Former Twins Oliva, Kaat deserve place in Hall of Fame, Carew says

July 12, 2014

Rod Carew, the hall of famer and former Twin who was named to 18 All-Star Games and will make the ceremonial first pitch at Tuesday night’s All-Star Game at Target Field, served on the Expansion-Era Hall of Fame committee that in two weeks will induct ex-managers Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa and Joe Torre in Cooperstown, N.Y.

But with a proviso.

“I told the president of the Hall of Fame that the only way I would be on that committee is if I could be on the next committee when (former Twins teammates) Tony (Oliva) and Jim (Kaat) come up (for election),” Carew said.

That will be the Golden Era Committee. Carew, a seven-time batting champion, wasn’t a member of that committee that in 2011 elected just one candidate, Ron Santo, to the Hall of Fame, but left Kaat as a runner-up for election. Oliva finished fourth in that voting.

The next Golden Era Committee voting will be in December. Oliva turns 76 next Sunday. Kaat turns 76 in November.

“(Kaat and Oliva) definitely deserve to be there,” Carew said. “Not only those guys, but it hurts me that (St. Paul native Jack Morris) is not there. Here’s a guy that was so dominant for so many years and deserves to be there, and they keep (inexplicably) bypassing him.”

It was Carew, now working full time for the Twins after working for Major League Baseball, who officially notified Chuck Knoblauch that he would be inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame on Aug. 23 at Target Field.

“I was kind of disappointed when Camilo Pascual was inducted and not too many guys showed up, so I wanted to be the guy to call the guys,” said Carew, 68, who lives in Anaheim, Calif. “Have a letter written, I’ll sign it and send it out to all the persons in the Twins Hall of Fame because I want them to be here when a guy gets inducted, because it’s a tremendous honor.

“When (Twins President Dave St. Peter) called me and told me that Chuck was going to be inducted, he said he wanted me to make the call. So I called Chuck and couldn’t get hold of him, but left him a message saying, ‘This is Rod Carew, and I would like you to give me a call when you get back.’

“He called me back and said, ‘You know, Rod, I didn’t know if I wanted to call you back or not because I didn’t know what it was all about.’ Then he went on and said how honored he was.”

Carew and fellow former Twins Dave Winfield, Bert Blyleven and Paul Molitor will be among 56 of 66 living hall of famers planning to return to Cooperstown for this year’s inductions July 27.


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