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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

All Star Moments: Rod Carew & His 2 Triples, July 11, 1978

1978 Topps card of the guy previously honored in a blog post in July, 2010

July, 1978: It was the last summer of my teenaged life as an unabashed baseball card buyer - the more vital pursuit of discovering girls hadn't taken me over yet; disco music had reached its peak of popularity, and was headed for a fiery backlash shortly - though no one realized it at the time. The Jimmy Carter presidency was mired in an inert pile of goo, as the Chief Executive was exhibiting a maddening inability to get both houses of Congress to work with him. But none of that remotely mattered to me. For me, 1978 was a world of sincerely idolizing '77 MVP Rodney Cline, Charlie Hustle and that oddly thin-yet-amazingly-strong outfielder from Cincinnati named George. The Thin Man was also the '77 National League MVP.

A short time ago tonight, I was remembering those days and long nights of listening to the Minnesota Twins, or watching them on a few, precious televised broadcasts, with my main focus on the guy we referred to around these parts as the "Magician With A Bat." While Rod Carew was throwing out the first ball before tonight's 85th Major League Baseball All Star Game at Target Field in Minneapolis, I found it very easy to relive those days of fanaticism, and especially those two at bats that united my three favorite players in all of baseball. I kid you not.

The following wire photo scenes recall Rod Carew's 2 triples in the 1978 All Star Game (box). It was the first ever played at San Diego's Jack Murphy Stadium. I leave you with very little else  hereafter besides this Indiana Gazette news pdf, and this 1978 MLB ASG Video of Carew's triples and my usual, inane asides and private jokes (that I do so well...).

Feel free to come after me, MLB - I confess to the sin of recording the CBS radio broadcast that July 11, 1978 with Brent Musberger and the great Vin Scully. I listened to the replay of it countless times for the call by Vin of Rod's triples - only to record over it later with some Neil Young music (God help me!):

Vin Scully: "We come into this game with the National League enjoying almost complete domination over the American, and, ladies and gentlemen, that is not me exaggerating...the last time the American League won the All Star Game was 1971, and before THAT you have to go all the way back to 1962 -  when John F. Kennedy was President - for the previous time the American League won an All-Star game...that my friends is a long, l-o-o-n-g time ago! And here is Vida Blue's first pitch to Rod Carew..."  No sooner were these words out of Scully's mouth before the first pitch was headed homeward, toward's The Magician's blurring bat.

Carew would immediately score on George Brett's double.

Rod has revealed in multiple, local Twin Cities interviews this past weekend that Pete Rose was notifying (more accurately yelling) to him the fact that he was the very first player in the Game's history to get two triples in the same game. A true "Mr. Tesla, meet Mr. Einstein" meeting of two great hitters still at the top of their games (Rose, you'll remember, had begun his famous 44-game hitting streak on June 14, and kept it up for another two plus weeks after the All-Star Game, finally having his streak clipped by the Braves on August 1).


George Foster, not normally a center fielder, was the lucky man who had to hunt down both of Carew's drives in the cavernous San Diego outfield; the first was hit into a late afternoon, sun-drenched and simultaneously shadowy southern California sky, making it doubly hard to track. I am not really sure if this shot was taken after the first or second triple, as both hits and fielding plays look nearly identical. Go ahead and see you can figure it out, re-watch the above video, let me know what you think in the "comments" section.

It was, again, another notch on the NL's victory belt, with Steve Garvey and (then) wife Cyndy getting all the pub for his heroics. Naturally. Mr. and Mrs. Perfect, I believe they were called, with not a small bit of sarcasm. I lived and died with Rod and the Twins, but had to suffer the personal indignity of watching my guy and my league suffer as the Nationals stormed back to get the "W" AND the girl as well.

It was the last All Star Game Rod Carew ever played in the uniform of Minnesota Twins. He was and still is the only player to hit two triples in the All Star Game. Fans from the North Star State would have to wait another 8 seasons (July 15, 1986, box) before another Twin started and got a hit in the big game...a certain, stout, smiling center fielder who was already capturing the hearts of the country. See if you can guess who!

"So long, everybody!" - Herb Carneal

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