OK, I know, I am totally aging myself in this article today. I am getting up there a little bit. But if you’re like me at all, you enjoy having at least a little idea of history and the past. What is it that saying? “Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it?”
Well, on a torrential rain-falling day in June of 1975 in Fargo, North Dakota, Yours Truly was born. What a great day, huh? On the same day in Redwood City, California, the lovely and talented star of Scooby Doo and now ER, Linda Cardellini, was born. So yes, I am about a month older than the likes of Torii Hunter, Alex Rodriguez and 50 Cent. But I am younger than other now-31 year olds like Jeff Suppan, Jake Delhomme, Lauryn Hill, Danica McKellar and Angelina Jolie.
But what else happened in 1975? Well, Gerald Ford was the President of the United States, and in September, he survived two assassination attempts. The median household income was $11,800. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest won just about all of the Academy Awards. George Carlin hosted the first episode of Saturday Night Live. VCRs were developed by Sony and Matsushita. The push-through tab on drink cans were also invented. Yes, I am old. I know!
The Minnesota Vikings did what they do in the Super Bowl, they lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 16-6. UCLA won another college basketball title. The Reds beat the Red Sox in a seven game World Series. Philadelphia beat Buffalo to win Lord Stanley’s Cup. The Golden State Warriors swept the Washington Bullets for the NBA crown.
In 1975, Frank Quilici led the Minnesota Twins to a 76-83 campaign. That was good for fourth place in the AL West, 20.5 games behind the Oakland Athletics. It was Quilici’s fourth and final year as the team’s manager. Today, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at the state of the Twins in the year of my birth.
Well, we have to remember that at that time, there were six teams in each of the two American League divisions, so fourth place wasn’t too good. The Twins did finish third in the league in Runs Scored at 4.55 per game. However, they were tenth in the league in Runs Allowed at 4.63. A sign of the era, the Twins team ERA was just 4.05. Maybe a big picture of where the Twins were at is to know that Metropolitan Stadium had just 737,156 fans show up that year. That was last among the 12 American League teams.
Let’s take a look at some of the hitters on that 1975 team:
Rodney Cline Carew was the team’s primary second baseman and clearly their best player. It was his eighth season in the big leagues, and he made his eighth All-Star team. He was the lone Twins representative, and he greatly deserved it. On the season, he led the league with a .359 batting average and a .421 on-base percentage. Interestingly, he led the American League with 18 intentional walks. He was the Twins leader in 22 offensive categories.
Tony Oliva’s knees had done him in by this time. He was the team’s DH and hit .270/.344/.378 with 13 homers and 58 RBI. He would play just one more season.
The outfield was full of youth and excitement in 1975. 27 year old Steve Braun hit .302/.389/.428 with 11 homers and 45 RBI. Dan Ford and Lyman Bostock were both making their big league debuts. Ford hit .280/.333/.434 with 15 homers and 59 RBI as a 23 year old. 24 year old year Bostock played in 98 games and hit .282/.331/.366 with 21 doubles and 29 RBI. He had 21 stolen bases as well. Larry Hisle also played some but missed a lot of time due to injury.
The infield was obviously anchored by Carew. Eric Soderholm was the team’s primary 3B. He hit .286/.365/.415 with 11 homers and 58 RBI. Danny Thompson who penned his autobiography E6 (one of the first baseball books I ever read and could not put down!). He hit just .270/.302/.355 with five homers and 37 RBI in 1975, but he got MVP votes the year before. He passed away in 1976 after battling leukemia since 1972. Craig Kusick, the primary first baseman that season just passed away at the end of September. He played in 57 games and hit .237/.346/.404 with six homers. Johnny Briggs played 53 games at 1B, and 87 overall, with the Twins that year before being traded to the Brewers for Bobby Darwin. There was another 1B that year as well. He hit just .181/.262/.244 with one home run in 127 at bats in 43 games. Those were the only big league games in the career of Graceville, MN, native and future Twins championship manager Tom Kelly. Waseca, MN, native Jerry Terrell played in 108 games in 1975 for the Twins. He played all four infield positions, as well as six games in the outfield.
Glen Borgmann was the team’s primary catcher. In 125 games in 1975, he hit .207/.303/.278 with two homers and 33 RBI. His backup is another name that Twins fans may recognize. Phil Roof was the backup catcher and he went on to manager the Twins AAA affiliate for a long time.
So, those were the Twins hitters in 1975, let’s now take a look at the pitchers:
Of course, Bert Blyleven was the ace. At age 24, he was already in his sixth big league season. He made 35 starts and pitched in 275 2/3 innings. He went 15-10 with a 3.00 ERA and struck out 233 hitters. He was third in the league in WHIP and had 20 complete games.
Another starter was 23 year old Jim Hughes. He made 34 starts and threw 249 2/3 innings. He was 16-14 with a 3.82 ERA. He was third in the league with 127 walks allowed. He also was third with 16 hit batters, just behind Nolan Ryan. He struck out just 130 hitters.
The third starter was Pelican Rapids, MN, native Dave Goltz. He won 20 games a couple of years later. In this year, he made 32 starts and went 14-14 with a 3.67 ERA. In 243 innings, he struck out 128 hitters.
The fourth starter was up for grabs much of the year. Vic Albury made 15 starts. Ray Corbin made 11 starts, and several other players got a start as well. Albury went 6-7 while Corbin went 5-7.
St. Paul native Tom Burgmeier was the teams closer, if that’s what you want to call it. The lefty came into 46 games and finished 37 of them. He went 5-8 with 11 saves with an ERA of 3.09. In 75 2/3 innings, he walked 23 and struck out just 41.
Bill Campbell was the primary bullpen guy. He threw 121 innings in 47 games. He was 4-6 with five saves and a 3.79 ERA.
Eddie Bane was the Twins 1st round draft choice in 1973 out of high school. As a publicity stunt, they brought him up that year and he made six starts and 17 relief appearances and went 0-5 with a 4.92 ERA. He did not come back up to the Twins until 1975. He made four starts only but went 3-1 with a 2.86 ERA. Of course, in his 28 1/3 innings, he walked 15 and struck out 14. He would pitch in 17 games for the Twins in 1976 as well, but never made it to the big leagues after that.
Of course there were several other players and stories from the 1975 season. Mike Poepping made his big league debut and played in 14 games in September and went 5-37 (.135) and never played in the Major Leagues again. Sergio Ferrer was a weak-hitting utility infielder who spent parts of the 1974, 1975, then 1978 and 1979 seasons (with the Mets) in the big leaguers. In 1975, he had his most big league at bats with 81. Steve Brye was a backup outfielder with the Twins from 1970 through 1977. Tom Lundstedt got 18 games in behind the plate that year. He went just 3-28 with the bat and never played in the big leagues after that. Mark Wiley was the Twins 2nd round pick in 1970 out of Cal-Poly Pomona. He made his big league debut June 17, 1975. He pitched in 15 games (3 starts) and had a 6.05 ERA. He went back to the minors and resurfaced in the big leagues in 1978, splitting time between the Blue Jays and Padres.
There is a quick look at the Twins from the year I was born, 1975. I hope that this enlightened you in some way. I really enjoyed doing some of the research and reading some of the names. So, feel free to discuss this team, or be sure to write up your own article on the Twins team during the year you were born. (by the way, www.Baseball-Reference.com is a great source for this information!!)