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Flashback Friday: Twins legend Rod Carew's number retired 32 years ago

Updated: July 19, 2019 01:27 PM

On July 18, 1987, former Minnesota Twins star Rod Carew had his jersey retired by the organization.

Through Carew's illustrious MLB career, he played 19 years for the Twins and the then-California Angels. Carew retired in 1985 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1991.

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According to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Carew was born Oct. 1, 1945, on a train in the Canal Zone and named for the doctor who delivered him. Rodney Cline Carew used a broomstick and bottle caps as his first bat and balls before moving to New York City as a teenager. He didn't play high school baseball, but was spotted by Minnesota Twins scouts on a semi-pro team and was signed as an amateur free agent in 1964.

The Panama native recorded 3,053 hits in his career, totaling a .328 batting average, which ranks 34th all-time. In 1969, the speedster stole home seven times during the regular season. That record stands as the second-most ever to Ty Cobb, who stole home eight times in the 1912 season, according to Baseball Reference

RELATED: Talking baseball with Twins legend Rod Carew

On that July 18 day at the Metrodome, Carew was presented his honor by another Twins legend, Tony Oliva. 

According to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Carew finished his career with an armful of hardware: 18 All-Star appearances (1967-1984), Rookie of the Year (1967), Most Valuable Player (1977), led the league in batting average seven times (1969, 1972-1975, 1977-1978) and stole home 17 times. 

"They gave me two lines, two foul lines," he told KSTP's Joe Schmit in February about his approach to the batter's box. "They didn't say which one I should hit it at. So, I'm going to take my chances, spread the field and try and get as many hits as I can."

Carew, now 73, received a kidney transplant in December 2016 and a heart transplant in April 2017. He and his wife, Rhonda, now focus on promoting heart health and organ donation.

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Tommy Wiita

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