Rod Carew was a professional hitter during his 19 -year major league career. Carew finished his career in 1985 with 3,053 hits and a .328 batting average. Carew won 7 batting titles & was an 18-time All-Star.
Rod Carew played for the Angels in his last seven seasons in the majors. Carew never won a batting title for the Angels and his batting average was 14 points lower than his career average, but his Angel career was still very productive.
Carew was traded to the Angels from his first team the Minnesota Twins in a blockbuster deal. The Angels traded Brad Havens, Paul Hartzell, Ken Landreaux, and Dave Engle in exchange for Carew. Carew wanted to leave Minnesota because then owner Calvin Griffith had made some racially insensitive comments at a Lions Club breakfast.
Carew in his first year with the Angels helped lead them to their first division title in team history by hitting .318 with three homers and 44 runs batted in. Carew being part of the Angels first two AL West title winning teams was what owner Gene Autry had envisioned when he traded for him.
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In 1985 Carew was closing in on baseball immortality as he was moving closer and closer to 3,000 hits. On August 3rd, 1985 the Angels were playing the Minnesota Twins sitting on 2,998 hits. In the fourth inning off future Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven, Carew singled to get hit # 2,999. Carew came to bat two more times in the game but could not get the magical 3,000th hit.
This set the stage for August 4, 1985 when the Angels would again be playing the Twins. The pitcher Carew would face was an up and coming lefty named Frank Viola. This would be a good test for Carew as Viola was tough on left-handed batters. In the first inning Carew got his first chance of the day to reach 3,000 hits. Carew would ground out.
In the third inning Carew strode to the plate once again and this time the Panama native would get hit number 3,000 on an opposite-field single to left and the 41,630 fans in attendance gave Carew a well-deserved standing ovation and then manager Gene Mauch gave Carew the first base bag to celebrate his milestone hit. Carew was now a part of the exclusive 3,000 hit club.
Carew was the 17th member of the 3,000 hit club and the first Angel every to reach the 3,000 hit plateau while wearing and Angel uniform. This was indeed a very special moment in Angel history.