History-making music group for UMM - morris mn

History-making music group for UMM - morris mn
The UMM men's chorus opened the Minnesota Day program at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair (Century 21 Exposition).

Monday, August 24, 2015

We love music but overlook lyrics too much

Johnny Paycheck: a real genius
I discovered a website back in the early days of the Internet about "misheard song lyrics." It's interesting how, in the craft of songwriting, such importance is placed on quality and depth of lyrics. It's interesting because, how many people pay that much attention? People listen to these songs on a supermarket sound system, perhaps. We have all kinds of distractions. Background noise can be ubiquitous.
And yet the music pros say lyrics must be totally sharp. There are many rules. It is true that the best in the business occasionally break rules. But you can be sure they know what the rules are.
Paul McCartney crafted music for radio in the 1970s. His voice droned on. Many of us sought his music because he reminded us of the Beatles. George Harrison was certainly on that gravy train, more so even. McCartney is a fine artist. But when his "Silly Love Songs" came out, I felt it was just cynically crafted to be a radio hit. McCartney had the power to get just about anything recorded and promoted. The consistency of his product has probably been better in his post-Wings days. He probably feels more pressure to cut out the fluff.
In the '70s we'd go to the "record store" like Musicland at Crossroads Shopping Center, St. Cloud, and paw through the various bins. An artist's newest release would be on top. "Cover art" for an album was considered important. When a major artist came out with a new album, a large number of that album would be on top in front of the artist's name in that display. A new album seemed so fresh and invigorating.
I attended a workshop in Moorhead once where a music industry expert talked about how music goes from fresh to stale. Why do you think new tunes climb so much on the charts, replacing the old ones? It's kind of sad, really. A good song has its "run" which is really quite brief. It then descends on those charts. We have gotten tired of it.
Much is said about how much we love music. We paid close attention to Casey Kasem's show (and, what a textbook case of estate issues at the time of his death). Ah, his "long distance dedication." So, we love music, and there are achingly high standards for the creation of pop music. Songwriting is anything but an impulsive or whimsical craft. And yet. . . And yet we famously "mishear" song lyrics or fail to understand even the most basic premise of a song. Ronald Reagan considered the song "Born in the U.S.A." and judged it entirely for the title. He looked not at all at the lyrical nuances. Heck, ol' "Ronnie Re-run" (a nickname applied by a college friend of mine) seemed to miss the essence of the song. It wasn't nearly as patriotic as he thought. But, a president would have to love a song called "Born in the U.S.A." (Didn't Cheech and Chong satirize that song with "Born in East L.A.?")
Let's move on to the most famous example of a misunderstood song. Ahem. "Take This Job and Shove It." I'm sure the song was written with exacting songwriting craftsmanship. I am more fascinated with songwriting craftsmanship than I am with journalism. I spent 27 years working in journalism.
Many people believe Johnny Paycheck wrote the "Shove It" song. I thought that when I wrote the first draft of this post. Paycheck popularized the song. David Allan Coe wrote it. Paycheck was a superlative songwriter in his own right. These guys were precisely the type of songwriter I'd like to be.
I wonder if Coe/Paycheck realized the monster they created when they presented the "hook" line: "Take this job and shove it." It's like an anthem for people frustrated at work. The pre-cyber age was full of jobs that were tedious, dirty and boring. Not so much so today. Coe hit a nerve with what he created. I wonder how he wrote down the song originally. On a napkin? On the back of a receipt? Fascinating craft. I was entranced at a museum exhibit in Nashville once, where I could see the scraps of paper when songs were originally created, complete with crossed-out lines and corrections! It was like observing genius at its core.
Woodward and Bernstein's notes about Watergate wouldn't interest me at all. But I'm mesmerized by the inception of these tunes, so simple and yet so powerful and timeless. I think we got tired of Watergate just like we get tired of a song.
"Take This Job and Shove It" is only remotely, or secondarily, connected to the idea of hating your job. Really it's about the shallow feeling of when your significant other leaves you - the loss of purpose. The woman was your reason for being, after all. "My woman done left. . ." I once used the word "done" in that context - is it Southern? - in my song about Kirby Puckett which is on YouTube. Please listen.
Coe reportedly resented that people were of the impression Paycheck wrote the song. Paycheck may have laughed all the way to the bank, but I think he felt a bit haunted by the song too. People in the corporate world, and that includes music, aren't likely to fawn over a song where one disses his job.
I have a Johnny Paycheck CD, recorded late in his career - a live and definitive recording made in Branson MO. I'd be in seventh heaven if I could write one song like these. "Take This Job and Shove It" is not included! Paycheck probably did not want to be defined by that song with the cynical title. However, his money was in the bank. (Or, let's face it, he probably spent it.)
Paycheck had the "Shove It" song at No. 1 on the country charts for two weeks. It spent 18 weeks on the charts. It was his only No. 1 hit.
Johnny had the image of a hell-raising outlaw singer - something I wouldn't wish to emulate. Jimmy Carter professed a liking for such music, like for Willie Nelson. I'm in awe of Paycheck's songwriting touch as for Tammy Wynette's debut hit, "Apartment No. 9," in 1966. I also love "A-11" which is a lively, fun and moving tune that is on the Branson CD. Maybe God will someday allow me to "borrow" some of that talent. Songwriting has a divine spark.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Monday, August 17, 2015

A stadium on the cutting edge, eventually to be razed

Metropolitan Stadium, Bloomington MN
Gerald Moore recalled his best memory of Metropolitan Stadium. Moore, who headed the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce during the drive to build the Met, said "I guess it would have to be that pleasant setting." Moore gave these comments at the time we were anticipating the Dome's opening. He added: "I'm concerned about the move downtown. I think we're losing too much. . .of the flavor."
Met Stadium was truly hailed at the time of its opening. A major league baseball official proclaimed our Met was "as good as any stadium in baseball and better than most."
It's actually strange we had to wait until 1961 for "the bigs" to start here. Met Stadium opened in 1956. Our AAA minor league team, the Millers, played there. Surely the Met wasn't built for the Millers. Legend has it the Indians and Giants flirted with coming here. Had the Indians come, we would have had an established nucleus of stars to cheer for. Given the advantages of a brand new stadium, the owner could have augmented that group, perhaps well enough to win a pennant. Today we'd be reminiscing about Leon Wagner, Max Alvis and Sam McDowell. Instead we reminisce about "the Killer" (Harmon Killebrew), Camilo Pascual, Rich Rollins and others.
Had the Giants come? My, we'd have a giant statue of Willie Mays in the metro area. Maybe Orlando Cepeda or Juan Marichal too. Remember Marichal's "leg kick?" It was a diversion. I doubt it helped his pitching. Cepeda? Roger Angell observed that Cepeda wrapped his bat so far in back of his shoulder, it was surprising he could even hit a pitch. Most certainly he could hit a pitch.
"That pleasant setting"
"It was such a kick to see the place go up," Moore said of the Met's construction. "It was like making a million dollars and you know you've got the million, but you just don't have the money. We got a lot of compliments on the place over the years."
One of my top compliments would have to be "that pleasant setting." Yes we were on the fringes of the big, bad metro area. Nevertheless there was a pastoral air as we took our seats at the Met. The organist would play a gentle, traditional melody, perhaps "Jersey Bounce." Finally the voice of Bob Casey commanded our attention. The famous HBO video "When It Was a Game" included an old-timer commenting on the mesmerizing effect of that P.A. voice at the ballpark: "Like the voice of God."
Another comment was about the indescribable thrill, from the perspective of a child, seeing those big league players in the flesh, to simply realize they were real people. "I had heard about them, read about them, but there they were." Someone remembered arriving at the ballpark and seeing "Johnny Mize, big Johnny Mize, looking right at me from beside the dugout."
The Twins warmed up in front of me at Met Stadium. It was the mid-1960s. There he was: Rich Rollins! Nothing in West Central Minnesota could have thrilled me like this. Harmon Killebrew hit two home runs in the first game I ever attended. Al Worthington pitched the ninth. The Twins won. Our family had taken a bus from somewhere in downtown Minneapolis. On the way back, I remember fans humming around me, so enthused about the Twins and their performance. We remember staying at the old Drake Hotel way back when it was a real hotel, complete with a restaurant. I was disappointed years later to hear the place had become a homeless accommodation place.
I remember when we knew we were getting close to the Twin Cities when we saw those little billboards promoting the "Curtis" Hotel. And the Leamington? The Beatles stayed there. So gone with the wind. Just like Met Stadium, that stadium "as good as any, better than most" in major league baseball.
As it turned out, we in Minnesota fell into a pattern of building a stadium toward the end of each generation of sports stadiums - not a good deal. I think in Target Field we now have the ideal. But the Twins have not been competitive enough, not that I follow it a whole lot anymore. The strike of 1994 changed forever my orientation to big league baseball. The emotions were gone. Then the PED scandals came along and that was the final nail. I have nothing against big league baseball, really. It's fine if a substantial number of people still enjoy it. I've just moved on. I do have a dislike for pro football - it's a tragedy with all the head injuries.
As the days of the Met became numbered, Groundskeeper Dick Ericson said "I hate to see it go. It doesn't seem so long ago when it was built. I remember talking to the contractor when they were pouring cement, and I asked the contractor, a Mr. Drake - I can't remember his first name - I asked him how that cement would hold up. He said the cement would still be there in a hundred years. I guess not."
The apex year: 1965
The All-Star Game was played at the Met in 1965. Of course that was the year the stars all lined up and the Twins won the pennant. The stars didn't completely line up because we lost the World Series in seven games.
You would think the Twins could have won another pennant before the end of the decade. We came painfully close. Our talent suggested we could have won another flag. It was a tragic story as Calvin Griffith's Twins teased us but couldn't pull it off. Zoilo Versalles tanked. Doug Grow asked Griffith what happened with Zoilo. "Drugs," Calvin responded.
The Twins degenerated with internal politics and conflicts taking a toll. Us fans basically weren't aware at the time, though we know about the fistfight between Dave Boswell and Billy Martin. Bob Allison got caught up in that avoidable skirmish too. Coaches had conflicts. Johnny Sain reportedly wanted Sam Mele fired.
OK, what I'll offer as an assessment is that Griffith was of a generation that had trouble recognizing and solving such problems. Today we have "conflict resolution" techniques. Griffith just put certain people in certain positions and paid no mind. I've seen others of his generation be similarly clueless. Conflicts have to be avoided or else certain people just have to be shipped off. 
Why didn't the Twins use Jim Perry more in the mid-1960s? Indeed that's a mystery.
Us young fans were left flummoxed by our Twins getting edged out for the pennant in '67, and losing the divisional playoffs to the Orioles in 1969 and '70. Games 1 and 2 in '69 were decided by one run, then we were blown out in game 3. Dave Boswell threw out his arm by being overworked. It could drive one to drink.
The '70s were anticlimactic. The Twins no longer had the wizardry for attracting top talent. Rick Sofield? Glenn Adams? Gene Mauch seemed to put together teams with guys who could hit for a good average but do little else. He platooned so much, it made me sick. Kirby Puckett might have gotten platooned if Mauch were still around. All it would take was one 0-for-4 game against a right-handed pitcher. Lyman Bostock once publicly complained about being sat down by Mauch against a left-handed pitcher one day. Bostock would be murdered when still a young man.
Today the Mall of America stands where we were once enthralled by the Minnesota Twins. We had the Metrodome for a number of years, where the Twins won two world championships. But even the Dome is gone now. The only constant appears to be change.
But I'll never forget "that pleasant setting" and calming organ music of the old "Met." If I go to heaven, maybe God can allow me to re-live a few days there.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Saturday, August 8, 2015

The U's Norwood Teague: we hardly knew ye

Norwood Teague (image from MPR)
Oh, my: there was an interesting item for the Friday night news dump: U of M athletic director resigns. He resigns amidst scandal!
Media people had to brew fresh coffee and charge their batteries to get engaged. These days there's no reason for media activity to slow down on weekends. In this new age of new and viral media, a scandal isn't going to be tamped down much.
Regents' Chair Dean Johnson got a breathless phone call I'm sure. This is the same Dean Johnson who got in sort of a scandal or at least a dust-up with the Minnesota Supreme Court about a decade ago. He knows how these brushfires can become pesky.
I'm sitting here like some kind of a guru on the mountaintop: I never consume alcoholic drinks. Is there any rational reason to do so? I often consume soft drinks to excess - a real risk in this age of unlimited refills in so many places. I remember when Jim Morrison, the old Morris Sun-Tribune boss, teased Howard Moser by saying "you'll get arrested for driving under the influence of Dr. Pepper!" Howard was our van driver.
Why couldn't the University of Minnesota athletic director consume Dr. Pepper or Mello Yello or some such thing? The World War II generation used booze as an escape mechanism for coping in their post-war (or post-Depression) life. We excused them for that, and for smoking. Weren't GIs offered free cigarettes in the war? Better to get them hooked, I guess (from the cigarette companies' standpoint).
Mike McFeely of KFGO Radio-Fargo has said "maybe it's time we made alcohol illegal." Alcohol is the cause for so much strife. It is being blamed in the current mess at the U that has the athletic director departing under a dark cloud.
I remember when Art Carney filmed a PSA about our attitudes regarding booze. He asked in the PSA: when you offer someone a drink, or are being offered a drink, why is there some sort of expectation that alcohol is included? I'm paraphrasing. "When you think of a drink," Carney continued, "why not assume the non-alcohol options are included. Soft drinks? Water?"
I suspect that today's young people are receptive to the Carney pitch, more so than my generation.
The U of M is in a defensive stance now. This is after the revelation that Norwood Teague is an unsavory, filthy boor, and disingenuous too. He submitted a formal statement that I'll theorize was written by a lawyer. He said he took responsibility for his actions. But in the next breath he suggested he wasn't really responsible, rather it was the demon rum inside him. Well, which is it?
I'm sure the women who were affected by this are enraged by Teague's assertion that the inappropriate behavior "doesn't reflect his true character." So, he wasn't consciously aware of what he was doing? What a convenient excuse. And now he's going to seek treatment? Does that mean he's an alcoholic? He says he has "alcohol issues." With that broad brush he laid his problems at the doorstep of demon rum.
U of M President Eric Kaler was even worse, so bad I actually hate quoting him here. The Man from Stony Brook suggested the problem was that Teague was "overserved" at a University-sponsored event. If it was a University-sponsored event, why did alcohol even need to be served? Why not Dr. Pepper instead? Just think how much trouble this would have saved our august University of Minnesota.
But if Teague's boorish behavior wasn't a one-time incident, the excrement would have eventually hit the fan anyway, right? Oh, but if this was an ongoing problem for this reckless Mr. Teague, shouldn't other U administrators have been aware? Was it their responsibility to be aware? Aren't these people all paid a fortune? Is the U of M devolving into some sort of charade, a charade in which, on another front, the regents feel they need to address how students get consent for sex (with the proposed "affirmative consent" policy)?
Teague's big thing was to raise money for the athletic village, an idea that sort of strikes me as Sodom and Gomorrah-like. Athletes needn't be so high up on a pedestal. The University doesn't stand for this.
The University should be making preparations for the day when football is discontinued, based on the terrible physical toll taken on participants. Instead we have Jerry Kill behaving like royalty, with inadequate justification for it. The U has fallen for this athletic "arms race" among Division I schools. We rig the non-conference schedule so we get four automatic wins. How satisfying is that?
Money becomes like water out of a faucet. The numbers get staggeringly higher. And for what end? Glorification of the U? Sports teams don't command our attention like they once did, due to diversification of the media - competition for eyeballs. What the U is doing might be considered harmless, or maybe a curiosity, but the U hired someone (Teague) unable to show the most basic respectful judgment in his behavior at a U function.
It's too convenient for him to hide behind the veil of alcohol. We have seen other public figures do the same thing through the years: call an immediate press conference and say they have a problem with alcohol. Teague was paid a fortune to at least be a custodian of the U's interests. It was a low bar. And Kaler uses the term "overserved."
Here's a suggestion: stop giving money to the U of M immediately.
And maybe Dean Johnson could get some advice from the Minnesota Supreme Court.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Monday, August 3, 2015

Dean Chance: a Twins great who could have been greater

A neighborhood kid once talked about how "Dean Chancellor" was in trouble at the Republican national convention. His astute mother, Virginia, was ready with a clarification. "Oh, you're thinking about Dean Chance."
Our neighborhood had its share of baseball interest. For the record, John Chancellor was arrested at the 1964 GOP convention for refusing to cede his spot on the floor to the "Goldwater Girls." When security came to get him, he was forced to sign off. "I've been promised bail, ladies and gentlemen, by my office. This is John Chancellor, somewhere in custody."
The fellow whose name might be confused with the journalist wasn't yet a Minnesota Twin. Dean Chance was having an outstanding season with the Angels. He was high on our thoughts most likely because he started the All-Star Game.
Virginia was to be complimented for her knowledge outside our Minnesota Twins. All the mothers of the boomers were to be complimented for putting up with us. Us boomer kids lived in a laissez-faire world in which adults didn't fuss much over us. The boomer boys of Minnesota in the 1960s loved the Twins.
I'm amazed reading about a game that Chance pitched for the Angels on June 6, 1964. Chance's mound opponent was the one and only Jim Bouton. Bouton would because famous or infamous by the end of the decade by writing a groundbreaking sports book: "Ball Four." The book tore away the pretense from professional sports. It showed the athletes as human beings with flaws. They had petty conflicts and felt insecurity just like the rest of us. Bouton had his last good season for the Yankees in 1964. 
Pitchers could be handled recklessly
If you read Ball Four, you'll remember that Bouton fussed much over his sore arm. How might he have gotten a sore arm? Well, let's consider that June 6, 1964, game at Chavez Ravine in California. It was a duel for the ages. Chance and Bouton were overpowering, so much so, neither team could score a run.
The two aces matched zeroes for 13 innings. Bouton was then removed. Chance pitched one more inning before departing. The Yankees scored twice against the Angels' bullpen in the 15th and won 2-0. Any pitcher is put at great risk, being asked to pitch 13 innings, or even ten. I have written about how Twin Dave Boswell threw out his arm in a playoff game vs. Baltimore in 1969. He struck out Frank Robinson on a slider. His career was effectively over.
I have written about how Jim Kaat's arm got overworked at the end of the 1967 regular season. In that frantic pennant race for the ages, the Twins desperately tried getting a little more out of "Kitty's" arm. Kaat didn't tumble out of baseball but he had an extended case of "dead arm" after that.
Bouton was never the same after the 1964 season. He'd have to learn the knuckleball to achieve a bit of a resurgence. It was in that knuckleball phase that he took notes (and talked into a tape recorder) for "Ball Four." I say he "wrote" Ball Four but there were other, more professional writing minds in on this, most notably Leonard Shecter. Shecter was in a group of avant garde New York City writers called the "chipmunks."
I read Ball Four and maybe I shouldn't have. It built up my cynical and skeptical attitudes I had at that time - a common affliction among the young, I might add.
What? You say I'm still cynical and skeptical today?
Chance eventually succumbed to physical issues. He hurt himself by holding out prior to the 1969 season. He rushed his body into shape. Chance was having to bargain with Calvin Griffith, Twins owner, about whom Jim "Mudcat" Grant once said "he threw around nickels like they were manhole covers." I once had a boss like that.
It's a crying shame because Chance never should have groveled trying to get Griffith's generosity. My opinion, which I've stated before on my blog sites, is that guys like Chance should have simply tried to achieve as much fame as possible, because they could later parley that into a fortune going to sports memorabilia shows. "Just win, baby." Just take what ol' Calvin offers you and then go out and win.
Chance had a golden opportunity to build on his fame in 1969. It was the first year of the divisional format in baseball. The Twins were in the West. We had an outstanding team in '69 as you'll gather reading Ball Four. We had the likes of Tony Oliva, Harmon Killebrew and Rod Carew. We were awe-inspiring. Just one problem: the Orioles out of the East were at least as good. The Twins in '69 and '70 wowed everyone in the regular season but couldn't scratch their way past the Orioles in the playoffs. Those were excruciating losses for us boomer boys of Minnesota to digest.
Close your eyes, imagine. . .
What if Dean Chance had been able to pitch two more stellar seasons? Yes, we could have won the pennant. We would have had a chance to beat those Cinderella Mets in '69. For Chance personally, two more stellar seasons would have put him in the top tier of the pantheon of Twins greats. I think it's sad he didn't make it. He was an interesting and exciting pitcher.
Remember his distinctive delivery? He turned his back to the hitter before releasing the ball. He'd "whip his glove back." He threw a sinking fastball, a sweeping curve and a slider. He had a good fastball and could also throw a changeup screwball. He had a "swing arm" motion, a three-quarters delivery. He never threw pitches above the waist. He was able to pitch like a smaller man, employing a "bent body."
There were two dubious things associated with Chance: he fielded his position poorly and was a famously bad hitter. It's strange because he had a background as a superb all-around athlete. He was a basketball forward who made his name at Northwestern High School in Wooster OH. His family owned a 166-acre dairy farm there. When he wasn't milking cows, Chance was absorbed in sports, but when it came to baseball, he had a narrow priority: firing unhittable pitches. I guess hitting and fielding got overlooked some. He was an all-state basketball player.
Chance's breakout year in the bigs was in '64 when the Republicans opted for their "pure" candidate, Barry Goldwater, and "Dean Chancellor" - excuse me, John Chancellor - had his woes at that excited convention. Dean actually had a slow start in '64 due to a blister on his pitching hand. He had a 5-5 record on July 1. It was on July 11 that Chance found the kind of groove that would make him a sterling all-star. He pitched three consecutive complete game shutouts. He fashioned a 15-4 record over the remainder of the season, putting him at the 20-win plateau. His ERA in the second half of the season was 1.29. Eleven of his 20 wins were shutouts.
The '60s were a time when shutouts and complete games were deemed important for pitchers, not like today when pitchers' arms are nursed and rested so much more. I seem to recall many promising pitchers ending up on the scrap heap, sadly. Bouton described how his arm "felt like an alligator was biting it." It was pathetic, the picture we got of Steve Barber in that book. Same with Jim O'Toole. I can't blame any of those guys for wanting to "tough it out," being willing to spend countless hours in the "Diathermy machine" as we read about in Fall Four.
Putting on the Twins uniform
Dean Chance became a Minnesota Twin on December 2 of 1966. Jackie Hernandez joined him in that trade. I remember writing a letter to my uncle and aunt in Oregon wondering if Hernandez was going to help us at shortstop. Alas he was an anemic hitter. The Twins sent Pete Cimino, Jimmie Hall and Don Mincher to the Angels.
Wearing a Twins uniform, Chance earned American League Comeback Player of the Year honors in 1967. He had another 20-win season. We loved seeing that no-look windup. His ERA was a fine 2.73. He started his second All-Star Game. Those were the days when baseball's All-Star Game was really a big deal among us kids. It was rare we could see these players playing in live action on TV.
I remember listening on the radio, outside, to Chance's rain-shortened five-inning perfect game against Boston on August 6. He pitched a nine-inning no-hitter against Cleveland on August 25.
All this is fun to recall, and I'd like to go no further, really, but the end of the '67 season might be the saddest chapter in all of Twins history. It seemed every bit as heartbreaking as our Game 7 loss in the '65 Series, or the playoff losses of '69 and '70. The Twins had such a superb team, Chance being a major reason. Chance was handed the ball for the final game of the '67 season, matched vs. Boston and Jim Lonborg. We led the Red Sox 2-0 heading into the bottom of the sixth. But the destiny-propelled Red Sox rallied for five runs to drive Chance from the game and ultimately win the game and the pennant.
That was Carl Yastrzemski's prime year, remember? The Red Sox were a fairy tale type of team. The Twins had a chance for fame and glory. We ended up in the ashes. Chance might have made a bid for eventual Hall of Fame status. If he hadn't held out against against the austere Griffith in '69, well. . . We can only wonder.
It would have been so terrific, that no-look windup doing its thing as part of the Twins' glory in '69 and even in '70. The Hall of Fame could have put out the welcome mat for ol' Dean, the dairy farmer guy from Ohio.
The history of baseball has countless "what might have been" stories. Yes, it could have been wonderful. It would have been more wonderful if the U.S. had stayed out of Viet Nam. That's the most significant "might have been." Sigh. 
Casting a spell vs. the Yankees
Mickey Mantle hated batting against Chance. In fact, Chance showed particular mastery vs. the Yankees. It was observed that Mantle had a hard time vs. Chance because Chance threw pitches low and outside at the knee. Mantle, at that point in his career, could not get under the ball. Mantle was quoted saying of Chance: "Every time I see his name on a lineup card, I feel like throwing up."
If you saw Billy Crystal's movie about the 1961 season, you know the main reason why Mantle was inclined to throw up, and it had nothing to do with a failure to get under the ball.
Let's acknowledge Chance's 1968 season with the Twins. That was "the year of the pitcher," remember? Chance fit right in, still 100 percent in his prime, fashioning an ERA of 2.53. He hurled for 292 innings but managed only a 16-16 record. It was a hard luck story. The Twins were hurt not having a reliable shortstop. We went back and forth among several players, none able to really settle in. Zoilo Versalles in his prime would have been nice.
In '69 Calvin solved the shortstop situation by acquiring Leo Cardenas, who I consider perhaps the most underrated player in Twins history. Everyone talked about Mark Belanger of Baltimore. I got upset because Leo wasn't even mentioned in some of these conversations.
Dean Chance eventually left the Twins and toiled in obscurity for other teams. Sometimes these washed-up pitchers can tease us. In his first start of the 1971 season, with Cleveland, Chance faced New York in Yankee Stadium and pitched seven innings of shutout baseball to get the win. The Indians won 3-0. I would have loved to see ol' Dean get revived, even if it was at the expense of our Twins a little. But it was a mirage. The years had taken their toll. Chance went 9-8 with a 4.21 ERA in 1970, not exactly terrible. But his stardom time had been exhausted.
In 1971 with Detroit, Chance went 4-6 with a 3.51 ERA, still not terrible. He got his final win on July 28 when Al Kaline hit a game-winning homer to make Dean a winner in relief. He pitched his final game on August 9 at Fenway Park, Boston.
Dean had 128 career wins and a super 2.92 ERA. Against the Yankees he had a career ERA of 2.34.
Chance has had many interesting endeavors since leaving baseball. He was a midway barker on a large scale. He founded the International Boxing Association in the 1990s. He managed many fighters. As part of the Angels' 50th anniversary, Chance threw out the first pitch before the June 4, 2011, game vs. the New York Yankees. What a full and successful life. 
I could cry as I reflect on the Twins slipping at the very end of the '67 season. I could cry as I reflect on Chance getting hurt most likely because of a holdout in 1969. Yes, he could be in that pantheon of immortal Twins. But still we savor the memories.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com