70 facts celebrating Rod Carew’s 70th birthday

Twins outfielder Rod Carew heads for first in a game in 1975 in Minneapolis.

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Rod Carew is one of the more beloved Minnesota Twins of all time. On Oct. 1, Carew celebrated his 70th birthday.

In honor of the occasion, here are 70 facts about the Hall of Famer:

1. Was born on a train in the Panama Canal Zone and was named for the doctor who delivered him (Rodney Cline), who happened to be on that train.

2. Moved to New York City as a teenager.

3. Did not play high school baseball.

4. Played for a team in the Bronx Federation League. The father of one of his teammates was a bird-dog scout for the Minnesota Twins.

5. Was signed by the Minnesota Twins on June 25, 1964.

6. Pitcher Catfish Hunter once said of Carew: "He has no weakness as a hitter. Anything you throw he can handle."

7. The most home runs he hit off one pitcher was 7 off Catfish Hunter.

8. Began his pro career as an 18-year-old in Florida Instructional League and Cocoa Rookie League in 1964.

9. Made his major-league debut April 11, 1967 at Baltimore.

10. Collected his first major-league hit that day, as well, off the Orioles’ Dave McNally.

11. Hit his first major-league home run in Detroit off the Tigers’ Denny McLain on April 21, 1967.

12. Had a career-high five hits against Washington on May 8, 1967.

13. On May 20, 1967 in Kansas City, he became the first Minnesota Twins player to hit for the cycle.

14. Made his first All-Star team in 1967.

15. Would be named to the All-Star Game for the next 17 seasons as well, missing out only once in his career in his final season.

16. Named American League Rookie of the Year in 1967, getting 19 of 20 first-place votes.

17. Hit the first of his two leadoff home runs in Minnesota on May 14, 1968, off Oakland’s Catfish Hunter.

18. That was his only home run in 1968.

19. Hit his only career inside-the-park home run in Minnesota against Baltimore’s Mike Cuellar. It occurred in the eighth inning with Cesar Tovar on base and gave the Twins a 3-2 lead.

20. In 1969 he stole home seven times. Only Ty Cobb has stolen home more in one season.

21. Hit .300 or better from 1969-83.

22. Won the first of his seven batting titles in 1969, batting .332.

23. Knocked 1,000th career hit against Cleveland’s Dick Tidrow on June 6, 1973.

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24. Hit only leadoff home run as a visiting player on June 16, 1973 in Detroit off the Tigers’ Joe Coleman.

25. Stole 41 bases in 1973, the first of four consecutive seasons in which he had 35-plus steals.

26. Led the American League in triples (11) and hits (203) in 1973.

27. Hit the first of his two walk-off home runs — and the only one as a member of the Twins — on Sept. 13, 1974, off Kansas City’s Doug Bird in the bottom of the 10th inning. It was a solo shot which gave Minnesota a 6-5 win.

28. Led the American League in hits (218) in 1974.

29. Won four straight batting titles from 1972-75.

30. Was the first American League player to win four straight batting titles since Ty Cobb (1911-15).  The last National League player to do it was Rogers Hornsby (1920-25).

31. Only two other players have won four straight batting average crowns since: Wade Boggs (1985-88) and Tony Gwynn (1994-97).

32. Awarded the Order of Vasco Nunez de Balboa, the highest honor to be received in Panama. He was the first athlete to receive the honor.

33. In 1976, after playing second base his entire career he was converted to first base.

34. Ended up playing 1,184 games at first base and 1,130 at second base in his career. Also, 68 as a designated hitter, four at shortstop, two at second base and, for one out in 1978, left field.

35. Hit his first career grand slam at Oakland on June 26, 1976 off the A’s Paul Mitchell.

36. Missed out on a fifth straight batting title in 1976 by .002.

37. During the 1977 season, was batting over .400 as late as July 10.

38. Was on the cover of TIME magazine’s July 18, 1977, edition with the caption: "Baseball’s Best Hitter".

39. Was on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s July 18, 1977, edition along with Ted Williams, with the caption "Ted Williams Analyzes Rod Carew" with the subhed "The last .400 hitter, and maybe the next".

40. Became first player to win Player of the Month honors twice in the same season, June and September 1977.

41. Led the American League in batting average in 1977 at .388 — 50 points higher than anyone else in the major leagues (Dave Parker led the NL with a .338 average). It was the highest average in the AL in 20 years (Ted Williams, .388 in 1957).

42. Had 239 hits in 1977, the most in the major leagues since 1930.

43. Also led the AL in runs (128), triples (16) and on-base percentage (.449) in 1977.

44. Set an American League record with 131 multi-hit games in 1977.

45. Named American League Most Valuable Player in 1977.

46. Awarded the Roberto Clemente Award in 1977.

47. Collected career hit No. 2,000 at Boston off the Red Sox’s Bill Lee on July 15, 1978.

48. Led the American League in batting average for the seventh and final time in 1978 at .333.

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49. Traded to the California Angels on Feb. 3, 1979, for outfielder Ken Landreaux, third baseman Dave Engle and pitchers Paul Hartzell and Brad Havens.

50. Scored the 1,000th run of his career on June 26, 1980.

51. Got 3,000th career hit, appropriately, against Minnesota on Aug. 4, 1985, off the Twins’ Frank Viola.

52. He was the 16th player in major-league history to reach 3,000 career hits.

53. The most money he ever made in a season came in his final year of 1985 — $875,000.

54. Stole home 17 times in his career.

55. Had his jersey No. 29 officially retired by the Twins on July 19, 1987.

56. His 29 jersey number was also retired by the Angels.

57. In his career, had 57 four-plus hit games.

58. A career .328 hitter, which ranks 34th all-time.

59. Finished with 3,053 career hits, which ranks 24th all-time.

60. Had 2,404 career singles, which is 8th all-time.

61. Only Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner and Tony Gwynn won more batting titles than Carew.

62. Name appears in songs by Adam Sandler (The Hanukkah Song) and Beastie Boys ("Sure Shot").

63. In 1991 was elected to the Hall of Fame with 90.5 percent of the vote.

64. He was the 27th player elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.

65. In August 2002 he was inducted into the United States Marine Corps Sports Hall of Fame.

66. On Jan. 29, 2004, the National Stadium in Panama City was renamed Rod Carew Stadium.

67. In 2005, he was named the second baseman on the Major League Baseball Latino Legends team.

68. Was inducted into the Caribbean Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005.

69. Target Field’s right field gate is No. 29, in honor of Carew’s number he wore during his career.

70. A bronze statue of Carew was unveiled at Target Field on Feb. 4, 2010.