This is the second in my “Find the Canadian Connection” feature. For this feature, I close my eyes and reach into a random box of baseball cards in my basement and pull out a single card. I then try to establish a Canadian connection for the player featured on the card.
The card I pulled this time is a 1974 Topps Jerry Terrell (#481). (Interesting to note that the cards I have pulled for my first two “Find the Canadian Connection” articles have been players with the first name “Jerry.” Last week it was Jerry Turner.)
Selected in the 18th round of the 1968 MLB draft by the Minnesota Twins, this native Minnesotan played parts of eight big league seasons with the Twins (1973 to 1977) and Kansas City Royals (1978 to 1980).
In 656 major league games, the scrappy 5-foot-11, 165-pound utility infielder batted .253 and recorded 412 hits – including four home runs. He enjoyed his best season in 1975 when he batted a career-high .285 and had 108 hits in 106 games.
Terrell played primarily second base, shortstop and third base in the majors, but he also made two pitching appearances for the Kansas City Royals. In each of those mound appearances, he tossed a scoreless inning against the New York Yankees (August 20, 1979 and May 14, 1980)
Following his big league career, Terrell was a respected scout and minor league manager. He served as an advance scout for the 1985 World Champion Kansas City Royals, while his last pro managerial gig was with the Chicago White Sox class-A Burlington Bees in 2000.
At last report, the now 73-year-old Terrell was happily retired and living in Blue Springs, Missouri.
It took some serious digging to unearth a Canadian connection for Terrell, but here’s what I found:
– Terrell was a teammate of Vancouver native and Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Dave McKay on the Minnesota Twins in 1975 and 1976. I reached out to McKay via email to see what he remembered about Terrell.
“Jerry didn’t make many mistakes, knew how to play the game, and I would say, who got the most out of his ability,” recalled McKay. “I say that because he wasn’t a big, strong, athletic looking guy. Short of any power, he had good hands and decent speed, and didn’t try to do to much. Best of all, Jerry was a real good teammate.”
-As you might now, McKay homered in his first major league at bat with the Minnesota Twins. On August 22, 1975, McKay, who was batting eighth and playing third base, walked to the plate in the bottom of the third inning and belted a pitch from Detroit Tigers right-hander Vern Ruhle over the wall at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington for a solo home run. There to greet McKay in the dugout was Terrell. In that game, Terrell manned shortstop and batted second for the Twins and went 1-for-4 with a single and a run.
-Terrell was 2-for-5 in three games at Toronto’s Exhibition Stadium. His last hit at The Ex came in a Royals’ 16-12 win over the Blue Jays on August 6, 1979. In that game, Terrell replaced George Brett at third base in the bottom of the eighth inning with the Royals up 16-5. Terrell would single to centre field off Jackson Todd to lead off the ninth inning, but would be stranded at second base.
– Facing Canadian pitchers, Terrell had the most success against Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Reggie Cleveland (Swift Current, Sask.). He was 3-for-6 with a triple off the right-hander. He had less success against three other Canuck hurlers: 2-for-18 against Fergie Jenkins (Chatham, Ont.), 2-for-10 versus John Hiller (Toronto, Ont.) and 0-for-2 against Dave Pagan (Nipawin, Sask.).
I love these! That August 1979 game took place the night of Thurman Munson’s funeral. I’ve watched the Monday Night Baseball broadcast of the Yankee game that night more than once. I remember seeing the score of the Royals-Jays game. Who knew that Jerry Terrell had recorded his final hit in Canada that night?
One picky thing: Met Stadium was in Bloomington, not Minneapolis. I only know this because the site is now the Mall of America!
Thank you, David. I should have connected that August 1979 game with Munson. Thanks for letting me know about Bloomington. I’ll make the correction. Thanks again.
Thanks for another Cooperstowner. You really have to do some research on this guy.
Thanks for your support. Yes, I had to do some digging on him.
Good job Kevin! What an interesting challenge–its like doing a puzzle!
Thanks for your support. Yes, it is more challenging than I thought it would be, but I’m enjoying the challenge.
But did he play hockey too?
A very good question, Larry, considering Jerry Terrell was from Minnesota. I haven’t read anywhere that he played hockey, but it’s likely that he laced them up at some point in his youth. Thanks for your comment and support.
This is great digging Kevin. So interesting to see how people r linked.
Thanks for your work!
Thanks for your comment and support, Scott.