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Article: The Twins Almanac for April 8–14


This week's Almanac features notes on former Twins Dan Gladden, Kirby Puckett, Bob Allison, Ron Coomer, Drew Butera, Dean Chance, Roy Smalley, Greg Gagne, Shane Mack, Bob Casey, Pedro Ramos, Jim Kaat, Shannon Stewart, and Jim Perry, and Minnesotan major leaguers Dave Winfield, Julie Wera, and Walt Moryn.

April 8, 1988

Gladden Has Hot Home Opener

Dan Gladden goes 4-for-5 with two home runs, four RBI, and three runs scored including a steal of home for a 6-3 win over Toronto in the home opener. Gladden homered to lead off the Twins’ half of the first, and knocked out another in the eighth. With Kent Hrbek batting in the seventh, Gladden stole home off David Wells. It was the first of three times that Gladden would steal home in his career. He would do so again later in the 1988 season, and once more in 1989. He was caught trying to steal home five times in his career. Rod Carew stole home 17 times in his career. Paul Molitor stole home 10 times.

 

Gladden had also gone 4-for-5 in the Twins’ previous game in New York.

 

 

 

April 8, 1994

Puckett Collects 2,000th Hit

After striking out in his first at-bat, Twins right fielder Kirby Puckett collects five-straight hits, including his 2,000th hit with an opposite-field single driving in Pat Meares in the bottom of the third. Trailing 8-4 in the bottom of the eighth and Oakland closer Dennis Eckersley on the mound, Chuck Knoblauch hit a two-run double, and Puckett a two-run single in consecutive at-bats to tie the game, giving Eckersley his first blown save of the season. After Oakland took a 10-8 lead in the top of the tenth, Puckett drove in Knoblauch with a double, but the Athletics held on for a 10-9 win. Altogether Puckett went 5-for-6 with a double, 4 RBI, and a run scored in the game. 1980 New Ulm graduate and Golden Gophers all-time great Terry Steinbach homered in the game for Oakland.

 

Puckett retired with 2,304 hits, the most in Twins history. Joe Mauer will likely pass Rod Carew (2,085) for second in team history by the end of this season.

 

April 9, 1995

Allison Passes Away

Twins all-time great Bob Allison passes away from the effects of ataxia, a rare, incurable disease that affects nerve cells in the brain. He was just 60 years old.

 

Read Gregory H. Wolf‘s SABR BioProject biography of Allison, which first appeared in the 2015 book A Pennant for the Twin Cities: The 1965 Minnesota Twins.

 

April 9, 2000

Twins & Royals Go Back-to-Back-to-Back

Already up 6-0 entering the top of the sixth in Kansas City, Corey Koskie leads off the inning with a single. Ron Coomer, Jacque Jones, and Matt LeCroy then proceed to hit three consecutive home runs on four total pitches. Coomer homered again in the seventh, again with Koskie on base.

 

Eric Milton retired the first 20 batters in order and had a two-hit shutout going into the eighth. After retiring the first two batters, including former Twin David McCarty, Milton allowed two hits before being relieved by Eddie Guardado. Guardado gave up an RBI single and then back-to-back home runs to Carlos Beltran and Jermaine Dye before being relieved by Hector Carrasco who surrendered the Royals’ third consecutive home run to Mike Sweeney. It was the first game in major league history in which both teams hit back-to-back-to-back home runs.

 

The Twins are one of seven teams to have hit four consecutive home runs, with Tony Oliva, Bob Allison, Jimmie Hall, and Harmon Killebrew doing so to start the top of the 11th in Kansas City on May 2, 1964.

 

The Twins set an American League record by hitting five home runs in a single inning on June 9, 1966, also against Kansas City, but this time at home in Bloomington, with Rich Rollins, Zoilo Versalles, Tony Oliva, Don Mincher, and Harmon Killebrew homering off three different Athletics pitchers.

 

Four National League teams have hit five home runs in an inning between 1939 and 2006, all four against the Cincinnati Reds.

 

April 9, 2010

Drew Butera Makes MLB Debut

Catcher Drew Butera makes his major league debut in Chicago, making him and his dad Sal the first father-son duo in Twins history. Drew went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts and a sac bunt in a 4-3, 11-inning Twins win.

 

April 10, 1968

Chance Pitches Opening Day Shutout

Dean Chance pitches a four-hit shutout, and Harmon Killebrew and Bob Allison hit solo homers off Senators pitcher Camilo Pascual for a 2-0 Opening Day win in Washington.

 

 

 

April 10, 1971

Powell Homers for First MLB Hit

In his first major league start, 1969 first-round draft pick Paul Powell hits an eighth-inning homer for his first hit, giving the Twins an insurance run in a 5-3 win in Chicago. It would be his only major league homer.

 

Powell had gotten into two prior games as a pinch-runner, scoring both times.

 

The Twins' Andre David hit a two-run home run on his first major league pitch against Jack Morris on June 29, 1984. Like Powell, his first major league hit was also his only home run.

 

April 10, 1982

Twins Deal Smalley, Acquire Gagne

The Twins trade Roy Smalley and 1975 Alexandria High School graduate Gary Serum to the Yankees for Ron Davis, Paul Boris, and Greg Gagne.

 

Davis, who had been an All-Star in 1981, was one of the game’s first setup men, combining for a potent 1-2 punch with Hall of Famer Goose Gossage. Davis still holds the Yankees record for consecutive strikeouts in a game with eight on May 4, 1981. Doug Fister established a new American League record with nine consecutive K’s on September 27, 2012. The major league record belongs to Tom Seaver with 10 straight on April 22, 1970.

 

Davis was never in All-Star form in Minnesota, however. He tied a single-season record with 14 blown saves in 1984, a dubious feat not matched since. Four pitchers had blown 14 saves in a season prior to Davis, including Hall of Famers Rollie Fingers in 1976, and Bruce Sutter in 1978. Hall of Famer Goose Gossage, incidentally, holds the record with six seasons with 10+ blown saves, followed by Rollie Fingers and Jeff Reardon with four each.

 

Davis’s incompetence as Twins closer is often overstated, but there’s no denying that his struggles took a mental toll on the team. When he was traded to the Cubs in August 1986, a party broke out on the team’s charter flight from Anaheim to Seattle, led by Kirby Puckett. Kent Hrbek said it was like the team had been exorcised of a demon. Hrbie conceded in retrospect that the team didn’t handle the situation too well. He personally really liked Davis. Harmon Killebrew, who was on the flight as a TV analyst, said it was one of the strangest scenes he’d ever seen.

 

Though Davis was the object of the Twins’ desire at the time, Greg Gagne would obviously emerge as the key figure in this transaction. He didn’t make his major league debut until 1983, and even then only played 12 games between the ‘83 and ‘84 seasons before becoming a fixture at shortstop from 1985 to 1992. He was a key component of the Twins’ 1987 and 1991 World Series Championships.

 

The Twins had originally acquired Roy Smalley in the 1976 trade that sent Bert Blyleven and Danny Thompson to the Rangers. In July 1984 the Yankees offloaded Smalley to the White Sox in exchange for players to be named later, one of whom wound up being Doug Drabek, who, after just one season, the Yankees in turn shipped off to Pittsburgh where he would win the 1990 Cy Young Award. The White Sox traded Smalley back to Minnesota in 1985. He retired after the 1987 season.

 

Gary Serum was born in Fargo, and grew up in Alexandria, MN. He played two and a half major league seasons with the Twins from 1977 to ‘79. Despite posting a 9-1 record between Double-A and Triple-A in the Yankees organization, 1982 was Serum’s final professional season.

 

April 10, 1992

Mack Leadoff Homer in Home Opener

In the Twins' first at-bat at the Metrodome since Gene Larkin's walk-off in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series, Shane Mack hits a leadoff home run. Altogether he went 4-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored in the 7-1 win over the Rangers (now featuring Al Newman).

 

Mack posted a career-high 6.5 WAR in 1992, second on the team that season to Puckett’s career-high 7.1. Mack’s 3.6 WAR in 1991 was second-best to Kevin Tapani‘s 6.8.

 

April 11, 1925

Birthdate of Bob Casey

The inimitable Bob Casey was born in Minneapolis on this date in 1925. Casey was the only public address announcer in Twins history until his death in 2005. He also worked for the Minneapolis Millers, Lakers, and the Vikings.

 

The decorated World War II veteran is buried at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.

 

April 11, 1961

First Regular Season Game in Twins History

In the first regular season game in Twins history, Pedro Ramos pitches a three-hit shutout versus Whitey Ford and the eventual 1961 World Series champions at Yankee Stadium. Ramos held Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, and Roger Maris to a combined 1-for-11, with Berra singling in the first. Maris, of course, would go on to establish a new single-season home run record with 61 that year. Moose Skowron and the pitcher Ford had the Yankees’ other two hits. Ramos did not allow a baserunner after the fifth inning.

 

Ramos and Ford were locked in a scoreless duel until Bob Allison led off the seventh with the first home run in Twins history. Ramos himself drove in Earl Battey and Reno Bertoia with a single to center later that inning, knocking Ford out of the game. Bertoia homered in the eight, driving in Battey. Killebrew added a sac fly in the ninth, driving in Zoilo Versalles to give the Twins a 6-0 Opening Day win. They went 5-1 on the road before coming to Bloomington to play their first home game in front of a crowd already deep in the throes of pennant fever. They lost the home opener 5-3 to the new expansion Senators, and finished their inaugural season 70-90, seventh in the American League.

 

5-1 record before playing their first home game in front of a crowd already deep in the throes of pennant fever. They would lose their first game in Bloomington, however, 3-5 to the new Senators, and finish their inaugural season 70-90, 7th place in the America League.

 

April 11, 1971

Kaat Pitches 11-Hit Shutout

Jim Kaat pitches a shutout in Chicago despite giving up 11 hits and a walk. At the plate he went 2-for-4 with a double, two RBI, and a run scored. The Twins turned two double plays in the 6-0 win.

 

The team record for hits in a shutout is 13 by Mudcat Grant on July 15, 1964. There have been two other 11-hit shutouts in Twins history: Rick Lysander on August 1, 1983, and Carlos Silva on August 3, 2004.

 

 

 

April 11, 1975

Terrell Sets Double Play Record

The Twins pull out a 12-3 win at the Kingdome in their first-ever game against the Mariners, despite 1964 Waterville graduate Jerry Terrell hitting into a team record three double plays. Jose Morales tied Terrell’s record on May 17, 1980.

 

April 12, 1926

Birthdate of Walt Moryn

It’s the birthdate of 1944 Harding High School graduate Walt Moryn, born in St. Paul in 1926.

 

Moryn played 785 major league games over eight seasons with the Dodgers (1954–’56), Cubs (1956–1960), Cardinals (1960–’61), and Pirates (1961). His teammates included Jackie Robinson, Ernie Banks, Stan Musial, and Roberto Clemente.

 

He hit 101 home runs, including six off Robin Roberts. He had nine multi-home run games. He hit three on May 30, 1958, including a walk-off home run against Sandy Koufax, who entered the game in the ninth. Moryn made his only All-Star team in 1958, though he did not get into the game.

 

Moryn is best remembered by Cubs fans for making a dramatic shoestring catch in left for the final out of Don Cardwell’s no-hitter on May 15, 1960. Biographer Art Mugalian points out that Moryn had spoiled a no-hitter earlier in the season, hitting a two-out pinch-hit home run in the eighth off Sam Jones at Candlestick Park on April 16. Jones completed the one-hitter for a 6-1 Giants win.

 

Moryn passed away on July 21, 1996 in Winfield, Il. He was 70 years old.

 

Read Art Mugalian’s SABR BioProject biography of Walt Moryn.

 

April 12, 1965

Home Opener Starter Airlifted

Jim Kaat, Dick Stigman, Rich Rollins, and Bill Bethea are marooned at their homes in Burnsville—the wrong side of the flooded Minnesota River—and have to be taken by helicopter to and from Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington for the home opener versus the Yankees.

 

Kaat gave up four runs on five hits and a walk over nine innings, and hit a two-RBI double. After Bob Allison got to third on an E7 leading off the 11th, the Yankees intentionally loaded the bases. They got to the first two outs on a shallow pop fly and strikeout, but César Tovar came through with a walk-off single to center off Pedro Ramos. Ramos started the first regular season game in Twins history, pitching a three-hit shutout against the Yankees in New York.

 

 

 

April 12, 2005

Twins Win on Stewart Walk-Off

After Torii Hunter drives in Jason Bartlett to tie the game in the eighth, the Twins beat the Tigers 5-4 on a Shannon Stewart walk-off ground-rule double off Troy Percival in the ninth. According to Halsey Hall SABR member John Swol‘s great site TwinsTrivia.com, Percival had not allowed an earned run versus the Twins in over 40 innings going back to 1995.

 

April 12, 2010

First Regular Season Game at Target Field

Carl Pavano and the Twins beat the Red Sox 5-2 in the first regular season game at Target Field. Red Sox leadoff hitter Marco Scutaro singled to center for the new stadium’s first regular season hit. With Dustin Pedroia batting, however, Scutaro was thrown out trying to steal second. Pedroia doubled on the next pitch (d’oh!). Pavano escaped the first unscathed. He gave up only one run in the game, on a David Ortiz RBI double in the fourth.

 

After Jon Lester walked Denard Span leading off the bottom of the first, Orlando Hudson collected the Twins’ first hit at the new ballpark. After Mauer and Morneau made the first two outs, Michael Cuddyer collected the new stadium’s first RBI, driving in Span with a single to left. Jason Kubel then drove in Hudson, giving the Twins a 2-0 first-inning lead. Joe Mauer hit an RBI double in the second, and an RBI single in the fourth. Kubel hit Target Field’s first regular season home run leading off the seventh. Jon Rauch retired Kevin Youkilis, David Ortiz, and Adrian Beltre in order to save the 5-2 Twins win.

 

 

 

April 13, 1858

Birthdate of Bill Barnes

It’s the birthdate of former major league center fielder Bill Barnes, born in Shakopee in 1858. Barnes played for the St. Paul White Caps, who in 1884 played nine games as a replacement team in the Union Association, which, despite only existing for one season, is generally considered a major league. The White Caps played all of their Union Association games on the road.

 

April 13, 1962

Home Opener Snowed Out

In just the second year of major league baseball in Minnesota, the Twins’ home opener versus the Los Angeles Angels is cancelled due to six inches of snow.

 

April 13, 1968

Perry Pitches Shutout, Hits Homer

Jim Perry has a heckuva day, pitching a four-hit shutout, and hitting a ninth-inning home run in a 6-0 Twins win at Yankee Stadium.

 

Jim Kaat pitched a shutout and hit a home run on July 24, 1963, and October 1, 1970.

 

 

 

April 13, 1991

Winfield Has 5-Hit, 3-HR Game vs. Twins

Playing for the Angels, 1969 St. Paul Central graduate and Golden Gophers all-time great Dave Winfield goes 5-for-6 with three home runs, a double, six RBI, and four runs scored in a 15-9 win at the Metrodome. Angels third baseman Gary Gaetti went 4-for-6 with a double and RBI.

 

April 14, 1927

Wera Makes MLB Debut

25-year-old Winona native Julie Wera makes his major league debut with New York at Yankee Stadium, pinch-hitting for Hall of Famer Waite Hoyt against Hall of Famer Lefty Grove. He grounded out.

 

Wera played 38 games at third base for the vaunted ‘27 Yankees. He hit his one and only big league homer during a doubleheader at Yankee Stadium on July 4, 1927 in front of a then-record crowd of 74,000.

 

Wera did not play in the 1927 World Series in which the Yankees swept the Pirates. He did, however, receive the same $5,782 portion of the winners’ purse as the rest of his teammates, which included Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth. Nice bonus, considering that Wera’s ‘27 salary was reported to be $2,400.

 

April 14, 1983

Snow Collapses the Dome

The largest April snowstorm in Minneapolis’s history forces the postponement of a game versus the California Angels. The decision to postpone the game was made the night before out of concern that the Angels would not be able to arrive in Minnesota in time. Travel concerns were a moot point, however, as damage from the storm caused the Metrodome roof to collapse about twelve hours after the decision to postpone. The spring storm dumped over 13 inches of snow on the Twin Cities.

 

April 14, 2016

Worst Start in Twins History

The Twins are swept by the White Sox in their home-opening series, falling to 0-9 on the season, the worst start in the franchise’s 116-year history. It was the worst start by any major league team in 13 years, going back to the epically awful 2003 Tigers who finished 43-119.

 

The Braves would also fall to 0-9 later that day, and finish the season 68-93. Minnesota, meanwhile, would finish 59-103, the worst record in Twins history. It was remarkably not the worst season in franchise history, however. The 1904 Washington Senators finished 38-113 (.252 winning %).

 

 

Keep in touch with @TwinsAlmanac on Facebook and Twitter.

I hear so many cool stories with great insights from you guys. Keep 'em coming.

 

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"In the first regular season game in Twins history, Pedro Ramos pitches a three-hit shutout versus Whitey Ford and the eventual 1961 World Series champions at Yankee Stadium."

 

And that would also be the last time the Twins ever beat the New York Yankees.

 

Sorry, I can never resist that one :)

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"In the first regular season game in Twins history, Pedro Ramos pitches a three-hit shutout versus Whitey Ford and the eventual 1961 World Series champions at Yankee Stadium."

 

And that would also be the last time the Twins ever beat the New York Yankees.

 

Sorry, I can never resist that one :)

Two words: Jason Kubel. 

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The Twins have been a big part of my life since the mid-sixties and it is nice to read stories that either I never heard before or that I have forgotten  The 1965 airlift and the celebration over trading RD fall into those categories.  Thank you for continuing this series.

I'm 34, so I'm always learning new things as I write these. I think I first heard about the airlift at a Halsey Hall SABR meeting a year or two ago. I'd heard of the Ron Davis Exorcism before, but had forgotten about it until doing some quick fact-checking for this piece. I've seen the exorcism quote attributed to both Harmon Killebrew and Kent Hrbek. I suspect that Killebrew said it first and Hrbek later repeated it when talking about the flight. 

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63 years old and a lifelong Twins fan from Canada. I really enjoy your historical retrospectives Matt.   Lots of great memories there which always get me thinking about those Twins players / announcers / supporting characters again. 

Thanks. I really like the Almanac as a way to dust off old names at least once a year. Specific events are a great way to talk about players who don't otherwise come up in general conversation. 

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As an usher at that Ramos game, he immediately became one of my favorites and continues to feel like a really underrated pitcher, along with Pascual.

I hadn't even heard of Ramos until I started chipping away at this Almanac project a couple of years ago. 

 

Ramos will come up again on May 12. It was on that date in 1961 that he and Angels pitcher Eli Grba homered off each other. Ramos added a game-winning two-run single the next inning. 

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This didn't occur to me until right now:

 

The Twins won the 1987 World Series.

 

Left fielder Dan Gladden hit a leadoff homer in the 1988 home opener.

 

The Twins won the 1991 World Series.

 

Left fielder Shane Mack hit a leadoff homer in the 1992 home opener.

 

They both went 4-for-5.

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This didn't occur to me until right now:

 

The Twins won the 1987 World Series.

 

Left fielder Dan Gladden hit a leadoff homer in the 1988 home opener.

 

The Twins won the 1991 World Series.

 

Left fielder Shane Mack hit a leadoff homer in the 1992 home opener.

 

They both went 4-for-5.

So you're heading to your local megacasino to put down a prop bet on Eddie Rosario in game 1 of 2019?

 

Get in line, buddy.

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With Kent Hrbek batting in the seventh, Gladden stole home off David Wells. It was the first of three times that Gladden would steal home in his career. He would do so again later in the 1988 season, and once more in 1989. He was caught trying to steal home five times in his career. Rod Carew stole home 17 times in his career. Paul Molitor stole home 10 times.

 

Great stuff, Matt!  I wish box scores, or records even, distinguished between straight steals of home vs back end of a double steal.  The former is way more dramatic to watch and more difficult to execute successfully than the latter.  (Could probably get it from the game logs, I suppose.)  I would be willing to bet most of Gladden's and Molitor's were back ends of double steals.  While most of Carew's were straight steals of home.  I saw one.  It was unbelievable to watch live at the park.

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With Kent Hrbek batting in the seventh, Gladden stole home off David Wells. It was the first of three times that Gladden would steal home in his career. He would do so again later in the 1988 season, and once more in 1989. He was caught trying to steal home five times in his career. Rod Carew stole home 17 times in his career. Paul Molitor stole home 10 times.

 

Great stuff, Matt!  I wish box scores, or records even, distinguished between straight steals of home vs back end of a double steal.  The former is way more dramatic to watch and more difficult to execute successfully than the latter.  (Could probably get it from the game logs, I suppose.)  I would be willing to bet most of Gladden's and Molitor's were back ends of double steals.  While most of Carew's were straight steals of home.  I saw one.  It was unbelievable to watch live at the park.

Sometimes you can infer from the game logs, other times not so much. Straight steals of home are listed in the Twins Media Guide, somewhere... Sometimes they arbitrarily put these info boxes below totally unrelated information. 

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