A 144 540 74 179 3 59 .331 .396 .437 34 7 59 38 1 9 23 7 15
1981 CAL A 93 364 57 111 2 21 .305 .380 .374 17 1 45 45 0 10 16 7 8
1982 CAL A 138 523 88 167 3 44 .319 .396 .403 25 5 67 49 2 16 10 5 9
1983 CAL A 129 472 66 160 2 44 .339 .409 .411 24 2 57 48 1 3 6 9 15
1984 CAL A 93 329 42 97 3 31 .295 .367 .353 8 1 40 39 0 5 4 1 8
1985 CAL A 127 443 69 124 2 39 .280 .371 .345 17 3 64 47 1 9 5 9 8
Total 2469 9315 1424 3053 92 1015 .328 .393 .429 445 112 1018 1028 25 128 353 144 216

Fielding Stats

Year Team POS G GS INN PO A ERR DP TP PB SB CS PkO AVG
1967 MIN A 2B 134 131 1151.1 289 314 15 60 0 0 0 0 0 .976
1968 MIN A SS 4 3 22 4 5 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
1968 MIN A 2B 117 112 981.2 262 280 18 48 1 0 0 0 0 .968
1969 MIN A 2B 118 106 965.1 244 302 17 80 0 0 0 0 0 .970
1970 MIN A 1B 1 1 5 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
1970 MIN A 2B 45 45 376.2 73 122 8 26 0 0 0 0 0 .961
1971 MIN A 2B 142 137 1209 321 329 16 76 0 0 0 0 0 .976
1971 MIN A 3B 2 2 14 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
1972 MIN A 2B 139 133 1184.1 331 378 16 85 0 0 0 0 0 .978
1973 MIN A 2B 147 142 1241.1 383 413 13 96 0 0 0 0 0 .984
1974 MIN A 2B 148 147 1285.1 375 416 33 114 0 0 0 0 0 .960
1975 MIN A 2B 123 118 1038 285 369 18 79 0 0 0 0 0 .973
1975 MIN A 1B 14 14 116 123 8 3 10 0 0 0 0 0 .978
1975 MIN A DH 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
1976 MIN A 1B 152 151 1331.2 1394 108 16 149 0 0 0 0 0 .989
1976 MIN A 2B 7 0 13.1 4 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
1977 MIN A 2B 4 0 5.2 4 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
1977 MIN A DH 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
1977 MIN A 1B 151 148 1313.1 1459 121 10 161 0 0 0 0 0 .994
1978 MIN A 2B 4 0 5 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
1978 MIN A OF 1 0 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
1978 MIN A 1B 148 138 1263 1362 105 16 134 0 0 0 0 0 .989
1978 MIN A LF 1 0 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
1979 CAL A 1B 103 102 889.1 804 55 10 101 0 0 0 0 0 .988
1979 CAL A DH 6 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
1980 CAL A DH 32 31 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
1980 CAL A 1B 103 102 913 897 57 6 82 0 0 0 0 0 .994
1981 CAL A 1B 90 90 779 877 60 5 90 0 0 0 0 0 .995
1981 CAL A DH 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
1982 CAL A 1B 134 130 1168 1339 94 12 115 0 0 0 0 0 .992
1983 CAL A 2B 2 0 6 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
1983 CAL A 1B 89 88 770.1 890 42 6 94 0 0 0 0 0 .994
1983 CAL A DH 24 23 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
1984 CAL A DH 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
1984 CAL A 1B 83 80 695.1 724 59 15 73 0 0 0 0 0 .981
1985 CAL A 1B 116 109 989 1055 65 7 121 0 0 0 0 0 .994
Total 2B 1130 1071 9463 2573 2928 154 664 1 0 0 0 0 .973
Total LF 1 0 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Total 3B 2 2 14 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
Total OF 1 0 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Total 1B 1184 1153 10233 10930 774 106 1130 0 0 0 0 0 .991
Total DH 68 62 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Total SS 4 3 22 4 5 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 1.000

Transactions

  • Signed as an amateur free agent by Minnesota Twins (June 24, 1964).
  • Traded by Minnesota Twins to California Angels in exchange for Ken Landreaux, Dave Engle, Paul Hartzell and Brad Havens (February 3, 1979).
  • Granted free agency (November 7, 1983).
  • Signed by California Angels (November 22, 1983).
  • Granted free agency (November 12, 1985).

Trivia


See also

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