Saturday, June 23, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #228 - Minnesota Twins / Gene Mauch

  • The 1977 Minnesota Twins were a team struggling with the new realities of free agency. The club got off to a good start in 1977 and led the AL West as late as August 16. A 7-18 record in September doomed the Twins to a 4th place finish. Rod Carew had a huge year as he flirted with hitting .400 for much of the season. Larry Hisle also had a good season. Unfortunately for the Twins Hisle would be gone after the 1977 season and Carew would depart after the 1978 season.
  • Gene Mauch started his baseball career as an infielder. He had a lifetime .291 batting average in twelve years in the minors and played parts of nine seasons from 1944-1957 in the majors (lifetime .239 average).
  • Gene was a player-manager in 1953 for AA Atlanta. After Mauch was released by the Boston Red Sox in 1957 he was a player-manager for Boston's AAA Minneapolis club in 1958 and in 1959.
  • Mauch was hired to manage the woeful Philadelphia Phillies just before the 1960 season and managed them through the 1968 season. The Phillies had two rough years in 1960 and 1961, but were over .500 from 1962-1967 and were barely under .500 in 1968. An entire blog entry could be made about the famous 1964 collapse of the Phillies. They were 6 1/2 games ahead with two weeks left in the season and ended up in second place as the St. Louis Cardinals passed them at the end of the season. Mauch was named NL Manager of the Year in 1962 and in 1964. Gene was fired from the Phillies in mid-June of 1968.
  • Mauch was hired as the first manager of the expansion Montreal Expos later in 1968. Mauch managed the Expos from 1968-1975. The Expos never finished above .500 in Mauch's seven years at the helm of the club, but they were a better ballclub by the time Gene was fired after the 1975 season.
  • Mauch didn't stay unemployed long. He was hired by the Minnesota Twins in late November of 1975 and managed the Twins from 1976-1980. Gene resigned from the Twins on August 24, 1980. He wasn't satisifed with the Twins' progress. The Twins played at or near .500 from 1976-1979, but they never finished higher than third in the AL West and they were struggling in 1980 before Mauch left.
  • In 1981 Mauch became director of player personnel for the California Angels. On May 28 Gene came back to the dugout to manage the Angels after they fired manager Jim Fregosi. The Angels weren't very good in 1981, but they rebounded to win the AL West in 1982 and almost made it to the World Series. Gene was stung by criticism of his managing in the 1982 playoffs and resigned after the season. The Angels tried to get him to stay, but Mauch didn't change his mind.
  • Gene served as the Angels director of player personnel from August 1983 through the 1984 season. Mauch was hired to manage the Angels after they fired Rene Lachemann after the 1984 season. In 1985 the Angels won 90 games but finished second in the AL West. California won the AL West in 1986 but lost to the Boston Red Sox in a very exciting AL Championship Series. In 1987 the Angels went from first to worst as they finished in the AL West cellar. During spring training in 1988 Mauch took a leave of absence due to health problems. Gene's leave turned out to be a permanent one and the Angels hired Cookie Rojas to replace him  on March 27.
  • Gene managed all or parts of 26 seasons and had a lifetime record of 1902-2037 (.483). Gene usually preferred "small ball" strategies and had a reputation of taunting opposing ballclubs and baiting umpires.
  • Mauch served as Bob Boone's bench coach with the Kansas City Royals in 1995.
  • Mauch died of cancer on August 8, 2005.

  • Team Highlights:
  • Record: 84-77,  4th in AL West, 17.5 games behind Kansas City
  • Attendance:  1,162,727 (11th in AL)
  • Team Batting: .282 (1st in AL)
  • Team HR: 123 (11th in AL)
  • Team Stolen Bases: 105 (6th in AL)
  • Team ERA: 4.36 (12th in AL)
  • Team Fielding: .978 (4th in AL)
  • All Stars: Rod Carew (starting 1B), Larry Hisle (OF), Butch Wynegar (C)
  • Awards: Rod Carew (MVP)
  • AL Leaders: Rod Carew (batting .388, OBP .449, runs (128), hits (239), triples (16); Larry Hisle (RBI 119); Dave Goltz (wins 20, games started 39)
  • Batting Leader: Rod Carew (.388)
  • Home Run Leader:  Larry Hisle (28)
  • RBI Leader: Larry Hisle (119)
  • Stolen Base Leader: Rod Carew (23)
  • Victories Leader: Dave Goltz (20)
  • Losses Leader: Paul Thormosgard (15)
  • Strikeout Leader: Dave Goltz (186)
  • Saves Leader: Tom Johnson (15)
  • ERA Leader (starters): Dave Goltz (3.36)
  • ERA Leader (relievers): Tom Johnson (3.13)
  • Players who could have had Twins cards in 1977 (batters with over 100 AB, pitchers with over 40 innings) : 
    • Rob Wilfong (2B) .246, 1 HR, 13 RBI in 73 games
    • Willie Norwood (UT) .229, 3 HR, 9 RBI in 39 games
    • Bob Gorinski (OF) .195, 3 HR, 22 RBI in 54 games
    • Dave Johnson 2-5, 4.58 ERA in 30 games (6 starts)
    • Ron Schueler 8-7, 3 saves, 4.41 ERA in 52 games (7 starts)
    • Paul Thormosgard 11-15, 4.62 ERA in 37 starts


  1. Re: Gene Mauch's hiring by the Phillies in 1960

    Eddie Sawyer began the season as the Phillies' manager, but quit after the first game, saying "I'm 49, and I want to live to see 50."

  2. I couldn't find an entry for Ed Bane.

    1. You're right - looks like I missed that one. Thanks for the heads up.