Thursday, March 1, 2012

DAHOF Top 100 -- #31 Rod Carew

Rod Carew was born in a train in the Panama Canal Zone to Panamanian parents, who named him after the delivering doctor - Rodney Cline. He became one of the most prolific hitters of his generation. For me, he was my muse... after going hitless as a 10 year old, it wasn't until the next season, when I lowered the bat head in the batters box (imitating Rod Carew) that I finally broke thru and collected a hit in little league baseball.

Rod Carew bunted and slapped his way to 3,053 career hits. He used a variety of batting stances, sometimes changing in the middle of an at bat, to hit over .300 in 15 consecutive seasons with the Minnesota Twins and California Angels. He won the AL Batting Title seven times while achieving a .328 lifetime batting average. He was honored as American League Rookie of the Year in 1967 and won the league MVP Award in 1977. He was named to 18 straight All-Star teams, only missing the honor in his final, 1985 season.

Carew stole home 17 times in his career. He completed the feat 7 times in 1969, second to only Ty Cobb. His number 29 is retired by both the Minnesota Twins and the California Angels. In 1991, his first year of eligibility, he was elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

In his Book Heart of the Order, Tom Boswell described his swing...
Thus Carew has invented a swing that incorporates almost every advantage that a contact hitter could want. He can wait until the last instant to commit his wristy, inside out swing. He's snake quick because he uses little body movement and relies on reflexes, not muscle. His bunting and unique knack for hitting smashes past a drawn-in left side complement each other.


Johngy said...

For some reason, I liked him less when he went to the Angels. I guess he was just one of the first Twins to seek money and fame elsewhere.

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