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*Rod Carew was born on this date in 1945. He is a former Afro Panamanian baseball player and coach.
Rodney Cline Carew is the son of Olga Teoma and Eric Carew Sr., a painter. Carew is a Zonian and was born to an Afro Panamanian mother on a train in the town of Gatún, which, at that time, was in the Panama Canal Zone. The train was racially segregated. Traveling on the train was Dr. Rodney Cline, who delivered the baby. In appreciation for this, his mother named him Rodney Cline Carew.
Carew acknowledged in 2020 that he and his father Eric had a very tumultuous relationship, even stating, "Baseball was the one thing that kept me from killing my father." At age 14, Carew and his siblings immigrated to the United States to join his mother in the Washington Heights section of the borough of Manhattan, New York City. Although Carew attended George Washington High School, he never played baseball for the high school team. According to Carew, his interest in baseball redeveloped at the age of 18.
When he was younger, and still in Panama, his mother convinced him he could get away from his father if he played baseball. Carew later played semi-professional baseball for the Bronx Cavaliers. He was discovered by Minnesota Twins' scout Monroe Katz (whose son, Steve, played with Carew on the Cavaliers). Katz then recommended Carew to another Twins' scout, Herb Stein, who arranged a tryout in April 1964, and Carew performed so well that manager Sam Mele finished the tryout early so that the Yankees would not see him.
Stein, along with Katz, signed Carew to an amateur free agent contract. Carew was assigned to play second base with the Melbourne (Florida) Twins in the Cocoa Rookie League, starting his minor league career. During the 1960s, Carew served a six-year commitment in the United States Marine Corps Reserve as a combat engineer. He later said that his military experience helped him in his baseball career.
Carew said, "When I joined the Marine Corps, it was a life-changing event for me because I learned about discipline. When I first came up to the big leagues in 1967, I was a little bit of a hothead. But after two weeks of war games every summer, I realized that baseball was not do-or-die. That kind of discipline made me the player I became."
He played from 1967 to 1985 for the Minnesota Twins and the California Angels. He won the 1977 AL Most Valuable Player Award, the most significant contact hitter in Twins history, setting a Twins record with a .388 batting average. Carew appeared in 18 straight All-Star Games and led the AL in hits three times, with his 239 hits in 1977 is the twelfth most at the time. He won seven AL batting titles, the second most AL batting titles in history behind Ty Cobb.
On July 12, 2016, the American League batting title was renamed to the Rod Carew American League batting title. On August 4, 1985, Carew became the 16th member of the 3,000-hit club with a single-to-left field off Frank Viola. His 3,053 hits are 27th all time, and his career batting average of .328 is 34th all-time. He was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991 in his first year of eligibility; he appeared on upwards of 90 percent of the ballots.
He was also elected to the Caribbean Baseball Hall of Fame, Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame, and Angels Hall. After retiring as a player, Carew served as a coach for the Angels and the Milwaukee Brewers. His first wife, Marilynn Levy, is Jewish. Their three daughters, Charryse, Stephanie, and Michelle, were raised in the Jewish tradition; Carew, however, still identified as Episcopalian during their relationship.