Thursday, April 1, 2021

Five Rod Carew Fun Facts

Stop me if you've heard this one before, I was going through some cards the other day, and STOP!!!!

I know, it's a familiar setup, but in this instance, was quite true. I was going through some cards, looking for trade bait to add to the TCDB, when I came across a copy of Rod Carew's 1984 Glossy All-Stars. For reasons unbeknownst to me, I stopped on it, and turned it over to read the back. While doing so, I suddenly realized that I knew next to nothing about Rod Carew. And I'm not talking about Rod Carew the baseball player, I know all about that Rod Carew. No, I'm talking about Rod Carew the person -- the man behind the athlete if you will.

I'm sure he has more than one biography out there, but as is so often the case these days, I took to the internet to try and find out a little bit more about him. Thanks to a few of the better sites that deal in baseball history, I was able to get a pretty good feel for Rod Carew the human man. Some of the information turned out to be more interesting than I had anticipated, enough so that it inspired me to write a post about some of the tidbits I came across. So without further ado, here's five fun facts about Rod Carew. Hopefully you'll find them as interesting as I did...

1. Even Walt had to get a look
A mysterious land deal was made in Orlando, FL on May 27th 1965. Much speculation was had as to what was going to be built on the newly acquired 30,000 acres, including - thanks to Walt Disney's presence in Cape Canaveral a few weeks earlier - an east coast Disneyland. Walt's trip to the Cape in early May received plenty of press coverage, but one thing that wasn't covered at the time, was Walt's non-business activities in Orlando prior to his heading back home to California. Walt Disney's love of baseball is well known, so it's not too surprising to learn that he took in a baseball game before leaving.  The Orlando Twins had just gotten a highly touted young first basemen that Walt wanted to get a look at, that first basemen being none other than Mr. Rod Carew.  History tells us that the land purchased went on to become the site of Disney World, unfortunately though it doesn't tell us what Walt thought of the future Hall of Famer.

2. What the puck?
After a successful first season with the Twins, the Minnesota North Stars honored Rod by asking him to drop the ceremonial first puck to start their 1968-69 season. Being from the Caribbean, where ice ever being underfoot is virtually non-existent, Rod was initially hesitant to walk out on the ice, but did end up doing so, and by all accounts did so like a boss. The North Stars defeated the Golden Seals 5-1 that night. Looking at their record that year, 18-43-15, one can't help but think that they might've done well to invite Rod back to drop the first puck for every home game.

3. A "Rocky" road to becoming an MVP
Rocky was released in December of 1976, and as most people know by now, became a huge success, critically and financially. Many people have been inspired by this underdog tale over the years, including those who we'd never think of as an "underdog", like Rod Carew. Rod was so enamored with the film, especially the famous training montage that featured Sly Stallone running up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, that he himself started running up the stands at Metropolitan Stadium before every home game. He would later credit this extra conditioning to his winning the MVP in 1977.

4. He could afford it
Rod was/is known for his love of music, so it should come as no surprise to learn that he was all in on the Walkman. Introduced by Sony in July of 1979, 5,000 units were initially released carrying the then hefty price tag of $200. Rod was amongst that first wave to get one of the new personal cassette players. Though steep in price, Rod has just become the highest player in baseball, and justified the expense by saying that it would take some of the tedium out of traveling. According to a 2015 interview with All Things E, Rod still owns his original Walkman, but has not used it for many years.

5. There's nothing wrong with silver

ESPN was launched on September 7th 1979. Despite being located on the east coast, highlights from the Angels vs. Brewers matchup earlier that day was the first game to ever be covered by the fledgling network. Gorman Thomas' 2-run HR in the first inning was the first clip to be featured, and Rod Carew's single to LF in the bottom of the 3rd was the second. Being first would've been a better piece of trivia, but being the second player ever to be shown on ESPN still makes for an interesting footnote. As for the game itself, the Angels won 6-3. And your winning pitcher was Nolan Ryan, who threw a complete game.

So what do you think, were those fun? I can't say that they all were, but did think that a few were at least mildly interesting.

Oh, and in case you're wondering why you hadn't heard any of these fun facts before, well, look at today's date (or the date this was posted if you're reading it in the future), and you'll find your answer :)

Happy day of fools to all of my fellow fools!


  1. Sweet post! I am a Carew fan, and have read several of his biographies, but never knew these awesome 'facts'!!

  2. Carew's autobiography was one of the first I'd ever read as a child. I'd bet I would have remembered it more if these amazing facts were included!

  3. Those are fun facts! Thanks for sharing.

  4. You got me to look up the first game that ESPN aired. It was not the Angels and Brewers. :(

  5. Nice post! Rod just published a new autobiography in 2020 called "One Tough Out" which has a closer look (among other things) at his heart transplant. I haven't read it yet myself, so I can't say I recommend it, but my guess is that it will be a fascinating read.

  6. Didn't realize the Walkman was that old.

    Nice work.

  7. You totally had me. And there are few things I loved more than baseball cards as a kid... but I've gotta admit... my Walkman was one of them.

  8. Great post ;) I pitty the fools

  9. Thanks gents. This post was far from perfect, but I did put some effort into it, and do appreciate the kind words.