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Saturday, August 20, 2022

Twins Hall honoree Cesar Tovar packed toughness and grit into his lean frame

Tovar appeared briefly for the Twins in 1965, then became an everyday presence in the lineup for seven seasons. You couldn’t be sure where he was going to play, just that managers Sam Mele, Cal Ermer, Billy Martin, Bill Rigney and Frank Quilici would have him in there — and generally leading off.

One of the smallest ironmen you could imagine finally will be inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame on Sunday. He died in 1994 in Venezuela, seven years before the Twins’ Hall started and, for many years, was lost to generations of voters from the media-heavy committee.

He finally made it in January, along with Dan Gladden and Ron Gardenhire. The ceremony for Gladden and Tovar will take place before Sunday’s game at Target Field.

Ironman? The Twins played 164 games (two official ties) during the Great Race in 1967. Tovar played in all of them, starting all but two in this fashion: 31 starts at second, 56 at third, five at shortstop and 70 in the outfield (60 in center).

He led the American League with 720 plate appearances — and would go over 700 in two other Twins’ seasons. He led the AL with 36 doubles and 13 triples in 1970. He led the AL with 204 hits in 1971.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 20, 2022 at 02:34 PM | 29 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cesar tovar, twins

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   1. vortex of dissipation Posted: August 20, 2022 at 03:06 PM (#6092375)
One first place vote for Tovar prevented Carl Yastrzemski from being a unanimous MVP selection in 1967. Yaz had 12.5 WAR that season; Tovar had 2.4 WAR.
   2. Walt Davis Posted: August 20, 2022 at 05:05 PM (#6092385)
Well he did play 164 games that year. :-)

I forget why I was thinking about this stuff the other day but, in retrospect, I'm surprised Omar Vizquel never did the 9 positions in one game thing.
   3. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: August 20, 2022 at 06:33 PM (#6092389)
One first place vote for Tovar prevented Carl Yastrzemski from being a unanimous MVP selection in 1967. Yaz had 12.5 WAR that season; Tovar had 2.4 WAR.


It was a silly vote, and one that has not aged well. In an ordinary year, it would be (somewhat) fine, but Yaz had a season for the ages.
   4. VCar Posted: August 20, 2022 at 07:27 PM (#6092399)
I've always heard that Tovar was the 1st to play all 9 positions in a game, beating Campaneris by a few years. Can anyone confirm?
   5. Eric L Posted: August 20, 2022 at 07:52 PM (#6092403)
No. Campy 65, Tovar 67.
   6. BDC Posted: August 20, 2022 at 08:23 PM (#6092405)
I wondered how Tovar compared to Gil McDougald. But Tovar had only four really good years, McDougald had seven. Similar profiles: each of them did a lot of things well and could play multiple positions. Oddly enough, McDougald never played a game in the outfield. I guess the Yankees had other guys who could play out there :)
   7. Howie Menckel Posted: August 20, 2022 at 10:50 PM (#6092420)
props to the careers of Tovar and Campy, both of whose efforts I am old enough to remember.

but the "played all 9 positions in one game" thing is about the silliest thing ever.

I mean, it's not like there's any drama - "wow, can he possibly pull this off?"

um, barring a torn ACL in mid-game, I'm gonna say yes.

it doesn't even require a particular skillset. there's no reason that Daniel Vogelbach or Bartolo Colon or Erik Kratz or Giancarlo Stanton or Jose Altuve or - yes, anyone with professional baseball skills - can't do it next month.

I'm relieved that MLB hasn't revived it.
   8. The Honorable Ardo Posted: August 21, 2022 at 12:01 AM (#6092424)
Tovar led the 1970 AL in both doubles and triples. I wonder how many other players have accomplished that feat.
   9. Sweatpants Posted: August 21, 2022 at 12:10 AM (#6092425)
His teammate Zoilo Versalles did it in 1965.
Honus Wagner did it twice. Cobb did it three times.
   10. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: August 21, 2022 at 01:01 AM (#6092430)
the "played all 9 positions in one game" thing is about the silliest thing ever. ... it doesn't even require a particular skillset.

Any time you're "joining a club" with Scott Sheldon, rest assured the bar for entry is pretty low.
   11. vortex of dissipation Posted: August 21, 2022 at 01:08 AM (#6092431)
Tovar led the 1970 AL in both doubles and triples. I wonder how many other players have accomplished that feat.


In 1948, Stan Musial led the league in doubles and triples, and lost the home run crown by one.
   12. mex4173 Posted: August 21, 2022 at 09:56 AM (#6092434)
Hornsby in '21 led in doubles and triples and was two homers behind George Kelly for the NL crown.
   13. Walt Davis Posted: August 21, 2022 at 05:42 PM (#6092503)
Well you need to be flexible enough to crouch ... methinks that rules out Bartolo and Vogelbach. Slightly more seriously (I agree with Howie more than I disagree ... but then I don't get the big thing about the cycle either and am even pretty non-plussed about no-hitters these days), the "challenge" is in not embarrassing yourself on the mound and behind the plate ... or, for the sub-Tovarian, at SS.

But of course it's just a gimmick to have a bit of fun -- like position player pitching used to be or Minnie Minoso coming out of retirement or the AS Game "honorary" picks are now or Larry Walker batting from the other side vs the Unit or ... was that ARod or Jeter who insisted Ripken play SS? ... or "so and so signs a one-day contract with his first team so he can retire as an X."

It would be far too dangerous but it would be kinda fun to see a football player do this. Payton was never afraid to throw a block and he actually played a bit of "quarterback" so maybe he could have been talked into it. Basketball it doesn't really matter; in hockey nobody in their right mind would spend even one minute in the net but otherwise there's not much difference among the positions.
   14. Ron J Posted: August 21, 2022 at 07:22 PM (#6092523)
#13 I do know that in 1923 King Clancy played goal for two minutes while the only goalie on the roster was serving a penalty. Can't happen now, goalies don't serve their penalties and all teams have a backup and an emergency goalie in case both go down. Not that long ago Toronto lost to an emergency goalie -- a Zamboni driver.

In soccer teams that need a desperation goal will sometime use their keeper as an extra attacker -- many are extremely good in the air -- and a few have even scored. And I know of one keeper who also used to take penalties.
   15. Bob T Posted: August 22, 2022 at 12:41 AM (#6092544)
In soccer, it's also not that uncommon for an outfield player to have to come in to play in goal for a stretch at the end of the game. If the goalie gets injured or sent off and the team is out of subs, the rules require one player on the field to put on a goalie jersey and assume that position. It may happen less frequently now since teams get five subs in just about every league, although you only get three breaks in action to make subs (except for extra time or suspected concussions)
   16. vortex of dissipation Posted: August 22, 2022 at 04:35 AM (#6092550)
In soccer teams that need a desperation goal will sometime use their keeper as an extra attacker -- many are extremely good in the air -- and a few have even scored.


One of the most important goals of Liverpool's 2020-2021 season was scored by goalkeeper Alisson, a stoppage-time match winner against West Bromwich Albion that was instrumental in Liverpool qualifying for the Champions League.
   17. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: August 22, 2022 at 08:30 AM (#6092557)
the "played all 9 positions in one game" thing is about the silliest thing ever

I'm waiting for the day when all nine starters play all nine positions in a game, presumably in some meaningless, late-season contest (I'm looking at you, Tigers). I'm a little surprised it hasn't already been done.
   18. Ron J Posted: August 22, 2022 at 08:34 AM (#6092558)
#16 A goal any striker would be proud of. Read the ball, found space and delivered a solid header. He arrived late and nobody specifically picked him up and he convincingly beat the nearest defender in the air.
   19. Karl from NY Posted: August 22, 2022 at 03:31 PM (#6092617)
Leading in both doubles and triples doesn't seem all that difficult. The same factors (speed, line drive exit velocity, favorable home park) that would stretch doubles into triples are also going to help stretch singles into doubles.

And Shohei Otani totally has to do the 9-position thing before he's done.

And the cycle makes no sense as an achievement unless you also credit anything better (like double-double-homer-homer.)
   20. The Mighty Quintana Posted: August 22, 2022 at 08:58 PM (#6092696)
The pinnacle of one game achievement would be to end the top half of an inning with an unassisted triple play, and lead off the bottom half with an inside-the-park home run. Just imagine the play by play announcer's epileptic fit that would ensue.
   21. Itchy Row Posted: August 22, 2022 at 08:59 PM (#6092697)
In the first year of the National League, Ross Barnes led in triples, doubles, singles, and almost everything else other than home runs.
   22. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: August 22, 2022 at 09:31 PM (#6092707)
Tip O'Neill lead the American Association in 1887 in 2b, 3b and HR. And, just about everything else.
   23. Howie Menckel Posted: August 23, 2022 at 01:06 AM (#6092747)
I'm waiting for the day when all nine starters play all nine positions in a game, presumably in some meaningless, late-season contest (I'm looking at you, Tigers). I'm a little surprised it hasn't already been done.


yes, although the possibility of any one player getting injured in the process while playing an unfamiliar position might drop the likelihood of "success" from just over 99 pct to closer to 90 pct. still not exactly nailbiter time, but fans who enjoy seeing mayhem at least could have a lottery ticket as the game unfolds - especially with the least-experienced 'pitchers' who may not have done that since Little League.
   24. Walt Davis Posted: August 23, 2022 at 02:03 AM (#6092750)
#16 A goal any striker would be proud of. Read the ball, found space and delivered a solid header. He arrived late and nobody specifically picked him up and he convincingly beat the nearest defender in the air.

Granted, "you're responsible for marking the goalie" probably didn't come up in the pre-game meeting. Has Ted Lasso won a game yet doing this?

At this point, the IF are pretty much playing the same position anyway (that position being wherever the coaches tell him to stand). Any of those guys could surely fake an inning at each OF position. If you really want to do the full team rotation, no LH throwers. With the new position player pitching rule and the 3 batter minimum, you'd have a hard time getting all 9 of them a turn on the mound unless you actually throw the game.
   25. BDC Posted: August 23, 2022 at 09:32 AM (#6092778)
I'm trying to think of team sports where players must rotate to different positions. Volleyball is maybe the best example, though in practice I find the system kind of confusing … maybe about as confusing as someone who'd never followed baseball finds baseball :)

The batting order in both baseball and cricket is a limited kind of rotation (in contrast to sports where the same few players can always be at the head of the offense). Cricket bowlers rotating back and forth from field positions is another.

I am probably forgetting some important example, there being dozens of team sports I know even less about.
   26. Ron J Posted: August 23, 2022 at 10:02 AM (#6092784)
#25 Kids baseball when I was growing up rotated the kids through the positions. Not talking little league, but even younger kids. T-Ball age or just past it.
   27. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: August 23, 2022 at 10:03 AM (#6092786)
Leading in both doubles and triples doesn't seem all that difficult. The same factors (speed, line drive exit velocity, favorable home park) that would stretch doubles into triples are also going to help stretch singles into doubles.

Jim Rice led the 1978 AL in triples and home runs*. I assume that's a tougher pair to accomplish. Rice also led the 1977 AL in HR as well as finishing 2nd in triples -- by 1 and with the same 3B total as 1978. He was thisclose to doing it in consecutive seasons.


*As well as G, PA, AB, H, RBI, SLG, OPS, OPS+, TB, and MVP voting. Definitely the year of peak fear.
   28. . Posted: August 23, 2022 at 10:11 AM (#6092788)
Tip O'Neill lead the American Association in 1887 in 2b, 3b and HR. And, just about everything else.


All extra base hits are local.
   29. BDC Posted: August 23, 2022 at 11:14 AM (#6092802)
Kids baseball when I was growing up rotated the kids through the positions

Yes – I'm guessing that at various times, this has been a feature of some forms of baseball played by adults, as well. Nine players, nine innings … it seems a natural kind of contest to allow each player to do a range of things.

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