Over his 19-year career in the big leagues, Hall of Fame infielder Rod Carew put up mind-boggling numbers: 18 All-Star appearances, seven batting titles and a career .328/.393/.429 slash line over 2,469 games. In 1991, he became the 22nd player in MLB history to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.
Carew, who played for Minnesota from 1967-78, is the Twins’ all-time leader in batting average (.334), on-base percentage (.393) and WAR among position players (63.8).
So, it didn’t surprise us at all when the legend with 3,053 career hits also put up big numbers on Twitter.
Carew, who is 75 years old, joined Twitter (and later, Instagram) with the handle @RodCarew_29 in early April. His first tweet -- a picture of him wearing a Hawaiian shirt in front of a ballfield in what looks like California -- was posted April 8.
Why did he join Twitter? Well, Carew’s book “One Tough Out” was released May 1, 2020. The paperback version came out May 18th of this year. He also joined Cameo, a website where fans can request a personal video from Carew. It costs $500 per video, but the legend has a five-star rating which, again, is not surprising.
But Carew is on Twitter for more than promoting his book and wishing your father-in-law a happy birthday on Cameo. He’s clearly having fun sharing memories, funny stories and #ThrowbackThursday pictures of his life and career in baseball.
We’re also having a fantastic time as one of his 41,000+ followers (as of June 23), learning more about the life of one of the best hitters in the history of the sport.
Here’s what we’ve learned thus far:
-- The reason for Carew’s well-known crouched stance was Hall of Fame right-hander Nolan Ryan. “His high fastball was hard not to chase,” Carew wrote. “So I crouched down so he had to bring it down.” Ryan is included in Carew’s list of the top-three pitchers of all time, joining Sandy Koufax and Tom Seaver.
-- He shared a fantastic story about facing Bob Gibson: “When I was 20, I faced Gibby at an exhibition match in Florida. I tried to fill in a hole in the batter’s box and he told me, ‘Get in the box, I’m double parked!’ He knocked me down 4 times and walked me. As I walked to first he said, ‘Don’t even try to steal.’ I didn’t.”
-- Carew’s all-time MLB lineup is worth a deep dive. Of course, he has himself playing first base sharing an infield with Joe Morgan (2B), Derek Jeter (SS) and Brooks Robinson (3B).
-- Just like all of us, Carew is a big fan of Willians “La Tortuga” Astudillo. He’s retweeted several Tortuga highlights (including one of Astudillo on the mound).
-- Carew is a big fan of actor Ben Stiller. If he was playing in today’s era of baseball, maybe Carew would pimp a home run by doing the “Blue Steel” pose from “Zoolander?”
-- Speaking of famous actors, Carew said he’s talked to Adam Sandler several times, and the former Saturday Night Live star is “one of the nicest guys you will ever meet.” Sandler featured Carew in his “Hanukkah Song” on a 1994 episode of SNL. The lyrics: “O.J. Simpson, not a Jew. But guess who is? Hall of famer Rod Carew (he converted).”
-- Carew’s favorite quote? “For those who know me, no explanation is necessary. For those who don’t, none is possible.” He used that quote in his Hall of Fame speech in 1991.
-- Back in the glory days, Carew and roommate Tony Oliva would “use a bed sheet in our room as a projector screen to look at game film and go over our at-bats.” MLB facilities have, uh, come a long way.
-- Carew is not a fan of the automatic walk (an intentional walk which places the batter at first base instead of making him watch four balls go by). Why? “I got two hits off bad pitches during intentional walks.” This makes us believe he can recall all 3,053 of his big-league hits.
-- Oh wait, he can.
-- According to Carew, the 1967 Twins were the most talented team he ever played on. That team, which featured Carew, Harmon Killebrew, Oliva and Zoilo Versalles in the lineup, went 91-71 and finished in a tie for second in the American League with Detroit. The Boston Red Sox beat out the Tigers and Minnesota by one game (92-70) and went on to lose the World Series in seven games to St. Louis. (There was no league championship series until 1969.)
-- On June 26, 1977, Carew went 4-for-5 against the Chicago White Sox to raise his season batting average to .403. He stayed above the .400 mark until July 11 and finished the campaign with a .388 average. Could he hit .400 in today’s game? 🤣
-- Killebrew had a big impact on Carew’s career. “He taught me as much about how to carry myself off the field as how to play on it. He also taught me to sign my autograph so that people can actually read it.”
-- Carew’s walk-up song would be “Maracaibo Oriental” by Benny More. We dig it.
-- Don’t worry, Carew’s Rookie of the Year and MVP trophies are safe with him at home.