First Baseman Rod Carew of the Minnesota Twins took time out from his assault on opposing pitchers to drop in for lunch at Duke Ziebert's yesterday before visiting the White House to present Vice President Walter Mondale one of his cherished baseball bats.
"It was one of the bats I used in the All-Star Game this year," said Carew. "I signed it and I wanted him to have it."
The left-hand swinging Carew, who was to leave immediately for New York for the two-game Yankee series, became a household name among baseball fans by batting well above the .400 mark earlier in the season.
Carew has tailed off but was batting .378, 32 percentage points ahead of his burgh, before last night's game.
"You had it going for a while, my man," said an autograph seeker at the restaurant. "You think you can get back up there (.400)? Can the Twins win it?"
Carew, who looked as if the pressures and the long season has begun to take its toll, merely smiled and said, "We'll see.
"It's a long season and we have a long way to go," Carew said. "I play one day at a time. Right now, I have to be at the White House by 2. Then I have to catch a plane. Hopefully we'll (Minnesota) be in the race at the end."
Aside from his major league leading average, Carew is also the leader in runs (101,) hits (182) and triples (15).
As much news as Carew was earlier, his face does not command instant recognition.
"Who's he," asked one bystander to no one in particular. "You got me," came the answer, "but he's clean enough to be somebody important."