Remembering 1965 – Part 11 – Lentz, Oliva and the Mudcat

Oliva, Tony, 1964As we get to the middle of May it is time once again to revisit the 1965 Twins. The attached page of the May 15, 1965 Sporting News has a nice story on how Twins trainer George Lentz suggested that Tony Oliva use a knobless bat to lessen the pain that he endured with his knuckle on his right hand when swinging the bat. There is also a short piece on bench players Sandy Valdespino and Rich Reese.

Sporting News May 15, 1965 P11

Mudcat Grant

Mudcat Grant

The Twins on-going hunt for starting pitchers never seems to change and Twins skipper Sam Mele had the same issue back in 1965. The May 22, 1965 issue of the Sporting News has a nice spread on Twins starter Jim Grant and a new pitch he learned form pitching coach John Sain. There is also mention of the May 6 Twin Cities infamous tornado outbreak that did some relatively minor damage to the homes of Howard Fox and owner Calvin Griffith. Just as an FYI, the Lake Minnetonka former home of Griffith was bulldozed a couple of months ago for what I would expect will be a new McMansion.

Sporting News May 22, 1965 P9

On May 15, 1965 the Twins record was 18-8 having won seven out of their last eight games and they were in second place just a half game out of the league lead. As good as the team was, the fans were not coming out to watch them play at Met Stadium. The biggest home crowd they had to date was 17,664 for a Sunday afternoon game against the Mighty Whitey’s which the Twins won 6-1 when Camilo Pascual pitched a complete game bringing his record to 4-0 and hitting a home run to boot. Their home opener on April 12 albeit in bad weather had a crowd of only 15,388.

As well as the Twins were playing, they would throw in a clinker now and then, for example, a 13-5 loss to the White Sox on May 7 when the Twins gave up 10 unearned runs due to seven errors in a game at the Met.

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