April 15, 1947
Robinson Breaks Color Barrier
St. Paul Central and Hamline alumnus Howie Schultz replaced Robinson at first in the top of the ninth. Schultz had played for the Dodgers since 1943. After it became abundantly clear that Robinson had first base under control, the Dodgers sold Schultz's contract to the Phillies on May 10.
Schultz played in the major until 1948. Later, he was a member of the 1951–'52 NBA champion Minneapolis Lakers. Vikings legend Bud Grant had played off the bench for the Lakers the previous two seasons, winning a championship in 1949–'50. Grant was a heckuva baseball player, too.
April 15, 1979
Twelve Twins Get Hits
April 15, 1998
Eisenreich’s Last Home Run
April 15, 2000
Ripken Gets 3,000th
On this night, Ripken had already gone 2-for-3 when he came up in the seventh with the game tied, two out, and Albert Belle on third. The Twins brought in Hector Carrasco to face the Iron Man. Catcher Matt LeCroy gave up a passed ball on Carrasco’s first pitch, allowing Belle to score the go-ahead run. Ripken stroked Carrasco's second pitch for a line-drive single to center, becoming just the seventh player in major league history to collect both 400 home runs and 3,000 hits.
Former Twin Mike Trombley earned the save for Baltimore. Noteworthy in retrospect is the fact that Midre Cummings pinch-hit for the number nine batter Torii Hunter.
After his milestone hit, Ripken was greeted by base coach Eddie Murray, who had himself collected his 3,000th hit off Mike Trombley at the Metrodome in 1995. The following season, Murray became just the third person in major league history with 3,000 hits and 500 home runs. Rafael Palmeiro and Alex Rodriguez have since joined the club.
1969 St. Paul Central graduate and Golden Gophers all-time great Dave Winfield collected his 3,000th hit at the Metrodome in 1993. Twenty-nine players have collected 3,000 hits in the 146-year history of Major League Baseball. Three of those reached the milestone at the Metrodome in a period of seven years. It is also noteworthy that of the 29 members of the 3,000 hit club, two (Winfield and Paul Molitor) were born in St. Paul just five years apart.
April 15, 2001
Milton Ks Eight of First 10
Milton completed seven innings, holding the White Sox to just two runs on a Thomas homer in the sixth, one of 521 he hit in his career, tied with Ted Williams and Willie McCovey for 19th all-time. LaTroy Hawkins earned the save in the Twins 4-3 victory, their sixth straight, improving to 9-2 on the season.
April 15, 2017
Santana Pitches One-Hit Shutout
Chicago's only hit was a third-inning single by catcher Omar Narváez. Santana pitched with a comfortable lead all afternoon, as the Twins scored five in the bottom of the first. Robbie Grossman added a RBI single in the eighth for a 6-0 Twins win.
Santana made his second All-Star team in 2017, and finished the season 16-8, tied with Cleveland's Corey Kluber for the major league lead with five complete games and three shutouts.
Here is a list of all the one-hitters in Twins history on Baseball Reference, courtesy of TwinsTrivia.com's John Swol.
April 16, 1961
First Grand Slam in Twins History
Allison added a three-run homer in the sixth, establishing a Twins single-game record with seven RBI in the 10-5 win. That record was matched four times before being broken by Glenn Adams with eight RBI on June 26, 1977. Randy Bush also had eight RBI on May 20, 1989.
Read more about 7+ RBI games in Twins history.
In addition to being the first in Twins history, Allison's grand slam was significant in two more ways. It was the first of three he hit in 1961, still tied for the team single-season record with Rod Carew (1976), Kent Hrbek (1985), Kirby Puckett (1992), and Torii Hunter (2007).
Additionally, it was the first of eight grand slams the Twins hit during their inaugural 1961 season. That is still the team record. The other Twins to hit grand slams in 1961 were Dan Dobbek, Harmon Killebrew, Julio Becquer (a pinch-hit walk-off grand slam on the fourth of July), Ted Lepcio, and Bill Tuttle.
April 16, 2016ByungHo Park hits a prodigious 462-foot blast over the batter's eye at Target Field.
April 17, 1968Harmon Killebrew homers and doubles in a 13-1 Twins win over Washington, improving to 6-0, the best start in team history.
April 17, 1970Playing for the Oakland A's, 1954 Edina-Morningside grad Bob "Rocky" Johnson hits his 44th and final major league home run off the Twins' Jim Kaat.
April 17, 1977Twins First baseman Rod Carew caps off a seven-run second-inning rally with a two-out, four-RBI triple. Carew scored on an error when the pitcher missed the cutoff.
April 17, 1979Angels ace Nolan Ryan pitches a four-hit shutout as the Twins lose their home opener 6-0.
April 17, 2009
Kubel Completes Cycle with Grand Slam
It was the ninth of ten cycles in Twins history. The previous eight were Rod Carew (5/20/70), César Tovar (9/19/72), Larry Hisle (7/4/76), Lyman Bostock (7/24/76), Mike Cubbage (7/27/78), Gary Ward (9/18/80), Kirby Puckett (8/1/86), and Carlos Gómez (5/7/08). Michael Cuddyer hit for the tenth and most recent cycle in Twins history just over a month later on May 22.
Two players had previously completed the cycle with a grand slams. Interestingly, they were both shortstops: Tony Lazzeri in 1932, and Miguel Tejada in 2001.
April 17, 2010
Mauer Receives MVP Award
After missing the first 22 games of the 2009 season with a lower back injury, Mauer homered on his first swing back from the disabled list. He went on to hit 11 home runs and drive in 32 runs in the month of May. He set career-highs with 28 home runs and 96 RBI on the season, and win his third AL batting title with a .365 average, the best by a catcher in major league history.
The Twins won the Central Division in 2009 with a dramatic 12th-inning walk-off win in Game 163 versus Detroit, but were swept by the Yankees in the first round of the playoffs.
Mauer went 2-for-4 with two RBI in the game against the Royals. Jim Thome homered in the game. Tied 5-5 in the seventh, Orlando Hudson led off the bottom of the inning with a home run, giving the Twins a 6-5 win.
April 17, 2014
Eight-Walk Eighth Inning
The Twins trailed 5-3 going into the bottom of the eighth. They would score four runs before getting their first hit, and ultimately score six on just one hit in the inning. Blue Jays pitcher Steve Delebar walked Josmil Pinto and Chris Hermann to start the inning. Eduardo Núñez then dropped down a successful sacrifice bunt, moving the tying run into scoring position. That was completely unnecessary in retrospect, as Sergio Santos (replacing Delebar) and J.A. Happ combined to walk the next five Twins batters. Three runs scored on Santos wild pitches, and a fourth run scored when Happ walked Chris Colabello with the bases loaded. Finally, after having already scored four runs, the Twins got their first hit of the inning, a two-run Jason Kubel single to right. Josmil Pinto then walked for the second time in the inning before the Blue Jays finally got the final two outs. Glen Perkins pitched a 1-2-3 ninth, securing a 9-5 Twins win.
April 18, 1896
Birthdate of Rip Conway
April 18, 1912
Spencer Makes Only MLB Appearance
The Browns finished the season 53-101. The only American League team with a worse record was the New York Highlanders. They changed their name to the Yankees the next season, and went on to win 27 World Series, including at least two in each decade from 1920 to 2010, except for the '80s in which they won none. The Yankees have not won a World Series in the current decade, if that makes anyone feel better.
Happy 59th Birthday, Jim Eisenreich
Eisenreich’s SCSU career overlapped with future major leaguers Bob Hegman and Dana Kiecker.
The Twins selected Eisenreich in the 16th round of the 1980 draft. He made his major league debut playing center field and batting leadoff on Opening Day 1982 (age 22). His Twins career never got off the ground, however. He played in just 48 games over three seasons, hampered by uncontrollable tics and jerks. He was misdiagnosed with agoraphobia, “the fear of places and situations that might cause panic, helplessness, or embarrassment.”
He did not play in 1985 or ‘86. He was selected off waivers by the Royals on October 2, 1986. It wasn’t until he was with the Royals that Eisenreich was correctly diagnosed with Tourette syndrome. With this newfound understanding of his condition, he was able to get his baseball career back on track. He played 44 games with the Royals in 1987, and 82 in 1988. He averaged 131 games per season between 1989 and 1992, hitting .286 over that four-year span.
He hit .341 over 59 career games against the Twins, his best average versus any American League team. He hit .405 in 63 career games against the Dodgers.
Eisenreich signed with Philadelphia prior to the 1993 season, and hit .324 over his four seasons there (1993–1996). He hit .361 in 1996, the highest Phillies average since Smokey Burgess hit .368 in 1954.
Eisenreich played in two World Series, first with the 1993 Phillies, and then with the 1997 Marlins. He hit clutch home runs in both Series. The Phillies lost to the Blue Jays. The Marlins beat Cleveland.
Eisenreich was involved in a blockbuster trade on May 14, 1998, as the Marlins dealt him, Gary Sheffield, Bobby Bonilla, and prospect Manuel Barrios to the Dodgers for Mike Piazza and Todd Zeile. 1998 would be Eisenreich’s final major league season.
I’m always interested in Minnesotans facing each other in the major leagues. A cursory search of Baseball Reference shows that Eisenreich homered off 1973 Highland Park graduate Jack Morris on August 13, 1987, and off 1981 Mankato West grad Gary Mielke on August 14, 1990.
On July 15, 1990, he went 1-for-2 with a walk and double versus 1979 Fairfax grad and former St. Cloud State teammate Dana Kiecker at Fenway. It was the first time that SCSU alumni played against each other in the majors. In total, Eisenreich went 4-for-8 with a walk and two doubles versus Kiecker between 1990 and ‘91.
Read Scot Johnson’s thorough SABR BioProject biography of Eisenreich.
April 18, 1963
Stigman Pitches Three-Hit Shutout
1963 was Stigman's best season. He won 15 games, and finished third in the American League with 193 strikeouts and 15 complete games. Teammate Camilo Pascual led the AL with 202 K's and 18 complete games (tied with the Yankees' Ralph Terry). Sandy Koufax led the majors with 306 strikeouts.
April 18, 1964
Oliva's First HR is Game-Winner
April 18, 1969After starting the season with a four-city road trip, Tom Hall pitches a two-hit shutout as the Twins beat the Angels 6-0 in their home opener.
April 18, 1976Trailing 4-2 in the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium, Lyman Bostock and Butch Wynegar hit their first major league home runs off Catfish Hunter, giving the Twins a 5-4 win.
Wynegar, who turned 20 a month earlier, was the youngest player to homer in Twins history.
April 18, 1979Angels first baseman Rod Carew goes 4-for-4 with two doubles in an 11-6 win over the Twins at Metropolitan Stadium.
Happy 58th Birthday, Frank Viola
While at St. John’s, Viola was involved in perhaps the greatest college baseball game ever played, pitching 11 shutout innings to earn the win at Yale in the first-round of the NCAA tournament on May 21, 1981. Yale’s Ron Darling had pitched 11 no-hit innings before St. John’s second baseman Steve Scafa led off the 12th with a bloop single. Scafa stole second and third, and, with runners on the corners, stole home on the back end of a double steal/rundown play. Reliever Eric Stampfl pitched a 1-2-3 bottom of the twelfth to secure the St. John’s win.
The Twins drafted Viola in the second round less than three weeks later. The Twins’ first pick (11th overall) was Arizona State third baseman Mike Stodders. The ten players selected ahead of him all made it to the majors. He did not. The Rangers selected Ron Darling ninth overall.
After just 25 games in the minors, Viola made his major league debut opposing Dennis Martinez and the Orioles at the Metrodome on June 6, 1982, at age 22. After four shaky but scoreless innings, Viola gave up three runs in the fifth before being pulled. The teams played to a 5-5 tie through nine innings, and the Orioles won it in 12 on a two-run Eddie Murray homer off new Twins’ closer Ron Davis, driving in former Twin “Disco” Dan Ford.
Viola had a breakout season in 1984. He pitched a four-hit shutout in Anaheim on May 8. This significance of this game? A 24-year-old center fielder wearing number 34 went 4-for-5 that day in his major league debut. Viola went 18-12 on the season and finished sixth in AL Cy Young balloting. He went on to win 93 games over the five seasons from 1984 to ‘88.
Viola gave up former Twin Rod Carew’s 3,000th hit on August 4, 1985.
He went 17-10 during the 1987 regular season, but, more importantly, he went 2-1 in the World Series, garnering Most Valuable Player honors.
His best individual season was 1988. From April 26 to May 10 he pitched 29 consecutive scoreless innings, the third-longest streak in Twins history. He made his first All-Star team in ‘88 en route to winning a major-league leading 24 games and the AL Cy Young Award. 1988 was a noteworthy year for two other Twins pitchers. Alan Anderson led the AL with a 2.45 ERA, and Bert Blyleven tied with fellow Hall of Famer Tom Glavine for the major league lead with 17 losses.
On July 31st, 1989, the Twins traded Viola to the New York Mets for pitchers Rick Aguilera, Kevin Tapani, David West, Tim Drummond, and Jack Savage. It was arguably the most successful trade in Twins history. The only other contender is the A.J. Pierzynski for Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano, and Boof Bonser trade on November 14, 2003.
Viola made the National League All-Star Team in 1990 and ‘91. He won 20 games in 1990 and finished third in NL Cy Young.
He signed with the Red Sox prior to the 1992 season where he was reunited with former Twins teammate Jeff Reardon who became the major leagues' all-time saves leader that season. After two successful seasons in Boston, Viola pitched just 15 games over his final three seasons with the Red Sox, Reds, and Blue Jays.
Viola was inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame alongside Carl Pohlad in 2005.
He has worked as a pitching coach in the Mets organization since 2011, and is currently the pitching coach of their triple-A Las Vegas 51s.
April 19, 1970
Oliva Sets RBI Streak Record
Happy 35th Birthday, Joe Mauer
No other American League catcher has ever won a batting title. The last National League catcher to win a batting title was 1986 Hall of Fame inductee Ernie Lombardi in 1942. Mauer’s .365 batting average in 2009 is the best by a catcher in major league history.
He entered the 2018 season needing just 99 hits to pass Rod Carew for second-most in Twins history, trailing only Kirby Puckett. He had 160 hits last season.
April 19, 1988
Niekro Called for Three Balks
After Mike Pagliarulo hit a two-run homer to extend the Yankees lead to 7-0 in just the second inning, Tom Kelly went to the bullpen. Juan Berenguer, Keith Atherton, and Jeff Reardon held the Yankees scoreless the rest of the game. Still trailing 7-3 in the bottom of the ninth, the Twins pulled to within one on RBI hits by Kirby Puckett and Tom Brunansky, but with Mark Davidson on third representing the tying run, Kent Hrbek lined out to the first baseman Mattingly to end the game.
April 20, 1903
Bender Makes Debut
Bender became the first Minnesotan inducted to the Hall of Fame in 1953. He was the only Minnesotan enshrined in Cooperstown for 48 years until 1969 St. Paul Central grad Dave Winfield was inducted in 2001, alongside Twins all-time great Kirby Puckett, and Negro Leagues legend Hilton Smith, who pitched for the semi-pro Fulda, MN team in 1949.
Happy 49th Birthday, Dan Smith
The Rangers selected Smith in the first round (16th overall) of 1990 draft out of Creighton University. There was a strong Minnesota presence in the 1990 draft. The Reds selected Gophers great Dan Wilson 7th overall, and the Astros selected Tom Nevers 21st overall out of Edina High School. Two Cretin-Derham Hall players were drafted: future Florida State and Carolina Panthers quarterback Chris Weinke by the Blue Jays in the second round, and Mike Vogel by the White Sox in the seventh round. The Twins selected Jamie Ogden out of White Bear Lake in the third round. The Athletics selected 1987 Brainerd grad Todd Revenig out of Minnesota State, Mankato in the 37th round. Revenig made two relief appearances with Oakland in 1992, and retired with a 0.00 major league ERA. The Twins selected 1986 New Ulm grad Brian Raabe out of the University of Minnesota in the 41st round (1,063rd overall). Raabe played 17 major league games over three seasons with the Twins, Mariners, and Rockies. He is currently the head baseball coach at Bethel.
Dan Smith made his major league debut in Texas on September 12, 1992 (age 23), opposing 1973 Highland Park grad Jack Morris and the eventual World Series Champion Toronto Blue Jays. Devon White led off the game with a ground ball single and promptly stole second. Roberto Alomar bunted White over to third, and Joe Carter drove him in with a sac fly. Welcome to the big leagues, right?! Smith induced a pop out from 1969 St. Paul Central grad Dave Winfield for the final out.
Smith loaded the bases in the second inning and Devon White cleared them with a three-run double. The four runs were all Toronto would need as they beat the Rangers 4-2. For what it’s worth, Smith did strike out Devon White in the fourth inning for his first major league strikeout.
Smith pitched 14 innings over four games (two starts) in 1992, compiling an 0-3 record. He made it back to the majors with the Rangers in 1994, making 17 relief appearances. He earned his only major league win on June 8, his second appearance of the season.
April 20, 1973
Blyleven Tough-Luck Loss
April 20, 1994
Puckett Season-Starting Hit Streak
April 21, 1961
First Home Opener in Twins History
The teams were tied 3-3 in the top of the ninth when the Senators scored two off Ray Moore for a 5-3 win.
April 21, 1985
Butcher Pitches Speedy Shutout
Leadoff hitter Kirby Puckett went 3-for-5 with two RBI in the 2-0 victory. It was the beginning of a 10-game winning streak.
*Pitch count according to John Swol's great site TwinsTrivia.com.
April 21, 2007
Nineteenth Straight Steal
Joe Nathan protected the 7-5 lead in the ninth, striking out three-straight Royals, all looking.
April 21, 2012
Willingham Extends Record Hit Streak
Willingham had a career year in 2012, hitting .260 with 35 home runs and 110 RBI, and winning a Silver Slugger Award alongside fellow AL outfielders Mike Trout and Josh Hamilton.
Keep in touch with the Twins Almanac on Facebook
Click here to view the article