An emigrant to New York City at the age of 17, Carew was an All-Star in all but his final 1985 season and the American League Rookie of the Year in 1967. He won seven batting titles, including his best overall season, 1977 in which his .388 batting average was the highest in baseball since Ted Williams hit .406 in 1941. He also won the AL's Most Valuable Player award that year.
Originally a second baseman, Carew moved to first base in 1975 to lengthen his career. Frustrated by the Twins' inability to keep its young stars, Carew announced his intention to leave the team in 1979. He was then traded to the Angels for four players.
When Carew's 18-year-old daughter, Michelle, fell victim to leukemia, Carew made national headlines again. Her Panamanian-Jewish ethnic mix lowered the likelihood of finding a suitable donor for a bone marrow transplant, and in spite of Carew's national pleas, she died in April 1996 before a donor could be located.
Following his retirement, Carew has worked as a hitting coach, including for the Angels and for the Milwaukee Brewers.