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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Twins Brawls (Video): Roger Erickson Vs Bobby Grich April 22, 1978

Of note: this post was largely composed live, during a sunami-like migraine before the All-Star Game in Minneapolis in 2014- with little or no editing taking place. If that doesn't qualify me as a throwback gamer, I don't know what will. I had the feeling as if the video's principal actors were putting the hurt on ME, instead of one another at old Metropolitan Stadium. Just a small diversion for me from the hullabaloo and hype engulfing the Minneapolis area.

Left to right: (jackets) Twins Jose Morales, Geoff Zahn, (hatless) Angels starter Frank Tanana; Ron Jackson holds Twins pitching coach and legend Camilo Pascual, while Glenn Borgmann runs interference from the side.




I'd completely forgotten about this crazy melee on Saturday, April 22, 1978 (box) and was it ever. One minute rookie Roger Erickson is tossing an errant one inside, and the next thing you know, the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention is breaking out! Bobby Grich was among the most intense, and valuable second basemen of the 1970's and 80's. He had an excellent OBP, power numbers, besides having one of the nicest, shortest swings (1972 All-Star Game video) you'll ever see. I'd choose him in a minute if compiling a fantasy all-time legends team. His SABR bio packs a pretty good punch *ahem* of info about him.


Yep - I can totally believe Rod took Dave LaRoche into storage closet
and beat the crap out of him for lipping off in a team meeting in '72

The California announcers (Don Drysdale and Al Wisk? Angel fans in the house, a little help?) were correct - Grich looked ready to punch anybody - beer sellers, ticket takers, Calvin Griffith, his own teammates, besides any of the patrons sitting near the Angel dugout throwing beverages and paraphernalia at him that day. That last was my favorite part of the video.

As it was, Twin Rich Chiles came out of nowhere to put a truly huge blind side hit on Grich, while future-Twins Ken Landreaux and Ron "Papa Jack" Jackson was seemingly everywhere . Also easily seen at the fisticuff fiesta is former Twin Lyman Bostock (#10 of Angels), and Twins Tony Oliva (coach, #6), Rod Carew (#29) and shortstop Roy Smalley (#5). The Sporting News (see mischievous Mauch grin in pdf) of May 13, 1978 asserts that is was indeed Carew that got in the quick head jabs on Grich's angry skull as he lay on the ground-some deft, stop-action views confirm that claim. The Grich quotes are doubly interesting as he implicates Twins Manager Gene Mauch as the instigator of the brushback.


And you thought charging the mound was a new thing?

Amazingly, only Grich was tossed out, the game resumed, with '65 Stars Oliva and Pascual being the only people on the premises who may have required any antibiotics or band aids. Welcome to 1970s baseball everyone, where Wild West lawlessness often prevailed (see link, "Disco Demolition"). Lost in the shuffle is this: the-then 21 year old Erickson righted himself to last 8 innings, though losing to the top lefty Tanana. It was his fourth major league start ( see popup stats), and his second against the Angels.

Look at this, and tell me Grich wasn't a bit wired as a habit...
(hover cursor on the screen to reveal audio button)


As Herb Carneal so eloquently put it: "So long, everybody!"


2 comments:

Trip Darvez said...

This was written long ago but YES, that's Big D on the call! Al also did LA Rams games at the time.

Silence Dogood said...

I think the other voice was the legend Dick Enberg.