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Matt Johnson

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About Matt Johnson

  • Birthday 11/17/1983

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  1. I don't know what's up with the formatting. Also, I fixed like five typos. Good thing I'm not a high school English teacher or anything.
  2. This is why Al Gore invented the internet. Garver's contributions to the Twins history book in 2019 were really remarkable. I don't have my notes in front of me, but I believe he had more multi-home run games that year than any other Twins catcher had in their career. Also, I believe he had two 10-total base games that year, and no other Twins catcher had more than one in their career.
  3. Now that the Eddie Rosario Experience is almost certainly over, let's take a look back at some of his contributions to Twins history. This is just what appears in my Twins Almanac spreadsheet. Please contribute your own Eddie trivia, fun facts, or cool stories in the comments section. And if you're into this kind of stuff, follow me on Twitter at @TwinsAlmanac. May 6, 2015 Major League Debut Leading off the bottom of the third against Oakland's Scott Kazmir, the 23-year-old Puerto Rico native hits the first big-league pitch he sees for an opposite field home run. In what made for a storybook moment, Eddie's parents were actually in the stands at Target Field being interviewed by Marney Gellner when it happened. Twins won 13-0. Six Twins have homered in their first major league at-bat: Rick Renick, Dave McKay, Gary Gaetti, Andre David, Gary Gaetti, Luke Hughes, and Rosario. Fifteen players in major league history have homered on their first pitch, including former Twin Brant Alyea (playing for the Ted Williams-managed Senators). July 30, 2015 Triple Streak The rookie left fielder triples in his third-straight game, tying the club record (Rod Carew 1977, Dan Gladden 1991, and Delmon Young 2008). Bonus Fact: Rosario led the majors with 15 triples his rookie season. June 13, 2017 First Three-Home Run Game The Twins beat the Mariners 20-7 at Target Field, setting a franchise record with 28 hits. Nine-batter Eddie Rosario goes 4-for-5 with three home runs, five RBI, and three runs scored. Third baseman Eduardo Escobar went 5-for-6 in the game. Kennys Vargas, Jason Castro, and Rosario all had four hits. The only Twin in the starting lineup without multiple hits was first baseman Joe Mauer. Rosario's 13 total bases in the game are tied for second-most in team history, along with outfieldmates Byron Buxton and Max Kepler, Tim Teufel, and Rich Becker. Kirby Puckett set the team record with 14 that one Sunday in Milwaukee. Rosario was the fifth player in major league history to hit three home runs from the nine-hole. The others were Trot Nixon, Dale Sveum, Art Shamsky, and knuckleball pitcher Jim Tobin in May 14, 1942. July 1, 2017 5-for-5 Rosario goes 5-for-5 with three runs scored and an RBI in a 10-5 Twins win in Kansas City. Last I checked, there have been 51 five-hit games in Twins history. Escobar and Rosario both had one in 2017. Kirby Puckett had two six-hit games—one each in 1987 and '91. June 3, 2018 Second Three-Home Run Game Tied with stupid Cleveland 5-5 in the bottom of the ninth, Rosario hits a two-run walk-off home run, becoming the first player in team history with two career three-home run games. Additionally, he joined Tony Oliva as the only other player in team history with two games with 12 or more total bases. Max Kepler and Nelson Cruz have since joined the club of Twins players with two career three-home run games, with Cruz's coming just 10 days apart. Hitting three home runs in a game used to be a big deal. There were just four such games in the team's first 55 seasons (Bob Allison, Harmon Killebrew, Tony Oliva, and Justin Morneau), and EIGHT in the four seasons from 2016 to 2019. April 5, 2019 Rosario's Bat Hits for Cycle Jorge Polanco goes 5-for-5, hitting for the 11th cycle in Twins history—and he did it swinging Eddie Rosario's bat! Unfortunately the Twins lost 10-4 in Philadelphia (starter Jake Odorrizi gave up five runs in 2/3 of an inning). Polanco came up a double shy of the cycle just four days later. April 20, 2019 Second-Straight Multi-HR Game In the first game of a Saturday doubleheader in Baltimore, Rosario hits two solo home runs in a 6-5 win, joining Don Mincher and Kirby Puckett as the only players in team history with back-to-back multi-home run games. The Twins tied a team record with eight home runs in the second game of the doubleheader. They had a second eight-home run game just over a month later, on May 23, becoming just the second team in major league history with two such games in one season, joining the '05 Rangers. May 6, 2019 12 Home Runs in First 32 Games (*Note: This one is really about Kirby Puckett) After hitting zero home runs in 1984, and just four in 1985, Kirby Puckett erupted for 13 home runs in the Twins' first 33 games of the '86 season. That's a team record. Second-most through 33 is 12, by Harmon Killebrew in 1970, Rosario in 2019, and Nelson Cruz this season. (Rosario hit his 13th in Game 34, but, like I said, this fun fact was about Puckett.) Well folks, that's what I have. Obviously there are a lot more Eddie Rosario memories to share. Please make your contributions in the comments section below. (I remember him inducing a big balk dancing off third base...) And remember, if you enjoy geeking out on Twins history, coming join me at @TwinsAlmanac on Twitter.
  4. December 29 Happy Birthday, Jim Brower Happy 47th birthday to 1991 Minnetonka graduate and Golden Gophers all-time great Jim Brower (1994 Dave Winfield Pitcher of the Year Award winner). He spent parts of nine seasons in the majors with Cleveland, the Reds, Expos, Giants, Atlanta, the Orioles, Padres, and Yankees. He led the majors with 89 appearances with the Giants in 2004. (Bonus Fact: 2008 Chaska graduate Brad Hand led the majors with 82 appearances with San Diego in 2016). December 30, 1923 Birthdate of Harry Elliott 1942 Watertown graduate Harry Elliott was born in San Francisco on this date in 1923. The Golden Gophers all-time great had some prodigious minor league seasons, but missed his window of opportunity for a significant major league career, not signing his first professional contract until he was almost 27—after a brief stint as a touring jazz pianist, service in the Navy Air Corps, and attending the University of Minnesota on the G.I. Bill. The stocky 5-foot-7, 175-pound Elliott possessed a quick bat, deceptive power to all fields, and a fiery competitive disposition. After getting a cup of coffee in 1953, he spent the entire 1955 season with the Cardinals, but his best years were already behind him. For more about Harry Elliott, check out my blog post (it’s about an eight-minute read): TwinsAlmanac.com/HarryElliott December 30 Happy 75th Birthday, Jose Morales Former Twin Jose Morales was born in the U.S. Virgin Islands on this date in 1944. He set a major league record with 25 pinch hits for the Expos in 1976 (broken by Jon Vander Wal with 28 in 1995). He played for the Twins from 1978 to ‘80. In 1978, he led the American League with a .323 average as a designated hitter (.314 overall), and set a team record with 14 pinch hits (since tied by Chip Hales in 1995, and broken by Hale with 19 in ‘96). Morales’s 36 pinch hits over three seasons with the Twins is fourth-most in team history. He tied 1964 Waterville graduate Jerry Terrell’s 1975 team record by grounding into three triple plays on May 17, 1980. He hit a grand slam off future Twins Dan Schatzeder on June 19, 1980 (Schatzeder was the winning pitcher in Game 6 of the 1987 World Series). December 30, 2010 Killebrew Reveals Cancer Diagnosis 74-year-old Twins legend Harmon Killebrew issues a statement announcing that he has been diagnosed with esophageal cancer. He passed away just over five months later, on May 17, 2011. December 31 Happy 58th Birthday, Rick Aguilera Longtime Twins closer Rick Aguilera was born in San Gabriel, CA on this date in 1961. The Twins acquired Aggie on July 31, 1989 in what was perhaps the greatest trade in team history, sending 1987 World Series MVP and ’88 Cy Young winner Frank Viola to the Mets for David West, Aguilera, Kevin Tapani, Tim Drummond, and Jack Savage (as a player to be named later on October 16). Aggie saved 254 games for the Twins between 1989 and ’99, second only to Joe Nathan‘s 260. He saved 42 regular season games for the 1991 World Series Champion Twins. Aggie, who hit three home runs with the Mets, pinch-hit in the 12th inning of Game 3 of the World Series, becoming the first pitcher to do so since Don Drysdale pinch-hit for Sandy Koufax vs. Jim Kaat in Game 2 of the ’65 Series. He was the winning pitcher in two of the most memorable Game 6’s in World Series history: 1986 (Buckner game), and 1991 (Puckett game). January 1 Happy 36th Birthday, Neil Wagner 2002 Eden Prairie graduate Neil Wagner was born in Minneapolis on this date in 1984. He pitched for North Dakota State for three seasons before signing with Cleveland in 2005. He made his major league debut pitching for the Oakland Athletics against Cleveland on August 30, 2011. He pitched five innings over six games with the Athletics that season. He made it back to the majors with the Toronto Blue Jays, getting into 36 games in 2013, and 10 in 2014. Wagner pitched three scoreless innings over four appearances against the Twins, holding them to 1-for-11 (.091). Chris Colabello hit a seventh-inning double for the Twins’ only hit off Wagner in the second game of a doubleheader at Target Field on April 14, 2014. The next inning, Blue Jays pitchers combined to give up six runs on EIGHT walks and just one hit. January 2 Happy 55th Birthday, Greg Swindell Seventeen-year major leaguer and 1989 All-Star Greg Swindell was born in Fort Worth, TX on this date in 1965. He led the Twins with a 3.58 in his only full season with the team—1997. He made 64 appearances with the 2001 World Series champion Arizona Diamondbacks. 1980 New Ulm graduate Terry Steinbach homered off Swindell in his first major league at-bat on September 12, 1986. January 3, 1897 Birthdate of Pete Turgeon Pete Turgeon was born in Minneapolis on this date in 1897. He got into three games (one start at shortstop) with the 1923 Cubs, going 1-for-6 with a run scored altogether. The Cubs lost all three games he played in. January 3 Happy 77th Birthday, Bob Gebhard Former Twins pitcher and front office exec Bob Gebhard was born in Lamberton, MN on this date in 1943. The Twins drafted Gebhard out of the University of Iowa in the 44th round of the very first amateur draft in 1965. That summer he went 11-2 with a 1.91 ERA for the St. Cloud Rox. Gebhard pitched professionally for 11 years, including 30 relief appearances with the Twins between 1970 and ‘71, and two innings with the ‘74 Expos. He was a player/coach with the Expos’ triple-A club in ‘74 and ’75, minor league field director and pitching coach from 1976 to ’81, part of the major league coaching staff in ’82, and director of minor league operations through 1986. Andy MacPhail brought Gebhard home to Minnesota in 1987, hiring him as director of major league personnel. Here’s a fun remembrance MacPhail shared of Gebhard’s first season back in Minnesota: “Literally we had just won the world championship and Bob Gebhard turns to me and goes ‘Damn, Andy, we won this thing. We were just trying to get organized!’” He assumed the title of vice president of player personnel in 1988. Following the 1991 World Series, Gebhard became general manager of the expansion Colorado Rockies, who began play in 1993. He hired ’87 Twins World Series hero Don Baylor as manager, signed first baseman Andres Galarraga the day before the ’92 expansion draft, and pulled off a trade for slugger Dante Bichette immediately following the draft. He signed Larry Walker in the spring of ’95, and that year, just the team’s third in existence, the Rockies won the NL West. The following season the Rockies won the NL’s first-ever wild card spot. Gebhard resigned from the Rockies on August 20, 1999 amid speculation that he was about to be fired. Gebhard served in the St. Louis Cardinals front office from 2000 to 2004, and as vice president, special assistant to the general manager of the Diamondbacks from 2005 to 2016. He received the Roland Hemond Award from the Society of American Baseball Research (SABR) in 2012 in recognition of his contributions to the community of professional baseball scouts. Gebhard makes his home in Centennial, Colorado. (See the @TwinsAlmanac Twitter account on January 3rd for a chance to win an autographed 1972 Topps card) January 3 Happy 40th Birthday, Michael Restovich It’s the birthday of former major league outfielder Michael Restovich, born in Rochester, MN in 1979. Restovich was named Minnesota High School Baseball Player of the Year in 1997, his senior season at Rochester Mayo. He was drafted by the Twins in the second round that June (the Twins’ first-round draft choice Virginia high schooler Michael Cuddyer). Restovich hit .369 in 76 games between the Rookie League Elizabethton Twins and class-A Fort Wayne Wizards in 1998. In 1999 he hit .312 with 19 HR and 107 RBI for the class-A Quad City River Bandits. Restovich made his major league debut on September 18, 2002. His first major league hit was a ninth-inning pinch-hit homer in a 14-4 Twins loss at Comiskey Park on September 21. Future Twins closer Jon Rauch started the game and earned the victory for Chicago despite giving up lead-off home runs to David Ortiz and Corey Koskie in the second and fourth innings. Koskie hit a second leadoff homer in the sixth off reliever Mike Porzio. Brad Radke had an uncharacteristically bad day, allowing six earned runs on nine hits in just three innings. Restovich went on to play parts of six major league seasons with the Twins (’02-’04), Rockies (’05), Pirates (’05), Cubs (’06), and Nationals (’07). He made 297 plate appearances over 152 games, hitting .239 with 28 walks, six home runs, and 21 RBI. Fun Fact: Wuertz and 1997 Austin graduate Michael Wuertz would have played against each other a handful of times in high school, and presumably on summer teams as well. I know Restovich homered off Wuertz in high school at least once. Wuertz spent eight seasons in the majors with the Cubs and the Athletics, but the two never met on the big stage. January 4 Happy 76th Birthday, Charlie Manuel It’s the birthday of baseball lifer Charlie Manuel, born in West Virginia on this date in 1944. He spent parts of six seasons in left field with the Twins, hitting .198 with four home runs over 242 games between 1969 and 1972. After 19 games over two seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Manuel moved on to a very successful six-year career in Japan. He averaged .319 with 41 home runs per year over the four seasons from 1977 to 1980. Manuel spent five seasons managing in the Twins system, ending with the 45-96 triple-A Portland Beavers, which included Ron Gardenhire and Billy Beane. He managed the Phillies to back-to-back World Series, winning it all in 2008. January 4, 2002 Gardenhire Named Manager The Twins announce former third base coach Ron Gardenhire as the 12th manager in team history, succeeding Tom Kelly, who, after the team’s first winning season in nine years, announced his retirement on October 12, 2001. TK was the longest tenured manager or head coach in all of professional sports at the time of his retirement. The Twins won the AL Central in each of Gardy’s first three seasons, and in six of his first nine. They only advanced past the divisional round, however, in Gardy’s first season of 2002. After five runner-up finishes, he was named AL Manager of the Year in 2010. He managed the Twins for 13 seasons before being fired on September 29, 2014, having amassed 1,068 wins—just 72 shy of TK’s team record of 1,140. After serving as Arizona Diamondbacks bench coach in 2017, Gardy took over the Tigers’ managerial job in 2018. Keep in touch with @TwinsAlmanac on Twitter.
  5. This week in Twins history includes great games by Geoff Zahn, Kevin Tapani, Jack Kralick, Ken Landreaux, Tim Laudner, Paul Molitor, Greg Myers, Jim Kaat, Camilo Pascual, Harmon Killebrew, Scott Erickson, Mickey Hatcher, Luke Hughes, and Billy Beane. This week's Almanac also includes Minnesotan major leaguers Charley Bender, Lou Galvin, Russ Ford, Fred Bruckbauer, and Hack Spencer. April 22, 1961 First Walk-Off in Twins History In just the second home game in team history, the Twins and new expansion Senators played to a 4-4 tie through nine. With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the tenth, Zoilo Versalles drove in Earl Battey with a sac fly to center for the first walk-off win in Twins history, improving to 6-2 on the season. April 22, 1980 Eighty-Nine-Degree Home Opener After the Twins began the season with a 12-game west coast road trip, they returned to Bloomington for a balmy 89-degree home opener against the Angels. Geoff Zahn allowed just one run on six hits over nine innings. Hosken Powell, Ron Jackson, and Roy Smalley each homered in the 8-1 Twins win. April 22, 1986 Tapani Pitches No-Hitter Central Michigan University senior Kevin Tapani pitches a no-hitter at Eastern Michigan for a 10-0 win the second game of a Tuesday doubleheader. Central Michigan would go on to win their third-straight MAC title. Tapani was a walk-on at Central Michigan. His high school in Escanaba, MI did not have baseball team, although he was a state champion quarterback. April 22, 1988 Twins Day Goes From Bad to Worse Bert Blyleven gives up seven runs on nine hits and four hit batters in just 4.2 innings. Four of those runs came on a grand slam by Cleveland right fielder Cory Snyder. Center fielder Joe Carter added a grand slam of his own off Keith Atherton in the 11-6 Cleveland win. To add insult to injury, after the game the Twins traded Tom Brunansky to the Cardinals for clubhouse cancer Tommy frickin’ Herr. April 23, 1863 Birthdate of Lou Galvin Lou Galvin was born in St. Paul on this date in 1863. He went 0-2 in three starts with the 1884 St. Paul White Caps of the Union Association (generally considered a major league). April 23, 1961 Pitcher Kralick Delivers Twins’ Only RBI In the final game of the Twins’ first-ever home series, Jack Kralick pitches a four-hit shutout and drives in Billy Gardner in the fifth for the Twins’ only run in a 1-0 win over the new expansion Senators. The Twins improved to 7-2 on the season. April 23, 1980 Landreaux Begins Record Streak Ken Landreaux begins his team record 31-game hitting streak by breaking up Angels pitcher Bruce Kison’s no-hitter with a one-out double in the ninth. California held on to win 17-0. April 24, 1988 Tim Laudner hits three-run home runs in both the third and fourth innings as the Twins beat Cleveland 13-7. April 24, 1996 Five-RBI Game for Molitor and Myers Twins DH Paul Molitor and catcher Greg Myers collect five RBI each in a 24-11 Twins win at Tiger Stadium. Molitor went 2-for-5 with a home run, walk, reached on two fielder’s choices, and scored five runs. Myers went 5-for-6 with three runs scored. The Twins jumped out to a 6-1 lead after two innings, but had used three pitchers by the end of the third, and trailed 10-7 at the end of four innings. But they kept adding on, outscoring the Tigers 17-1 over the final five innings. They scored in every inning except the fourth. April 25, 1883 Birthdate of Russ Ford Minneapolis Central alumnus and seven-year major leaguer Russ Ford was born in Brandon, Manitoba on this date in 1883. The Ford family immigrated to the United States when Russell was three years old, eventually settling in Minneapolis. At age 27, Ford had one of the all-time great rookie seasons in baseball history with the New York Highlanders in 1910, going 26-6 with a 1.65 ERA and 0.881 WHIP. He won 22 games in 1911, for a total of 48 in his first two full seasons. He won 99 major league games altogether, pitching for the New York Highlanders/Yankees, and Buffalo Buffeds/Blues from 1909 to 1915. Read T. Kent Morgan and David Jones‘ SABR BioProject biography of Russ Ford. April 25, 1885 Birthdate of Hack Spencer Hack Spencer was born in St. Cloud on this date in 1885. He grew up in the Minneapolis area. He made his one and only major league appearance for the St. Louis Browns on April 18, 1912, allowing two runs on two hits in the final 1 2/3 innings of a 12-7 loss to the Chicago White Sox. Read Bob Tholkes‘ SABR BioProject biography of Hack Spencer. April 25, 1961 Fred Bruckbauer Has Career ERA of Infinity With the Twins trailing 7-2 after three in Kansas City, 22-year-old St. Mary’s High School(Sleepy Eye, MN) graduate Fred Bruckbauer makes his major league debut, giving up three runs on three hits and a walk before being pulled without recording an out. The Twins went on to lose 20-2. Unfortunately, this was Bruckbauer’s only major league appearance, making his career ERA infinity. Fred Bruckbauer was born in New Ulm. New Ulm native Doc Hamann also had a career ERA of infinity, giving up six runs without recording an out in his only major league appearance with Cleveland on September 21, 1922. April 25, 1971 Jim Kaat pitches a two-hit shutout for a 8-0 Twins win at Yankee Stadium. April 25–29, 1985 Twins Sweep A’s Kirby Puckett hits a walk-off single on Thursday, Tom Brunansky hits a walk-off home run on Friday, and Mickey Hatcher strings together nine consecutive hits between Saturday and Sunday in a four-game series sweep of the Athletics. April 25, 1989 Molitor Has 2-HR Game vs. Twins 1974 Cretin High School graduate and Golden Gophers all-time great Paul Molitor homers on Twins starter Roy Smith’s second pitch of the game, and reliever German Gonzalez’s first pitch of the eighth inning. The Brewers won 10-4 for the first of Bryan Clutterbuck’s two major league wins. April 26, 1986 Dome Deflates, Twins Collapse With the Twins beating the Angels 5-1 in the bottom of the eighth on a stormy night in Minneapolis, a tear causes the Metrodome roof to deflate. The L.A. Times described the scene, with “80-m.p.h. winds tearing holes in the fiberglass dome and whipping through the stadium, sending speakers and light standards swaying on their cables like yo-yos in a wind tunnel… Above the third base line, a geyser of water shot through a drainage hole in the roof, dousing a handful of spectators.” Remarkably, the roof was re-inflated with the game only being delayed nine minutes. The Twins went on to score once more in the eighth, with Mickey Hatcher driving in Steve Lombardozzi with a sacrifice fly for a 6-1 lead going into the ninth. Frank Viola gave up a leadoff double to Brian Downing and a two-run home run to George Hendrick before giving way to closer Ron Davis, still up 6-3. Davis gave up a single and two-run home run to the first two men he faced. With one out he walked pinch-hitter Reggie Jackson, representing the tying run. After striking out Bobby Grich for the second out, Ron Davis gave up a go-ahead, two-run homer to Wally Joyner, who had made his major league debut less than three weeks earlier. Tom Brunansky, Roy Smalley, and Gary Gaetti went down in order in the bottom of the ninth for a 7-6 Twins loss. April 27, 1903 Bender Pitches First Shutout After earning a win over Boston’s Cy Young in his major league debut, 19-year-old Crow Wing County native Charles Albert Bender makes his first start, pitching a shutout versus the New York Highlanders, opposing Hall of Fame pitcher Clark Griffith, the father of former Twins owner Calvin Griffith. Bender became the first Minnesotan inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1953. April 27, 1965 Pascual Hits Second Grand Slam Before even climbing the mound, Camilo Pascual hits the only grand slam by a pitcher in Twins history, staking himself to a 7-0 first-inning lead in Cleveland. He went on to pitch a heckuva game, allowing just two hits and two walks in an 11-1 Twins win. Pascual hit his first grand slam in the Senators’ final season in Washington, on August 14, 1960 in a 5-4 win in the first game of a doubleheader at Yankee Stadium. The Senators won the second game 6-3 in 15 innings. April 27, 1969 Killebrew Hits 400th With two out in the top of the first of an afternoon game in Chicago, Harmon Killebrew hits his 400th career home run. Rod Carew hit a two-run homer in the seventh to give the Twins a 4-3 win. This was a fun boxscore to read. The top of the Twins lineup that afternoon went Tovar, Carew, Killebrew, Oliva, Alison. All told, Killebrew hit 573 home runs, fifth-most in baseball history at the time of his retirement. He hit 84 as a member of the Washington Senators, 14 as a Kansas City Royal in 1975, and 475 in a Twins uniform. April 27, 1994 Erickson Pitches No-Hitter Scott Erickson pitches the first no-hitter in Metrodome history as the Twins beat the Brewers 5-0. It is the third of five no-hitters in Twins history, and the first since Dean Chance in 1967. Erickson, who had led the American League with 20 wins and finished second in Cy Young balloting in 1991, was coming off a ‘93 season in which he led the league with 19 losses and 266 hits allowed. April 28, 1985 Hatcher Ties Oliva’s Consecutive Hits Record Mickey Hatcher goes 4-for-5 in a 10-1 Twins win over the Athletics at the Metrodome. He had gone 5-for-5 the previous day, giving him nine consecutive hits, tying Tony Oliva‘s team record set in 1967. Todd Walker matched the feat in 1998. April 28, 2010 Hughes Homers in First At-Bat Leading off the top of the third, Australia native Luke Hughes lifts Max Scherzer’s 2-2 pitch to right for an opposite field home run in his first major league at-bat. Hughes had originally come up to bat in the second, but Delmon Young was thrown out attempting to steal third for the third out of the inning. The Tigers won the game 11-6. Six Twins have homered in their first major league at-bat: Rick Renick, Dave McKay, Gary Gaetti, Andre David, Hughes, and Eddie Rosario. Between August 26 and September 20, 1981, Kent Hrbek, Tim Laudner, and Gary Gaetti each homered in their first major league game. April 29, 1962 Twins Hit Six Solo Home Runs The Twins hit six solo home runs in the second game of a doubleheader in Cleveland. Lenny Green, Don Mincher, Zoilo Versalles, and Bill Tuttle hit one each, and Johnny Goryl hit two. The Twins scored in each inning except the third and ninth in the 7-3 win. The Twins did not hit a home run in the first game, which they won 8-4. April 29, 1986 Beane Goes 5-for-5 After going 3-for-21 in his first 17 major league games (four with the Twins), Billy Beane goes 5-for-5, including his first home run, in a 14-11 Twins loss at Yankee Stadium. Keep in touch with the Twins Almanac on Facebook. Click here to view the article
  6. April 22, 1961 First Walk-Off in Twins History In just the second home game in team history, the Twins and new expansion Senators played to a 4-4 tie through nine. With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the tenth, Zoilo Versalles drove in Earl Battey with a sac fly to center for the first walk-off win in Twins history, improving to 6-2 on the season. April 22, 1980 Eighty-Nine-Degree Home Opener After the Twins began the season with a 12-game west coast road trip, they returned to Bloomington for a balmy 89-degree home opener against the Angels. Geoff Zahn allowed just one run on six hits over nine innings. Hosken Powell, Ron Jackson, and Roy Smalley each homered in the 8-1 Twins win. April 22, 1986 Tapani Pitches No-Hitter Central Michigan University senior Kevin Tapani pitches a no-hitter at Eastern Michigan for a 10-0 win the second game of a Tuesday doubleheader. Central Michigan would go on to win their third-straight MAC title. Tapani was a walk-on at Central Michigan. His high school in Escanaba, MI did not have baseball team, although he was a state champion quarterback. April 22, 1988 Twins Day Goes From Bad to Worse Bert Blyleven gives up seven runs on nine hits and four hit batters in just 4.2 innings. Four of those runs came on a grand slam by Cleveland right fielder Cory Snyder. Center fielder Joe Carter added a grand slam of his own off Keith Atherton in the 11-6 Cleveland win. To add insult to injury, after the game the Twins traded Tom Brunansky to the Cardinals for clubhouse cancer Tommy frickin’ Herr. April 23, 1863 Birthdate of Lou Galvin Lou Galvin was born in St. Paul on this date in 1863. He went 0-2 in three starts with the 1884 St. Paul White Caps of the Union Association (generally considered a major league). April 23, 1961 Pitcher Kralick Delivers Twins’ Only RBI In the final game of the Twins’ first-ever home series, Jack Kralick pitches a four-hit shutout and drives in Billy Gardner in the fifth for the Twins’ only run in a 1-0 win over the new expansion Senators. The Twins improved to 7-2 on the season. April 23, 1980 Landreaux Begins Record Streak Ken Landreaux begins his team record 31-game hitting streak by breaking up Angels pitcher Bruce Kison’s no-hitter with a one-out double in the ninth. California held on to win 17-0. April 24, 1988 Tim Laudner hits three-run home runs in both the third and fourth innings as the Twins beat Cleveland 13-7. April 24, 1996 Five-RBI Game for Molitor and Myers Twins DH Paul Molitor and catcher Greg Myers collect five RBI each in a 24-11 Twins win at Tiger Stadium. Molitor went 2-for-5 with a home run, walk, reached on two fielder’s choices, and scored five runs. Myers went 5-for-6 with three runs scored. The Twins jumped out to a 6-1 lead after two innings, but had used three pitchers by the end of the third, and trailed 10-7 at the end of four innings. But they kept adding on, outscoring the Tigers 17-1 over the final five innings. They scored in every inning except the fourth. April 25, 1883 Birthdate of Russ Ford Minneapolis Central alumnus and seven-year major leaguer Russ Ford was born in Brandon, Manitoba on this date in 1883. The Ford family immigrated to the United States when Russell was three years old, eventually settling in Minneapolis. At age 27, Ford had one of the all-time great rookie seasons in baseball history with the New York Highlanders in 1910, going 26-6 with a 1.65 ERA and 0.881 WHIP. He won 22 games in 1911, for a total of 48 in his first two full seasons. He won 99 major league games altogether, pitching for the New York Highlanders/Yankees, and Buffalo Buffeds/Blues from 1909 to 1915. Read T. Kent Morgan and David Jones‘ SABR BioProject biography of Russ Ford. April 25, 1885 Birthdate of Hack Spencer Hack Spencer was born in St. Cloud on this date in 1885. He grew up in the Minneapolis area. He made his one and only major league appearance for the St. Louis Browns on April 18, 1912, allowing two runs on two hits in the final 1 2/3 innings of a 12-7 loss to the Chicago White Sox. Read Bob Tholkes‘ SABR BioProject biography of Hack Spencer. April 25, 1961 Fred Bruckbauer Has Career ERA of Infinity With the Twins trailing 7-2 after three in Kansas City, 22-year-old St. Mary’s High School(Sleepy Eye, MN) graduate Fred Bruckbauer makes his major league debut, giving up three runs on three hits and a walk before being pulled without recording an out. The Twins went on to lose 20-2. Unfortunately, this was Bruckbauer’s only major league appearance, making his career ERA infinity. Fred Bruckbauer was born in New Ulm. New Ulm native Doc Hamann also had a career ERA of infinity, giving up six runs without recording an out in his only major league appearance with Cleveland on September 21, 1922. April 25, 1971 Jim Kaat pitches a two-hit shutout for a 8-0 Twins win at Yankee Stadium. April 25–29, 1985 Twins Sweep A’s Kirby Puckett hits a walk-off single on Thursday, Tom Brunansky hits a walk-off home run on Friday, and Mickey Hatcher strings together nine consecutive hits between Saturday and Sunday in a four-game series sweep of the Athletics. April 25, 1989 Molitor Has 2-HR Game vs. Twins 1974 Cretin High School graduate and Golden Gophers all-time great Paul Molitor homers on Twins starter Roy Smith’s second pitch of the game, and reliever German Gonzalez’s first pitch of the eighth inning. The Brewers won 10-4 for the first of Bryan Clutterbuck’s two major league wins. April 26, 1986 Dome Deflates, Twins Collapse With the Twins beating the Angels 5-1 in the bottom of the eighth on a stormy night in Minneapolis, a tear causes the Metrodome roof to deflate. The L.A. Times described the scene, with “80-m.p.h. winds tearing holes in the fiberglass dome and whipping through the stadium, sending speakers and light standards swaying on their cables like yo-yos in a wind tunnel… Above the third base line, a geyser of water shot through a drainage hole in the roof, dousing a handful of spectators.” Remarkably, the roof was re-inflated with the game only being delayed nine minutes. The Twins went on to score once more in the eighth, with Mickey Hatcher driving in Steve Lombardozzi with a sacrifice fly for a 6-1 lead going into the ninth. Frank Viola gave up a leadoff double to Brian Downing and a two-run home run to George Hendrick before giving way to closer Ron Davis, still up 6-3. Davis gave up a single and two-run home run to the first two men he faced. With one out he walked pinch-hitter Reggie Jackson, representing the tying run. After striking out Bobby Grich for the second out, Ron Davis gave up a go-ahead, two-run homer to Wally Joyner, who had made his major league debut less than three weeks earlier. Tom Brunansky, Roy Smalley, and Gary Gaetti went down in order in the bottom of the ninth for a 7-6 Twins loss. April 27, 1903 Bender Pitches First Shutout After earning a win over Boston’s Cy Young in his major league debut, 19-year-old Crow Wing County native Charles Albert Bender makes his first start, pitching a shutout versus the New York Highlanders, opposing Hall of Fame pitcher Clark Griffith, the father of former Twins owner Calvin Griffith. Bender became the first Minnesotan inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1953. April 27, 1965 Pascual Hits Second Grand Slam Before even climbing the mound, Camilo Pascual hits the only grand slam by a pitcher in Twins history, staking himself to a 7-0 first-inning lead in Cleveland. He went on to pitch a heckuva game, allowing just two hits and two walks in an 11-1 Twins win. Pascual hit his first grand slam in the Senators’ final season in Washington, on August 14, 1960 in a 5-4 win in the first game of a doubleheader at Yankee Stadium. The Senators won the second game 6-3 in 15 innings. April 27, 1969 Killebrew Hits 400th With two out in the top of the first of an afternoon game in Chicago, Harmon Killebrew hits his 400th career home run. Rod Carew hit a two-run homer in the seventh to give the Twins a 4-3 win. This was a fun boxscore to read. The top of the Twins lineup that afternoon went Tovar, Carew, Killebrew, Oliva, Alison. All told, Killebrew hit 573 home runs, fifth-most in baseball history at the time of his retirement. He hit 84 as a member of the Washington Senators, 14 as a Kansas City Royal in 1975, and 475 in a Twins uniform. April 27, 1994 Erickson Pitches No-Hitter Scott Erickson pitches the first no-hitter in Metrodome history as the Twins beat the Brewers 5-0. It is the third of five no-hitters in Twins history, and the first since Dean Chance in 1967. Erickson, who had led the American League with 20 wins and finished second in Cy Young balloting in 1991, was coming off a ‘93 season in which he led the league with 19 losses and 266 hits allowed. April 28, 1985 Hatcher Ties Oliva’s Consecutive Hits Record Mickey Hatcher goes 4-for-5 in a 10-1 Twins win over the Athletics at the Metrodome. He had gone 5-for-5 the previous day, giving him nine consecutive hits, tying Tony Oliva‘s team record set in 1967. Todd Walker matched the feat in 1998. April 28, 2010 Hughes Homers in First At-Bat Leading off the top of the third, Australia native Luke Hughes lifts Max Scherzer’s 2-2 pitch to right for an opposite field home run in his first major league at-bat. Hughes had originally come up to bat in the second, but Delmon Young was thrown out attempting to steal third for the third out of the inning. The Tigers won the game 11-6. Six Twins have homered in their first major league at-bat: Rick Renick, Dave McKay, Gary Gaetti, Andre David, Hughes, and Eddie Rosario. Between August 26 and September 20, 1981, Kent Hrbek, Tim Laudner, and Gary Gaetti each homered in their first major league game. April 29, 1962 Twins Hit Six Solo Home Runs The Twins hit six solo home runs in the second game of a doubleheader in Cleveland. Lenny Green, Don Mincher, Zoilo Versalles, and Bill Tuttle hit one each, and Johnny Goryl hit two. The Twins scored in each inning except the third and ninth in the 7-3 win. The Twins did not hit a home run in the first game, which they won 8-4. April 29, 1986 Beane Goes 5-for-5 After going 3-for-21 in his first 17 major league games (four with the Twins), Billy Beane goes 5-for-5, including his first home run, in a 14-11 Twins loss at Yankee Stadium. Keep in touch with the Twins Almanac on Facebook.
  7. That detail is something I added last minute to the notes I already had. I'm sure I looked into that when I originally added the item to my spreadsheet, and realized that even though it was his "rookie" season, it was not his first season.
  8. Bah! The Almanac has been riddled with errors lately. I would have known that if I'd have stopped and thought about it for a second. I'm biting off more than I can handle lately. I think I'll narrow it down to two or three items per day. Thanks for the catch!
  9. Off the top of my head, the 1980 home opener was April 22. I remember that date because it was 89 degrees that day.
  10. This week's Almanac chronicles 35 events in Minnesota baseball history, featuring former Twins Harmon Killebrew, Bob Allison, Bert Blyleven, Tony Oliva, Rod Carew, Kirby Puckett, Eric Milton, ByungHo Park, Jason Kubel, Dick Stigman, Lyman Bostock, Butch Wynegar, Frank Viola, and Joe Niekro, and Minnesotan major leaguers Charley Bender, Howie Schultz, Jim Eisenreich, Bob Johnson, Dan Smith, Rip Conway, and Hack Spencer. April 15, 1947 Robinson Breaks Color Barrier Jackie Robinson breaks major league baseball's longstanding color barrier, starting at first base and batting second for the Brooklyn Dodgers versus the Boston Braves at Ebbets Field. 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 Twelve different Twins get a hit (20 total), 11 score a run, and 10 collect an RBI in a 18-6 win in Seattle. Minnesota native Jerry Koosman enjoyed the run support, as he himself gave up six runs on 12 hits and a walk, earning a complete-game victory, improving to 2-0 on the season. April 15, 1998 Eisenreich’s Last Home Run Playing for the Florida Marlins, 1977 St. Cloud Tech graduate and St. Cloud State Hall of Famer Jim Eisenreich hits his final major league home run, a two-run game-winner off Curt Schilling, driving in current Brewers manager Craig Counsell. April 15, 2000 Ripken Gets 3,000th Cal Ripken Jr. becomes the 24th player to reach 3,000 hits in a 6-4 Orioles win at the Metrodome. Ripken entered the game sitting at 2,997, having collected one hit the night before in a wild 10-9 Twins win. Trailing 4-9, the Twins had scored six runs in the bottom of the eighth. Eddie Guardado secured the save, retiring Ripken for the final out of the game. 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 Hosting the White Sox, Eric Milton gets off to a hot start, striking out the side including Hall of Famer Frank Thomas. Milton goes on to strike out eight of the first 10 batters he faces. 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 Ervin Santana one-hits the White Sox on a Saturday afternoon at Target Field, improving to 3-0 on the season. 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 Bob Allison hits the first grand slam in Twins history in the top of the first in the first game of a Sunday doubleheader in Baltimore. The Orioles’ Chuck Estrada, who had tied for the league lead with 18 wins the previous season and would win 15 in 1961, walked three straight to start the game, filling the bases for the cleanup hitter Allison. After giving up a double to Jim Lemon, Estrada was pulled, ultimately being responsible for five runs. Relief pitcher John Papa didn’t fare much better, issuing consecutive two-out bases-loaded walks before Dick Hall, the third pitcher used by Baltimore in the six-run first, got the final out. 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, 2016 ByungHo Park hits a prodigious 462-foot blast over the batter's eye at Target Field. April 17, 1968 Harmon Killebrew homers and doubles in a 13-1 Twins win over Washington, improving to 6-0, the best start in team history. April 17, 1970 Playing 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, 1977 Twins 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, 1979 Angels 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 Down 9-4 to the Angels in the bottom of the eighth, the Twins score three on Mike Redmond and Denard Span hits. After Brendan Harris (who homered earlier in the game) strikes out for the second out of the inning, the Angels, still clinging to a two-run lead, intentionally walk Justin Morneau to load the bases for Jason Kubel, who is a home run shy of the cycle. Kubel hits the 0-1 pitch out of the park, completing the Twins' seven-run eighth inning rally. Joe Nathan retires the Angels in order in the ninth to save the 11-9 Twins win. 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 Joe Mauer receives his 2009 American League Most Valuable Player Award in a pregame ceremony at Target Field prior to a game against the Royals. 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 After being snowed out the previous night, the Twins and Blue Jays played a frigid doubleheader on April 17. The Twins won Game 1 by a score of 7-0. The 31° gametime temperature was the coldest for a Twins home game at the time. The temperature was up to 42° by the start of Game 2. 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 It's the birthdate of St. Thomas alumnus Rip Conway, born 122 years ago in White Bear Lake. Conway got into 14 major league games as an infielder and pinch-hitter for the Boston Braves in 1918. April 18, 1912 Spencer Makes Only MLB Appearance Hack Spencer, who was born in St. Cloud and grew up in the Minneapolis area, makes his one and only major league appearance with the St. Louis Browns, allowing two runs on two hits in the final 1.2 innings of a 12-7 loss to the White Sox. 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. April 18 Happy 59th Birthday, Jim Eisenreich It’s the birthday of 1977 St. Cloud Tech grad, St. Cloud State all-time great, and 15-year major leaguer Jim Eisenreich, born in St. Cloud in 1959. 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 1954 Sebeka graduate Dick Stigman pitches a three-hit shutout as the Twins beat the Angels 3-0 at Met Stadium in two hours and one minute. 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 Tied 6-6 in Washington, Tony Oliva leads off the top of the tenth with his first career home run. Jerry Zimmerman drove in Bob Allison for an insurance run as the Twins won 8-6. April 18, 1969 After 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, 1976 Trailing 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, 1979 Angels first baseman Rod Carew goes 4-for-4 with two doubles in an 11-6 win over the Twins at Metropolitan Stadium. April 19 Happy 58th Birthday, Frank Viola It’s the birthday of Twins all-time great Frank Viola, born in East Meadow, NY in 1960. 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 Twins right fielder Tony Oliva drives in center fielder César Tovar with a sac fly in 6-3 Twins win in Oakland. It's Oliva's tenth consecutive game with an RBI dating back to October 1, 1969. That stood as the longest RBI streak in Twins history until Kirby Puckett collected an RBI in 11-straight games from September 15 to 25, 1988. April 19 Happy 35th Birthday, Joe Mauer It’s the birthday of 2001 Cretin-Derham Hall graduate, first overall draft pick, three-time American League batting champ, 2009 AL Most Valuable Player, and six-time All-Star Joseph Patrick Mauer, born in St. Paul in 1983. 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 Yankees speedster Rickey Henderson leads off the game with a single to center, Joe Niekro is called for back-to-back balks, advancing Henderson to second and third. He probably would have scored from first on Don Mattingly's double, anyway. Henderson hit another single in the second, this time driving in 1969 St. Paul Central grad Dave Winfield and catcher Don Slaught. Niekro was promptly called for his third balk of the game, moving Henderson up to second. He scored on a Bob Meacham single through the left side of the infield. 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 19-year-old Crow Wing County native Charles Albert Bender makes his major league debut with the Philadelphia Athletics, pitching six innings in relief, earning the win over the Boston Americans’ Cy Young. Seven days later he pitched his first shutout, opposing New York Highlanders Hall of Fame pitcher Clark Griffith. Griffith went on to own the Washington Senators until his death in 1955 when his son Calvin took over. Calvin, of course, moved the Senators to Minnesota in 1961. 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. April 20 Happy 49th Birthday, Dan Smith It’s the birthday of 1987 Apple Valley grad and former Rangers pitcher Dan Smith, born in St. Paul in 1969. 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 Bert Blyleven strikes out 13 in Arlington, but loses 1-0. The Rangers' Jim Spencer singled in the bottom of the ninth, moved to second on a passed ball by Twins catcher Randy Hundley, and scored on Jim Fregosi's two-out walk-off single to left. The run was unearned. Rangers pitcher Steve Hargan held the Twins to two hits and three walks. April 20, 1994 Puckett Season-Starting Hit Streak Right fielder Kirby Puckett goes 1-for-4 with two RBI off Cleveland's Dennis Martinez in a 6-5 walkoff win, extending his season-starting hitting streak to 15 games, still tied with Josh Willingham (2012) for the longest streak to start a season in Twins history. In Willingham's case, it was his first 15 games in a Twins uniform. April 21, 1961 First Home Opener in Twins History Having started their inaugural season 5-1, the Twins came home to Bloomington to play the expansion Washington Senators. Only 24,606 fans attended the first home opener, 6,000 short of a sell-out despite a gametime temperature of 63 degrees. 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 The Twins had lost nine a row, falling to 2-9 entering the Sunday series finale in Oakland when John Butcher hurled a remarkable three-hit, 81-pitch* shutout. Butcher faced just 28 batters, one over the minimum (caught stealing and ground ball double play). The game was over in 1 hour and fifty-five minutes. 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 In the 17th game of the season, Alexi Casilla steals second for the Twins' 19th-straight successful stolen base attempt to start the season. Torii Hunter was caught attempting to steal in the eighth, ending the streak. 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 Josh Willingham leads off the top of the ninth with a line-drive single to center, extending his season-starting hitting streak to 15 games. The Twins lost to the Rays 4-1, but Willingham's hit set a new record for longest streak to begin a Twins career, and tied Kirby Puckett (1994) for the longest streak to begin a season in team history. 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
  11. April 15, 1947 Robinson Breaks Color Barrier Jackie Robinson breaks major league baseball's longstanding color barrier, starting at first base and batting second for the Brooklyn Dodgers versus the Boston Braves at Ebbets Field. 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 Twelve different Twins get a hit (20 total), 11 score a run, and 10 collect an RBI in a 18-6 win in Seattle. Minnesota native Jerry Koosman enjoyed the run support, as he himself gave up six runs on 12 hits and a walk, earning a complete-game victory, improving to 2-0 on the season. April 15, 1998 Eisenreich’s Last Home Run Playing for the Florida Marlins, 1977 St. Cloud Tech graduate and St. Cloud State Hall of Famer Jim Eisenreich hits his final major league home run, a two-run game-winner off Curt Schilling, driving in current Brewers manager Craig Counsell. April 15, 2000 Ripken Gets 3,000th Cal Ripken Jr. becomes the 24th player to reach 3,000 hits in a 6-4 Orioles win at the Metrodome. Ripken entered the game sitting at 2,997, having collected one hit the night before in a wild 10-9 Twins win. Trailing 4-9, the Twins had scored six runs in the bottom of the eighth. Eddie Guardado secured the save, retiring Ripken for the final out of the game. 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 Hosting the White Sox, Eric Milton gets off to a hot start, striking out the side including Hall of Famer Frank Thomas. Milton goes on to strike out eight of the first 10 batters he faces. 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 Ervin Santana one-hits the White Sox on a Saturday afternoon at Target Field, improving to 3-0 on the season. 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 Bob Allison hits the first grand slam in Twins history in the top of the first in the first game of a Sunday doubleheader in Baltimore. The Orioles’ Chuck Estrada, who had tied for the league lead with 18 wins the previous season and would win 15 in 1961, walked three straight to start the game, filling the bases for the cleanup hitter Allison. After giving up a double to Jim Lemon, Estrada was pulled, ultimately being responsible for five runs. Relief pitcher John Papa didn’t fare much better, issuing consecutive two-out bases-loaded walks before Dick Hall, the third pitcher used by Baltimore in the six-run first, got the final out. 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, 2016 ByungHo Park hits a prodigious 462-foot blast over the batter's eye at Target Field. April 17, 1968 Harmon Killebrew homers and doubles in a 13-1 Twins win over Washington, improving to 6-0, the best start in team history. April 17, 1970 Playing 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, 1977 Twins 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, 1979 Angels 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 Down 9-4 to the Angels in the bottom of the eighth, the Twins score three on Mike Redmond and Denard Span hits. After Brendan Harris (who homered earlier in the game) strikes out for the second out of the inning, the Angels, still clinging to a two-run lead, intentionally walk Justin Morneau to load the bases for Jason Kubel, who is a home run shy of the cycle. Kubel hits the 0-1 pitch out of the park, completing the Twins' seven-run eighth inning rally. Joe Nathan retires the Angels in order in the ninth to save the 11-9 Twins win. 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 Joe Mauer receives his 2009 American League Most Valuable Player Award in a pregame ceremony at Target Field prior to a game against the Royals. 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 After being snowed out the previous night, the Twins and Blue Jays played a frigid doubleheader on April 17. The Twins won Game 1 by a score of 7-0. The 31° gametime temperature was the coldest for a Twins home game at the time. The temperature was up to 42° by the start of Game 2. 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 It's the birthdate of St. Thomas alumnus Rip Conway, born 122 years ago in White Bear Lake. Conway got into 14 major league games as an infielder and pinch-hitter for the Boston Braves in 1918. April 18, 1912 Spencer Makes Only MLB Appearance Hack Spencer, who was born in St. Cloud and grew up in the Minneapolis area, makes his one and only major league appearance with the St. Louis Browns, allowing two runs on two hits in the final 1.2 innings of a 12-7 loss to the White Sox. 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. April 18 Happy 59th Birthday, Jim Eisenreich It’s the birthday of 1977 St. Cloud Tech grad, St. Cloud State all-time great, and 15-year major leaguer Jim Eisenreich, born in St. Cloud in 1959. 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 1954 Sebeka graduate Dick Stigman pitches a three-hit shutout as the Twins beat the Angels 3-0 at Met Stadium in two hours and one minute. 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 Tied 6-6 in Washington, Tony Oliva leads off the top of the tenth with his first career home run. Jerry Zimmerman drove in Bob Allison for an insurance run as the Twins won 8-6. April 18, 1969 After 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, 1976 Trailing 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, 1979 Angels first baseman Rod Carew goes 4-for-4 with two doubles in an 11-6 win over the Twins at Metropolitan Stadium. April 19 Happy 58th Birthday, Frank Viola It’s the birthday of Twins all-time great Frank Viola, born in East Meadow, NY in 1960. 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 Twins right fielder Tony Oliva drives in center fielder César Tovar with a sac fly in 6-3 Twins win in Oakland. It's Oliva's tenth consecutive game with an RBI dating back to October 1, 1969. That stood as the longest RBI streak in Twins history until Kirby Puckett collected an RBI in 11-straight games from September 15 to 25, 1988. April 19 Happy 35th Birthday, Joe Mauer It’s the birthday of 2001 Cretin-Derham Hall graduate, first overall draft pick, three-time American League batting champ, 2009 AL Most Valuable Player, and six-time All-Star Joseph Patrick Mauer, born in St. Paul in 1983. 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 Yankees speedster Rickey Henderson leads off the game with a single to center, Joe Niekro is called for back-to-back balks, advancing Henderson to second and third. He probably would have scored from first on Don Mattingly's double, anyway. Henderson hit another single in the second, this time driving in 1969 St. Paul Central grad Dave Winfield and catcher Don Slaught. Niekro was promptly called for his third balk of the game, moving Henderson up to second. He scored on a Bob Meacham single through the left side of the infield. 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 19-year-old Crow Wing County native Charles Albert Bender makes his major league debut with the Philadelphia Athletics, pitching six innings in relief, earning the win over the Boston Americans’ Cy Young. Seven days later he pitched his first shutout, opposing New York Highlanders Hall of Fame pitcher Clark Griffith. Griffith went on to own the Washington Senators until his death in 1955 when his son Calvin took over. Calvin, of course, moved the Senators to Minnesota in 1961. 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. April 20 Happy 49th Birthday, Dan Smith It’s the birthday of 1987 Apple Valley grad and former Rangers pitcher Dan Smith, born in St. Paul in 1969. 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 Bert Blyleven strikes out 13 in Arlington, but loses 1-0. The Rangers' Jim Spencer singled in the bottom of the ninth, moved to second on a passed ball by Twins catcher Randy Hundley, and scored on Jim Fregosi's two-out walk-off single to left. The run was unearned. Rangers pitcher Steve Hargan held the Twins to two hits and three walks. April 20, 1994 Puckett Season-Starting Hit Streak Right fielder Kirby Puckett goes 1-for-4 with two RBI off Cleveland's Dennis Martinez in a 6-5 walkoff win, extending his season-starting hitting streak to 15 games, still tied with Josh Willingham (2012) for the longest streak to start a season in Twins history. In Willingham's case, it was his first 15 games in a Twins uniform. April 21, 1961 First Home Opener in Twins History Having started their inaugural season 5-1, the Twins came home to Bloomington to play the expansion Washington Senators. Only 24,606 fans attended the first home opener, 6,000 short of a sell-out despite a gametime temperature of 63 degrees. 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 The Twins had lost nine a row, falling to 2-9 entering the Sunday series finale in Oakland when John Butcher hurled a remarkable three-hit, 81-pitch* shutout. Butcher faced just 28 batters, one over the minimum (caught stealing and ground ball double play). The game was over in 1 hour and fifty-five minutes. 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 In the 17th game of the season, Alexi Casilla steals second for the Twins' 19th-straight successful stolen base attempt to start the season. Torii Hunter was caught attempting to steal in the eighth, ending the streak. 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 Josh Willingham leads off the top of the ninth with a line-drive single to center, extending his season-starting hitting streak to 15 games. The Twins lost to the Rays 4-1, but Willingham's hit set a new record for longest streak to begin a Twins career, and tied Kirby Puckett (1994) for the longest streak to begin a season in team history. 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
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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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