1965 Minnesota Twins: The First 100-Win Team
Image courtesy of © Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY SportsTwins fans before me, in an era before I was thought of (I was born the year of the Twins first World Series), would have spoken in a similar way we will about 2019 of the 1965 club. That season the Twins broke the 100 win mark for the first time on their way to 102 wins and a World Series appearance. Those were the days where there was no such thing as a playoff outside of the World Series so the Twins had to win the American League outright to make it to the championship.
While 2019 era fans will have names like Max Kepler, Jorge Polanco, Jose Berrios, Taylor Rogers and others roll off our tongues. Fans who were around for 1965 would speak in similar tones of players like Zoilo Versalles, Bob Allison, Jim Kaat, Tony Oliva, and Harmon Killebrew. Looking back on that year, it was a pretty exciting group and we are only scratching the surface in our list here.
In the organization's fifth season after moving to Minnesota from Washington, the Twins as they were led by their manager Sam Mele sent six players to the All-Star game. The six included Harmon Killebrew, Zoilo Versalles, Tony Oliva, Jimmie Hall, Earl Battey, and Mudcat Grant. The All-Stars didn’t have to travel far as the game was played in the Twins home ballpark, Metropolitan Stadium.
This era of Twins baseball and specifically this ‘65 team has always been an interesting group to me personally. Now, since we do not have any live baseball to follow, it seemed as good a time as any to spend "social distancing" reading up on this historic group.
It also feels to be a team we overlook as we mention the great teams of 1987 and 1991. The ‘65 team did miss out on that coveted ring which is the obvious reason they aren’t rattled off as often. From the point of dominating a league they deserve serious attention even half a century later.
I hope you join me along this journey as I hope to continue to uncover fun bits of information about this team. Even maybe draw some connections between this 100-win club and the one we watched take the field this past season.
Of course your favorite facts and memories about this team are always welcome. Maybe you even have something you are curious about that we could explore together. My hope is that as it is turning out to be for me, that the 1965 Twins may be able to fill part of the baseball void that the 2020 version can’t right now due to events bigger than baseball.
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