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  1. The Twins are no strangers to having rookies on the verge of becoming superstar players go down for a long stretch of the season due to injury. The latest of this collective is Twins top prospect Royce Lewis. Today it was announced by manager Rocco Baldelli that Lewis has a partial tear to the same ACL he injured in February of 2021. The surgery will keep Lewis out until the middle of next season at the earliest. With the news of Lewis out for another year, Twins Daily will take a look back at lauded Twins rookies that have had career set back by major injuries. Here are three other former Twins superstars that found themselves in the same boat as Lewis has today. Joe Mauer, 2004 Left Medial Meniscus Joe Mauer was no stranger to IL stints throughout his career. Most famously Mauer landed his first stint on the IL during his second game as he tore the left medial meniscus in his knee which forced him out until June of 2004. Mauer returned only for a month with the Twins until the knee injury forced him out for the season. This would only be the beginning of many knee injuries that would set back Mauer throughout his career. But the injury did not keep Mauer from becoming one of the best catchers in his generation that set him on a hall of fame trajectory. Twins fans do not need much of a reminder on where Mauer's career went following this injury. He still lived up to the potential of his career and did not start to experience decline in his performance until 2014 during his age 31 season and full-time move to first base. Francisco Liriano, 2006 Tommy John Talk about an extensive injury that kept a player out longer than expected. Francisco Liriano looked to be the second coming of Johan Santana during his 2006 rookie campaign, posting a 2.16 ERA in 16 starts. But he strained his ulnar collateral ligament midyear, ultimately underwent Tommy John surgery and was on the shelf until 2008. Today, pitchers receiving their first Tommy John Surgery usually recover quicker than Liriano did at the time, but it still kept a promising future star for the Twins rotation on the shelf for a year and a half, and Liriano never turned into the next Santana. Liriano still had a few solid seasons with the Twins in 2008 and 2010, and rebounded with more success later with the Pittsburgh Pirates from 2013-15. Even with later success, Liriano never met his full potential after that first Tommy John surgery. Jason Kubel, 2004 Knee Injury Jason Kubel had a delay to the start of his MLB career just like Royce Lewis. After appearing in 23 games with the Twins in 2004, Kubel found himself in the Arizona Fall League playing every day. That was until he suffered a knee injury that caused him to miss all of the 2005 season. The injury set back Kubel's chances to play for the Twins full time until 2006 when he found himself as a backup outfielder to Torii Hunter, Michael Cuddyer, and Lew Ford. Then in 2007, Kubel finally had his breakout season with the Twins as an everyday outfielder hitting 20 home runs, driving in 72 runs, hitting .272 with a .785 OPS. Kubel's best years were only ahead of him with the Twins following the 2005 injury. Kubel was arguably the most crucial bat in the Twins lineup behind Mauer and Morneau from 2008-2011. He hit an average of 20 home runs, 83 RBI, a .340 on-base percentage, and .810 OPS over that time span. Kubel's knee injury that kept him out all of 2005 still could have dented a lot of potential he had for the Twins over the years. Commonalities Even with these injuries dealt to such great players, Mauer, Kubel, and Liriano all found success in the latter half of their careers to some degree. Does this mean the second ACL tear to Lewis could set him back even further with his potential like it did for those who came before him? It’s too early to tell. Lewis just turned 23 last Sunday but will likely be 24 by the time he returns from this injury. Both Mauer and Liriano were younger than Lewis was during the time of their injuries in their career and still turned into all-star level players after those injuries. For now, Twins fans can still hope for a great season even without their top prospect playing until next year.
  2. Royce Lewis has once again torn his ACL and will be shut down for the remainder of the 2022 season. The Twins are no strangers to a history of superstar players taking major injuries just as it is their turn to shine. Here is a look back at some of those cases for the Twins in recent memory. The Twins are no strangers to having rookies on the verge of becoming superstar players go down for a long stretch of the season due to injury. The latest of this collective is Twins top prospect Royce Lewis. Today it was announced by manager Rocco Baldelli that Lewis has a partial tear to the same ACL he injured in February of 2021. The surgery will keep Lewis out until the middle of next season at the earliest. With the news of Lewis out for another year, Twins Daily will take a look back at lauded Twins rookies that have had career set back by major injuries. Here are three other former Twins superstars that found themselves in the same boat as Lewis has today. Joe Mauer, 2004 Left Medial Meniscus Joe Mauer was no stranger to IL stints throughout his career. Most famously Mauer landed his first stint on the IL during his second game as he tore the left medial meniscus in his knee which forced him out until June of 2004. Mauer returned only for a month with the Twins until the knee injury forced him out for the season. This would only be the beginning of many knee injuries that would set back Mauer throughout his career. But the injury did not keep Mauer from becoming one of the best catchers in his generation that set him on a hall of fame trajectory. Twins fans do not need much of a reminder on where Mauer's career went following this injury. He still lived up to the potential of his career and did not start to experience decline in his performance until 2014 during his age 31 season and full-time move to first base. Francisco Liriano, 2006 Tommy John Talk about an extensive injury that kept a player out longer than expected. Francisco Liriano looked to be the second coming of Johan Santana during his 2006 rookie campaign, posting a 2.16 ERA in 16 starts. But he strained his ulnar collateral ligament midyear, ultimately underwent Tommy John surgery and was on the shelf until 2008. Today, pitchers receiving their first Tommy John Surgery usually recover quicker than Liriano did at the time, but it still kept a promising future star for the Twins rotation on the shelf for a year and a half, and Liriano never turned into the next Santana. Liriano still had a few solid seasons with the Twins in 2008 and 2010, and rebounded with more success later with the Pittsburgh Pirates from 2013-15. Even with later success, Liriano never met his full potential after that first Tommy John surgery. Jason Kubel, 2004 Knee Injury Jason Kubel had a delay to the start of his MLB career just like Royce Lewis. After appearing in 23 games with the Twins in 2004, Kubel found himself in the Arizona Fall League playing every day. That was until he suffered a knee injury that caused him to miss all of the 2005 season. The injury set back Kubel's chances to play for the Twins full time until 2006 when he found himself as a backup outfielder to Torii Hunter, Michael Cuddyer, and Lew Ford. Then in 2007, Kubel finally had his breakout season with the Twins as an everyday outfielder hitting 20 home runs, driving in 72 runs, hitting .272 with a .785 OPS. Kubel's best years were only ahead of him with the Twins following the 2005 injury. Kubel was arguably the most crucial bat in the Twins lineup behind Mauer and Morneau from 2008-2011. He hit an average of 20 home runs, 83 RBI, a .340 on-base percentage, and .810 OPS over that time span. Kubel's knee injury that kept him out all of 2005 still could have dented a lot of potential he had for the Twins over the years. Commonalities Even with these injuries dealt to such great players, Mauer, Kubel, and Liriano all found success in the latter half of their careers to some degree. Does this mean the second ACL tear to Lewis could set him back even further with his potential like it did for those who came before him? It’s too early to tell. Lewis just turned 23 last Sunday but will likely be 24 by the time he returns from this injury. Both Mauer and Liriano were younger than Lewis was during the time of their injuries in their career and still turned into all-star level players after those injuries. For now, Twins fans can still hope for a great season even without their top prospect playing until next year. View full article
  3. Since 1983, the year after I was born, Dick Bremer has been the voice of the Minnesota Twins on television. After nearly 40 years behind the microphone, I get the sense that some fans are ready to move on from Bremer, at least according to some of the chatter in the Game Threads here. I am here to tell you that those fans are spoiled and don't know how good they have it with Bremer. Dick Bremer was born and raised in Minnesota and has been a Twins fan all of his life. There really aren't too many instances where a hometown kid becomes the announcer of his favorite team. Born in St. Paul and raised in Dumont, Minnesota, Bremer is the fourth-longest tenured radio or television broadcaster in Major League Baseball. He trails only the Royals' Denny Matthews (1969), the Brewers' Bob Uecker (1971), and Texas' Eric Nadel (1979) and is tied with Seattle's Rick Rizzs (1983) and Boston's Joe Castiglione (1983). On that list, only Bremer and Uecker are currently broadcasting games for their hometown teams. With such a long tenure comes an intimate knowledge of the team's history. Cory Provus, who I really enjoy quite a bit on the radio broadcasts, can look up stats and stories from the 1984 season when Kirby Puckett made his debut or watch videos of the 1991 parade, but he wasn't there and didn't live it the same way Bremer did. Not only does Bremer possess a nearly unprecedented wealth of Twins knowledge, but his personality is also a great fit for baseball fans in the Upper Midwest with a dry sense of humor and a large dose of humility. He seems to understand that viewers tune in to watch the games, not for him. That can be rare in today's world. When I was a kid I had two memorable interactions with Bremer. One at Spring Training where I was basically starstruck passing him in the concourse in Ft. Myers. I managed to sputter out "How will the Twins do this year?" and he gave me a thoughtful, long answer and asked me what I thought. As a kid, I felt so cool having a real conversation with a famous adult. Years later in the 2000's, I was settling into my customary Upper General Admission seat in Section 212 for an afternoon game. I looked down the row a bit, and there was Dick Bremer reading a newspaper in the nosebleeds waiting for the game to start. I remember thinking that it was really neat that he would watch a game from up there on a day the game wasn't televised. In fact, I was in that very seat for one of my favorite Bremer calls: In other words, he strikes me as a real fan of the team. This can be bad (In my opinion Paul Allen takes this a bit too far, nothing against him he's great at what he does) but Bremer seems to know how to toe that line perfectly. I still get goosebumps when I watch this highlight from 2009, coincidentally featuring Kubel as well: That is not a forced home run call. That's not a planned out, "A-Bomb From A-Rod" corny home run call. That is a man who is genuinely excited about what he just saw. I think it is natural to get 'sick of' a broadcaster after this long of a time. If you hear anyone every day for over 30 years, they are probably going to wear on you a bit whether it is a spouse, boss, or sports broadcaster. For the folks who wish for a change in the broadcast booth, be careful what you wish for. There can never be another Dick Bremer. The man has seen it all. View full article
  4. Dick Bremer was born and raised in Minnesota and has been a Twins fan all of his life. There really aren't too many instances where a hometown kid becomes the announcer of his favorite team. Born in St. Paul and raised in Dumont, Minnesota, Bremer is the fourth-longest tenured radio or television broadcaster in Major League Baseball. He trails only the Royals' Denny Matthews (1969), the Brewers' Bob Uecker (1971), and Texas' Eric Nadel (1979) and is tied with Seattle's Rick Rizzs (1983) and Boston's Joe Castiglione (1983). On that list, only Bremer and Uecker are currently broadcasting games for their hometown teams. With such a long tenure comes an intimate knowledge of the team's history. Cory Provus, who I really enjoy quite a bit on the radio broadcasts, can look up stats and stories from the 1984 season when Kirby Puckett made his debut or watch videos of the 1991 parade, but he wasn't there and didn't live it the same way Bremer did. Not only does Bremer possess a nearly unprecedented wealth of Twins knowledge, but his personality is also a great fit for baseball fans in the Upper Midwest with a dry sense of humor and a large dose of humility. He seems to understand that viewers tune in to watch the games, not for him. That can be rare in today's world. When I was a kid I had two memorable interactions with Bremer. One at Spring Training where I was basically starstruck passing him in the concourse in Ft. Myers. I managed to sputter out "How will the Twins do this year?" and he gave me a thoughtful, long answer and asked me what I thought. As a kid, I felt so cool having a real conversation with a famous adult. Years later in the 2000's, I was settling into my customary Upper General Admission seat in Section 212 for an afternoon game. I looked down the row a bit, and there was Dick Bremer reading a newspaper in the nosebleeds waiting for the game to start. I remember thinking that it was really neat that he would watch a game from up there on a day the game wasn't televised. In fact, I was in that very seat for one of my favorite Bremer calls: In other words, he strikes me as a real fan of the team. This can be bad (In my opinion Paul Allen takes this a bit too far, nothing against him he's great at what he does) but Bremer seems to know how to toe that line perfectly. I still get goosebumps when I watch this highlight from 2009, coincidentally featuring Kubel as well: That is not a forced home run call. That's not a planned out, "A-Bomb From A-Rod" corny home run call. That is a man who is genuinely excited about what he just saw. I think it is natural to get 'sick of' a broadcaster after this long of a time. If you hear anyone every day for over 30 years, they are probably going to wear on you a bit whether it is a spouse, boss, or sports broadcaster. For the folks who wish for a change in the broadcast booth, be careful what you wish for. There can never be another Dick Bremer. The man has seen it all.
  5. National prospect rankings can help fans understand how much depth is in each organization. These prospects were considered among baseball’s best as they worked towards the big leagues. Multiple players are in the discussion for the top prospect in Twins history. Some honorable mentions to this list include Michael Cuddyer, Aaron Hicks, and Kyle Gibson. Baseball America started ranking prospects in 1990, so who cracks the back half of the top-10 prospects in Twins history? 10. Jason Kubel Top-100 Peak: 17 Most of the players on this list were high draft picks, but Minnesota took Kubel in the 12th round. During the 2004 season, he hit .353/.414/.590 (1.004) with 42 doubles and 22 home runs. He was only 22-years old at the time, so he was over five years younger than the average age of the competition at Triple-A, where he played 90 games. Minnesota sent him to the Arizona Fall League that winter and suffered a severe knee injury that cost him the entire 2005 season. Kubel ended up playing a decade at the big-league level, but he was trending at being one of the best prospects in team history before the knee injury. 9. David McCarty Top-100 Peak: 16 After finishing in last place in 1990, the Twins took Dave McCarty with the third overall pick in the 1991 Draft. Minnesota was aggressive with him as they sent him directly to High-A for his pro debut, and he finished at Double-A. His college experience at Stanford helped him to a .907 OPS, and Baseball America ranked him as baseball’s 22nd best prospect before the 1992 season. He’d make it to Triple-A that next season, and he combined to hit .284/.370/.448 (.818) with 39 extra-base hits in 136 games. His big-league career was underwhelming as he had a .676 OPS and a -2.1 WAR in 11 seasons. 8. Justin Morneau Top-100 Peak: 14 Minnesota took Morneau with their third-round pick in 1999, but it took him a couple of seasons for him to make his mark in the prospect world. Baseball America got excited about Morneau following his 2001 minor league season as he posted an .886 OPS between three levels. Over the next three winters, they included Morneau as one of their top-25 prospects. He entered the 2002 season at #21, the 2003 season at #14, and the 2004 season at #16. Morneau also appeared in two Futures Games during that stretch. He became one of the most critical players in Twins history and helped the team to multiple division titles. 7. Willie Banks Top-100 Peak: 13 Banks may be an unfamiliar name to younger Twins fans, but Minnesota selected him with the third overall pick back in 1987. He allowed 51 earned runs in 65 2/3 innings in his professional debut. However, he bounced back nicely the following season and posted a 3.72 ERA with 113 strikeouts in 125 2/3 innings. In 1990, Baseball America’s inaugural top-100 list had Banks as baseball’s 13th best prospect. He improved at High- and Double-A the following season as his ERA dropped by more than a run, and his WHIP decreased from 1.72 to 1.20. Banks pitched nine years at the big-league level with seven different organizations. 6. Todd Walker Top-100 Peak: 7 Minnesota selected Walker with the eighth overall pick in the 1994 MLB Draft out of LSU. He ranked as one of baseball’s top-40 prospects in every minor league season, but his 1996 season was unbelievable. In 135 Triple-A games, he hit .339/.400/.599 (.999) with 28 home runs, 41 doubles, and nine triples. For his entire minor league career, he posted a .905 OPS, which he wasn’t able to replicate at the big-league level. Still, he hit .289/.348/.435 (.783 OPS) across 12 seasons. Did any of these names surprise you? Leave a COMMENT, start the discussion, and stop by later this week to see the top-5. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email View full article
  6. Multiple players are in the discussion for the top prospect in Twins history. Some honorable mentions to this list include Michael Cuddyer, Aaron Hicks, and Kyle Gibson. Baseball America started ranking prospects in 1990, so who cracks the back half of the top-10 prospects in Twins history? 10. Jason Kubel Top-100 Peak: 17 Most of the players on this list were high draft picks, but Minnesota took Kubel in the 12th round. During the 2004 season, he hit .353/.414/.590 (1.004) with 42 doubles and 22 home runs. He was only 22-years old at the time, so he was over five years younger than the average age of the competition at Triple-A, where he played 90 games. Minnesota sent him to the Arizona Fall League that winter and suffered a severe knee injury that cost him the entire 2005 season. Kubel ended up playing a decade at the big-league level, but he was trending at being one of the best prospects in team history before the knee injury. 9. David McCarty Top-100 Peak: 16 After finishing in last place in 1990, the Twins took Dave McCarty with the third overall pick in the 1991 Draft. Minnesota was aggressive with him as they sent him directly to High-A for his pro debut, and he finished at Double-A. His college experience at Stanford helped him to a .907 OPS, and Baseball America ranked him as baseball’s 22nd best prospect before the 1992 season. He’d make it to Triple-A that next season, and he combined to hit .284/.370/.448 (.818) with 39 extra-base hits in 136 games. His big-league career was underwhelming as he had a .676 OPS and a -2.1 WAR in 11 seasons. 8. Justin Morneau Top-100 Peak: 14 Minnesota took Morneau with their third-round pick in 1999, but it took him a couple of seasons for him to make his mark in the prospect world. Baseball America got excited about Morneau following his 2001 minor league season as he posted an .886 OPS between three levels. Over the next three winters, they included Morneau as one of their top-25 prospects. He entered the 2002 season at #21, the 2003 season at #14, and the 2004 season at #16. Morneau also appeared in two Futures Games during that stretch. He became one of the most critical players in Twins history and helped the team to multiple division titles. 7. Willie Banks Top-100 Peak: 13 Banks may be an unfamiliar name to younger Twins fans, but Minnesota selected him with the third overall pick back in 1987. He allowed 51 earned runs in 65 2/3 innings in his professional debut. However, he bounced back nicely the following season and posted a 3.72 ERA with 113 strikeouts in 125 2/3 innings. In 1990, Baseball America’s inaugural top-100 list had Banks as baseball’s 13th best prospect. He improved at High- and Double-A the following season as his ERA dropped by more than a run, and his WHIP decreased from 1.72 to 1.20. Banks pitched nine years at the big-league level with seven different organizations. 6. Todd Walker Top-100 Peak: 7 Minnesota selected Walker with the eighth overall pick in the 1994 MLB Draft out of LSU. He ranked as one of baseball’s top-40 prospects in every minor league season, but his 1996 season was unbelievable. In 135 Triple-A games, he hit .339/.400/.599 (.999) with 28 home runs, 41 doubles, and nine triples. For his entire minor league career, he posted a .905 OPS, which he wasn’t able to replicate at the big-league level. Still, he hit .289/.348/.435 (.783 OPS) across 12 seasons. Did any of these names surprise you? Leave a COMMENT, start the discussion, and stop by later this week to see the top-5. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email
  7. This was supposed to be a critical year for Royce Lewis. Back in 2019, he struggled for the first time in his professional career as the Twins were aggressive and pushed him up to Double-A. He was projected to head back to that level in 2021 with a chance to make his big-league debut before season’s end. Unfortunately, that won’t be the case and Lewis will go over 900 days without getting a professional at-bat. Minnesota is no stranger to top prospects being hit by the injury bug. Alex Kirilloff, Twins Daily’s highest rank Twins prospect, missed the entire 2017 campaign due to Tommy John surgery. Even with the missed season, he came back with a vengeance in 2018 as he was one of MiLB’s best hitters that season. Obviously, Kirilloff was able to recover and put himself back on the prospect map, which is something Twins fans can hope for with Lewis. Before Lewis and Kirilloff, Byron Buxton was widely considered the team’s top prospect and many national rankings had him as one of the baseball’s best prospects. Buxton’s injury history has been well documented as he was limited to 103 combined games between his third and fourth professional seasons. Those injury woes have followed him to the big-league level as he as he has only had one season where he has played more than 95 games. Prior to Buxton, Miguel Sano was the team’s top prospect, and he was widely considered one of baseball’s top-10 prospects. He was forced to miss all his age-21 season after needing Tommy John surgery. It still didn’t stop him from making his big-league debut the very next year and he’s been with the Twins ever since. Kyle Gibson had a short stint as the Twins’ best prospect, and he seemed to be rocketing to the MLB level. Entering the 2011 season, Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus had him in their top-55 prospects. Unfortunately, he had Tommy John surgery in November 2011 and wouldn’t be back until the end of the 2012 season. Going further back, there certainly more examples of prospects hit by the injury bug. Francisco Liriano famously blew out his elbow while the 2006 Twins seemed like they would have been unstoppable in the playoffs. Joe Mauer’s career started on a bad note as he needed knee surgery shortly into his rookie campaign. One player some people might forget is Jason Kubel. He seemed destined to be a middle of the order power bat that could bring above average defense at multiple outfield positions. Entering the 2005 season, Baseball America ranked him as baseball’s 17th overall prospect. He was able to return from injury and have a decade long big-league career, but his outlooked was significantly changed after his leg injury. Many of the players on this list went on to have solid big-league careers, but there will also be questions about what could have been. How good could Kubel have been? Would the Twins have won the 2006 World Series with a healthy Liriano? How much better would Mauer’s numbers look with another full season? Lewis finds himself among some of the best Twins players in recent memory, but it is a list that he never wanted to join. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. May 16 Happy 62nd Birthday, Jack Morris It’s the birthday of 1973 Highland Park High School graduate Jack Morris, born in St. Paul in 1951. Morris was selected in the Fifth Round of the '76 Draft out of Brigham Young. The Tigers had drafted Alan Trammell in the 2nd Round, and Lou Whitaker in the 5th Round a year earlier. All three would make their major league debuts in 1977, with Trammell and Whitaker debuting in the same game. Morris was the Tigers’ Opening Day starter in 1980, beginning a major league-record streak of 14 consecutive Opening Day starts (1980-1993). Morris won his first of four World Series in 1984 as the Tigers beat the Padres in five games. Morris pitched complete game victories in Games One and Four. Morris won more games in the 1980s (162) than any other pitcher. On February 5, 1991 Jack Morris signed a one-year, $3.7 million contract with the Twins, making him the highest paid pitcher in the American League, a distinction which he previously held in 1987 and ‘88, and would hold again in 1993. Morris won 18 games during the regular season and another four in the postseason, including the legendary 10-inning shutout of the Atlanta Braves in Game 7 of the World Series. 1991 would be Morris’s only season with the Minnesota Twins. On December 18, 1991 he signed with the Toronto Blue Jays, against whom he had just won two games in the American League Championship Series. Morris led the league with 21 wins in 1992 and the Blue Jays went on to win the World Series, beating the Braves in six games. The Blue Jays won the Series again in 1993, though Morris pitched poorly, accumulating a 7-12 record with a 6.19 ERA before his season was cut a month short by injury. Fellow St. Paul native Paul Molitor was MVP of the '93 Series. Morris pitched for Cleveland in 1994 but was released in August just prior to the strike. The following spring he unsuccessfully attempted a comeback with Cincinnati. In 1996, the 41-year-old Morris went 5-1 with a 2.69 ERA in 10 starts with the St. Paul Saints before retiring for good. May 16, 1928 It’s the Birthdate of Billy Martin Twins player, coach, and manager Billy Martin was born in Berkeley, California on this date in 1928. Martin, who won four World Championships as a member of the 1950s New York Yankees, was traded by the Milwaukee Braves to Minnesota on June 1, 1961, where he played out his final major league season. Martin served as a Twins scout from 1962-’64, and rejoined the major league team as third base coach in 1965. He was sent down to Triple-A Denver midway through the 1968 season where he served as manager. He succeeded Cal Ermer as manager of the Twins in 1969, winning the American League West in his only season at the helm. Martin was hugely popular as a Twins coach and manager, and instrumental in the development of Cesar Tovar, and, to a lesser extent, Rod Carew. Martin went on to manage 16 major league seasons, including five stints with the Yankees who he led to a World Series Championship in 1977. Martin died in a single-car crash on Christmas, 1989. He was 61 years old. May 16, 2010 Jason Kubel Hits Grand Slam Off Mariano Rivera The Twins had not beaten the Yankees since August 13, 2008. They had been swept by the Yankees in both the 2009 regular and postseason. Now, trailing 3-1 in the third game of a series at Yankee Stadium, the Twins loaded the bases against Joba Chamberlain in the eighth. With two out and the bases full of Twins, manager Joe Girardi brought in Mariano Rivera to face Jim Thome. Rivera had converted his last 51 home save opportunities, tying the Dodgers’ Eric Gagne’s all-time record. Rivera walked Thome, forcing in Orlando Hudson. Trailing now by just one run, Jason Kubel hit Rivera’s 1-0 pitch into the right field seats for a grand slam. The Twins went on to an improbable 6-3 victory, with Jon Rauch converting his 10th save of the season. Keep in touch with the @TwinsAlmanac on Twitter.
  11. The Twins trailed the Angels 4-9 entering the bottom of the 8th on April 17th, 2009. They scored 3 runs on RBI hits by Mike Redmond and Denard Span. After Brendan Harris struck out looking for the second out, the Angels, still up by 2, intentionally walked Justin Morneau to load the bases for Jason Kubel, who had already gone 3-for-4 with an RBI and run scored and was a HR shy the cycle. Kubel hit the 0-1 pitch out of the park, completing the Twins’ 7-run 8th inning rally. Joe Nathan retired the Angels in order in the top of the 9th for the save and an 11-9 Twins win. Two previous players had completed the cycle with a grand slam, both shortstops. Tony Lazzeri in 1932, and Miguel Tejada in 2001.
  12. And here is The Twins Almanac for the week of April 17th through the 23rd. Two of the 50 Greatest Twins share a birthday this week. This week in 1961 the Twins played their first home opener and celebrated their first walk-off win. Several impressive streaks began and ended. The Twins put together a 6-run inning on just 1 hit. And this week in Twins history, just 14 games removed from the 1987 World Series, Minnesota made a demoralizing trade with St. Louis for a pontificating clubhouse cancer. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/20160416_184936_zpsnp5gyhwp.jpg April 17, 2009 Kubel Completes Cycle with Game-Winning Grand Slam Playing the LA Angels at the Metrodome, the Twins trailed 4-9 going into the bottom of the 8th. They scored 3 runs on RBI hits by Mike Redmond and Denard Span. After Brendan Harris struck out looking for the second out, the Angels, still leading by 2, intentionally walked Justin Morneau to load the bases for Jason Kubel, who had already gone 3-for-4 with an RBI and run scored and was a HR shy the cycle. Kubel hit the 0-1 pitch out of the park, completing the Twins’ 7-run 8th inning rally. Joe Nathan retired the Angels in order in the top of the 9th for the save and an 11-9 Twins win. April 17, 2014 The Twins 8-Walk 8th Inning (aka, Minnesota’s 6-Run, 1-Hit Inning) The Twins and the Blue Jays played two cold ones on April 17th after having been snowed out the previous night. The Twins won game 1 by a score of 7-0. The gametime temperature of 31 degrees was a record for a Twins home game. The temperature was up to 42 for the start of game 2. The Twins trailed 3-5 going into the bottom of the 8th when they would score 4 runs before their first hit, and ultimately score 6 runs on just 1 hit. Blue Jays pitcher, Steve Delebar, walked Josmil Pinto and Chris Hermann to start the inning. Eduardo Nunez then dropped down a successful sacrifice bunt. In retrospect the sacrifice was completely unnecessary, 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 4 runs, the Twins got their first hit of the inning, a 2-run Jason Kubel single to right. Josmil Pinto then walked for the second time in the inning before the Blue Jays finally recorded the final two outs of the inning. Glen Perkins sat down the Jays in order in the 9th, securing a 9-5 Twins victory. April 19th Twin Birthdays 4/19 is the birthday of Frank Viola (born in 1960 in East Meadow, NY) and Joe Mauer (born in 1983 in St. Paul). The Twins drafted Frank Viola in the 2nd round in 1981 out of St. John’s University (Queens, NY). Viola was the MVP of the 1987 World Series, and was an All-Star and Cy Young Award-winner the following season when he won a Major League-leading 24 games. 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. As a Met, Viola was an NL All-Star in 1990 and ‘91, finishing 3rd in NL Cy Young balloting in 1990. Viola was inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame with Carl Pohlad in 2005. Cretin-Derham Hall alumnus, Joe Mauer, was the #1 overall draft choice in 2001. Mauer made his Major League debut on Opening Day, 2004, at age 20. He went 2-for-3 with a strikeout, 2 walks, and 2 runs scored. Mauer was on second in the bottom of the 11th with 2 out when Shannon Stewart hit a 3-run walk-off homer, giving the Twins a 7-4 win over Cleveland. The Twins went on to win the AL Central in Mauer’s rookie season before losing to the Yankees in the Divisional round. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/20160416_185555_zpsxnup2udc.jpg Joe Mauer has won three American League batting championships (2006, ‘08 and ‘09). No other American League catcher has ever won a batting title. The last National League catcher to win a batting title was Cincinnati’s Ernie Lombardi in 1942. Lombardi was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1986. Mauer was the 2009 American League MVP, hitting a career-high .365, and collecting career-highs in hits (191), home runs (28), and RBI (96). He is a 6x All-Star. April 19, 1961 A crowd of 3,000 fans gathered at the airport to welcome home the 5-1 Twins, two days before their inaugural home opener. April 19, 1988 Niekro Called for 3 Balks After the Yankees’ Rickey Henderson led off the game with a single to center, Joe Niekro was called for back-to-back balks, advancing Henderson to second and to third. Henderson scored on a Don Mattingly double. Henderson came up again in the 2nd inning, this time hitting a 2-RBI single to left. Niekro was promptly called for his 3rd balk of the game, moving Henderson up to second. After giving up a 2-run home run to Mike Pagliarulo to make it 7-0 Yankees in the 2nd, Niekro was replaced by Juan Berenguer. Berenguer, Keith Atherton and Jeff Reardon did not allow a run the rest of the game. Trailing 3-7 in the bottom of the 9th, the Twins scored 3 runs on RBI hits by Kirby Puckett and Tom Brunansky before Hrbek lined out to first, ending the game with the tying runner, Mark Davidson, stranded on third. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/20160416_184731_zpsini02nam.jpg April 21, 1961 Inaugural Home Opener The 5-1 Twins played their first ever home game, taking on the expansion Washington Senators at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington. The teams were tied 3-3 when the Senators scored 2 off of Ray Moore in the top of the 9th to win 5-3. Only 24,606 fans attended the game, 6,000 short of a sell-out despite a gametime temperature of 63 degrees. April 21, 1985 John Butcher 1hr 55min Complete Game Shutout The Twins had lost 9 in a row, falling to 2-9 on the season, entering the Sunday series finale in Oakland when Twins pitcher John Butcher hurled a remarkable complete game shutout. Butcher allowed 3 hits, but faced just 28 batters, one over the minimum. He threw just 81 pitches and the game was over in 1 hour and 55 minutes. Leadoff hitter Kirby Puckett went 3-for-5, driving in both Twins runs in the 2-0 victory. It was the beginning of a 10-game Twins winning streak. April 21, 2007 Twins Start Season with 19 Consecutive Stolen Bases In the 17th game of the season, Alexi Casilla stole second base for the Twins' 19th consecutive successful steal attempt to start the season. Torii Hunter was caught stealing in the 8th to end the streak. With a 7-5 lead in Kansas City, Joe Nathan pitched a 1-2-3 bottom of the 9th, with all three outs coming on called third strikes. April 21, 2012 Willingham Begins Twins Career with 15-Game Hit Streak First-year Twin, Josh Willingham, led off the top of the 9th in Tampa Bay with a line drive single to center, extending his season-opening hit streak to 15 games. Willingham would score on a Ryan Doumit sac fly, but the Twins lost 4-1. Willingham’s streak was the longest to begin a Twins career, and tied Kirby Puckett’s 1994 streak for the longest by a Twin to begin a season. April 22, 1961 Twins 1st Walk-Off Win In game 2 of their first ever home series, the Twins and expansion Senators played to a 4-4 tie through nine. In the bottom of the 10th, with the bases loaded and one away, Zoilo Versalles gave the Twins their first ever walk-off win, driving in Earl Battey with a sacrifice fly to center. The freshly minted Twins improved to 6-2 on the season. April 22, 1980 Geoff Zahn pitched a complete game for an 8-1 Twins win in the 1980 home opener. The gametime temperature was a balmy 89 degrees outside the Metrodome. Hosken Powell, Ron Jackson and Roy Smalley each hit home runs in the game. April 22, 1988 Twins’ Day Goes from Bad to Worse Bert Blyleven gave up 7 runs on 9 hits and 4 hit batters in 4 2/3 innings in an 11-6 loss to Cleveland at the Metrodome. Four of those runs came on a Cory Snyder grand slam. Later in the game, Joe Carter also hit a grand slam off of Keith Atherton. To add insult to injury, after the game the Twins traded Tom Brunansky to the Cardinals in exchange for clubhouse cancer, Tom Herr. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/20160416_184502_zpslydldyma.jpg April 23, 1961 In the final game of the Twins' first ever home series, Jack Kralick pitched a complete game, 4-hit shutout in a 1-0 Twins win versus the expansion Senators. Kralick's bat provided the Twins' only run, driving in Billy Gardner with a 5th inning single. The Twins improved to 7-2 on the season. April 23, 1980 Ken Landreaux begins a 31-game hitting streak by breaking up Angel pitcher Bruce Kison's no-hitter with a one out double in the 9th. California holds on to win 17-0. For the history of the Minnesota Twins, told one day at a time, like The Twins Almanac on Facebook, and follow @TwinsAlmanac on Twitter. For the stories of the Major Leaguers who grew up in Minnesota, like Major Minnesotans on Facebook, and follow @MajorMinnesota on Twitter.
  13. This is the same song-different verse on the way Target Field plays, but to put it on the record, here's what former Twin Jason Kubel says about the downtown park:
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