Teams: Minnesota Twins, 1967-1978; California Angels, 1979-1985
Rod Carew won four straight AL batting
titles from 1972 to 1975.
Born in the Panama Canal Zone in 1945, Rodney Cline Carew moved to New York when he was 17 years old. After high school he joined the Twins' organization in 1964. Promoted to Minnesota in 1967, Carew won the Rookie of the Year Award when he hit .292. He established his bat wizardry early, winning a batting title in 1969. Minnesota won the AL West in 1969 and '70; Carew and Co. ran into the Baltimore buzz saw both years.
Carew won four straight AL batting titles from 1972 to 1975. As a second baseman, he was weak on the double play and had a below-average arm but compensated with good range. Unfortunately, the slightly built Carew took a pounding at second. Twins manager Gene Mauch moved Rod to first base to extend his career.
In 1977, he responded with a serious run at a .400 season, hitting .388 with a league-leading 16 triples, 239 hits, and 128 runs. It was his sixth batting title, and the next closest hitter to Carew's .388 mark was NL batting champ Dave Parker at .338, making it the largest margin in baseball history. Carew was a runaway choice for the league's Most Valuable Player.
Rod was a master bunter -- when he won the bat crown in 1972 he had numerous bunt-hits but not a single home run -- and would astonish teammates by putting a handkerchief at various spots up and down the foul lines and dropping bunts onto it. In 1969, he stole home seven times, tying Pete Reiser's record. Carew had seasons of 35 swipes in 44 attempts and 27 in 35, and he stole at least 23 in six out of seven seasons. He won his final batting title with a .333 mark in 1978.
After that season, Carew forced his own trade and ended up with the California Angels. The 1979 Angels went to the ALCS, and though Rod hit .412, they lost to the Orioles in four games. He failed to hit .300 in 1984 for the first time in 15 years. He returned in 1985 and hit .285, becoming only the 16th man to collect 3,000 hits.
Carew retired after the 1985 season with 3,053 hits. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1991, in his first year of eligibility.
Here are Rod Carew's major league totals:
|BA||G ||AB||R||H||2B ||3B||HR ||RBI ||SB |
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