Showing posts with label Minnesota Twins. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Minnesota Twins. Show all posts

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Hal Naragon, one of the Cleveland Indians last 1954 World Series links dies at 90

Hal Naragon, a catcher on the Cleveland Indians 1954 World Series team, died Saturday, August 31, 2019 in a statement the Indians released. He was 90.

We had Naragon as a guest earlier this year on the Baseball Happenings Podcast, where he spent over 40 minutes discussing his lengthy major league career. Naragon signed with the Indians in 1947 and debuted in 1951.

“I know it was a chilly day and they called me in from the bullpen,” he said. “Naturally I was a little nervous, but usually by the time you get to the plate you get yourself together and do what you can do.”

He spent the next two years in serving in the Marines during the Korean War and returned for good in 1954. He came back right in time to help the Indians to the 1954 World Series. Serving as a reliable backup catcher, Naragon looked back 65 years later at his lone series appearance as a major thrill.

“You know, I was hoping that I would get in one,” he said. “When I was called up out of the bullpen to come in, I, of course, felt a little on edge at first but then I kinda settled down. I liked to be able to play in a World Series.”

He played in the majors until 1962, spending time with the Washington Senators and Minnesota Twins, before moving into coaching. He was a member of the Twins' coaching staff during their 1965 World Series appearance, and he finally won his ring as a coach with the 1968 Detroit Tigers.

“That was a good team,” he said. “They would hit in the clutch … they got hits when it really counts, they were good defensive players, and they always had a lot of fun.”

Naragon left coaching after the 1969 season to take over a local sporting goods store in his hometown of Barberton, Ohio. He ran the store from 1974 until his 1990 retirement. The town paid a massive tribute to their native son when they named Barberton High School’s baseball field Naragon Field in his honor in 2006.

You can listen to Hal Naragon's Baseball Happenings Podcast interview below, as well as subscribe to future episodes.

Click here to listen on Stitcher

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Baseball Happenings Podcast - Mike Trombley dishes out big league financial advice

Mike Trombley, an 11-year major league veteran with the Twins, Dodgers, and Orioles, came on the Baseball Happenings Podcast to discuss how professional athletes can best look out for their financial interests both during and after their careers. He is currently the head of Trombley Associates, a family-run financial management company in Massachusetts where he took over for his father Ray who started the company over a half-century prior.

In the wake of the recent news about Jake Peavy losing a reported $15 million due to his financial advisor’s involvement in a Ponzi scheme, Trombley explained the pitfalls that many major leaguers face trying to manage a sudden windfall of riches while keeping their attention on what is going on in between the lines of play.

“There were a couple of [Major League] friends of mine that [had] their agents paying their bills for them,” Trombley said. “They never even saw a bill.”

During the 20-minute interview, Trombley dishes out practical advice on what to look for in an investment professional, as well as his experiences of managing his money while living the hectic life of a Major League Baseball player.

Baseball Happenings Podcast on iTunes.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Wayne Terwilliger details the hazards of The Battle of Saipan

Wayne Terwilliger spent over 60 years in professional baseball as a player, coach, and manager. He was teammates with Jackie Robinson, a close friend of Ted Williams, and won two World Series championships as a coach with the Minnesota Twins; however, the crowning moment of the 91-year-old’s career on this Veterans Day remains his time as a Marine in World War II.

“I’m more proud of my Marine service than of anything else I’ve done before or since,” Terwilliger said in his 2006 autobiography, Terwilliger Bunts One.

Wayne Terwilliger (circled) of Company D of the 2nd Armored Amphibian Battalion at the Battle of Saipan in World War II. / US Coast Guard

One of a rapidly declining number of living World War II veterans, Terwilliger has fortunately left behind vivid details of the harsh realities of war in his memoirs. One of the first to enter the Battle of Saipan, he recounted his feelings some 70 years ago from the morning of June 15, 1944, as he anxiously sat in his amphibious tank awaiting entry into the water.

“The nose of our tank dipped down into the ocean, and for just as second my heart skipped a beat,” he said, “but the pontooned sides of the tank did the trick and we bobbed up like a huge cork.”

The tone quickly changed as soon as they approached the reef; this was no game of friendly fire, the Japanese wanted their death. Their landing would signify the beginning of one of the most hazardous days of Terwilliger’s young life.

“As soon as we got over the reef,” he said, “we were in range of the Japanese, and they started shooting. I started seeing these puffs of water all around us, and it took a second to realize what was causing them. Then we heard small arms fire hitting our tank, and the reality sank in: There were people on that island who wanted us dead.”

His crew was one of the few fortunate ones not to have their tank destroyed by enemy fire. They endured attacks all the way until they reached land. It didn’t get any better once their tank bogged down in the sand and they had to disembark.

“Japanese mortars kept whistling over our heads,” he said. “Most of them were headed toward the beach area, but we never knew when one would come our way. We also had no idea how long we’d be stuck there. We were there at least a couple of hours, though it seemed like forever.”

Stuck in a foxhole, they heard the sound of an unfamiliar tank, one they quickly realized was of the Japanese forces. Spending only a short time in action, he wondered if he was going to meet his demise.

“The tank kept moving closer to us until we could see the 37-mm turret gun and the big red “Rising Sun” on the side of the tank. … The tank stopped just short of our hole and I wondered, ‘What do we do now?’”

From their position in the fox hole, his infantry each took out their grenades and aimed them at the tank. A cloud of smoke ensued and they ran out onto the beach looking for cover.

“I ran until I came to an old Japanese artillery piece, and I thought, ‘S—t, this is the wrong way,’ so I turned and found a little path, and somehow this time I was going the right way, toward the beach. Then I looked back and there was the Jap tank coming after me. … I started zigzagging back and forth in case the tank tried to shoot at me, still running as fast I could. Guys on the beach were waving me in, yelling, ‘Come on, come on!’ I made it to the beach and dove over a small sand dune for cover, and I looked back just in time to see one of our tanks made a direct hit, which knocked the Japanese tank on its side. … That was my first six or seven hours of combat.”

Terwilliger’s story about his first day of combat is a riveting tale of World War II military action that has often been kept a secret by those who have experienced it, a memory too painful to relive. His book remains as an example of our baseball heroes having their careers preempted or interrupted to face death directly in the eyes, and then return home to compete for their jobs once again – a reality our current major leaguers will never again have to experience.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Charlie Manuel reflects on playing baseball in Japan

Charlie Manuel, former manager of the 2008 World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies, and major leaguer with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Minnesota Twins, candidly discusses his time playing baseball in Japan and the adjustments he made while playing there. In this interview with the Japan Weekly Baseball Podcast, Manuel shows how his genuine character has made his one of the most respected figures in the game. Manuel is also a popular figure on Twitter and can be followed @CMBaseball41

Friday, November 13, 2015

Baseball Happenings Podcast: Stephen Bratkovich - Author of 'Bob Oldis: A Life in Baseball'

This episode of the Baseball Happenings Podcast features an interview with author Stephen Bratkovich, who penned the biography of Bob Oldis, a former major league catcher and 1960 World Series Champion with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The book is entitled, "Bob Oldis: A Life in Baseball," chronicling Oldis' eight-decade career in baseball, who at 87, is still employed as a scout with the Miami Marlins. Bratkovich discusses how a letter asking to meet one of his heroes growing up turned into a two-year journey that ended up in the form of a book.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Members of the Minnesota Twins share their thoughts on the closing of the Metrodome

The Minnesota Vikings narrow 14-13 victory over the Detroit Lions on December 29, 2013 signaled the final game in the 31-year history of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minnesota. My lasting memory of the Metrodome was Kirby Puckett circling the bases in the 11th inning of Game Six of the 1991 World Series, while Jack Buck screamed, "We'll see you tomorrow night!"

Metrodome / Wikimedia Commons
Selected former Minnesota Twins alumni shared their thoughts on the closing of the Metrodome on Twitter this week. Feel free to add your own, or share those of other Twins alums.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Tony Oliva still on cloud nine about his baseball career

Legendary Minnesota Twins outfielder Tony Oliva recently made an appearance in New York City at a baseball card show. Oliva, who just had a statue dedicated to himself at Target Field on opening day, took some time to reflect on his 50 years with the organization.

Long after he has retired his glove and spikes, at age 72 Tony Oliva still dreams about his baseball career. Born in 1938 in Pinar del Rio, Cuba, Oliva went on to achieve major league stardom after humble beginnings growing up on the farm. As a young man, Oliva simply desired to follow in the footsteps of the Cubans that preceded him and play baseball. He never thought he would have experienced this journey.

“I still dream about everything I achieved. I dream about my career, dream about playing baseball, meeting so many people, traveling so much,” Oliva said. “Coming from where I came from, a poor family working in the country, to being able to come here and meet so many wonderful people. I had a chance to touch so many people's lives, visiting churches, schools, hospitals, and retirement homes. I never dreamed this would happen. I didn't plan it this way, but this is the way the big chief wanted it.”

Just a few weeks ago, Oliva had another dream come true when the Minnesota Twins unveiled a statue of his likeness outside of Gate Six on opening day at Target Field.

“Can you believe that? It's in Gate #6, which was my number. I tell people, you never know, from the farm in Cuba to having a statue of you in front of the big league stadium. It’s unbelievable,” Oliva glowingly said during a recent appearance in New York City.

Returning to New York for the first time in many years brought back vivid memories of playing in the city for the eight-time All-Star.

“I love New York. I love to come here, to play here, the tradition here. I'll never forget my first home run here was over Mickey Mantle's head. The ball went inside the monuments,” Oliva recalled. “For me to come to New York, it was unique. There were so many Hispanic people here in New York. They used to come over in right field to say hello. Some would scream to me because I did good here in New York. It was nice to be a part of the history here and play in front of all of these people.”

Brought to legendary scout “Papa” Joe Cambria by Roberto Fernandez Tapanes in 1960, Oliva made the journey from Cuba through Mexico to the United States to make his debut with Class-D Wytheville of the Appalachian League in 1961. Oliva tore through the league, batting an astounding .410, and after hitting .350 at Class-A Charlotte the following season, he was summoned to the major leagues for a late September call-up. He played 15 seasons for the Twins, winning three batting titles in the American League in addition to his aforementioned eight All-Star appearances.

Now working as a special assistant for the team, 2011 marks the 50th year that Oliva has been involved in the Twins organization as a player, coach, and administrator. He is still amazed that he is with the same team he started with a half-century ago. He expressed gratitude for the Twins ownership of the opportunities that he has received.

“Mr. Griffith for me was part of the family, like a second father," he said. "He did something for me that I will never forget. When I finished playing as a regular, he called me in and told me, ‘I want you to be in the organization as long as you want. I want you to be my hitting coach. How much do you want to make?’” Griffth asked Oliva. “I knew how much the coaches were making; the coaches don't make nothing. I told him, 'Give me what you think is the right amount.'"

Oliva was more than satisfied with Griffith's response.

"He paid me well; he gave me twice what the coaches were making. I didn't have to ask or beg him for a job, he offered it to me. He told me I could work here as long as I wanted. I thought it was nice of him to call me in and give me almost a lifetime job.”

As one of the proud faces of the franchise, Oliva has embraced his role as an ambassador for the club.

“I didn't believe something like this would happen to me. I've been with the organization for 50 years. I was supposed to be here only six months, 50 years later, I'm still here. I enjoy it more every day.”