Posted at 1:32 PM on July 17, 2008
by Chris Dall
It was 31 years ago today that Rod Carew was on the cover of Time Magazine, under the headline "Baseball's Best Hitter." When the article came out on July 18, Carew was hitting .394, and the baseball world was wondering if he could be the guy to hit .400 for the season. Here's an interesting paragraph from the Time article.
Carew's eye is one of the sharpest in baseball. He spots the ball--its speed and rotation--as soon as it leaves the pitcher's fingertips. Says he: "I can tell by the rotation whether it's a curve, slider or fastball." What is more, Carew can often actually see the ball hit his bat. Kansas City Outfielder Amos Otis has a hitter's respect for the Carew eye: "Trying to sneak a pitch past him is like trying to sneak the sunrise past a rooster." Says the New York Yankees' Catfish Hunter, who has been the premier pitcher of the American League since 21-year-old Carew was Rookie of the Year in 1967: "He has no weakness as a hitter. Pitch him inside, outside, high, low, fast stuff, breaking balls--anything you throw he can handle. He swings with the pitch; that's why he's so great. He has no holes."
Carew ended that season at .388, and the month of July, when he batted .304, was what kept him from reaching the elusive mark. His best month that season? June, when he hit .486, with 3 home runs and 30 RBI.