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Rod Carew

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Rodney Cline Carew

Inducted into Hall of Fame in 1991

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[edit] Biographical Information

"I get a kick out of watching a team defense me. A player moves two steps in one direction and I hit it two steps in the other direction. It goes right by his glove and I laugh." - 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 moved to the United States as a teenager when his parents emigrated to New York City.

Rod Carew lined, chopped and bunted his way to 3,053 career hits. He used a variety of relaxed or crouched batting stances to hit over .300 in 15 consecutive seasons with the Minnesota Twins and California Angels, achieving a .328 lifetime batting average. He was honored as American League Rookie of the Year in 1967, won the league MVP Award 10 years later and was named to 18 straight All-Star teams, only missing the honor in his final, 1985 season.

He was one of the most prolific hitters for average of his generation. In 1972, amazingly enough, Carew led the American League in batting without hitting a single home run. On May 12th that year, he reached base 8 times in a game; he was the last major league player to do so until Melky Cabrera matched the feat on August 10, 2014; he hat 5 hits, including 2 doubles, and 3 walks in 10 plate appearances as the Twins lost, 4-3, to the Milwaukee Brewers in 22 innings. He won seven batting titles, including his best overall season, 1977 in which his .388 batting average was the highest in baseball since Ted Williams hit .406 in 1941. He went over .400 on June 26th, and never dropped below .370 the rest of the season. He was on the cover of Sports Illustrated with Ted Williams in July. He also won the AL's Most Valuable Player Award that year. However, his trun at .400 was overshadowed by George Brett's three years later. In addition, he is one of only two players (the other being Ty Cobb) to lead Major League Baseball in batting average in three consecutive years, doing so from 1973 through 1975.

Originally a second baseman, Carew moved to first base in 1975 to lengthen his career. Frustrated by the Twins' inability to keep its young stars, Carew announced his intention to leave the team in 1979. He was then traded to the Angels for four players: Ken Landreaux, Brad Havens, Paul Hartzell and Dave Engle.

Carew stole home 17 times in his career. He completed the feat 7 times in 1969, second to only Ty Cobb. He was an outstanding base stealer until injuries cut down his speed.

Sometimes a target of racism, Carew received death threats when he announced his intention to marry a Jewish woman. Many sources have long claimed that he converted to Judaism when he married his wife and in this sense he is sometimes compared to Sammy Davis Jr. as a famous "Jewish convert of color"; however, this is incorrect. He has never undergone a formal conversion ceremony nor publicly identified himself as an adherent of Judaism, however, his children were raised Jewish and it is assumed that as such he partakes in some Jewish activities such as lighting Hanukkah candles or organizing Passover Seders with his family. Nonetheless, the story about him converting to Judaism is an urban myth. He is named in one of Adam Sandler's Hanukkah Songs as "Hall of Famer Rod Carew!" He is also referenced in the Beastie Boys 1994 single "Sure Shot" with the line "And I got mad hits like I was Rod Carew."

When Carew's 18-year-old daughter, Michelle, fell victim to leukemia, Carew made national headlines again. Her Panamanian-Jewish ethnic mix lowered the likelihood of finding a suitable donor for a bone marrow transplant; in spite of Carew's national pleas, she died in April 1996 before a donor could be located.

Following his retirement, Carew has worked as a hitting coach for the Angels (1992-1999) and for the Milwaukee Brewers (2000-2001). He suffered a massive heart attack while golfing in September of 2015 but survived, although he had to undergo six hours of heart surgery and his longer-term prognosis was poor unless he could get a heart transplant.

His #29 is retired by the both the Twins and the Angels. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on January 8, 1991 by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

He remains a national hero in Panamá. On January 19th, 2004, Panama's National Stadium in Panama City, was renamed "Rod Carew Stadium".[1] In 2005, Carew was named the second baseman on the Major League Baseball Latino Legends Team.

He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on January 8, 1991 by the Baseball Writers Association of America. In 1999, he ranked Number 61 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and was nominated as a finalist for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.

His first baseball card appearance was in the 1967 Topps set.

Some or all content from this article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Rod Carew".

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • 1967 AL Rookie of the Year Award
  • 1967 Topps All-Star Rookie Team
  • 18-time AL All-Star (1967-1984)
  • AL MVP (1977)
  • 7-time AL Batting Average Leader (1969, 1972-1975, 1977 & 1978)
  • 4-time AL On-Base Percentage Leader (1974, 1975, 1977 & 1978)
  • AL OPS Leader (1977)
  • AL Runs Scored Leader (1977)
  • 3-time AL Hits Leader (1973, 1974 & 1977)
  • 4-time AL Singles Leader (1972-1974 & 1977)
  • 2-time AL Triples Leader (1973 & 1977)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 1 (1977)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 1 (1977)
  • 200 Hits Seasons: 4 (1973, 1974, 1976 & 1977)
  • Baseball Hall of Fame: Class of 1991

1976 1977 1978
Thurman Munson Rod Carew Jim Rice

AL Rookie of the Year
1966 1967 1968
Tommie Agee Rod Carew Stan Bahnsen

[edit] Further Reading

  • Charlie Beattie: "The Legacy of Twins Legends: Killebrew, Carew, Puckett, and Mauer", in Daniel R. Leavitt, ed.: Short but Wondrous Summers: Baseball in the North Star State, The National Pastime, SABR, Number 42, 2012, pp. 88-92.
  • Thomas Boswell: "The Zen of Rod Carew", in How Life Imitates the World Series, Penguin Books, New York, 1982, pp. 174-177.
  • Rod Carew and Ira Berkow: Carew, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, MN, 2010 (originally published in 1979).
  • Rod Carew (as told to George Vass): "The Game I'll Never Forget", Baseball Digest, October 1986, pp. 73-75.[1]

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