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  1. Following a disappointing 1978 season and the departure of Rod Carew, the Twins leaned the likes of Roy Smalley on Minnesota native Jerry Koosman to lead this promotional commercial leading into the 1979 season. Koosman went on to have a stellar season while Smalley posted one of his career-best seasons. Presented in partnership with TC Media Now.
  2. Following a disappointing 1978 season and the departure of Rod Carew, the Twins leaned the likes of Roy Smalley on Minnesota native Jerry Koosman to lead this promotional commercial leading into the 1979 season. Koosman went on to have a stellar season while Smalley posted one of his career-best seasons. Presented in partnership with TC Media Now. View full video
  3. Twins fans fans may have been spoiled by the team in their first decade. The second decade started out strong with 98 wins and a playoff berth in 1970. That was their lone playoff appearance of the decade. In 1971, they finished in fifth place in the division. Each other season, they finished either third or fourth in the AL West. Some of the Twins stars of the 1960s were still around and contributing early in the 1970s, though generally just a shell of themselves after 1971. Rod Carew and Bert Blyleven certainly led the way during the decade, but there were other really solid players throughout the decade. The 1976 and 1977 Twins won 85 and 84 games. The 1977 team scored 867 runs, but the pitching was not real strong. Bill Rigney began the decade as the team's manager. He was replaced by Frank Quilici midway through the 1972 season. Gene Mach took over in 1976 and remained through the decade. He managed his nephew, Roy Smalley who was voted the starting shortstop for the American League in the 1979 All-Star Game. Let's get to the lineup... and be sure to leave your thoughts on this roster, or who I missed. http://traffic.libsyn.com/sethstohs/GTKE_Podcast_Ep16_Patrick_Reusse.mp3 C - Butch Wynegar (1976-1979) 577 games, .256/.344/.350 (.694) with 85 doubles, 31 homers, 250 RBI. Wynegar was the Twins second-round pick out of high school in 1974 and debuted just after he turned 20 in April of 1976. He finished second to Mark Fydrich in 1976 Rookie of the Year voting, and he was an All-Star his first two seasons. He caught between 131 and 146 games in each of his first five seasons. 1B - Harmon Killebrew (1970-1974) 634 games, .247/.373/.451 (.824) with 68 doubles, 113 homers, 391 RBI. After winning the AL MVP in 1969, Killebrew hit 41 homers and finished third in the voting in 1970. He was an All-Star in 1970 and 1971, his 10th and 11th of the year. While things went downward from there, the Twins great and future Hall of Famer was still the easy choice for this position. His 113 homers from over these five years still led the organization by 25. 2B - Rod Carew (1970-1978) 1,248 games, .345/.407/.460 (.867) with 226 doubles, 57 homers, 584 RBI. Carew was the choice in the 1960s for second base as well, but he was just getting started. Look at that, a .345 average over NINE seasons. He didn’t hit under .307 in any season, and he led the league in batting average six of those nine years. He was the AL MVP in 1977 when he hit .388/.449/.570 (1.019) with 38 doubles, 16 triples, 14 home runs and 100 RBI. He had four other Top 5 MVP seasons as well. He was an All-Star each of the 12 seasons he played with the Twins. If you’re into bWAR, his 53.7 mark is 36.5 more than anyone else in the organization during the decade. 3B - Steve Braun (1971-1976) 751 games, .284/.376/.381 (.757) with 103 doubles, 35 homers, 273 RBI. Braun was the team’s 10th-round pick in 1966 out of high school. He debuted with 128 games in 1971. He spent six seasons with the Twins. He played around the diamond, but mostly at third base the first three seasons and then in left field the next three years. He had a good, patient approach at the plate. In 1973, he hit .283 but also had a .408 on-base percentage. SS - Roy Smalley (1976-1979) 573 games, .261/.346/.388 (.734) with 96 doubles, 51 homers, 264 RBI. Smalley was the Rangers' first-round pick in 1974 from USC and debuted in 1975. On June 1, 1976, he came to the Twins as part of a package for Bert Blyleven. His best season was in 1979. He was an All-Star and received MVP votes. He led the league in games played and plate appearances. He hit 28 doubles and a career-high 24 homers. Side note - It’s inexplicable to me why Roy Smalley is not in the Twins Hall of Fame. LF - Larry Hisle (1973-1977) 662 games, .286/.354/.457 (.811) with 109 doubles, 87 homers, 409 RBI. Hisle was traded to the Twins from the Cardinals after the 1972 season and spent the next five seasons in a Twins uniform. He immediately became an impact player, hitting for average, getting on base and showing some power. He was good the first four years, but in 1977, he hit .302 with 36 doubles, 28 homer and a league-leading 119 RBI. He was an All-Star and earned MVP votes. That offseason, he left via free agency and signed with Milwaukee where he had one more really strong season. CF - Lyman Bostock (1975-1977) 379 games, .318/.366/.416 (.812) with 78 doubles, 18 homers, 179 RBI. Bostock was the Twins 26th-round pick in 1972 out of Cal State, Northridge. He debuted at the start of the 1975 season. He hit .282 in 98 games as a rookie. Then he hit .323 in 1976. In 1977, he hit .336/.389/.508 (.897) with 36 doubles, 12 triples and 14 home runs. He became a free agent and signed with the Angels. He was tragically killed in September of 1978. RF - Cesar Tovar (1970-1972) 459 games, .293/.348/.384 (.732) with 85 doubles, 13 homers, 130 RBI. Tovar continued to play all over the diamond in the early 1970s. In 1970, he led the league with 36 doubles and 13 triples. In 1971, he led the league with 204 base hits. He batted .300 in 1970 and 1971 and received MVP votes. He was traded to the Phillies after the 1972 season and played through the 1976 season. DH - Tony Oliva (1970-1976) 764 games, .299/.345/.446 (.791) with 116 doubles, 88 homers, 412 RBI. Oliva was a star for the Twins in the 1960s, and he entered the 1970s as one of the best players in the league. In 1970, he hit .325, finished second in MVP voting and led the league with 204 hits and 36 doubles. In 1971, he won his third career batting title by hitting .337. He also led the league with a .546 slugging percentage. Knee injuries cost him most of the 1972 season and lowered the trajectory of his career. He kept playing through the 1976 season. Your turn. Who would make your Twins 1970s All-Decade team? And what might that lineup look like?
  4. Last week, I broke down my choices for a Minnesota Twins All-Decade Team of the 1960s in three parts (Hitters, Pitchers, Podcast). This week, we advance to the 1970s. Today, we will share the potential lineup for a Twins team of the '70s. Tomorrow we will be back with the pitching staff. On Thursday night, we'll share another fun, story-filled podcast with someone who covered the team during the decade.Twins fans fans may have been spoiled by the team in their first decade. The second decade started out strong with 98 wins and a playoff berth in 1970. That was their lone playoff appearance of the decade. In 1971, they finished in fifth place in the division. Each other season, they finished either third or fourth in the AL West. Some of the Twins stars of the 1960s were still around and contributing early in the 1970s, though generally just a shell of themselves after 1971. Rod Carew and Bert Blyleven certainly led the way during the decade, but there were other really solid players throughout the decade. The 1976 and 1977 Twins won 85 and 84 games. The 1977 team scored 867 runs, but the pitching was not real strong. Bill Rigney began the decade as the team's manager. He was replaced by Frank Quilici midway through the 1972 season. Gene Mach took over in 1976 and remained through the decade. He managed his nephew, Roy Smalley who was voted the starting shortstop for the American League in the 1979 All-Star Game. Let's get to the lineup... and be sure to leave your thoughts on this roster, or who I missed. C - Butch Wynegar (1976-1979) 577 games, .256/.344/.350 (.694) with 85 doubles, 31 homers, 250 RBI. Wynegar was the Twins second-round pick out of high school in 1974 and debuted just after he turned 20 in April of 1976. He finished second to Mark Fydrich in 1976 Rookie of the Year voting, and he was an All-Star his first two seasons. He caught between 131 and 146 games in each of his first five seasons. 1B - Harmon Killebrew (1970-1974) 634 games, .247/.373/.451 (.824) with 68 doubles, 113 homers, 391 RBI. After winning the AL MVP in 1969, Killebrew hit 41 homers and finished third in the voting in 1970. He was an All-Star in 1970 and 1971, his 10th and 11th of the year. While things went downward from there, the Twins great and future Hall of Famer was still the easy choice for this position. His 113 homers from over these five years still led the organization by 25. 2B - Rod Carew (1970-1978) 1,248 games, .345/.407/.460 (.867) with 226 doubles, 57 homers, 584 RBI. Carew was the choice in the 1960s for second base as well, but he was just getting started. Look at that, a .345 average over NINE seasons. He didn’t hit under .307 in any season, and he led the league in batting average six of those nine years. He was the AL MVP in 1977 when he hit .388/.449/.570 (1.019) with 38 doubles, 16 triples, 14 home runs and 100 RBI. He had four other Top 5 MVP seasons as well. He was an All-Star each of the 12 seasons he played with the Twins. If you’re into bWAR, his 53.7 mark is 36.5 more than anyone else in the organization during the decade. 3B - Steve Braun (1971-1976) 751 games, .284/.376/.381 (.757) with 103 doubles, 35 homers, 273 RBI. Braun was the team’s 10th-round pick in 1966 out of high school. He debuted with 128 games in 1971. He spent six seasons with the Twins. He played around the diamond, but mostly at third base the first three seasons and then in left field the next three years. He had a good, patient approach at the plate. In 1973, he hit .283 but also had a .408 on-base percentage. SS - Roy Smalley (1976-1979) 573 games, .261/.346/.388 (.734) with 96 doubles, 51 homers, 264 RBI. Smalley was the Rangers' first-round pick in 1974 from USC and debuted in 1975. On June 1, 1976, he came to the Twins as part of a package for Bert Blyleven. His best season was in 1979. He was an All-Star and received MVP votes. He led the league in games played and plate appearances. He hit 28 doubles and a career-high 24 homers. Side note - It’s inexplicable to me why Roy Smalley is not in the Twins Hall of Fame. LF - Larry Hisle (1973-1977) 662 games, .286/.354/.457 (.811) with 109 doubles, 87 homers, 409 RBI. Hisle was traded to the Twins from the Cardinals after the 1972 season and spent the next five seasons in a Twins uniform. He immediately became an impact player, hitting for average, getting on base and showing some power. He was good the first four years, but in 1977, he hit .302 with 36 doubles, 28 homer and a league-leading 119 RBI. He was an All-Star and earned MVP votes. That offseason, he left via free agency and signed with Milwaukee where he had one more really strong season. CF - Lyman Bostock (1975-1977) 379 games, .318/.366/.416 (.812) with 78 doubles, 18 homers, 179 RBI. Bostock was the Twins 26th-round pick in 1972 out of Cal State, Northridge. He debuted at the start of the 1975 season. He hit .282 in 98 games as a rookie. Then he hit .323 in 1976. In 1977, he hit .336/.389/.508 (.897) with 36 doubles, 12 triples and 14 home runs. He became a free agent and signed with the Angels. He was tragically killed in September of 1978. RF - Cesar Tovar (1970-1972) 459 games, .293/.348/.384 (.732) with 85 doubles, 13 homers, 130 RBI. Tovar continued to play all over the diamond in the early 1970s. In 1970, he led the league with 36 doubles and 13 triples. In 1971, he led the league with 204 base hits. He batted .300 in 1970 and 1971 and received MVP votes. He was traded to the Phillies after the 1972 season and played through the 1976 season. DH - Tony Oliva (1970-1976) 764 games, .299/.345/.446 (.791) with 116 doubles, 88 homers, 412 RBI. Oliva was a star for the Twins in the 1960s, and he entered the 1970s as one of the best players in the league. In 1970, he hit .325, finished second in MVP voting and led the league with 204 hits and 36 doubles. In 1971, he won his third career batting title by hitting .337. He also led the league with a .546 slugging percentage. Knee injuries cost him most of the 1972 season and lowered the trajectory of his career. He kept playing through the 1976 season. Your turn. Who would make your Twins 1970s All-Decade team? And what might that lineup look like? Click here to view the article
  5. The ’81 Twins were…not good. Johnny Goryl got fired, the team was playing in a doomed Met Stadium, Calvin Griffith would sooner do racism in Waseca than spend money on free agents, and there was also a players’ strike smack dab in the middle of what would end up being a split season. Still, you gotta put butts in seats, and the 1981 marketing team hoped to drum up some momentum around, um, Glenn Adams and Pete Mackanin. When it became startlingly apparent that the team didn’t have a lot of promise (Roy Smalley was your team leader in home runs with seven), those efforts were scrapped in favor of building excitement over the move to the Metrodome in 1982. The Twins Daily I-Team found a copy of proposed taglines in a haunted Mall of America basement, and we share them with you now. Remember When We Had Rod Carew? We Already Traded Ken Landreaux, Sorry About That There Might Be Some Minnesota Kicks Fans in the Parking Lot Who Will Let You Drink Their Beer Don’t Get Too Attached to Any of These Guys Life Is Pain Always Wear Closed-Toe Shoes Knothole Gang, Calvin Won’t Pay for a Grounds Crew and You Technically Have to Help Us Drag the Infield Between Innings! Mom Didn’t Read the Fine Print, This Is on Her! Kirby Puckett is Three Years Away Still Cable TV Is In Its Infancy So You Still Have to Go to a Game to See Us Listen to the Owner Badmouth Larry Hisle We’ll Call Up the Hrbek Kid in August if You Promise to Buy Tickets, Bloomington. You’re Not Going to Believe It Now but These Powder Blues Are Going to Look Fantastic in 2019 Fielding Nine Players Every Night! The North Stars Are Across the Way If You Get Bored We’ll Trade Jerry Koosman for Randy Johnson This Summer. Not That One. Watch a Baseball Game While Dad Gets Tuned Up at Steak & Ale
  6. February 18 Happy 54th Birthday, Kevin Tapani It’s the birthday of Twins all-time great Kevin Tapani, born in Des Moines, Iowa in 1964. He grew up on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula where he quarterbacked the Escanaba Eskymos to the Class 1A state championship as a senior in 1981. Escanaba didn’t have a high school baseball team, just a Legion team that played about 15 games in June and July. Tapani walked on at Central Michigan University where he pitched from 1983 to ’86, going 23-8 as the team won three consecutive Mid-American Conference titles. He pitched a no-hitter vs. Eastern Michigan on April 22, 1986. Tapani was selected by the Athletics in the second round of the 1986 draft. He went to the Mets as part of a three-team, eight-player trade on December 11, 1987. He was called up when Doc Gooden went down with an injury, and made his major league debut on July 4, 1989 at age 25, relieving Bob Ojeda with two out and runners on second and third in the bottom of the first. He balked home a run before throwing his first major league pitch. He recovered, however, pitching 4 ⅓ innings and allowing just the one run on two hits and three walks. He put the ball in play off Houston’s Mike Scott in his first big league at-bat, lining out deep down the right field line according to Baseball Reference’s game log. The Twins acquired Tapani on July 31, 1989 as part of perhaps the greatest trade in team history when they sent 1987 World Series MVP and ‘88 AL Cy Young winner Frank Viola to the Mets for David West, Rick Aguilera, Tapani, Tim Drummond, and Jack Savage (as a player to be named later). Tapani won 75 games for the Twins between 1989 and 1995. He had double digit wins of each of his five full seasons in Minnesota. Tapani had his best season as a Twin in 1991, going 16-9 with a 2.99 ERA, 3.49 FIP (thank you, Mike Pagliarulo and Greg Gagne), 1.086 WHIP, and averaged five strikeouts and 1.5 walks per nine innings. He actually led the ‘91 team with a 6.8 WAR (as calculated by Baseball Reference). May 15, 1991 at the Dome, however, was not one of his better games, as the Brewers’ Paul Molitor tripled on his first pitch of the game and proceeded to go 5-for-5, hitting for the cycle. He outdueled Tom Glavine in Game 2 of the 1991 World Series, giving up two runs on seven hits and no walks over eight innings. Scott Leius’s solo homer gave the Twins the lead in the bottom of the eighth, and Rick Aguilera slammed the door in the top of the ninth. He lost to Glavine in Game 5 in Atlanta, leaving after giving up four runs in the fourth. The loss put the Twins on the brink of elimination heading home for Game 6. We all know how that story ends. On July 31, 1995, six years to the day after he came to Minnesota in the Viola trade, Tapani and Mark Guthrie were traded to the Dodgers for four players including Ron Coomer. He went on to pitch for the White Sox in 1996, and the Cubs from 1997 to 2001. He won 19 games for the Cubs in 1998, and hit his first major league home run off his former Twins teammate Denny Neagle. He hit another homer in 2000. Tapani still lives in the Twin Cities. He recently spent several seasons as a baseball coach at Providence Academy in Plymouth. February 19, 1876 Birthdate of “Home Run” Joe Marshall It’s the birthdate of “Home Run” Joe Marshall, born 142 years ago in Audubon, MN. Marshall broke into professional baseball in the Red River Valley League in 1897. Despite his 5-foot-8, 170-pound frame, Marshall was one of the preeminent minor league sluggers of the Deadball Era. He led all of organized baseball with 25 (officially) or 26 home runs for the San Francisco Pirates in 1903. The Boston Americans’ Buck Freeman, by comparison, led the major leagues that season with just eight round-trippers. Despite his success at lower levels, Marshall performed poorly in two brief major league stints, first in 1903 with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and again in 1906 with the St. Louis Cardinals. Terry Bohn wrote about Marshall for the SABR BioProject (click here). And CLICK HERE for some interesting blog posts by Jeff Bozovsky, author of Divorcees, Barmaids, and Cranks: The 1897 Red River Valley League. February 19, 1912 Birthdate of Dick Siebert It’s the birthdate of Richard “Dick” Siebert, born 106 years ago in Fall River, MA. In the summer of 1923 the Sieberts moved to Cass Lake, MN where Dick’s dad pastored Immanuel Lutheran Church. In 1926 the family moved to St. Paul where the elder Siebert had accepted a teaching position at Concordia College. Dick graduated from Concordia Academy High School in 1928. Dick Siebert played in six games for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1932, and two games in 1936. He was drafted by the Cubs in the 1936 Rule 5 Draft, and purchased by the Cardinals prior to the 1937 season. In May 1938 he was traded to the Philadelphia Athletics where he finally saw regular playing time from 1938 to 1945. In 1941, a good season for offense, he hit .334 with a career-high 79 RBI. He was an American League All-Star in 1943. In total he played in 1,035 major league games across parts of 11 seasons, hitting .282 with 32 home runs. Siebert is best known in Minnesota, of course, for coaching the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers from 1948 to 1978, winning three NCAA championships (1956, ‘60 and ‘64), and 12 Big Ten titles, with only three sub-.500 seasons. Dick Siebert passed away on December 9, 1978. He was just 66 years old. The U of M renamed its ballpark “Siebert Field” on April 21, 1979. Rich Arpi wrote a thorough essay on Siebert for the Halsey Hall SABR book Minnesotans in Baseball. That book can be found on Amazon, but Arpi's essay is available through the SABR BioProject (click here). February 19, 1985 Twins Acquire Smalley, Again The Twins trade first baseman Randy Johnson and outfielder Ron Scheer to the White Sox for infielder Roy Smalley. Randy Johnson, who originally came up with Chicago in 1980, had last played in the majors with Minnesota in 1982. He would not make it back to the show. Ron Scheer would never make it past Double-A. The Twins had originally acquired Smalley in the 1976 trade that sent Bert Blyleven and Danny Thompson to the Texas Rangers. Smalley’s first stint with the Twins was highlighted by his 1979 All-Star campaign. On April 10, 1982 he was traded along with St. Cloud State alumnus and proprietor of Serum’s Good Time Emporium in Anoka, Gary Serum, to the New York Yankees for pitchers Ron Davis, Paul Boris, and a minor league infielder named Greg Gagne. In July 1984, the Yankees offloaded Smalley to the White Sox in exchange for players to be named later, one of whom wound up being Doug Drabek, who after just one season the Yankees shipped off to Pittsburgh where he won the 1990 NL Cy Young Award. One of the highlights of Smalley’s second stint with the Twins—other than winning the 1987 World Series, of course—was becoming the first player in Twins history to homer from both sides of the plate on May 30, 1986. Four players have done so since: Chili Davis (October 2, 1992), Ryan Doumit (July 22, 2012), Kennys Vargas (August 11, 2016), and Jorge Polanco (August 29, 2017). Here’s a fun story that Roy Smalley related to me on Twitter: “It just so happened that right after Doumit did it Chili was in town with the A's and I was there for FSN. We took a great picture together . . . We also each signed three baseballs with the dates we hit the HR's -- one for each of us -- which I'm proud to have. Only three Twins to have done it.” This, of course, was before Vargas and Polanco joined the club. Roy Smalley retired following the Twins’ 1987 World Series Championship season. February 20, 1987 Twins Acquire Al Newman The Twins trade minor league pitcher Mike Shade to the Montreal Expos for infielder Al Newman. Shade would never make it to the majors. Newmie, meanwhile, played an important role on the Twins’ 1987 and 1991 World Series Championship teams. Newman played in 110 games for the ‘87 Twins, starting 75, splitting time pretty evenly between second base and shortstop. It is interesting to note, though, that Al Newman started two games that season as the Twins’ designated hitter. Newman played in 118 games for the ‘91 Twins, starting 56, once again mostly splitting time between second and short, with four starts at third, one in left, and one as first baseman. Newman is one of eight players to play for both the ‘87 and ‘91 Twins, and one of seven to play in both World Series. Allan Anderson did not play in either Series. Anderson—who posted the lowest ERA in the American League in 1988 and won 33 games between 1988 and ‘89—was just getting his feet wet in 1986 and ‘87, and was on his way out in ‘91. The other six Twins to play in both World Series are Kirby Puckett, Kent Hrbek, Dan Gladden, Greg Gagne, Gene Larkin, and Randy Bush. Newman became a free agent following the 1991 season. He signed with the Reds, was released in April, and ultimately wound up playing with the Texas Rangers in 1992, his final season. It just so happened that Texas was in town on April 11, 1992 when the Twins got their rings. February 21 Happy 71st Birthday, Charley Walters It’s the birthday of 1965 Edison High School graduate Charley Walters, born in Minneapolis in 1947. The Twins signed Walters out of their annual open tryout at Met Stadium in 1965. He went 7-2 with a 1.94 ERA for the 1967 Northern League Champion St. Cloud Rox. Walters broke camp with the Twins in 1969, and pitched 6.2 innings over six games between April 11 and May 14. He did not allow a run in his first five outings. He allowed four, however, in his sixth and final major league appearance. Walters has been a sportswriter for the Pioneer Press since way before Al Gore invented the internet. If anyone knows the exact year he started writing for the Pioneer Press, please let me know. Stew Thornley wrote about Walters for the Halsey Hall SABR book Minnesotan in Baseball (click here). February 23 Happy 43rd Birthday, Dave Maurer It’s the birthday of 1993 Apple Valley graduate Dave Maurer, born in Minneapolis in 1975. The Padres drafted Maurer in the 11th round of the 1997 Amateur Draft. He made his major league debut on July 22, 2000 at age 25. He pitched 14.2 innings over 14 games that season, picking up his only big league win on September 22 in Los Angeles. He made only three appearances for the Padres in 2001. After brief stints in the Reds and Athletics organizations, Maurer made it back to the majors with Cleveland late in the 2002 season, pitching in two games, both against the Minnesota Twins. He took his only major league loss at the Metrodome on September 25, giving up a twelfth-inning walk-off home run to David Ortiz. Maurer made three appearances for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2004. They did not go well. In total, Maurer appeared in 22 major league games, pitching 22.1 innings over parts of four seasons. February 24 Happy 78th Birthday, Wayne Hattaway It’s the birthday of longtime Twins organization equipment manager, trainer, and clubhouse attendant Wayne “Big Fella” Hattaway, born in Alabama in 1940 (I assume in Mobile). Wayne got his first job in baseball in 1952 at age 12, serving as bat boy for his hometown Mobile Bears. He worked as the Bears’ equipment manager from 1956 to 1962. He became part of the Twins organization in 1963, when the Dallas Rangers became a Twins Triple-A affiliate (for one season only). Below is my best attempt at piecing together his long Twins career: 1962-1963: Dallas Rangers (Triple-A) equipment manager 1964-1971: Charlotte Hornets (Double-A) 1972-1973: Lynchburg Hillcats (Class A) equipment manager 1974: Reno Silver Sox (Class A) equipment manager 1975-1985: Orlando Twins (Double-A) trainer 1986-?: Orlando Twins/Sun Rays equipment manager 2002-Present: Minnesota Twins clubhouse attendant/assistantI understand that Hattaway is still around as a pre-game clubhouse assistant for most home games. Remarkably, the 1985 All-Star game at the Metrodome was the first major league game that he attended in his life! It was his 23rd season in the Twins organization. He came close in 1969, Hattaway told the Orlando Sentinel in 1985 (click here). Farm director George Brophy told Hattaway that if the Twins beat the Orioles in the ALCS, they would fly him to Minnesota for the World Series. Unfortunately Baltimore swept Minnesota in three games that year and again in 1970. Ron Gardenhire brought Hattaway up to the big league club when he became manager in 2002. Hattaway was known for maintaining a loose atmosphere in the clubhouse. One of his favorite techniques, apparently, was making fun of players. In the midst of a bad slump, he said to Torii Hunter “you couldn’t hit water if you fell out of a boat.” Stew Thornley shared another good line that Hattaway used on a Twins player after a bad game: “hey, don’t worry about it. We don’t blame you. We blame the scout who signed you.” A source shared a locker room observation of the Big Fella, but this is a family-friendly website. I just today came across this really cool looking piece including an audio interview with Hattaway on John Swol's TwinsTrivia.com (click here). Keep in touch with @TwinsAlmanac on Twitter and Facebook.
  7. May 7, 1965 Twins Commit Seven Errors The Twins committed seven errors in a 13-5 loss to the White Sox on their home turf in Bloomington. Shortstop Zoilo Versalles and third baseman Rich Rollins each committed two errors, while Harmon Killebrew, Earl Battey and St. Paul native Jerry Kindall added one each. Every infielder plus the catcher committed an error. Despite the seven errors, Twins pitching still gave up 10 earned runs. Nimrod, MN native Dick Stigman started the game for the Twins and lasted just 3 ⅔ innings, allowing four runs (all earned) on five hits. The Twins would salvage the season and capture the American League Pennant. May 7, 1978 Smalley Draw Team-Record 5 Walks Roy Smalley set a team single-game record when he walked 5 times in a 15-9 Twins win in Baltimore. Smalley also hit a double in his sixth at-bat, driving in left fielder Willie Norwood. Smalley walked in each of the first three innings, the first two vs. 1990 Hall of Fame inductee Jim Palmer who only lasted 1 ⅔ innings, allowing six runs on three hits and five walks. Willie Norwood stole second during each of Smalley’s first three at-bats, which eventually ended in walks anyway. The Twins scored nine of their 15 runs in the first three innings. Starting for the Twins was Alexandria, MN High School graduate Gary Serum, who only lasted 4 ⅓ innings, allowing five runs on eight hits, but did not walk a batter. May 7, 1989 Dan Gladden Makes Second Pitching Appearance Dan Gladden made his second big league pitching appearance in a 12-1 loss in Cleveland. Gladden allowed only one run on two hits and a walk. Not bad considering that Cleveland had scored 11 runs over seven innings against Minnesota’s full-time professional pitchers. By the way, how about Gimenez getting out of the inning on four pitches yesterday, eh? May 7, 2000 Tom Kelly Wins 1,000th Game Tom Kelly became the 46th manager in major league history to win 1,000 games as Minnesota beat Detroit 4-0 at the Metrodome. Joe Mays, who entered the game with an 0-4 record, pitched a complete game five-hit shutout for the Twins. May 7, 2002 Mary Tyler Moore Throws Out First Pitch May 7, 2008 Carlos Gomez Hits for the Cycle Leadoff hitter Carlos Gomez hit for the “natural cycle” in reverse in a 13-1 Twins win versus the White Sox in Chicago. Gomez led off the game with a home run, and then hit a triple, double and single. Gomez had three RBI, two runs scored and also struck out twice. Nick Punto hit the first of his two home runs of the season. Livan Hernandez pitched the complete game for the Twins, improving to 5-1. Keep in touch with the @TwinsAlmanac on Twitter.
  8. May 8, 1967 Rookie Carew Has Twins' First 5-Hit Game Rookie Rod Carew became the first Twin to collect five hits in a single game in a 7-4 Twins loss to the Senators at home in Bloomington. Rodney was 5-for-5 on the day with a double, an RBI, and run scored. The Twins had 11 hits in total, but no other Twin had more than one. Kirby Puckett set a new Twins record by going 6-for-6 with two home runs and two doubles in a 10-6 Twins win in Milwaukee on August 30th, 1987. Puckett had gone 4-for-5 with two home runs the day before, making him 10-for-11 with six RBI and seven runs on the weekend. He had gone 0-for-4 on Friday in the first game of the series, a 1-0 Twins loss. May 8, 1968 Catfish Hunter Pitches a Perfect Game 22-year-old Catfish Hunter pitched a perfect game against the Twins in Oakland, striking out 11 in the Athletics’ 4-0 win. Harmon Killebrew struck out in each of his three plate appearances. In addition to pitching the perfect game, Hunter went 3-for-4 at the plate, driving in three of the Athletics’ four runs. Reggie Jackson was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. May 8, 1979 Twins Hit Team-Record 12 Extra Base Hits The Twins set a team record when 12 of their 19 hits went for extra bases in a 16-6 shellacking of the Blue Jays at home in Bloomington. Roy Smalley and Craig Kusick each hit two home runs. Ken Landreaux hit a home run and a double. Bombo Rivera hit two doubles, while Willie Norwood, Glenn Borgmann and Bob Randall hit one each. John Castino hit a triple. Roy Smalley had the best day of anybody, going 4-for-5 with the two home runs, a walk, four RBI and four runs scored. May 8, 1984 Puckett Goes 4-for-5 in MLB Debut Kirby Puckett went 4-for-5 with a run scored in his major league debut as the Twins beat the first place Angels 5-0 in Anaheim. Puckett, hitting leadoff, grounded out to short to start the game. He collected singles in his next four at-bats, becoming the sixth player in American League history to debut with four-hit performance. Frank Viola pitched a complete game, four-hit shutout. Kirby collected 16 hits in his first seven major league games, hitting .485. He would finish the season with 165 hit in 128 games, batting .296 and finishing third to Seattle’s Alvin Davis and Mark Langston in American League Rookie of the Year balloting. Minnesota’s Tim Teufel came in fourth. 22-year-old Twins catcher Wilson Ramos also went 4-for-5 in his major league debut on May 2, 2010. The following night he went 3-for-4 with a double, becoming the third player in major league history with seven hits in his first two games, and the first since Nanny Fernandez in 1942. Be well, do good work, and keep in touch with the @TwinsAlmanac on Twitter.
  9. April 9, 2000 Twins & Royals Go Back-to-Back-to-Back Already up 6-0 entering the top of the sixth in Kansas City, Corey Koskie leads the inning off with a base hit. Ron Coomer, Jacque Jones and Matt LeCroy then proceed to hit three consecutive home runs on four total pitches. Coomer homers again in the seventh, again with Koskie on base. Eric Milton retires the first 20 batters in order and has a 2-hit shutout going into the 8th. After retiring the first two batters, including former Twin David McCarty, Milton allows two hits and is relieved by Eddie Guardado. Guardado gives up an RBI single and then back-to-back home runs to Carlos Beltran and Jermaine Dye. Eddie is relieved by Hector Carrasco who surrenders the Royals’ third consecutive home run to Mike Sweeney. It is the first game in major league history in which each team hits back-to-back-to-back home runs. The Twins are one of seven teams to have hit four consecutive home runs, doing so on May 2, 1964 in Kansas City versus the Athletics. With the score tied 3-3 entering the top of the 11th, Tony Oliva hit a leadoff home run followed by Bob Allison, Jimmie Hall, and Harmon Killebrew, giving the Twins a 7-3 victory. The Twins set the American League record by hitting five home runs in a single inning on June 9, 1966, also against the KC Athletics, but this time in Bloomington at the Met. The Athletics erupted for four runs in the first off of Camilo Pascual, who only lasted ⅔ of an inning. Facing 1987 Hall of Fame inductee Catfish Hunter the Twins pulled within 4-3 on a Bob Allison RBI double in the fifth and a two-run Killebrew homer in the sixth. Then, in the bottom of the seventh, Rich Rollins and Zoilo Versalles connected for back-to-back homers off of Hunter to take the lead. Reliever Paul Lindblad retired Sandy Valdespino before allowing back-to-back homers to Tony Oliva and Don Mincher. The Athletics then turned to John Wyatt who allowed the Twins’ third consecutive home run, and the fifth of the inning, to Harmon Killebrew, his second of the game. Four National League teams have hit five home runs in an inning. The first time was in 1939 and the most recent in 2006. All four were against the Cincinnati Reds. April 9, 2010 Drew Butera Makes Major League Debut Catcher Drew Butera makes his major league debut in Chicago, making he and his dad Sal (1980-’82 and ‘87) the first father-son duo in Twins history. Drew goes 0-for-3 with three strikeouts and a sac bunt in a 4-3, 11-inning Twins win over the White Sox. April 10, 1982 Twins Deal Smalley, Acquire Gagne The Twins trade Roy Smalley and 1975 Alexandria High School graduate Gary Serum to the New York Yankees for Ron Davis, Paul Boris, and Greg Gagne. Ron Davis, who had been an All-Star in ‘81, was one of the game’s first setup men, combining for a potent 1-2 punch with Hall of Famer Goose Gossage. Davis still holds the Yankees record for consecutive strikeouts in a single game with eight on May 4, 1981. Doug Fister established a new American League record for consecutive strikeouts in a game with nine on September 27, 2012. The major league record belongs to Tom Seaver who K’ed 10 in a row on April 22, 1970. Ron Davis was never in All-Star form in Minnesota, however. He tied a single season record with 14 blown saves in 1984, a dubious feat which no pitcher has matched since. Four pitchers had blown 14 saves in a season prior to Davis, including Hall of Famers Rollie Fingers (1976) and Bruce Sutter (‘78). Incidentally, Goose Gossage (112), Rollie Fingers (109) and Jeff Reardon (106) have the most blown saves in major league history. Gossage’s six seasons with 10 or more blown saves are most all-time, followed by Fingers and Reardon, each with four seasons of 10 or more. The Twins sent Ron Davis to the Chicago Cubs in August of ‘86 as part of a trade that brought George Frazier to the Twins. Frazier pitched in 54 games for the ‘87 Twins. Davis never saved another game, pitching sparingly in relief for the Cubs, Dodgers and Giants through the end of the ‘88 season. Though Davis was the object of the Twins’ desire at the time, Greg Gagne would obviously emerge as the key figure in this transaction. He didn’t make his major league debut until 1983, and even then only played 12 games between the ‘83 and ‘84 seasons before becoming a fixture at shortstop for the Twins from 1985 to 1992. He was a key component of the Twins’ ‘87 and ‘91 World Series Championships. The Twins had originally acquired Roy Smalley in the 1976 trade that sent Bert Blyleven and Danny Thompson to the Texas Rangers. In July of ‘84, the Yankees offloaded Smalley to the White Sox in exchange for players to be named later, one of whom wound up being Doug Drabek, who, after just one season, the Yankees in turn shipped off to Pittsburgh where he would win the 1990 Cy Young Award. The White Sox traded Smalley back to Minnesota in 1985. Smalley retired after the Twins’ 1987 World Series Championship season. Gary Serum was born in Fargo, and grew up in Alexandria, Minnesota. He played two and a half major league seasons with the Twins from 1977 to ‘79. Despite posting a 9-1 record between Double-A and Triple-A in the Yankees organization, 1982 was Serum’s final professional season. April 11 Birthdate of Bob Casey The inimitable Bob Casey was born in Minneapolis on this date in 1925. Casey was the Twins’ Public Address Announcer for 44 years, from 1961 until his death in 2005. He also worked for the Minneapolis Millers, the Lakers and the Vikings. The decorated World War II veteran is buried at Fort Snelling National Cemetery. Tony Oliva, Kent Hrbek, Dan Gladden, Jack Morris, John Gordon, and Dave St. Peter served as pallbearers at his funeral. April 11, 1961 Twins First Regular Season Game The Twins played their first ever regular season game at Yankee Stadium. Harmon Killebrew collected the first hit in Twins history leading off the fourth with a single to center. Twins pitcher Pedro Ramos and Whitey Ford were locked in a scoreless duel until Bob Allison led off the seventh with a home run, the first in Twins history. The Twins went on to win their first game 6-0 as Ramos pitched a complete game, 3-hit shutout versus the eventual 1961 World Series Champs. Ramos held Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris to a combined 1-for-11, with Berra singling in the first. Ramos did not allow a baserunner after the fifth inning. Roger Maris would establish a new single season home run record with 61 that year. The Twins would go on to a 5-1 record before playing their first home game in front of a crowd already deep in the throes of pennant fever. They would lose their first game in Bloomington, however, 3-5 to the new Senators, and finish their inaugural season 70-90, 7th place in the America League. April 12, 1926 Cubs Hero Walt Moryn Born in St. Paul It’s the birthdate of 1944 St. Paul Harding High School graduate Walt Moryn, born 91 years ago. He played parts of eight major league seasons from 1954-’61 with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Cubs, Cardinals, and Pirates. He played 11 regular season games for the 1955 World Series Champion Dodgers, and represented the Cubs in the 1958 All-Star Game (on the bench). Cubs fans’ endearing memory of Moryn is of him making a dramatic shoestring catch for the final out of Don Cardwell’s no-hitter on May 15, 1960. Moryn passed away on July 21, 1996 in Winfield, Illinois. He was 70 years old. April 12, 2005 Twins Win on Shannon Stewart Walk-Off The Twins beat the Tigers 5-4 on a Shannon Stewart walk-off ground rule double off of Troy Percival. Percival had not allowed an earned run versus the Twins in over 40 innings going back to 1995. Torii Hunter drove in Jason Bartlett to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth. April 12, 2010 First Regular Season Game at Target Field The Twins beat the Red Sox 5-2 in the first regular season game played at Target Field. Carl Pavano earned the win for the Twins. Jon Lester, the losing pitcher, walked Denard Span to lead off the bottom of the first. Orlando Hudson then collected the Twins’ first hit at the new ballpark. After Mauer and Morneau made the first two outs, Michael Cuddyer collected the new stadium’s first RBI, driving in Span on a single to left. Jason Kubel then drove in Hudson, giving the Twins a 2-0 lead in the first. Mauer hit an RBI double in the second, and an RBI single in the fourth. Jason Kubel hit Target Field’s first regular season home run leading off the seventh. Jon Rauch retired Kevin Youkilis, David Ortiz and Adrian Beltre in order for the save. April 13, 1962 Home Opener Snowed Out In just the second year of major league baseball in Minnesota the Twins’ home opener vs. the Los Angeles Angels is cancelled due to six inches of snow. April 14, 1927 Winona’s Wera Makes MLB Debut 25-year-old Winona, Minnesota native Julie Wera makes his major league debut for New York at Yankee Stadium, pinch-hitting for Hall of Famer Waite Hoyt against Hall of Famer Lefty Grove. He grounded out. Wera played 38 games at third base for the vaunted ‘27 Yankees. He hit his one and only big league homer during a doubleheader at Yankee Stadium on July 4, 1927 in front of a then-record crowd of 74,000. Wera did not play in the 1927 World Series in which the Yankees swept the Pirates. He did, however, receive the same $5,782 portion of the winners’ purse as the rest of his teammates, which included Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth. Nice bonus, considering that Wera’s ‘27 salary was reported to be $2,400. April 14, 1983 Snow Collapses the Dome The largest April snowstorm in Minneapolis’s history forces the postponement of a game versus the California Angels. The decision to postpone the game was made the night before out of concern that the Angels would not be able to arrive in Minnesota in time. Travel concerns were a moot point, however, as damage from the storm caused the Metrodome roof to collapse about twelve hours after the decision to postpone. The spring storm dumped over 13 inches of snow on the Twin Cities. April 14, 2016 Worst Start in Twins History The Twins are swept by the White Sox in their home-opening series, falling to 0-9 to start the season, the worst start in franchise’s 116-year history. It is the worst start by any major league team in 13 years, going back to the epicly awful ‘03 Tigers who finished 43-119. The Braves would also fall to 0-9 later that day, and finish the season 68-93. The Twins, meanwhile, would finish 59-103, the worst record in Minnesota Twins history. It was remarkably not the worst season in franchise history, however. The 1904 Washington Senators finished 38-113 (.252 winning %). 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 3,000 at the Dome 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 scored six runs in the bottom of the eighth before Eddie Guardado earned the save, retiring Ripken for the final out of the game. On this night, Ripken was 2-for-3 when he came up in the seventh in a tie game with two out and Albert Belle on third. Hector Carrasco was brought in from the bullpen 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. Then, on the second pitch of the at-bat, Ripken stroked a line-drive single to center, becoming the seventh player in major league history to collect both 400 home runs and 3,000 hits. Former Twin Mike Trombley came on in the bottom of the 9th to earn the save for Baltimore. Noteworthy in retrospect is the fact that Midre Cummings pinch-hit for the number nine batter, Torii Hunter. Ripken was greeted at first after his 3,000th hit by base coach Eddie Murray, who had himself collected his 3,000th hit at the Metrodome in 1995 off of Mike Trombley as a member of the Cleveland ballclub. The following season, while playing for Baltimore, 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. St. Paul Central High School graduate and Golden Gophers legend Dave Winfield also collected his 3,000th hit at the Metrodome in 1993. 29 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 8 of First 10 Hosting the White Sox, Eric Milton gets off to a hot start, striking out the side including Frank Thomas. Milton goes on to strike out eight of the first 10 batters he faces. He allows only two runs over seven innings, those coming on a two-run 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. Keep in touch with @@TwinsAlmanac on Twitter, and on Facebook.
  10. In a recent MNSPN podcast, Roy Smalley talked a little about a time in his career when he batted cleanup. He was a team player, so he was happy to do what the team wanted, but he was never comfortable there, and he admitted it was partly because he was kind of embarrassed to be batting there. He knew what a cleanup hitter was, and he was no cleanup hitter. It feels like we saw something similar last year when on-base machine Joe Mauer batted leadoff and promptly went right into the tank. It’s easy to say “Don’t change your approach” but these guys have a lifetime of expectations baked into their brains. Finding someone’s comfort zone is worth something. (By the way, I just looked up Smalley’s career OPS as a cleanup hitter. It was .824, 84 points higher than his career OPS. So, as usual, I have no point.) Where would Buxton hit instead? Well, today Buxton hit third in the lineup - and that’s the third time in the last four games that he has batted there. Molitor is clearly playing with the idea. Stay tuned. One of the other places that Buxton has batted a couple of times lately is second, but today it was Jorge Polanco in that spot versus southpaw Chris Sale. Polanco is a switch-hitter, and he seems to be a true switch hitter, without a really dominant side. I wondered if he might be a fit batting second from one side or the other. It turns out, for the last two years, he has hit for a higher average and higher OPS right-handed. However, he seems to have a better eye at the plate right-handed. For instance, last year hitting right-handed he had 27 strikeouts and 14 walks (about a 2:1 ratio). Left-handed, it was much worse: 19/3. But his batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS were all higher hitting left-handed. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ True to form, he got a hit versus the left-hander Sale, and a walk against the right-handed Joe Kelly. But don’t get too accustomed to seeing Polanco there or at least not against southpaws. After the game, Molitor suggested this lineup was a little different than might be the case versus left-handed pitching in the regular season. In particular, he mentioned Robbie Grossman, who with his career .347 OBP, would be a pretty good fit in that second spot. With both Kepler and Rosario hitting left-handed, one could imagine a split platoon, where Grossman replaces one or the other. And versus right-handers? We saw Kepler there the other night. Before that, over the last two weeks, the other regulars that have played there are Polanco (two weeks ago vs a right-hander), Buxton and Brian Dozier. Dozier would be a great fit there if Buxton bats third, but…. The smart money is riding on Brian Dozier to hit leadoff. He clearly feels most comfortable there, to the point where we hear about him lobbying for the spot. Indeed, he hit really well there last year, with a .917 OPS. He may just feel comfortable there. For those of you howling, I agree; putting their 40+ home run guy at leadoff makes no logical sense. On the other hand, there are worse hells than having one of your best hitters get most of your team’s at-bats. Of course, the other player who would be great hitting second is Joe Mauer. He hasn’t played as often with Dozier and Buxton, so it’s not totally clear where Molitor sees him fitting. The last four times he has played with them, he led off twice and hit third and fifth (versus a left-hander) today. Miguel Sano has pretty regularly hit out of the cleanup spot this spring, but in two game he played last week, Molitor tried batting him fifth. And with ByungHo Park likely making the roster, the Twins need to figure out how they want to space their dual slugging right-handed hitters. Versus right-handers, one could break them up with Rosario or Kepler, both of whom have been anemic against left-handed pitching but effective against right-handed pitching. Unfortunately, neither has done a lot in camp this spring. Or, I suppose one could look at left-handed hitting catcher Jason Castro, who has veteranness (veterenacity? veterantment?) on his side. Plus his career OPS against right-handers virtually matches that of Rosario. Monday we’ll likely see a number of backups in the lineup, but Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday expect the team to be ramping up for the regular season. We’ll see if Molitor settles on the right mix. You’re welcome to take your shot below.
  11. I’ve got good news for the batting order obsessed: it’s finally your time. With more regulars playing more games this week, it’s time to start paying attention to the Twins lineup. Molitor is clearly trying to find the right mix, and Friday he hinted that the batting order could look quite a bit different against right-handed and left-handed pitching. The only thing he has committed to so far is that Byron Buxton will not hit leadoff. Sabremetric types likely concur, given Buxton’s .274 OBP in the majors so far. But I get the sense that Moltor’s decision is more about catering to Buxton’s mindset. Buxton has been at his best when he is aggressive, and the traditional leadoff role expects patience.In a recent MNSPN podcast, Roy Smalley talked a little about a time in his career when he batted cleanup. He was a team player, so he was happy to do what the team wanted, but he was never comfortable there, and he admitted it was partly because he was kind of embarrassed to be batting there. He knew what a cleanup hitter was, and he was no cleanup hitter. It feels like we saw something similar last year when on-base machine Joe Mauer batted leadoff and promptly went right into the tank. It’s easy to say “Don’t change your approach” but these guys have a lifetime of expectations baked into their brains. Finding someone’s comfort zone is worth something. (By the way, I just looked up Smalley’s career OPS as a cleanup hitter. It was .824, 84 points higher than his career OPS. So, as usual, I have no point.) Where would Buxton hit instead? Well, today Buxton hit third in the lineup - and that’s the third time in the last four games that he has batted there. Molitor is clearly playing with the idea. Stay tuned. One of the other places that Buxton has batted a couple of times lately is second, but today it was Jorge Polanco in that spot versus southpaw Chris Sale. Polanco is a switch-hitter, and he seems to be a true switch hitter, without a really dominant side. I wondered if he might be a fit batting second from one side or the other. It turns out, for the last two years, he has hit for a higher average and higher OPS right-handed. However, he seems to have a better eye at the plate right-handed. For instance, last year hitting right-handed he had 27 strikeouts and 14 walks (about a 2:1 ratio). Left-handed, it was much worse: 19/3. But his batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS were all higher hitting left-handed. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ True to form, he got a hit versus the left-hander Sale, and a walk against the right-handed Joe Kelly. But don’t get too accustomed to seeing Polanco there or at least not against southpaws. After the game, Molitor suggested this lineup was a little different than might be the case versus left-handed pitching in the regular season. In particular, he mentioned Robbie Grossman, who with his career .347 OBP, would be a pretty good fit in that second spot. With both Kepler and Rosario hitting left-handed, one could imagine a split platoon, where Grossman replaces one or the other. And versus right-handers? We saw Kepler there the other night. Before that, over the last two weeks, the other regulars that have played there are Polanco (two weeks ago vs a right-hander), Buxton and Brian Dozier. Dozier would be a great fit there if Buxton bats third, but…. The smart money is riding on Brian Dozier to hit leadoff. He clearly feels most comfortable there, to the point where we hear about him lobbying for the spot. Indeed, he hit really well there last year, with a .917 OPS. He may just feel comfortable there. For those of you howling, I agree; putting their 40+ home run guy at leadoff makes no logical sense. On the other hand, there are worse hells than having one of your best hitters get most of your team’s at-bats. Of course, the other player who would be great hitting second is Joe Mauer. He hasn’t played as often with Dozier and Buxton, so it’s not totally clear where Molitor sees him fitting. The last four times he has played with them, he led off twice and hit third and fifth (versus a left-hander) today. Miguel Sano has pretty regularly hit out of the cleanup spot this spring, but in two game he played last week, Molitor tried batting him fifth. And with ByungHo Park likely making the roster, the Twins need to figure out how they want to space their dual slugging right-handed hitters. Versus right-handers, one could break them up with Rosario or Kepler, both of whom have been anemic against left-handed pitching but effective against right-handed pitching. Unfortunately, neither has done a lot in camp this spring. Or, I suppose one could look at left-handed hitting catcher Jason Castro, who has veteranness (veterenacity? veterantment?) on his side. Plus his career OPS against right-handers virtually matches that of Rosario. Monday we’ll likely see a number of backups in the lineup, but Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday expect the team to be ramping up for the regular season. We’ll see if Molitor settles on the right mix. You’re welcome to take your shot below. Click here to view the article
  12. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/20160525_170738_zpsyytecp4e.jpg May 26, 2011 Twins Pay Final Respects to Harmon Killebrew On an off day, the Twins and about 4,000 of their fans paid their final respects to Harmon Killebrew, who had passed away on May 17, with a beautiful memorial service on the infield at Target Field. In attendance was Commissioner Bud Selig, Hall of Famers Hank Aaron, Rod Carew, Paul Molitor and Bert Blyleven, as well as Tony Oliva and an All-Star lineup of Twins old and new. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/20160525_170841_zpsxzzdwuop.jpg May 27, 1961 First 5-Hit Game in Twins History Twins leadoff hitter, Zoilo Versalles, went 5-for-5 with 2 doubles and 2 runs scored at Griffith Stadium in Washington, DC. It was the first 5-hit game in Twins history. The Twins jumped out to a 1-0 lead as Harmon Killebrew drove in Versalles in the top of the first. But Twins starting pitcher, Ed Palmquist, was only able to record one out, giving up 4 runs before being relieved by Winona, MN-native, Paul Giel, who gave up one more, giving the Senators a 5-1 lead after the first inning. They went on to win 14-4. May 28, 1986 Five Twins Pitch in Eighth Inning Five Twins pitched in the eighth inning versus the Blue Jays at the Metrodome, establishing a team record for pitchers used in a single inning. Gary Gaetti had tied the game at 6-6 in the bottom of the seventh. Toronto slugger, George Bell, however, led-off the eighth with a homer off of Twins starter, Bert Blyleven. After Blyleven gave up a single to the next batter, the Twins went to the bullpen. The Blue Jays just kept hitting, however, scoring seven more off of Keith Atherton, Juan Agosto, Ron Davis and Roy Lee Jackson for an 8-run eighth inning. Tom Brunansky hit a 2-run HR in the ninth, but Toronto held on to win 14-8. May 28, 2011 Twins Combine For One-Hit Shutout In his second start and fourth appearance of the season, Anthony Swarzak held the Angels hitless for 7 1/3 innings at Target Field and allowed just one hit and two walks over eight innings before giving way to the bullpen. Meanwhile, the Angels' Jered Weaver pitched a two-hit shutout through nine innings. Matt Capps and Alex Burnett held the Angels hitless in the ninth and tenth. In the bottom of the tenth, Justin Morneau hit a one-hit single off of Angels reliever Hisanori Takahashi. Morneau was replaced by pinch-runner Jason Repko while Takahashi was relieved by Kevin Jepsen, who allowed singles to Michael Cuddyer and Delmon Young, and, after just three pitches, the Twins had the bases loaded for Danny Valencia. Valencia delivered a walk-off single to right, driving in Jason Repko. Both teams had combined for just 3 total hits prior to the Twins' 4-hit bottom of the tenth. Prior to the bottom of the tenth, Denard Span was the only Twins runner to reach second, doing so in the sixth inning. Span was also picked off twice in the inning. He reached on an infield single, and was then picked up off first, but advanced to second on an error. Five pitches later Weaver picked him off of second for the final out of the inning. May 29, 1982 Sal Butera Catches Four Stealing Sal Butera threw out a Twins record four baserunners in a 6-4 loss to the Yankees at home at the Metrodome. Twins starting pitcher Terry Felton, who retired with an 0-16 Major League record, gave up singles to Bobby Murcer and former-Twin, Graig Nettles, to open the second inning. The Yankees’ Roy Smalley struck out with the runners moving. Sal Butera’s throw to Gary Gaetti at third beat Murcer so badly that he retreated back toward second, which was occupied by Nettles who backtracked toward first. Gaetti threw to Kent Hrbek at first who tagged Nettles out. When Murcer decided to try taking third again, Hrbek threw to the pitcher, Felton, who was covering the bag, completing a strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out triple play. Butera was credited with having caught both runners stealing. Butera had thrown out Ken Griffey as part of a strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out double play to end the first inning. Then, with Griffey batting in the third, Butera threw out Willie Randolph trying to steal second for the third out of the inning. All three Yankees pitchers that day went on to have brief careers with the Twins. Starting pitcher, Tommy John, worked as a Twins broadcaster from 1994-’96. George Frazier pitched for the 1987 world championship team. And Shane Rawley, who was an ‘86 All-Star with the Phillies, pitched for the Twins in 1989. All three threw to former Twins catcher, Butch Wynegar, who had been traded to the Yankees a little more than two weeks earlier. Twins rookie, Kent Hrbek, went 3-for-4 with a triple. It was already his third triple of the season. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/20160525_170503_zpsmlozhwhq.jpg May 30, 1980 Landreaux Hits in Twins Record 31 Straight Games Tied 2-2 versus Baltimore in the seventh at home in Bloomington, Ken Landreaux hit a one-out double to extend his hitting streak to 31 games. Landreaux would be stranded on third and the Twins went on to lose in ten innings. Baltimore’s Scott McGregor held Landreaux hitless the following day, snapping his Twins-record hitting streak. McGregor would go on to win 20 games in 1980 and be named to the All-Star team the following season. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/20160525_170628_zps2lfjvoyq.jpg May 30, 1986 Roy Smalley Homers From Both Sides of Plate Roy Smalley became the first Twin to homer from each side of the plate in the same game in a 13-5 win versus the Red Sox at home in the Dome. He hit a leadoff home run batting left-handed in the bottom of the third, and a 3-run home run batting right-handed in the seventh, driving in Greg Gagne and Kirby Puckett. All nine Twins in the starting lineup plus pinch-hitter Mickey Hatcher had at least one hit in the game. Starting pitcher, Frank Viola, gave up 5 runs on 10 hits in just 3 ⅔ innings, but Keith Atherton, acquired just nine days earlier, pitches 5 ⅓ scoreless innings in relief. Two Twins have homered from each side of the plate in the same game since Smalley did it. Chili Davis did it on 10/2/1992, and Ryan Doumit on 7/22/2012. Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher each homered from both sides of the plate in the same game a Major League record fourteen times. Mickey Mantle did so ten times. The Padres’ Ken Caminiti homered from each side of the plate a record four times during his Most Valuable Player season of 1996. Three players have homered from each side of the plate in the same inning: Cleveland’s Carlos Baerga in 1993, the Cubs’ Mark Bellhorn in 2002, and the Angels’ Kendrys Morales in 2012. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/20160525_171008_zps5qqttr2m.jpg May 31, 1976 Bert Blyleven Gives Twins Fans the Middle Finger With contract negotiations at a standstill and trade rumors swirling, Bert Blyleven walked off the mound after the top of the ninth trailing the Angels 3-1. There were only 8,379 fans at Metropolitan Stadium that day, some of whom were giving the pitcher grief, singing “bye-bye Bertie.” Before he got to the dugout, Blyleven, visibly angry, looked to the stands and gave the hecklers the middle finger. The next day he was traded with Danny Thompson to the Texas Rangers for four players, including Roy Smalley. Thompson, who had been diagnosed with leukemia prior to the 1973 season, died on December 10, 1976 at age 29. Keep in touch with the Twins Almanac by following @TwinsAlmanac on Twitter.
  13. May 7, 1965 Twins Commit Seven Errors The Twins committed 7 errors in a 13-5 loss to the White Sox at home. Shortstop Zoilo Versalles and third baseman Rich Rollins each committed two errors, while Harmon Killebrew, Earl Battey and St. Paul-native, Jerry Kindall, added one each. Every infielder plus the catcher committed an error. Despite the 7 errors, Twins pitching still gave up 10 earned runs. Nimrod, MN-native, Dick Stigman, started the game for the Twins and lasted just 3 ⅔ innings, allowing 4 runs (all earned) on 5 hits. May 7, 1978 Roy Smalley Walks Team-Record 5 Times Roy Smalley set a team single game record when he walked 5 times in a 15-9 Twins win in Baltimore. Smalley also hit a double in his sixth at-bat, driving in left fielder, Willie Norwood. Smalley walked in each of the first three innings, the first two vs. 1990 Hall of Fame inductee, Jim Palmer, who only lasted 1 ⅔ innings, allowing 6 runs on 3 hits and 5 walks. Willie Norwood stole second during each of Smalley’s first three at-bats, which eventually ended in walks anyway. The Twins scored 9 of their 15 runs in the first three innings. Starting for the Twins was Alexandria (MN) High School alumnus, Gary Serum, who only lasted 4 ⅓ innings, allowing 5 runs on 8 hits, but did not walk a batter. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/20160430_104832_zpsefqvhtjl.jpg May 7, 1989 Dan Gladden Makes Second Pitching Appearance Dan Gladden made his second big league pitching appearance in a 12-1 loss in Cleveland. Gladden allowed only 1 run on 2 hits and a walk. Not bad considering that Cleveland had scored 11 runs over seven innings against Minnesota’s full-time professional pitchers. May 7, 2000 Tom Kelly Wins 1,000th Game Tom Kelly became the 46th manager in Major League history to win 1,000 games as Minnesota beat Detroit 4-0 at the Metrodome. Joe Mays, who entered the game with an 0-4 record, pitched a complete game, 5-hit shutout for the Twins. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/20160430_103740_zpsnc7c6kkk.jpg May 7, 2008 Carlos Gomez Hits for the Cycle Leadoff hitter Carlos Gomez hit for the “natural cycle” in reverse in a 13-1 Twins win versus the White Sox in Chicago. Gomez led off the game with a home run, and then hit a triple, double and single, in that order. Gomez had 3 RBI, 2 runs scored and also struck out twice. Nick Punto hit the first of his two home runs of the season. Livan Hernandez pitched the complete game for the Twins, improving to 5-1 Keep in touch by like the Twins Almanac on Facebook, and by following @TwinsAlmanac on Twitter.
  14. April 10, 1982 The Twins traded Roy Smalley and St. Cloud State alumnus, Gary Serum, to the New York Yankees for Ron Davis, Greg Gagne and Paul Boris. Ron Davis, who had been an All-Star in ‘81, was one of the game’s first setup men, combining for a potent 1-2 punch with Hall of Famer, Goose Gossage. Davis still holds the Yankees record for consecutive strikeouts in a single game with 8 on May 4, 1981. Doug Fister established a new American League record for consecutive strikeouts in a game with 9 on September 27th, 2012. The Major League record belongs to Tom Seaver, who K’ed 10 in a row on April 22nd, 1970. Ron Davis was never in all-star form in Minnesota, however. He tied a single season record with 14 blown saves in 1984, a dubious feat which no pitcher has matched since. Four pitchers had blown 14 saves in a season prior to Davis, including Hall of Famers Rollie Fingers (1976) and Bruce Sutter (‘78). Incidentally, Goose Gossage (112), Rollie Fingers (109) and Jeff Reardon (106) have the most blown saves in major league history. Gossage’s six seasons with 10 or more blown saves are most all-time, followed by Fingers and Reardon, each with four seasons of 10 or more. Ron Davis was sent to the Chicago Cubs in August of ‘86 as part of a trade that brought George Frazier to the Twins. Frazier pitched in 54 games for the ‘87 Twins. Davis never saved another game, pitching sparingly in relief for the Cubs, Dodgers and Giants through the end of the ‘88 season. Though Davis was the object of the Twins’ desire at the time, Greg Gagne would obviously emerge as the key figure in this transaction. He didn’t make his major league debut until 1983 and even then only played 12 games between the ‘83 and ‘84 seasons before becoming a fixture at shortstop for the Twins from 1985 to 1992. He was a key component of the Twins’ ‘87 and ‘91 World Series championships. The Twins had originally acquired Roy Smalley in the 1976 trade that sent Bert Blyleven and Danny Thompson to the Texas Rangers. In July of ‘84, the Yankees offloaded Smalley to the White Sox in exchange for players to be named later, one of whom wound up being Doug Drabek, who, after just one season, the Yankees in turn shipped off to Pittsburgh where he would win the 1990 Cy Young Award. The White Sox traded Smalley back to Minnesota in 1985. Smalley retired after the Twins’ 1987 World Series championship season. Gary Serum was born in Fargo, went to high school in Alexandria, MN and pitched at Minnesota State Moorhead and St. Cloud State before being signed as an amateur free agent by the Twins in 1975. He played two and a half major league seasons with the Twins from ‘77 to ‘79. Despite posting a 9-1 record between AA and AAA in the Yankees organization, 1982 was Serum’s final professional season. April 11th It’s the birthday of the inimitable Bob Casey (1925-2005), Twins public address announcer for 44 years. Casey was the only PA announcer in Twins history until his death in 2005. Casey also worked for the Minneapolis Millers, the Lakers and the Vikings. April 11, 1961 The Twins played their first ever regular season game at Yankee Stadium. Harmon Killebrew collected the first hit in Twins history, leading off the 4th with a single to center. Twins pitcher Pedro Ramos and Whitey Ford were locked in a scoreless duel until Bob Allison led off the 7th with a home run, the first in Twins history. The Twins went on to win their first game 6-0 as Ramos pitched a complete game, 3-hit shutout versus the eventual 1961 World Series champs. Ramos held Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris to a combined 1-for-11, with Berra singling in the 1st. Ramos did not allow a base-runner after the 5th inning. Roger Maris would establish a new single season home run record with 61 that year. The Twins would go on to a 5-1 record before playing their first home game in front of a crowd already deep in the throes of pennant fever. They would lose their first game in Bloomington, however, 3-5 to the new Senators, and finish their inaugural season 70-90, good for 7th place in the America League. April 12, 2005 The Twins beat the Tigers 5-4 on a Shannon Stewart walk-off ground rule double off Troy Percival, who had not allowed an earned run versus the Twins in over 40 innings going back to 1995. Torii Hunter drove in Jason Bartlett to tie the game in the bottom of the 8th. April 12, 2010 The Twins beat the Red Sox 5-2 in the first regular season game played at Target Field. Carl Pavano earned the win for the Twins. Jon Lester, the losing pitcher, walked Denard Span to lead off the bottom of the 1st. Orlando Hudson then collected the Twins’ first hit at Target Field. After Mauer and Morneau made the first two outs, Michael Cuddyer collected the new stadium’s first RBI, driving in Span on a single to left. Jason Kubel then drove in Hudson, giving the Twins a 2-0 lead in the 1st. Mauer hit an RBI double in the 2nd, and an RBI single in the 4th. Jason Kubel hit Target Field’s first regular season home run leading off the 7th. Jon Rauch retired Kevin Youkilis, David Ortiz and Adrian Beltre in order for the save. April 13, 1962 In just the second year of major league baseball in Minnesota, the scheduled home opener versus the Los Angeles Angels was cancelled due to six inches of snow. April 14, 1983 The largest April snowstorm in Minneapolis’s history forced the postponement of a game versus the California Angels. The decision to postpone the game was made the night before out of concern that the Angels would not be able to arrive in Minnesota in time. Travel concerns were a moot point, however, as damage from the storm caused the Metrodome roof to collapse about twelve hours after the decision to postpone. The spring storm dumped over 13 inches of snow on the Twin Cities. April 15, 2000 Cal Ripken, jr. became 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 1 hit the night before in a wild 10-9 Twins win. Trailing 4-9, the Twins scored 6 runs in the bottom of the 8th before Eddie Guardado earned the save, retiring Ripken for the final out of the game. On this night, Ripken was 2-for-3 when he came up in the 7th in a tie game with 2 out and Albert Belle on third. Hector Carrasco was brought in from the bullpen 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. Then, on the second pitch of the at-bat, Ripken stroked a line drive single to center, becoming the seventh player in major league history to collect both 400 home runs and 3,000 hits. Former Twin Mike Trombley came on in the bottom of the 9th to earn the save for Baltimore. Noteworthy in retrospect is the fact that Midre Cummings pinch-hit for the number nine batter, Torii Hunter. Ripken was greeted at first after his 3,000th hit by base coach Eddie Murray, who had himself hit his 3,000th hit at the Metrodome in 1995 off of Mike Trombley as a member of the Cleveland Indians. The following season, while playing for Baltimore, 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. St. Paul Central High School graduate and Golden Gophers legend, Dave Winfield, also collected his 3,000th hit at the Metrodome in 1993. 29 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 In a home game versus the Chicago White Sox, Eric Milton struck out the side in the 1st, including Frank Thomas. Milton went on to strike out 8 of the first 10 batters he faced. He allowed only 2 runs over 7 innings, those coming on a 2-run Thomas homer in the 6th, 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 6th straight, improving to 9-2 on the season. April 16, 1961 In the top of the 1st in game 1 of a doubleheader in Baltimore, Bob Allison hit the first grand slam in Twins history. Baltimore’s Chuck Estrada, who had tied for the league lead with 18 wins the previous season and who would win 15 in 1961, walked three straight to start the game before giving up a home run to the cleanup hitter, Allison. After giving up a double to Jim Lemon, Estrada was pulled, having pitched to just five batters. Relief pitcher John Papa didn’t fare much better, walking home two more Twins runs before Dick Hall, the third pitcher used by Baltimore in the 6-run 1st, came on to get the final out. Bob Allison added a 3-run home run in the 6th, giving him 7 RBIs for the game. The Twins won 10-5. In game 2, the Twins held a 4-2 lead going into the bottom of the 9th. With 1 out and the bases loaded, Baltimore crept within 1 on an RBI groundout. Then, with 2 down, runners on second and third and future-Hall of Fame manager Whitey Herzog pinch-hitting for future-Hall of Fame knuckleballer Hoyt Wilhelm, Twins pitcher Ray Moore unleashed a wild pitch, allowing Baltimore to tie the game 4-4. In the top of the 11th, Zoilo Versalles hit a 2-run home run and Chuck Stobbs slammed the door in the bottom of the inning. 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.
  15. The Twins Almanac is back with a look at this week in Minnesota Twins history. It starts with a big trade, but there are stories of bad weather in the Met Stadium and Metrodome eras and much, much more.April 10, 1982 The Twins traded Roy Smalley and St. Cloud State alumnus, Gary Serum, to the New York Yankees for Ron Davis, Greg Gagne and Paul Boris. Ron Davis, who had been an All-Star in ‘81, was one of the game’s first setup men, combining for a potent 1-2 punch with Hall of Famer, Goose Gossage. Davis still holds the Yankees record for consecutive strikeouts in a single game with 8 on May 4, 1981. Doug Fister established a new American League record for consecutive strikeouts in a game with 9 on September 27th, 2012. The Major League record belongs to Tom Seaver, who K’ed 10 in a row on April 22nd, 1970. Ron Davis was never in all-star form in Minnesota, however. He tied a single season record with 14 blown saves in 1984, a dubious feat which no pitcher has matched since. Four pitchers had blown 14 saves in a season prior to Davis, including Hall of Famers Rollie Fingers (1976) and Bruce Sutter (‘78). Incidentally, Goose Gossage (112), Rollie Fingers (109) and Jeff Reardon (106) have the most blown saves in major league history. Gossage’s six seasons with 10 or more blown saves are most all-time, followed by Fingers and Reardon, each with four seasons of 10 or more. Ron Davis was sent to the Chicago Cubs in August of ‘86 as part of a trade that brought George Frazier to the Twins. Frazier pitched in 54 games for the ‘87 Twins. Davis never saved another game, pitching sparingly in relief for the Cubs, Dodgers and Giants through the end of the ‘88 season. Though Davis was the object of the Twins’ desire at the time, Greg Gagne would obviously emerge as the key figure in this transaction. He didn’t make his major league debut until 1983 and even then only played 12 games between the ‘83 and ‘84 seasons before becoming a fixture at shortstop for the Twins from 1985 to 1992. He was a key component of the Twins’ ‘87 and ‘91 World Series championships. The Twins had originally acquired Roy Smalley in the 1976 trade that sent Bert Blyleven and Danny Thompson to the Texas Rangers. In July of ‘84, the Yankees offloaded Smalley to the White Sox in exchange for players to be named later, one of whom wound up being Doug Drabek, who, after just one season, the Yankees in turn shipped off to Pittsburgh where he would win the 1990 Cy Young Award. The White Sox traded Smalley back to Minnesota in 1985. Smalley retired after the Twins’ 1987 World Series championship season. Gary Serum was born in Fargo, went to high school in Alexandria, MN and pitched at Minnesota State Moorhead and St. Cloud State before being signed as an amateur free agent by the Twins in 1975. He played two and a half major league seasons with the Twins from ‘77 to ‘79. Despite posting a 9-1 record between AA and AAA in the Yankees organization, 1982 was Serum’s final professional season. April 11th It’s the birthday of the inimitable Bob Casey (1925-2005), Twins public address announcer for 44 years. Casey was the only PA announcer in Twins history until his death in 2005. Casey also worked for the Minneapolis Millers, the Lakers and the Vikings. April 11, 1961 The Twins played their first ever regular season game at Yankee Stadium. Harmon Killebrew collected the first hit in Twins history, leading off the 4th with a single to center. Twins pitcher Pedro Ramos and Whitey Ford were locked in a scoreless duel until Bob Allison led off the 7th with a home run, the first in Twins history. The Twins went on to win their first game 6-0 as Ramos pitched a complete game, 3-hit shutout versus the eventual 1961 World Series champs. Ramos held Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris to a combined 1-for-11, with Berra singling in the 1st. Ramos did not allow a base-runner after the 5th inning. Roger Maris would establish a new single season home run record with 61 that year. The Twins would go on to a 5-1 record before playing their first home game in front of a crowd already deep in the throes of pennant fever. They would lose their first game in Bloomington, however, 3-5 to the new Senators, and finish their inaugural season 70-90, good for 7th place in the America League. April 12, 2005 The Twins beat the Tigers 5-4 on a Shannon Stewart walk-off ground rule double off Troy Percival, who had not allowed an earned run versus the Twins in over 40 innings going back to 1995. Torii Hunter drove in Jason Bartlett to tie the game in the bottom of the 8th. April 12, 2010 The Twins beat the Red Sox 5-2 in the first regular season game played at Target Field. Carl Pavano earned the win for the Twins. Jon Lester, the losing pitcher, walked Denard Span to lead off the bottom of the 1st. Orlando Hudson then collected the Twins’ first hit at Target Field. After Mauer and Morneau made the first two outs, Michael Cuddyer collected the new stadium’s first RBI, driving in Span on a single to left. Jason Kubel then drove in Hudson, giving the Twins a 2-0 lead in the 1st. Mauer hit an RBI double in the 2nd, and an RBI single in the 4th. Jason Kubel hit Target Field’s first regular season home run leading off the 7th. Jon Rauch retired Kevin Youkilis, David Ortiz and Adrian Beltre in order for the save. April 13, 1962 In just the second year of major league baseball in Minnesota, the scheduled home opener versus the Los Angeles Angels was cancelled due to six inches of snow. April 14, 1983 The largest April snowstorm in Minneapolis’s history forced the postponement of a game versus the California Angels. The decision to postpone the game was made the night before out of concern that the Angels would not be able to arrive in Minnesota in time. Travel concerns were a moot point, however, as damage from the storm caused the Metrodome roof to collapse about twelve hours after the decision to postpone. The spring storm dumped over 13 inches of snow on the Twin Cities. April 15, 2000 Cal Ripken, jr. became 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 1 hit the night before in a wild 10-9 Twins win. Trailing 4-9, the Twins scored 6 runs in the bottom of the 8th before Eddie Guardado earned the save, retiring Ripken for the final out of the game. On this night, Ripken was 2-for-3 when he came up in the 7th in a tie game with 2 out and Albert Belle on third. Hector Carrasco was brought in from the bullpen 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. Then, on the second pitch of the at-bat, Ripken stroked a line drive single to center, becoming the seventh player in major league history to collect both 400 home runs and 3,000 hits. Former Twin Mike Trombley came on in the bottom of the 9th to earn the save for Baltimore. Noteworthy in retrospect is the fact that Midre Cummings pinch-hit for the number nine batter, Torii Hunter. Ripken was greeted at first after his 3,000th hit by base coach Eddie Murray, who had himself hit his 3,000th hit at the Metrodome in 1995 off of Mike Trombley as a member of the Cleveland Indians. The following season, while playing for Baltimore, 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. St. Paul Central High School graduate and Golden Gophers legend, Dave Winfield, also collected his 3,000th hit at the Metrodome in 1993. 29 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 In a home game versus the Chicago White Sox, Eric Milton struck out the side in the 1st, including Frank Thomas. Milton went on to strike out 8 of the first 10 batters he faced. He allowed only 2 runs over 7 innings, those coming on a 2-run Thomas homer in the 6th, 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 6th straight, improving to 9-2 on the season. April 16, 1961 In the top of the 1st in game 1 of a doubleheader in Baltimore, Bob Allison hit the first grand slam in Twins history. Baltimore’s Chuck Estrada, who had tied for the league lead with 18 wins the previous season and who would win 15 in 1961, walked three straight to start the game before giving up a home run to the cleanup hitter, Allison. After giving up a double to Jim Lemon, Estrada was pulled, having pitched to just five batters. Relief pitcher John Papa didn’t fare much better, walking home two more Twins runs before Dick Hall, the third pitcher used by Baltimore in the 6-run 1st, came on to get the final out. Bob Allison added a 3-run home run in the 6th, giving him 7 RBIs for the game. The Twins won 10-5. In game 2, the Twins held a 4-2 lead going into the bottom of the 9th. With 1 out and the bases loaded, Baltimore crept within 1 on an RBI groundout. Then, with 2 down, runners on second and third and future-Hall of Fame manager Whitey Herzog pinch-hitting for future-Hall of Fame knuckleballer Hoyt Wilhelm, Twins pitcher Ray Moore unleashed a wild pitch, allowing Baltimore to tie the game 4-4. In the top of the 11th, Zoilo Versalles hit a 2-run home run and Chuck Stobbs slammed the door in the bottom of the inning. 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. Click here to view the article
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