The Twins Almanac for April

April 1, 1936
Birthdate of Ron Perranoski

Ron Perranoski was born in Paterson, New Jersey on this date in 1936. He led the American League in saves in 1969 and ’70 when the Twins won back-to-back AL West Championships. He received MVP votes both seasons, and received Cy Young votes in 1970, the year teammate Jim Perry won the award. 

Perranoski won two World Series rings with the Dodgers, including in 1965 when they beat the Twins in seven games.

The Twins acquired him along with John Roseboro and Bob Miller in a November 1967 trade with the Dodgers in exchange for JimMudcat” Grant and Zoilo Versalles

April 1, 1997
Meares Powers Twins to Opening Day Win

The Twins trailed the Tigers 5-3 heading into the bottom of the eighth on Opening Day before a four-run rally, capped off by a two-out, two-run homer by eight-hitter Pat Meares, driving in Terry Steinbach for the winning run in his Twins debut. 

All nine batters in the starting lineup had at least one hit, with Molitor, Lawton, Steinbach, and Meares connecting for two each. The lineup that day:

  1. Chuck Knoblauch, 2B
  2. Rich Becker, CF
  3. Paul Molitor, DH
  4. Marty Cordova, LF
  5. Matt Lawton, RF
  6. Terry Steinbach, C
  7. Scott Stahoviak, 1B
  8. Pat Meares, SS
  9. Todd Walker, 3B

Brad Radke made the Opening Day start. Three of the four relievers TK used that day were at one time closers for the Twins: Rick Aguilera (who earned the save in this game), “Everyday” Eddie Guardado, and Mike TrombleyDan Naulty also pitched in relief and was credited with the win. 

April 1, 2002
Twins Hit 5 HRs on Opening Day

After a winter during which team owner Carl Pohlad openly talked contraction, Jacque Jones homered on the second pitch of the game on Opening Day in Kansas City. Jones also hit a three-run go-ahead homer in the seventh, powering the Twins to an 8-6 win.

David OrtizBrian Buchanan, and Torii Hunter each hit solo homers for a total of five, tying the American League Opening Day record.

The Twins are the most recent of five AL teams to hit five homers on Opening Day. The Mets set the major league Opening Day record with six against the Expos in 1988. The MLB record for home runs in any game is 10, by the Blue Jays against the Orioles in 1987.

April 1, 2007
Carneal Passes Away

Legendary Twins radio broadcaster Herb Carneal passed away on this date in 2007, at age 83. He spent FORTY-FOUR years calling Twins games, originally joining Ray Scott and Halsey Hall in 1962—the Twins’ second season in Minnesota. He received the Hall of Fame’s Ford C. Frick Award in 1996. He and Jim Kaat comprised the sophomore class of the Twins Hall of Fame, inducted on July 7, 2001.

On a personal note, when I was in elementary school, I won a drawing at Hardee’s (true story) and got to spend an inning in the booth with Herb Carneal and John Gordon.

April 1, 2010

Joe Mauer appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated Kids on this date in 2010. Take a close look at that cover: “Joe Mauer is ready to lead the Minnesota Twins to the World Series.” Uff da . . .

April 1, 2018
Berríos Gets Off to Hot Start

José Berríos got off to a heckuva start in 2018, pitching a complete-game three-hit shutout in his first start of the season for a 7-0 Twins win in Baltimore. 

The Twins had the lead from the very first pitch, as Brian Dozier hit his team record 28th and final leadoff home run. (Jacque Jones has the second-most leadoff home runs in team history with 20.)

In 2019, Berríos was the Twins Opening Day starter. He responded by pitching the first 7.2 innings of the Twins’ first Opening Day shutout in 49 years (Jim Perry, 1970). Taylor Rogers earned the four-out save, striking out three.  

April 2
Happy Birthday, Tom Johnson

Happy birthday to former Twins pitcher Tom Johnson, born in St. Paul in 1951. He had a stellar season out of the Twins bullpen in 1977, earning 16 wins (all in relief) and 15 saves. Those 16 wins were ninth-most in the American League, and 15 saves were seventh-most. I wonder how many guys have finished top-10 in both wins and saves in the same season. His 71 appearances were second in the AL only to the Yankees’ Sparky Lyle. Johnson even received MVP votes.

Johnson graduated from St. Paul’s Murray High School (now a middle school) in 1969, the same year Dave Winfield graduated from St. Paul Central. Both players accepted scholarships to play for coaches Dick Siebert and Jerry Kindall at the University of Minnesota, but Johnson backed out at the last minute and signed a professional contract with the Twins.

Johnson’s MLB debut is an interesting story. It came at Met Stadium on September 10, 1974 (age 23), starting the top of the 14th in relief of 1961 St. Cloud Cathedral graduate Tom Burgmeier. The Twins had a 4-1 lead entering the ninth when White Sox catcher Brian Downing hit a three-run homer off Bill Campbell to tie it up. Each team scored in the 11th and 13th innings for a 6-6 tie going into the top of the 14th.

Johnson struck out the first batter he faced, Eddie Leon. He gave up a single to the second batter, Jorge Orta. During the next at-bat, Johnson had Orta picked off first but made a throwing error, allowing Orta to advance to second. Orta later came around to score, with the run being unearned, despite the error being on Johnson himself.

Trailing 7-6 in the bottom of the inning, Eric Soderholm reached on a two-out single, and scored the tying run on a Tony Oliva double. Johnson came back out to pitch a 1-2-3 top of the 15th.

With one out in the bottom of the inning, Goose Gossage walked Rod Carew, who stole second, and scored on a Larry Hisle walk-off single, giving Johnson the win over future Hall of Famer Goose Gossage in his major league debut.

Johnson also earned the win in his second appearance three days later (September 13), again with Carew scoring the walk-off run, this time with a home run leading off the 10th.

He pitched in both halves of a doubleheader on September 14, earning a save in Game 1. That was it for Johnson in 1974. In four major league appearances he earned two wins and a save. He pitched seven innings, giving up four hits and a walk for a 0.571 WHIP.

In 1975 and ’76, he split time between triple-A Tacoma and the Twins.

1977 was his lone standout season (as noted above).

He struggled during 18 appearances in 1978, his final major league season. Perhaps he been too much of a workhorse the previous season.

Read Jim McKernon‘s SABR BioProject essay on Johnson.

April 2
Happy Birthday, Denny Hocking

Happy birthday to Twins fan-favorite Denny Hocking, born in Southern California on this date in 1953. He played 11 seasons in a Twins uniform, from 1993 to 2003.

Fun Fact: When the Twins drafted him in the 52nd round out of El Camino College in his hometown of Torrance, CA after his freshman year in 1989, Hocking was a right-handed hitting catcher, but they told him he had a better chance of making it to the majors if he became a switch-hitting infielder. 

He had five consecutive three-hit games at single-A Visalia in 1992. (His .331 average was second-best on the Oaks that season behind Marty Cordova‘s .341.) 

Hocking had two five-hit games with the Twins:

• 5-for-6 with three doubles in Detroit on June 27, 1999
• 5-for-6 with two doubles in Oakland on May 18, 2000

The Twins retired number 7 in 2019. 

April 2, 1962
Twins Trade Ramos For Power and Stigman

It what is commonly considered the first major trade in team history, the Twins traded Pedro Ramos to Cleveland for four-time All-Star Vic Power and Nimrod, MN native and 1960 All-Star Dick Stigman on this date in 1962.

Ramos started the first regular season game in Twins history, pitching a three-hit shutout opposing Whitey Ford at Yankee Stadium on April 11, 1961. Ramos, himself, knocked Whitey out of that game, with a two-run single in the seventh. 

Ramos was involved in an interesting piece of Twins history on May 12, 1961, as he and Angels pitcher Eli Grba traded homers off each other. Grba homered off Ramos in the top of the fifth to give the Angels a 3-2 lead. Ramos returned the favor in the bottom of the inning to tie the game. He added a two-run single in the sixth, and the Twins held on to win 5-4, with the pitcher Ramos driving in the final three runs.

Minnesota native Dick Stigman went 12-5 in 40 appearances (15 starts) in his first season with the Twins.

1963 was his best season. He pitched a three-hit shutout in his second start of the season on April 18, and went on to post a 15-15 record in 33 starts. That’s just three no-decisions! He posted career-bests with a 3.25 ERA, 1.207 WHIP, 15 complete games, and 193 strikeouts, finishing third in the American League in the latter two categories. (Camilo Pascual led the league in both. Pedro Ramos, incidentally, was second in the AL with a 1.067 WHIP, and 8.237 strikeouts per nine innings with Cleveland that season.)

Vic Power won the Gold Glove at first base in each of his three seasons with the Twins, bringing his career total to seven. 

April 2, 2010
First MLB Game at Target Field

The Twins and Cardinals played an exhibition game at Target Field—the first major league game at the new ballpark—on this date in 2010. Center fielder Denard Span had himself a day, collecting the stadium’s first hit (a triple, of course), first home run, and first run scored.

Jacque Jones, attempting a comeback with the club, made a pinch-hitting appearance. Who remembers the standing ovation he received? I still get goosebumps thinking about it. 

April 3
Happy Birthday, Darrell Jackson

Happy birthday to former Twins pitcher Darrell Jackson, born in Los Angeles on this date in 1956. The Arizona State alumnus pitched nine no-hit innings in his professional debut at double-A Orlando on April 14, 1978. Manager Johnny Goryl went to the pen in the 10th, and Orlando eventually won in 12 innings. 

In Jackson’s fourth major league start on July 7th of that year he pitched a three-hit shutout for a 1-0 Twins win in Oakland. A’s pitcher Rick Langford also went all nine innings, allowing just one unearned run in the top of the fifth. Good old-fashioned pitchers’ duel. 

April 3
Happy Birthday, Ryan Doumit

Happy birthday to switch-hitting catcher Ryan Doumit, born in Moses Lake, Washington on this date in 1981. He was DH’ing on July 22, 2012 when he became the third player in Twins history to homer from both sides of the plate in a game. He also had a two-run single, knocking in four runs altogether in a 7-5 Twins win in Kansas City.

The first two Twins to homer from both sides in a game were Roy Smalley and Chili Davis. Smalley, Davis, and Doumit were all at Target Field one day in 2012 (Smalley as a broadcaster, and Davis as the A’s hitting coach) and autographed balls for each other commemorating their accomplishment. 

Kennys Vargas and Jorge Polanco have since joined the club. 

April 3, 1982
First MLB Game at the Dome

The Twins and Phillies played an exhibition game at the Metrodome, the first major league game at the new ballpark. After Pete Rose connected for the Dome’s first single, Bloomington native Kent Hrbek hit the first AND second home runs in Metrodome history, powering the Twins to a 5-0 win.

April 3, 1997
Old Man Grand Slam

40-year-old Twins DH Paul Molitor hit a grand slam off Detroit’s Willie Blair at home in the Dome on this date in 1997, driving in Todd Walker, Chuck Knoblauch, and Rich Becker.

It was the third and final grand slam of the 1974 Cretin High School graduate’s career. The second came off Minnesota’s Dave Stevens on July 5, 1994. The first came way back on April 22, 1981.

41-year-old Dave Winfield hit a grand slam at the Metrodome on April 4, 1993. I believe he is the oldest Twin to do so. (Let me know if I’m wrong.)

Atlanta’s Julio Franco became the oldest player in major league history to hit a grand slam on June 27, 2005 at age 46. Playing for the Mets, he became the oldest player to hit a home run off the Diamondbacks’s Randy Johnson on May 4, 2007 at age 48.

April 3, 2000
Radke Does Radke Stuff

Brad Radke gave up a home run to Devil Rays center fielder Gerald Williams on literally the first pitch of the 2000 season. Now, Radke was famously susceptible to the first-inning long ball, but first pitch of the season? Come on! 

Hall of Famer Fred McGriff also homered off Radke in the 7-0 Tampa Bay win at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.

April 3, 2017
Stelmaszek Throws Out First Pitch

Flanked by an assembly of Twins all-time greats, Rick Stelmaszek threw out the first pitch at the Twins home opener on this date in 2017. It was an emotional occasion, as Stelly had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer over the winter and was visibly frail. He passed away just seven months later at age 69.

NOBODY spent more seasons in a Twins uniform. Thirty-two seasons, from 1981 to 2012. In the entire history of Major League Baseball, only two men have coached more years with a single team.

April 3, 2021
Combined One-Hit Shutout

José Berríos and Milwaukee’s Corbin Burnes both had no-hitters going through six innings on this date in 2021, with 12 of Berríos’s 18 outs coming via the K. Both pitchers were perfect before exchanging hit-by-pitches in the fifth inning.

In a move that surely met with immediate grumbling on social media, Rocco Baldelli pulled Berríos after six innings with the no-hitter still on the line.

Brewers manager Craig Counsell, on the other hand, left Burnes in there, and he gave up what would be the game-winning home run to Byron Buxton with one out in the top of the seventh. (It was Buxton’s second-straight game with a homer to start the season.) 

Taylor Rogers, meanwhile, struck out the side in the bottom of the seventh. 

The Brewers finally broke up the Twins no-hit bid with a single off Tyler Duffey in the eighth. Alex Colomé got the ninth and locked down the one-hit shutout for a 2-0 Twins win. (Arráez added an RBI single in the eighth.)

Removing a starter with a no-hitter going in always controversial, but here we have a case where one got lifted for a reliever and his teammates completed the shutout, while the other stayed in the game and gave up the game-winning home run. Well played, Rocco; well played. 

April 4, 1956
Birthdate of Tommy Herr

Clubhouse cancer Tommy frickin’ Herr was born on this date in 1956. Screw that guy, am I right?

April 4, 1989
Tommy John Pitches in 26th Season

45-year-old Tommy John was the Yankees Opening Day starter at the Metrodome on this date in 1989, outdueling reigning Cy Young Award winner Frank Viola for a 4-2 Yankees win. 1989 was John’s 26th season in the majors, setting a modern record (since 1900). Not bad for a guy whose name is synonymous with injuries. 

The record didn’t last long, as Nolan Ryan pitched in his 27th season in 1993. 

Twins fans may remember Tommy John as Dick Bremer‘s broadcast partner from 1994 to 1996, succeeding 25-year major league veteran Jim Kaat and preceding 22-year veteran Bert Blyleven. Bremer worked with some pretty long-tenured pitchers. In addition to Kaat, John, and Blyleven, he partnered with 21-year MLB veteran LaTroy Hawkins, and Jack Morris, who pitched a mere 18 seasons in the majors. 

John’s son, Tommy John III, was the Gatorade Minnesota State Player of the Year in 1996 at Orono High School in Long LakeMinnesota

April 4, 1990
Twins Trade Pomeranz for Ortiz

The Twins traded future-KARE 11 anchor Mike Pomeranz to the Pirates for Junior Oritz and minor league pitcher Orlando Lind on this date in 1990.

Oritz—who wore number 0—hit .335 (57-for-170) in 71 games (47 starts) in 1990. He is perhaps best remembered at Scott Erickson‘s personal catcher during the Twins’ 1991 World Series Championship season. Of course the primary catcher on that team was Brian Harper, who Ortiz had previous been teammates with in Pittsburgh.

Fun Fact: Ortiz got his first major league hit off Jim Kaat

Mike Pomeranz never made it to the majors. Many Minnesotans will remember him as an anchor on channel 11 from 2006 to 2012. These days, he lives in San Diego and can be seen on Padres pre- and post-game broadcasts.

April 4, 2000
David Ortiz Walk-Off

The day after losing on Opening Day, the Twins trailed the Devil Rays 5-4 heading into the bottom of the ninth. Cristian Guzmán tied it up with a double to left, driving in Todd Walker, and David Ortiz connected for a two-out walk-off single for a 6-5 Twins win.

The Twins walked off the Rays again the next night after trailing 7-1 going into the eighth. In Game 4, the Twins blew a ninth-inning lead to split the series. 

April 5, 1994
Muñoz Hits Epic Blast

Pedro Muñoz hit a 473-foot bomb to center field at the Metrodome on this date in 1994. It was the longest homer ever hit to center at the Dome.

The longest homer at the Dome overall was 481 feet to right field by Milwaukee’s Ben Oglivie in 1983. Kent Hrbek crushed a Charlie Hough knuckleball 480 feet to right the following season.

As imprecise of a science as home run measurements are, they couldn’t find an extra foot or two for the hometown kid?!

Mark McGwire hit a 475-foot homer to left field in 1996. 

April 5, 1996
Molitor’s Stolen Base Streak Snapped

39-year-old DH Paul Molitor was caught attempting to swipe third in his first stolen base attempt with the Twins, snapping a streak of 36-straight successful attempts dating back to 1993.

The Twins were trailing the Orioles 2-1 in the bottom of the eighth when Molitor connected for his second double of the game (third hit overall). With one out and Roberto Kelly at the plate, Molly was nabbed attempting to swipe third. It may seem ill-advised to risk being caught stealing when you’re already in scoring position representing the tying run, but Molly had previously scored the Twins’ only run of the game on a Roberto Kelly sac fly.

Molly began his first season in Minnesota with an eight-game hitting streak, over which he went 14-for-33 (.424). 

He had 39 hits in the team’s first 25 games, ending the month of April with a .386 average. He only went 0-fer three times all month. 

He finished the season batting .341. He had 22 games with 3+ hits and SEVENTY-TWO games with 2+ hits.

April 5, 2000
Come-From-Behind Win

The Twins trailed the Devil Rays 7-1 with two outs in the bottom of the eighth before tying it up with a six-run rally. Then, in the bottom of the ninth, Matt Lawton hit a three-run walk-off homer for a 10-7 Twins win. Remarkably, nine of the last 11 Twins to come to the plate scored. The only out in the last 11 batters was a David Ortiz strikeout pinch hitting for nine-batter Torii Hunter to end the eighth. 

It was the Twins’ second-straight walk-off. They blew a ninth-inning lead the next afternoon to split the four-game series to start the season. 

April 5, 2004
Wuertz and Mauer Make MLB Debuts

1997 Austin High School graduate Michael Wuertz struck out the first two batters he faced in his major league debut, pitching a 1-2-3 sixth in a 7-4 Cubs win on Opening Day in Cincinnati.

2001 Cretin-Derham Hall graduate Joe Mauer also made his major league debut on this date in 2004, going 2-for-3 with two walks and two runs scored, including on Shannon Stewart‘s walk-off home run in the 11th inning giving the Twins a 7-4 Opening Day win over Cleveland.

Mauer also tagged out Cleveland’s Matt Lawton trying to score the go-ahead run in the top of the 10th. Jacque Jones made the throw from right field, hitting the relay man, second baseman Michael Cuddyer.

April 5, 2014
Gardenhire Wins 1,000th

Brian Dozier homeed on the second pitch of the game, leading the Twins to a 7-3 victory in Cleveland for Ron Gardenhire’s 1,000th managerial win. The milestone victory didn’t come without a few new gray hairs, however, as 2001 Stillwater grad Glen Perkins gave up two runs in the bottom of the ninth before securing the Kyle Gibson win.

April 5, 2019
Polanco Hits for Cycle

Using Eddie Rosario‘s bat, Jorge Polanco went 5-for-5, hitting for the 11th cycle in Twins history in Philadelphia on this date in 2019.

He finished a double shy of the cycle just four days later.

Fun Fact: Ehire Adrianza used Rosario’s bat to hit a big pinch-hit double when both were playing for Atlanta in the 2021 NLCS.

April 6
Happy Birthday, Bert Blyleven

It’s the birthday of two-time World Series Champion and noted flatulence enthusiast Rik Aalbert “BertBlyleven, born in Zeist, Holland in 1951. He grew up in Garden Grove, CA, and was drafted by the Twins out of high school in the third round in 1969. 

Bert recorded 3,701 strikeouts during his 22-year Hall of Fame career, which ranked third-most in MLB history at the time he retired, and is still good for fifth all-time behind Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens*, and 1987 teammate Steve Carlton. 


Bert earned both the 1,000th and 2,000th wins in Twins history—in 1972 and 1985, in between which he played for Texas, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland, and won a World Series with the Pirates in 1979. 

In 1973, Bert set teams records that will likely never be broken with 25 complete games, nine shutouts, and 325 innings pitched. His 258 strikeouts that season stood as the team record for 31 years until Johan Santana K’ed 265 in 2004. (For a little perspective, Nolan Ryan led the majors with 383 strikeouts in 1973 . . . 125 more than Bert’s longtime team record.) 

He pitched a two-hit shutout at Met Stadium in his very first start against the Twins after being traded to the Rangers prior to the 1976 season. 

He was in spring training with the Twins in 1993, attempting to come back for a third stint with the team, but was beat out for a spot in the rotation by Willie Banks and Pat Mahomes. (Mike Trombley made the team out of the bullpen.)

April 6
Happy Birthday, Joe Barbeln

Happy birthday to 1988 St. Michael-Albertville graduate Joe Barbeln. He pitched 4.1 innings of pro ball with single-A Yakima in the Dodgers organization in 1992.

Nice 21-year townball career with the St. Michael Saints. Who can share some interesting stories or fun facts about the North Star League Hall of Famer? Tell me what you know in the comments below. 

April 6, 1966
Twins Trade Stigman

The Twins traded NimrodMN native Dick Stigman to the Red Sox for Russ Nixon and Chuck Schilling on this date in 1966. 

Fun Fact: Schilling (along with teammate Carl Yastrzemski) starred for the Minneapolis Millers in 1960—the Millers final season at Met Stadium before the Twins came to town and took over. On May 7 the following year, Schilling was back at Met Stadium with the Red Sox, and hit a grand slam off Camilo Pascual for his first major league home run.

Schilling never played at Met Stadium as a member of the Twins, though. After the trade, the Twins wanted to assign him to the minors, but he opted to retire and put his college degree to use instead.

April 6, 1973
Oliva Hits First HR by DH

With Rod Carew aboard in the top of the first on Opening Day in Oakland, Tony Oliva hit the first regular season home run by a designated hitter in major league history off Catfish Hunter. Coincidentally, it was Oakland owner Charlie Finley who spearheaded the movement for the AL to adopt the DH.

Bert Blyleven pitched the first of his team record 25 complete games of the season as the Twins beat the A’s 8-3.

April 6, 1982
First Regular Season Game at Dome

St. Cloud legend Jim Eisenreich was batting leadoff and playing center field when the Twins hosted the Mariners for the first regular season game in the Metrodome on Opening Day 1982. 

Right fielder Dave Engle hit the first home run that counted* in the new ballpark in the first inning.

*Kent Hrbek hit two homers in an exhibition game against the Phillies three days earlier.

Gary Gaetti was thrown out at home trying to stretch a triple into an inside-the-park home run in his first at-bat, but then homered the old-fashioned way in each of his next two at-bats, going 4-for-4 with four RBI and two runs scored in an 11-7 Twins win.

Gaetti’s performance in his first regular season game at the Dome reminds me of his first postseason game at the Dome, when he homered in his first two at-bats off Detroit’s Doyle Alexander.

April 6, 1993
Winfield and Puckett Thrill the Home Fans

After stressing everyone in Minnesota out by testing the free-agent market the previous winter, Kirby Puckett electrified the Metrodome fans by homering on his very first swing of the 1993 season off White Sox ace Jack McDowell, who went on to win 22 games and the AL Cy Young Award that season. 

Kirby homered in three of the first four games of the season

In addition to Kirby being back, Opening Day 1993 was also the Twins debut of St. Paul native Dave Winfield (age 41). Winny hit a go-ahead home run of McDowell in the third, driving in fellow Minnesota native Kent Hrbek

The Winfield signing was exciting for Twins fans. In addition to being a local legend destined for Cooperstown, he was coming off a very good season in Toronto in which he came in fifth in AL MVP balloting and had several highlight hits in the ALCS and World Series.

Kirby Puckett finished runner-up to Dennis Eckersley for the MVP in 1993, so between him and Winfield there was certainly cause for enthusiasm in Minnesota

April 6, 2004
Offerman’s Memorable Twins Debut

José Offerman made his Twins debut on this date in 2004, entering as a pinch runner for Matthew LeCroy in the bottom of the 12th inning. (He was stranded on third.) Then, in the bottom of the 14th, he came to the plate for his first Twins at-bat and doubled, moving Jacque Jones over to third with nobody out . . . but Cleveland again escaped the jam. Offerman came up again in the 15th inning with two out and the bases loaded and hit a ground-ball single to center, bringing home Doug Mientkiewicz with the walk-off run.

Offerman had an extra-base hit in each of his first five games to start the season, tying Mientkiewicz’s team record established in 1999. Byron Buxton broke their record with extra-base hits in his first six games of the 2021 season.

April 7–13, 1962
Killebrew on Cover of TV Times

If you were wondering what was on channels 2, 4, 5, 9, and 11 the week of April 7–13, 1962, you could look it up in this issue of TV Times with Harmon KillebrewRay ScottFrank Beutel, and Halsey Hall on the cover.

April 7, 1970
Alyea Ties Team Record in Twins Debut

In his first game as a Twin, outfielder Brant Alyea tied the team record with seven RBI, powering Jim Perry to a 12-0 shutout on Opening Day in Chicago. Alyea went on to drive in 20 runs in the Twins’ first 12 games of the season. But here’s the crazy thing: 19 of those 20 RBI came in Jim Perry’s first four starts. Incidentally, Perry won the AL Cy Young Award in 1970, perhaps thanks in part to Alyea’s run support.

Heckuva start to Alyea’s Twins career. His major league career got off to a hot start, too, homering on the first MLB pitch he saw with the Senators on September 12, 1965.

Alyea equaled the team single-game RBI record again on September 7, 1970, going 3-for-4 with two home runs and driving in all seven Twins runs in a 7-6 win over the Brewers at Met Stadium. It was the beginning of a team record nine-game RBI streak for Alyea.

Glenn Adams established a new team record with eight RBI on June 26, 1977. 

Rod Carew also made Twins history that day, going 4-for-5 with a walk and a team record (since tied) five runs scored, raising his season average to .403.

Randy Bush tied Adams’ team record with eight RBI on May 20, 1989.

April 7, 1984
Morris Pitches No-Hitter

St. Paul native Jack Morris pitched a no-hitter for the Tigers in Chicago on NBC’s nationally televised Game of the Week on this date in 1984.

Some members of the Minnesota sports media, including Jeff Passolt, were actually at the game, being in town for the North Stars versus Blackhawks playoff series. “I remember it being colder than you know what,” Passolt said in 2018. “Hitters didn’t have a chance against Jack’s fireball!”

Morris did get into a jam in the fourth, walking the first three batters before inducing a P-C-1B double play from DH Greg Luzinski, playing in his final major league season. Morris then struck out Ron Kittle to end the inning. He walked six White Sox batters altogether in the 4-0 Tigers win.

Twins lefty Francisco Liriano also issued six walks in his no-hitter on a chilly 42° night in Chicago on May 3, 2011.

In addition to the no-hitter, Morris also pitched three one-hitters in his career, including against the Twins on August 21, 1980.

Perhaps even more impressive than Morris’s no-hitter was a one-hitter he threw against the Royals at Tiger Stadium on July 6, 1990, when he did not issue a walk and faced the minimum. (After surrendering a single to Kurt Stillwell in the top of the first, he promptly induced a 4-6-3 double play from George Brett and was perfect the rest of the way.)

April 7, 1986
Morris Gives Up HR on First Pitch of Season

Dwight Evans hit Jack Morris’s first pitch of the season 400 feet on Opening Day 1986.


Sidenote: Kirby Puckett homered on Morris’s very first pitch of the game on May 2, 1986, and did the same thing to Walt Terrell the next night! 

Morris’s 14 consecutive Opening Day starts (including with the 1991 World Series Champion Minnesota Twins) are the most by a pitcher in MLB history.

April 7, 1987
Hrbek Hits Walk-Off in Opener

After tying the game with his second RBI groundout in the eighth, Kent Hrbek hit a walk-off single in the tenth to give the Twins a 5-4 Opening Day win over Oakland at home in the Dome.

Kirby Puckett homered and doubled, and in the top of the 10th, he robbed Mickey Tettleton of a go-ahead home run.

April 7, 2002
Ortiz Season-Starting RBI Streak

David Ortiz homered in a 10-6 win in Toronto on this date in 2002, giving him an RBI in each of the Twins’ first six games of the season—the second-longest RBI streak to start a season in Twins history.

Tony Oliva had an RBI in each of the Twins’ first eight games to start the 1970 season.

April 7, 2011
Nishioka Breaks Leg

Twins second baseman Tsuyoshi Nishioka broke his leg attempting to turn a double play on this date in 2011.

On the Twins telecast (below), Blyleven immediately rejected any notion of Nick Swisher’s slide being dirty. “That’s the way you play the game,” Blyleven said, “That’s one thing that Nishioka should have known . . . he’s gotta try to get out of the way.”

“He was just breaking up the double play; no issues there,” Ron Gardenhire said after the game. “[Nishioka] just got caught a little flat-footed. Swisher’s a clean player. That’s just a good baseball slide, trying to break up a double play. There’s no intent there.”

April 8, 1978
Molitor’s Career Off to a Hot Start

The day after hitting an RBI-single in his major league debut, St. Paul native Paul Molitor went 3-for-6 with a three run homer, five RBI, and two runs scored in his second major league game. Guess he was Cooperstown-bound right out of the gate.

April 8, 1986
Bonus Fun Fact

This one isn’t Minnesota-related, but Will Clark homered off Nolan Ryan on his very first major league swing on this date in 1986.

April 8, 1988
Gladden Has Hot Home Opener

Gotta imagine the home opener the season after a team wins a championship would be a pretty festive environment, right? Well, in the Twins case, the left fielder led off the home half of the first inning with a home run—Dan Gladden in 1988 and Shane Mack in 1992. That’s right, the Twins’ very first at-bats back at the Metrodome after winning both the 1987 and 1991 World Series were home runs. Can you imagine the pandemonium inside the Dome?

What’s more, both Gladden and Mack went 4-for-5.

Gladden had two home runs, four RBI, and three runs scored including a straight steal of home in a 6-3 win over Toronto in the ’88 home opener. The straight steal of home came off David Wells with Kent Hrbek batting in the seventh inning. It was the first of three straight steals of home in his career.

Gladden had also gone 4-for-5 in the Twins’ previous game two days earlier at Yankee Stadium.

April 8, 1994
Puckett Collects 2,000th Hit

After striking out in his first at-bat, Twins right fielder Kirby Puckett connected for five-straight hits, including his 2,000th hit with an opposite-field single driving in Pat Meares in the bottom of the third.

Trailing 8-4 in the bottom of the eighth and Oakland closer Dennis Eckersley on the mound, Chuck Knoblauch hit a two-run double followed by a Puckett two-run single to tie the game, giving Eckersley his first blown save of the season.

After Oakland took a 10-8 lead in the top of the tenth, Puckett drove in Knoblauch with a double, but the Athletics held on for a 10-9 win. Altogether, Puckett was 5-for-6 with a double, four RBI, and a run scored in the game.

1980 New Ulm graduate and Golden Gophers all-time great Terry Steinbach homered in the game for Oakland.

April 8, 2021
Buxton Comes Into Home Opener on a Roll

Byron Buxton homered and doubled in the 2021 home opening, setting a new Twins record with an extra-base hit in six-straight games to start the season.

The previous team record for consecutive games with an extra-base hit to start the season was five by Doug Mientkiewicz in 1999 and José Offerman in 2004. (In Offerman’s case, it was his first five games in a Twins uniform.)

The MLB record for consecutive games with an extra-base hit to start the season is eight by Alex Rodriguez and Sandy Alomar Jr.

Buxton’s four home runs through the team’s first seven games were second-most behind Kirby Puckett in 1987. (It was a good year.)

April 9
Happy Birthday, Luis Arráez

Happy birthday to 2022 American League and 2023 National League Batting Champion Luis Arráez.

The legend of Luis Arráez began back in 2019, when the rookie entered for the injured Jonathan Schoop down 0-2 in the count to Edwin Diaz—who was throwing 98–100 miles per hour. Arráez fouled off four pitches and took four for balls to work an electrifying walk. (If you don’t get how a walk could be epic, look up the video and I think you’ll understand.)

April 9
Happy Birthday, Joe Brinkman

Happy 80 birthday to 1962 Holdingford graduate and 35-year AL umpire Joe Brinkman. He was the crew chief for the 1987 ALCS, and at third base for Laudner and Gaetti‘s famous pickoff of Darrell Evans.

He worked three World Series: 1978, 1986, and 1995.

He famously ejected Cleveland manager Mike Hargrove and pitcher Doc Gooden in the top of the first inning in Game 2 of the 1998 ALCS.

Playing football for St. Cloud State, he kicked the game-winning field goal for a 15-14 Huskies win over Bemidji State on October 20, 1962.

April 9, 1962
“Rocky” Johnson’s Big Opening Day

President John F. Kennedy threw out the ceremonial first pitch in front of 44,383 fans assembled in the nation’s capital for the first major league game at D.C. Stadium on this date in 1962.

Playing for the Senators, Edina-Morningside graduate BobRockyJohnson went 3-for-4, including the first home run in the new stadium’s history in a 4-1 win over the Tigers. It happened to be Johnson’s wife’s birthday, and supposedly as he left the house that day, he told her he’d hit a home run for her birthday present. In the book Minnesotans in Baseball, there is a photo of Johnson returning to the dugout after hitting his home run, with President Kennedy and Vice President Johnson standing directly behind the dugout applauding him.

Later in life, that home run ball was the most prized memento he had in the lower-level family room of his home on the east side of St. Paul.

April 9, 1995
Allison Passes Away

Bob Allison passed away on this date in 1995 from the effects of ataxia—a rare, incurable disease that affects nerve cells in the brain. He was just 60 years old.

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

April 9, 2000
Twins and Royals Go Back-to-Back-to-Back

After Corey Koskie singled to lead off the top of the sixth, Ron Coomer, Jacque Jones, and Matt LeCroy hit three consecutive home runs on a total of four pitches, extending the Twins lead to 10-0.

Coomer homered again in the seventh inning, again with Koskie on base.

Eric Milton retired the first 20 batters in order and had a two-hit shutout going into the eighth. With two out and two on in the eighth, however, TK relieved Milton and before the end of the inning the Twins bullpen had surrendered three-straight home runs to Carlos Beltran, Jermaine Dye, and Mike Sweeney.

It was the first time in MLB history that both teams hit three consecutive home runs.

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

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

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

April 9, 2010
Drew Butera Makes MLB Debut

Catcher Drew Butera made his major league debut in Chicago on this date in 2010, making him and his dad Sal the first father-son duo in Twins history.

April 10, 1968
Chance Pitches Opening Day Shutout

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

It was the second of four Opening Day shutouts in Twins history.

Pedro Ramos in 1961 (the first regular season game in Twins history)
Jim Perry in 1970 (the year he won the Cy Young)
José Berríos and Taylor Rogers in 2019

April 10, 1971
Powell Homers for First MLB Hit

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

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

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

April 10, 1978

Reigning AL and NL MVPs Rod Carew and George Foster appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated on this date in 1978.

April 10, 1980
Corbett Earns Win in MLB Debut

27-year-old rookie Doug Corbett pitched five innings of one-hit relief to earn the win in his major league debut in Oakland on Opening Day 1980. He took over in the top of the eighth and stifled A’s batters for five innings until the Twins pulled out a 9-7 win in 12 innings. According to the Baseball Reference log, Oakland never got the ball out of the infield in Corbett’s five innings of shutout relief. Everything was either a groundout or a strikeout except the one hit he allowed, which the game log shows as being a single to the pitcher. (So probably either a dribbler or a bunt.)

The rookie Corbett was one of the best pitchers in baseball in 1980, making 73 appearances and earning 23 saves with a 1.98 ERA, 1.056 WHIP, and finishing third in Rookie of the Year balloting. According to Baseball Reference, his 7.8 WPA (win probability added) led all major league players (pitchers or otherwise). His 5.7 WAR was fourth-best among American League pitchers.

April 10, 1982
Twins Deal Smalley, Acquire Gagne

The Twins traded Roy Smalley and 1975 Alexandria High School graduate Gary Serum to the Yankees for Ron Davis, Paul Boris, and Greg Gagne on this date in 1982.

Davis, who had been an All-Star in 1981, was one of the game’s first setup men, combining for a potent 1-2 punch with Hall of Famer Goose Gossage. Davis still holds the Yankees record for consecutive strikeouts in a game with eight on May 4, 1981.

As you may have heard, however, Davis was never really in All-Star form in Minnesota. He tied the MLB record with 14 blown saves in 1984, a dubious feat not matched since.

Four pitchers had blown 14 saves in a season prior to Davis, including Hall of Famers Rollie Fingers in 1976, and Bruce Sutter in 1978. Hall of Famer Goose Gossage, incidentally, holds the record with six seasons with 10+ blown saves, followed by Rollie Fingers and Jeff Reardon with four each.

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

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

Fun Fact: 1987 was Gagne’s first season wearing number 7. From 1983 to ’86 he wore number 35 (briefly) and 31. 

The Twins had originally acquired Roy Smalley in the 1976 trade that sent Bert Blyleven and Danny Thompson to the Rangers. After a year and a half in New York, the Yankees traded Smalley to the White Sox, who traded him back to the Twins prior to the 1985 season.

Smalley retired after the 1987 World Series. His final plate appearance came in Game 7 when he drew a clutch pinch-hit walk which led to the game-winning run.

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

April 10, 1992
Mack Leadoff Home Run in Home Opener

In the Twins’ first at-bat at the Metrodome since Gene Larkin‘s walk-off in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series, left fielder Shane Mack hit a leadoff home run. Heckuva homecoming, huh?

Altogether, Mack went 4-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored in the 7-1 win over the Rangers (now featuring Al Newman).

Remarkably, on Opening Day 1988, left fielder Dan Gladden also hit a leadoff home run. Folks, I think this is just an incredibly cool coincidence. Imagine the scene inside the Metrodome as the Twins come to bat in front of the home fans for the first time since winning Game 7 the previous October, and both times the left fielder leads off the game with a home run.

April 11, 1925
Birthdate of Bob Casey

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

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

April 11, 1961
First Regular Season Game in Twins History

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

Ramos and Ford were locked in a scoreless duel until Bob Allison led off the seventh with the first home run in Twins history. Ramos himself drove in Earl Battey and Reno Bertoia with a single to center later that inning, knocking Ford out of the game. Bertoia homered in the eight, driving in Battey. Killebrew added a sac fly in the ninth, driving in Zoilo Versalles to give the Twins a 6-0 Opening Day win.

They went 5-1 on the road before coming to Bloomington to play their first home game in front of a crowd already deep in the throes of pennant fever. They lost the home opener 5-3 to the new expansion Senators, and finished their inaugural season 70-90—seventh in the American League.

April 11, 1967
Carew Makes ML Debut

21-year-old second baseman Rod Carew collects two hits in his major league debut—a 6-3 loss in Baltimore. He had 150 hits on the season en route to winning the American League Rookie of the Year Award.

Tom Seaver was the National League Rookie of the Year. In a cool coincidence, Rod Carew connected for his 3,000th hit on the same day that Tom Seaver earned his 300th win—August 4, 1985. What’s more, Carew reached his milestone against the Twins (Viola), while Seaver earned the win pitching for the White Sox in New York—the city he is most-associated with as a longtime Met.

April 11, 1971
Kaat Pitches 11-Hit Shutout

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

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

April 11, 1977
Terrell Sets Double Play Record 

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

April 12, 1926
Birthdate of Walt Moryn

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

Moryn played 785 major league games over eight seasons with the Dodgers (1954–’55), Cubs (1956–1960), Cardinals (1960–’61), and Pirates (1961). His teammates included Jackie Robinson, Ernie Banks, Stan Musial, and Roberto Clemente.

He hit 101 home runs, including six off Robin Roberts. He had nine multi-home run games. He hit three on May 30, 1958, including a walk-off homer against Sandy Koufax, who entered the game in the ninth.

Moryn made his only All-Star team in 1958, but did not get into the game.

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

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

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

April 12, 1965
Home Opener Starter Airlifted

Jim Kaat, Dick Stigman, Rich Rollins, and Bill Bethea were marooned at their homes in Burnsville—the wrong side of the flooded Minnesota River—and in danger of missing the Twins home opener at Met Stadium up in Bloomington.

Kaat called up former Twins teammate (and Golden Gophers legend) Paul Giel, who was the sports director at WCCO radio, and he arranged for the station’s traffic helicopter to pick up the players from the Burnsville High School parking lot.

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

Ramos started the first regular season game in Twins history back in 1961, pitching a three-hit shutout at Yankee Stadium.

April 12, 2005
Twins Win on Stewart Walk-Off

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

April 12, 2010
First Regular Season Game at Target Field

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

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

April 12, 2018
Mauer Connects for 2,000th Hit

First baseman Joe Mauer collects his 2,000th career hit—a two-RBI grounder right up the middle (identical to his first career hit) in the seventh inning of a 4-0 victory over the White Sox at Target Field. Mauer also lined an RBI-single to right-center in the third inning.

April 13, 1858
Birthdate of Bill Barnes

The first major leaguer born in Minnesota was born in Shakopee on this date in 1858. Centerfielder Bill Barnes, along with teammates Joe Werrick and Lou Galvin, became the first Minnesota natives to play major league baseball when St. Paul joined the Union Association as a replacement team for the final nine games of the 1884 season. Even though the Union Association only existed for one season, it is officially recognized by MLB as a “major league.” 

St. Paul played all nine of their Union Association games on the road, so even though Minnesota technically had a major league baseball team in 1884, no major league games were actually played on Minnesota soil.  

April 13, 1945
Minnesotan Major Leaguer Heroic in WWII

Minneapolis native Don Wheeler made it to the majors with the White Sox in 1949, but perhaps his most significant achievement occurred on this date in 1945, when, as an infantry sergeant, he demonstrated incredible heroism in the vicinity of Lowenstein, Germany. According to his Bronze Star citation, while “leading his squad forward in an advance, Sergeant Wheeler observed hostile activity on a ridge which was his objective. Aware that a frontal assault might result in severe casualties, he ordered his men to take cover while he advanced along to a vantage point from which he directed mortar fire upon the opposing forces. He then summoned his men forward and led them in an attack in which six hostile riflemen were captured and the position secured without casualty to his squad.”

Following his nine-year professional career, Wheeler remained active in Minneapolis sports. At various times he threw batting practice for the Millers, umpired Gophers games, was a penalty time keeper for the North Stars, and worked the sidelines at Vikings games. 

April 13, 1962
Home Opener Snowed Out

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

April 13, 1968
Perry Pitches Shutout, Hits Homer

Jim Perry had a heckuva game on this date in 1968, pitching a four-hit shutout and hitting a ninth-inning homer in a 6-0 Twins win at Yankee Stadium.

The only other player in Twins history to homer while pitching a shutout is Jim Kaat, who did so on July 24, 1963 and October 1, 1970.

April 13, 1985
Davis Gives Up Walk-Off Grand Slam

Trying to protect a 7-4 lead with the bases loaded and two out in the bottom of the ninth, Twins closer Ron Davis gave up a walk-off grand slam to Mariners left fielder Phil Bradley. It was the first walk-off grand slam surrendered in team history.

Davis, of course, was coming off a 1984 season in which he tied the MLB record with 14 blown saves.

In Davis’s defense, Hall of Famers Rollie Fingers (1976) and Bruce Sutter (1978) had previously blown 14 saves in a season, but nobody has done it again since Davis. 

April 13, 1987
Puckett Homers in Fourth-Straight

Kirby Puckett homered in his fourth-straight game on this date in 1987.

The team record for consecutive games with a home run is five, by Harmon Killebrew on two separate occasions in 1970, rookie Marty Cordova in 1995, Brian Dozier in 2016, and Nelson Cruz in 2019.

Cordova tied the record in just his 23rd major league game. Dozier and Cruz both hit three home runs in a single game during their five-game home run streaks. 

April 13, 1991
Winfield Has Historic Game versus Twins

Angels right fielder Dave Winfield went 5-for-6 with three home runs (in his first three at-bats), a double, six RBI, and four runs scored in a 15-9 win at the Metrodome.

Winfield was lifted for a pinch runner after collecting his fifth hit in the top of the ninth. I wonder if he received an ovation from the Metrodome fans.

Also Noteworthy: Winfield hit his 400th home run at the Metrodome in August 1991. Guess Winny knew 1991 was going to be a big season in Minnesota history, and he wanted to be part of it. 

New Angels third baseman Gary Gaetti went 4-for-6 with a double. Overall, he went 7-for-14 (.500) with five RBI in his first series as a visitor at the Metrodome. 

Winfield’s 15 total bases are the most ever in a major league game played in Minnesota (Met Stadium, the Dome, or Target Field).

Fifteen total bases is tied for the most by a player born in Minnesota with Clearbrook native Wes Westrum, who went 4-for-4 with three home runs and a triple at the Polo Grounds on June 24, 1950.

The Twins record is 14 by Kirby Puckett in Milwaukee on August 30, 1987.

April 13–15, 2018
April Snowstorm

The largest April snowstorm in Twin Cities history (14.9″) forced the postponement of the final three games of a four-game series versus the White Sox.

April 14
Happy Birthday, Mike Trombley

Happy birthday to Mike Trombley. 

His 77 appearances in 1998 are tied for seventh-most in Twins history. He led the team in ERA that season, and won the Joseph W. Haynes Award for the team’s most outstanding pitcher. 

April 14, 1915
Birthdate of Chet Wieczorek

Ten-year minor leaguer Chet Wieczorek was born in Winona on this date in 1915. 

The slugger put up some big numbers a few years. He hit .342 with 37 home runs and 111 RBI with the Duluth Dukes in 1936. 

At Portsmouth, OH in 1938, he hit .366 with 28 home runs and 130 RBI. 

After being out of pro ball in 1944 and ’45 (presumably related to WWII), he made it to Triple A in 1946.

April 14, 1927
Wera Makes MLB Debut

25-year-old Winona native Julie Wera made his major league debut at Yankee Stadium on this date in 1927, 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 didn’t get any action in the 1927 World Series, in which the Yankees swept the Pirates, but he did receive the same $5,782 share 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.

Read more about Wera here on the Almanac ⇨

April 14, 1978
Jackson Makes Successful Pro Debut

Arizona State alumnus Darrell Jackson pitched nine no-hit innings in his professional debut at double-A Orlando on this date in 1978. 

Manager Johnny Goryl went to the pen in the 10th, and Orlando eventually won in 12 innings. 

He pitched a three-hit shutout in just his fourth major league start later that summer.

April 14, 1983
Snow Collapses the Dome

The largest April snowstorm in Twin Cities history (at the time) forced the postponement of a game versus the California Angels on this date in 1983.

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.

The spring storm dumped 13.6 inches of snow on the metro. That record was eclipsed when 14.9 inches of snow forced the postponement of three games on April 13, 14, and 15, 2018.

April 14, 1991
Morris a Bust?/Gaetti Gets Revenge

New Twins pitcher Jack Morris—the highest-paid pitcher in the majors—got knocked around by the Angels on this date in 1991, giving up eight runs on 13 hits in just 5.2 innings.

New Angels third baseman Gary Gaetti had four RBI spread over three plate appearances. 

After starting the season 1-for-13 on the road in Seattle, Gaetti went 7-for-14 in his first-ever series against the Twins as the Angels took two of three at the Dome.

Meanwhile, by April 20 Morris had fallen to 0-3 and the team record was 2-9. (Things got better.)

April 14, 2016
Worst Start in Twins History

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

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

April 15–16, 1930
Fisher Gets Back to the Show

After being out of the majors for five seasons, Albany (MN) High School alumnus Showboat Fisher goes 4-for-5 with the Cardinals on Opening Day. Despite throwing out Rogers Hornsby at the plate, the Cubs still won 9-8.

Fisher connected for another four hits in the Cardinals’ second game of the season. Since at least 1908, only four players have collected four or more hits in each of his team’s first two games—Ira Flagstead (1926), Wade Boggs (1994), Dante Bichette (1998), and Emilio Bonifácio (2014).

Read more about Showboat Fisher here on the Almanac ⇨

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 Boston at Ebbets Field.

Here’s the Minnesota angle: St. Paul Central and Hamline alumnus Howie “Stretch” 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 majors until 1948. Later, he was a member of the 1951–’52 NBA Champion Minneapolis Lakers. (Bonus Fact: Vikings legend and accomplished townball pitcher Bud Grant played off the bench for the Lakers the previous two seasons, winning a championship during the 1949–’50 season.)

In an interesting coincidence, Frank M. White—the preeminent historian of Black baseball in Minnesota—played on a youth team coached by Schultz.

1944 St. Paul Harding graduate Walt Moose” Moryn was teammates with Robinson when he came up as a 28-year-old rookie in 1954. Moryn went on to play parts of eight seasons in the majors, also sharing locker rooms with the likes of Ernie Banks, Stan Musial, and Roberto Clemente.

April 15, 1970
Alyea Supports Perry (Again)

Brant Alyea was like Jim Perry’s personal run-support machine at the beginning of his Cy Young Award season. After tying the Twins record with seven RBI in support of Perry in Alyea’s Twins debut on Opening Day, he hit a grand slam in Perry’s second start of the season on this date in 1970.

Altogether, Alyea had 19 RBI in Perry’s first four starts of the season.

Read more about Alyea here on the Almanac ⇨

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 to improve to 2-0 on the season.

April 6–15, 1982
Hrbek’s Hot Start

21-year-old rookie Kent Hrbek connected for five home runs over a nine-game homestand to start his first full season in the majors.

The Bloomington native finished the year hitting .301 with 23 homers, and came in runner-up to Cal Ripken Jr. for American League Rookie of the Year.

April 15, 1998
Eisenreich’s Last Home Run

St. Cloud legend Jim Eisenreich hit his final MLB home run off Curt Schilling on this date in 1998. The Marlins were trailing the Phillies 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh when Eisenreich pinch hit for the pitcher and hit the two-run game-winner, driving in 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. Thirty-two players have collected 3,000 hits in the 151-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 32 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 K’s Eight of First 10

Hosting the White Sox, Eric Milton gets off to a hot start, striking out the side in the top of the first, 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 20th 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

With everyone wearing number 42 on a Saturday afternoon at Target Field, Ervin Santana one-hits the White Sox, 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 an 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’s John Swol.

April 16, 1960
Moryn Breaks Up No-Hit Bid

Playing for the Cubs, 1944 St. Paul Harding graduate Walt Moryn spoils Giants pitcher Sam Jones‘s no-hit bid with a two-out pinch-hit homer in the eighth. It was the only hit Jones surrendered in the 6-1 Giants win. 

It was Jones’s second start of the season. In his first start, he only allowed three hits (again with the only run coming on a solo homer), meaning he only allowed four hits and two runs over his first 18 innings of the season. 

Sam Jones Notes:

Playing for the Cubs five years earlier, Sam Jones became the first Black pitcher in MLB history to throw a no-hitter, doing so against the eventual World Series Champion Pittsburgh Pirates on May 12, 1955. 

Believe it or not, Jones played townball in Minnesota, back when teams could pay players. After getting a couple cups of coffee in the Negro American League in 1947 and ’48, Jones pitched for the Rochester Royals in 1949, no-hitting Owatonna on August 4 and Austin on September 7. 

Jones wasn’t the only great Black pitcher playing townball in Minnesota in 1949. Remarkably, that was the same season former Kansas City Monarch Hilton Smith played for Dick Reusse’s Fulda Giants. Smith, however, was on the opposite end of his career than Jones, and mostly played first base for Fulda. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001, the same class as Dave WinfieldKirby Puckett, and Bill Mazeroski. 

In addition to his brief stints in the Negro American League (officially designated a “major league” in December 2020), Jones played 12 seasons in the American and National Leagues, with a string of five truly exceptional seasons with the Cubs, Cardinals, and Giants from 1955 to ’59. He led the league in strikeouts per nine innings four-straight seasons from 1955 to ’58, and led the league in strikeouts overall (and walks) in ’55, ’56, and ’58.

In 1959, he led the NL with 21 wins, a 2.83 ERA, and four shutouts, while again leading the league in walks. (His 209 strikeouts were second to Don Drysdale’s 242.) He came in second to Chicago White Sox hurler Early Wynn in Cy Young balloting, back before there was a separate award for the AL and NL. If you want to retroactively apply WAR to the situation, Baseball Reference calculates 5.7 for Jones, and 2.8 for Wynn. (Wynn, a 300-game winner, was the Twins pitching coach from 1967 to ’69.) 

Walt Moryn Notes:

As for Walt Moryn, a month after spoiling Jones’s no-hit bid, “Moose” made a dramatic shoestring catch for the final out of Cubs pitcher Don Cardwell’s no-hitter on May 15, 1960.

Moryn played parts of eight seasons in the majors, and was teammates with the likes of Jackie Robinson, Ernie Banks, Stan Musial, and Roberto Clemente.

He had three very good seasons with the Cubs from 1956 to ’58, over which he averaged 23 home runs and a 3.2 WAR. He was an All-Star in 1958. 

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.

Fun Fact: Former Korean teammate and 2001 Duluth Denfeld graduate Ben Jukich was at the game. The former teammates used the same translator (when Jukich was in South Korea, and Park in Minnesota).

April 17, 1965
Kaat Pitches Shutout without Strikeout

Jim Kaat becomes the only pitcher in team history to throw a shutout without a single strikeout. Kitty gave up seven hits and a walk in the 3-0 Twins win over Cleveland at Met Stadium.

Allan Anderson pitched a complete game without a strikeout or walk on August 4, 1988, but gave up a solo home run in the 2-1 Twins win.

Speaking of Kaat and shutouts, he threw one in Chicago on April 11, 1971, despite giving up ELEVEN hits and a walk. (The Twins record for hits allowed in a shutout is 13 by Mudcat Grant July 15, 1964, less than a month after he was acquired from Cleveland. Grant also walked one in the game.)

And one final note on Jim Kaat shutouts: Kitty homered while pitching shutouts on July 24, 1963 and October 1, 1970. The only other Twins pitcher to do so was Jim Perry on April 13, 1968.

April 17, 1968
Best Start in Team History

The Twins were off to their best start in team history on this date in 1968, beating the Senators 13-1 at D.C. Stadium to improve to 6-0 on the season.

Harmon Killebrew homered and doubled in the game.

They finished the season 79-83, seventh place in the American League. The following season, the AL and NL split into East and West Divisions, and the Twins won the first two AL West pennants (before promptly being swept by Baltimore in the ALCS both years).

The worst start in franchise history, if you’re curious, was 0-9 in 2016. They finished the season 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 17, 1970
Johnson Homers off Kaat

1954 Edina-Morningside graduate BobRockyJohnson hits his 44th and final major league home run off the Twins’ Jim Kaat at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

Read more about Johnson here on the Almanac ⇨

April 17, 1974
Mitterwald Has Career Game (for Cubs)

In just his fifth game with the Cubs after being traded by the Twins over the offseason for fellow catcher Randy Hundley, George Mitterwald has the best game of his career, going 4-for-4 with a walk, three home runs, a double off the wall, and eight RBI in an 18-9 win over the Pirates.

Following his playing career, Mitterwald coached at the major and minor league levels. Of Minnesota interest, he managed the Orlando Twins in 1986 and ’87, and the Northern League Duluth-Superior Dukes from 1996 to ’98. Mitterwald was the skipper when Dukes pitcher Ila Borders became the first woman to win a men’s professional baseball game on July 24, 1998, pitching six scoreless innings in a 3-1 win over the Sioux Falls Canaries at Wade Stadium in Duluth. 

April 17, 1977
Carew Hits Four-Run Triple

First baseman Rod Carew caps off a seven-run second-inning rally with a two-out, four-run triple (Carew scored on a throwing error). The Twins beat the Athletics 10-2 at home in Bloomington.

April 17, 1979
Ryan Shuts Out Twins

Angels ace Nolan Ryan pitches a four-hit shutout as the Twins lose their home opener 6-0.

Ryan no-hit the Twins in Anaheim on September 28, 1974. It was his third of four no-hitters over a three-year span. He threw his record seventh no-hitter on May 1, 1991, at age 44 (18 years after his first no-hitter). 

Fun Fact: Harmon Killebrew and Rod Carew both hit pinch-hit home runs off Ryan in his final career relief appearance on July 28, 1974. (It was the second game of a doubleheader in Anaheim, which might explain Killer and Carew coming off the bench. Despite the home runs, the Twins still lost 12-9.) Ryan had pitched a complete game three days earlier, and would pitch a 10-inning complete game two days later. (This is where somebody chimes in with “back when men were men.”)

April 17, 2009
Kubel Hits Grand Slam to Complete Cycle

Down 9-4 to the Angels in the bottom of the eighth, the Twins score three on Mike Redmond and Denard Spahits. 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 retired the Angels in order in the ninth to save the 11-9 Twins win.

It was the ninth cycle 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 10th cycle in team history just over a month later, on May 22. Jorge Polanco hit for the 11th cycle in Twins history on April 5, 2019 (using Eddie Rosario‘s bat). Polanco finished a double shy of another cycle four days later. 

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 won 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.

After receiving his trophy, Mauer went 2-for-4 with two RBI in the game. Jim Thome homered. 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

St. Thomas alumnus Rip Conway was born in White Bear Lake on this date in 1896.

He made it to the majors with Boston (NL) in 1918, going 4-for-24 (.167) over 14 games as a pinch hitter and infielder.

Hey, four MLB hits may not seem like much, but it puts him in the top 100 hitters ever born in Minnesota.

April 18, 1912
Gehring Passes Away

St. Paul native and former major-league spitballer Hank Gehring was set to pitch for the Kansas City Blues in 1912, but tragically died of kidney failure (uremia) on April 18. He was just 31 years old. Though his death was strongly felt throughout the Midwest, newspaper coverage was scant on account of the Titanic having sunk in the North Atlantic just three days earlier. He was eulogized in Sporting Life, and the St. Paul Saints and Kansas City Blues held a benefit game on May 27, donating the entire Lexington Park gate proceeds to Gehring’s widow and eight-year-old daughter. The game drew the largest weekday crowd of the season.

Gehring is buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in St. Paul. Read more about him here on the Almanac ⇨

April 18, 1912
Spencer Makes Only MLB Appearance

Hack Spencer, who was born in St. Cloud and grew up in the Minneapolis area, made his one and only major-league appearance with the St. Louis Browns on this date in 1912, 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 were the New York Highlanders.

Hey, it could have been worse than just 1.2 innings … three Minnesota-born pitchers never even recorded an out in their only major-league appearances: Doc HamannFred Bruckbauer (both born in New Ulm), and Gordie Sundin. Furthermore, all three gave up at least one run, meaning they have career ERA’s of “infinity” (or undefined). 

April 18
Happy 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.

Playing for the Marlins on April 15, 1998, Eisenreich hit his final home run off former Phillies teammate Curt Schilling. It was a two-run game winner, driving in current Brewers manager Craig Counsell.

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, 1960
Pascual K’s 15 on Opening Day

Senators pitcher Camilo Pascual strikes out 15 Red Sox on Opening Day at Griffith Stadium—an Opening Day record that still stands to this day. Ted Williams—who was not one of Pascual’s strikeout victims—homered for Boston’s only run in the 10-1 Senators win.

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.

’63 was Stigman’s best season. He won 15 games, and finished third in the American League in both strikeouts (193) and complete games (15). 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 10th 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
Hall Pitches 2-Hitter in Home Opener

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
Bostock and Wynegar’s First Career Homers

Trailing 4-2 in the ninth at Yankee Stadium, Lyman Bostock and Butch Wynegar both hit their first major league home runs off Catfish Hunter for a 5-4 Twins win.

Wynegar, who turned 20 a month earlier, was the youngest player to homer in Twins history.

April 18, 1979
Carew Goes 4-for-4 Against Twins

Angels first baseman Rod Carew goes 4-for-4 with two doubles in an 11-6 win over the Twins at Metropolitan Stadium.

He had one hit each in the first and third games of the series, going 6-for-12 (.500) with two walks, three doubles, two RBI, and four runs scored as the Angels swept in Carew’s first series in the visiting dugout at Met Stadium. (The two teams met in California a week earlier.)

April 19
Happy 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 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 12th to secure the St. John’s win.

Only 2,500 people witnessed Viola and Darling lock horns in the greatest pitchers’ duel in college baseball history, but among them were legendary sportswriter Roger Angell and 91-year-old Smoky Joe Wood, who won 34 games during the 1912 regular season, and another three in the World Series.

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 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 “DiscoDan Ford.

Viola had a breakout season in 1984. He pitched a four-hit shutout in Anaheim on May 8. The 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 balloting.

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 (more about Pohlad here on the Almanac ⇨

He worked as a pitching coach in the Mets organization 2011 to 2017.

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 was 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 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 Hall of Famer Ernie Lombardi in 1942. Mauer’s .365 batting average in 2009 is the best by a catcher in major league history.

His 2,123 career hit are second-most in team history behind Kirby Puckett‘s 2,304.

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 BerenguerKeith 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, 1898
Crooks Homers off Young

Playing for the National League St. Louis Browns, St. Paul native Jack Crooks hit his 21st and final major league home run off Cleveland Spiders ace Cy Young on this date in 1898. Young only gave up six home runs all season.

Crooks also homered off Young in 1892—the season Young won a career-high 36 games.

Fun Fact: Crooks had the first four-home run game in professional baseball history playing for the Omaha Omahogs in his hometown of St. Paul on June 8, 1889.

April 20, 1903
Bender Beats Young in MLB Debut

18-year-old Minnesota native Charles Albert Bender earned the win over the Boston Americans’ Cy Young in his major league debut on this date in 1903. Bender allowed four runs over six innings in relief of Hall of Famer Eddie Plank.

He made his first start seven days later, pitching a shutout against the New York Highlanders. The Highlanders’ starting pitcher that day was Clark Griffith, who 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 FuldaMN team in 1949.

April 20
Happy 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, 1974
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 team record season-starting hitting streak to 15 games. Josh Willingham tied that record in 2012—and established a new record for the longest streak to start a Twins career. Brian Dozier broke Puckett’s record in 2018, hitting in the first 17 games of the season. He had hit in 24 consecutive games going back to 2017 (25 if you count the Wild Card game, in which he hit a leadoff home run in the 8-4 loss in New York).

April 20, 2019
11-Homer Doubleheader

In the first game of a Saturday doubleheader in Baltimore, Eddie Rosario hits two solo home runs in a 6-5 win, becoming the third player in team history with back-to-back multi-homer games (he hit two in a 7-4 loss to the Blue Jays at Target Field on 4/18). The first Twin with consecutive multi-homer games was Don Mincher on July 20 and 21, 1963, and the second was Kirby Puckett in Milwaukee on August 29 and 30, 1987. 

In the second game of the doubleheader the Twins tied the team record with eight home runs (former Oriole All-Star Jonathan Schoop hit the eighth off position player Chris Davis in the ninth). Interesting to note that the original record was also set in a doubleheader, when the Twins hit eight in Game 1, and four in Game 2 on August 29, 1963, for a team record of 12 on the day. 

Nelson Cruz, Mitch Garver, and Schoop each hit a pair. Garver also doubled, for a total of 10 total bases. He also hit for 10 total bases 11 days earlier, on April 9. The only other Twins catcher to hit for 10 total bases even once was Earl Battey on July 9, 1961. Garver did it twice in less than a month. (Tim Laudner hit for 10 total bases as a DH on May 7, 1989). 

The Twins hit eight home runs again just over a month later, on May 23, becoming just the second team in major league history with two eight-home run games in one season (‘05 Rangers). 

Bonus 4/20 Trivia

Former major league center fielder Charlie Jones connected for 420 major league hits with the Red Sox, White Sox, Senators, and St. Louis Browns between 1901 and 1908.

An avid fisherman, the Pennsylvania native eventually moved to and is buried in Lutsen, Minnesota. “He earned a reputation as an excellent sign painter in Cook County and worked as a tax collector for the Internal Revenue Service.”

April 21
Happy Birthday, Jesse Orosco

Happy birthday to Jesse Orosco, born in Santa Barbara, CA in 1967.

His 1,252 appearances are the most in MLB history.

He pitched for the Twins in 2003, at age 46 . . . 25 years after they originally drafted him!

The final pitch of his career resulted in a walk-off strikeout. True story. Look up the video on YouTube.

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 sellout despite a gametime temperature of 63 degrees.

The Senators jumped out to an early lead with a two-run homer off Camilo Pascual in the top of the first.

Going into the bottom of the eighth, the Twins trailed 3-2, but Lenny Green tied it up with a solo home run. The Senators scored two off reliever Ray Moore in the top of the ninth, however, 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, only one over the minimum thanks to a caught-stealing and ground-ball double play. The game was over in one hour and 55 minutes.

Leadoff hitter Kirby Puckett went 3-for-5, driving in both runs in the 2-0 victory. It was the beginning of a 10-game winning streak.

*Pitch count according to John Swol‘s great site

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

Big offseason free agent acquisition 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.

Brian Dozier set a new team season-starting hit streak record with 17 games in 2018 (Willingham’s streak is still the longest to begin a Twins career).

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.

April 22, 1961
First Walk-Off in Twins History

In just the second home game in team history, the Twins and new expansion Senators play to a 4-4 tie through nine. With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the 10th, Zoilo Versalles drives in Earl Battey with a sac fly to center for the first walk-off win in Twins history, improving to 6-2 on the season.

April 22, 1980
89° Home Opener

After beginning the season with a 12-game West Coast road trip, the Twins return to Bloomington for a balmy 89-degree home opener against the Angels.

Hosken PowellRon Jackson, and Roy Smalley each homered as Geoff Zahn earned the complete-game 8-1 win.

April 22, 1986
Tapani Pitches No-Hitter

Central Michigan University senior Kevin Tapani pitches a no-hitter at Eastern Michigan for a 10-0 win in the second game of a Tuesday doubleheader. Central Michigan would go on to win their third-straight MAC title.

Tapani was a walk-on at Central Michigan. His high school in Escanaba, MI did not have a baseball team. (He was a state champion quarterback, though.)

Read more about Tapani here on the Almanac ⇨

April 22, 1988
Twins Day Goes From Bad to Worse

Bert Blyleven gives up seven runs on nine hits and four hit batters in just 4.2 innings. Four of those runs came on a grand slam by Cleveland right fielder Cory Snyder. Center fielder Joe Carter added a grand slam of his own off Keith Atherton in the 11-6 Cleveland win.

To add insult to injury, after the game the Twins traded Tom Brunansky to the Cardinals for clubhouse cancer Tommy frickin’ Herr.

April 23, 1863
Birthdate of Lou Galvin

Lou Galvin was born in St. Paul on this date in 1863. He went 0-2 in three starts with the 1884 St. Paul White Caps of the Union Association (generally considered a major league).

April 23, 1961
Pitcher Kralick Does it All

In the final game of the Twins’ first-ever home series, Jack Kralick pitched a four-hit shutout and drove in the Twins’ only run of the game for a 1-0 win over the new expansion Senators.

Senators pitchers also only allowed four hits in the game. After second baseman Billy Gardner doubled with two out in the fifth, the pitcher Kralick pulled an RBI grounder through the right side for the only run of the game.

The Twins improved to 7-2 on the season.

April 23, 1980
Landreaux Begins Record Streak

Angels pitcher Bruce Kison was pitching a no-hitter with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning when cleanup hitter Ken Landreaux connected for a double to begin his team record 31-game hitting streak.

Kison completed the one-hit shutout. Angels first baseman Rod Carew had two doubles, three RBI, and two runs scored in the 17-0 Angels win at Met Stadium in Bloomington.

April 23, 1989
Milacki Faces Minimum

Orioles rookie Bob Milacki faced the minimum 27 batters in a complete-game shutout of the Twins on this date in 1989.

He allowed five baserunners on three hits and two walks, they they were erased on a caught stealing and four double plays.

See the game log on Baseball Reference…

April 23, 2018
Dozier Sets Season-Starting Hit Streak Record

Brian Dozier goes 1-for-4, driving in the Twins’ only run in a 14-1 loss at Yankee Stadium, extending his team record season-starting hitting streak to 17 games. The previous record had been 15 by Kirby Puckett in 1994, and Josh Willingham in 2012. Dozier had hit in 24 consecutive games going back to 2017 (25 if you count the Wild Card game, in which he hit a leadoff home run in the 8-4 loss in New York).

April 24, 1988
Laudner Hits Back-to-Back 3-Run Homers

Tim Laudner hits three-run homers in the third and fourth innings of a 13-7 win over Cleveland at home in the Dome. Kirby Puckett also homered in the game, off 1987 teammate Dan Schatzeder.

It was Laudner’s second career six-RBI game. The first came in Cleveland on July 3, 1985. 

Laudner hit two solo homers in Chicago on June 6, 1988, becoming just the second catcher in Twins history with at least two multi-homer games in a season. The first was Earl Battey in 1961. Joe Mauer had a pair of two-homer games in 2009. Remarkably, Mitch Garver had five multi-homer games in 2019 alone, establishing a new career record for Twins catchers. 

April 24, 1996
Five-RBI Game for Molitor and Myers

Twins DH Paul Molitor and catcher Greg Myers collect five RBI each in a 24-11 Twins win at Tiger Stadium.

Molitor went 2-for-5 with a home run, walk, reached on two fielder’s choices, and tied the team record with five runs scored. Myers went 5-for-6 with three runs scored.

Other Twins with five runs scored in a game are Rod Carew (6/26/77), Tim Teufel (9/16/83), and Luis Rivas (6/4/02).

The Twins jumped out to a 6-1 lead after two innings, but had used three pitchers by the end of the third, and trailed 10-7 at the end of four innings. But they kept adding on, outscoring the Tigers 17-1 over the final five innings. They scored in every inning except the fourth.

April 25, 1883
Birthdate of Russ Ford

Minneapolis Central alumnus and seven-year major leaguer Russ Ford was born in Brandon, Manitoba on this date in 1883. The Ford family immigrated to the United States when Russell was three years old, eventually settling in Minneapolis.

In 1910, the 27-year-old Ford had one of the all-time great rookie seasons in baseball history, going 26-6 with a 1.65 ERA and 0.881 WHIP with the New York Highlanders. He won 22 games in 1911, for a total of 48 in his first two full seasons. He won 99 major league games altogether, pitching for the Highlanders/Yankees, and Buffalo Buffeds/Blues from 1909 to 1915.

Read T. Kent Morgan and David Jones‘ SABR BioProject biography of Russ Ford ⇨…

April 25, 1885
Birthdate of Hack Spencer

Hack Spencer was born in St. Cloud on this date in 1885. He grew up in the Minneapolis area. He made his one and only major league appearance for the St. Louis Browns on April 18, 1912, allowing two runs on two hits in the final 1 2/3 innings of a 12-7 loss to the Chicago White Sox.

Read Bob Tholkes‘ SABR BioProject biography of Hack Spencer ⇨…

April 25, 1961
Bruckbauer Has Career ERA of Infinity

With the Twins trailing 7-2 after three in Kansas City, 22-year-old St. Mary’s High School (Sleepy Eye, MN) graduate Fred Bruckbauer makes his major league debut, giving up three runs on three hits and a walk before being pulled without recording an out. The Twins went on to lose 20-2.

Unfortunately, it was Bruckbauer’s only major league appearance, making his career ERA “infinity” (or undefined). 

Fred Bruckbauer was born in New Ulm. The last New Ulm-born player to make it to the majors prior to Bruckbauer was Doc Hamann, who gave up six runs without recording an out for Cleveland on September 21, 1922. Like Bruckbauer, it was Hamann’s only major league appearance, and he retired with a career ERA of “infinity.” 

In a century and a half of major league baseball, only 16 pitchers have retired with career ERAs of “infinity,” and two were born in New Ulm. 

1955 Minneapolis Washburn graduate Gordie Sundin also posted a career ERA of “infinity,” making his only appearance with the Baltimore Orioles in 1956.

April 25, 1971
Kaat Pitches Two-Hit Shutout

Jim Kaat pitches a two-hit shutout for a 8-0 Twins win at Yankee Stadium. Right fielder Tony Oliva went 3-for-4 with two solo home runs and an RBI-single.

April 25, 1980
Martin Makes Rambunctious Return to Metro

From John Swol‘s—In his first appearance in Minnesota since the infamous marshmallow salesman fight, A’s manager Billy Martin has to be restrained by umpires from attacking a fan pelting him with marshmallows ⇨…

April 25–29, 1985
Twins Sweep A’s

Kirby Puckett hits a walk-off single on Thursday, Tom Brunansky hits a walk-off home run on Friday, and Mickey Hatcher strings together nine consecutive hits between Saturday and Sunday in a four-game series sweep of the Athletics.

Hatcher’s nine-straight hits tied the team record established by Tony Oliva in 1967, and matched by Todd Walker in 1998.

April 25, 1989
Molitor Has 2-HR Game vs. Twins

1974 Cretin High School graduate and Golden Gophers all-time great Paul Molitor homers on Twins starter Roy Smith’s second pitch of the game, and reliever German Gonzalez’s first pitch of the eighth inning. The Brewers won 10-4 for the first of Bryan Clutterbuck’s two major league wins.

April 26, 1986
Dome Deflates, Twins Collapse

With the Twins beating the Angels 5-1 in the bottom of the eighth on a stormy night in Minneapolis, a tear caused the Metrodome roof to deflate. The L.A. Times described “80-m.p.h. winds tearing holes in the fiberglass dome and whipping through the stadium, sending speakers and light standards swaying on their cables like yo-yos in a wind tunnel . . . Above the third base line, a geyser of water shot through a drainage hole in the roof, dousing a handful of spectators.”

Remarkably, the roof was re-inflated with the game only being delayed nine minutes. The Twins went on to score once more in the eighth, with Mickey Hatcher driving in Steve Lombardozzi with a sacrifice fly for a 6-1 lead going into the ninth.

Frank Viola gave up a leadoff double to Brian Downing and a two-run home run to George Hendrick before giving way to closer Ron Davis, still up 6-3. Davis gave up a single and two-run home run to the first two men he faced. With one out he walked pinch-hitter Reggie Jackson, representing the tying run. After striking out Bobby Grich for the second out, Ron Davis gave up a go-ahead, two-run homer to Wally Joyner, who had made his major league debut less than three weeks earlier.

Tom Brunansky, Roy Smalley, and Gary Gaetti went down in order in the bottom of the ninth for a 7-6 Twins loss.

April 26, 2007
17 Baserunners in Shutout

Starting pitcher Boof Bonser and relievers Glen PerkinsMatt Guerrier, and Joe Nathan combine to allow 17 baserunners, but shut out the Royals for 11 innings before Mike Redmond drives in Justin Morneau with a walk-off single. 

Read more about high-hit shutouts in Twins history ⇨

April 27, 1903
Bender Pitches Shutout in First Start

18-year-old Minnesota native Charles Albert Bender pitched a four-hit shutout in his first major league start on this date in 1903, a week after earning the win in relief over Boston’s Cy Young in his MLB debut.

The Philadelphia Athletics beat the New York Highlanders and opposing pitcher Clark Griffith 6-0. Griffith went on to own the Washington Senators until his death in 1955 when Calvin Griffith took over. Calvin, of course, moved the Senators to Minnesota in 1961.

Bender became the first Minnesotan inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1953.

April 27, 1930
Fisher’s Hot Return to the Show

Albany, Minnesota High School alumnus Showboat Fisher went 3-for-4 with a walk and two doubles on this date in 1930, giving him a .523 average and 1.323 OPS through the first 12 games of the season, after being out of the majors the previous five seasons.

The Cardinals went on to win the National League pennant in 1930. Just two years later, Showboat opened Fisher’s Club on Middle Spunk Lake in Avon, MN. It’s still open today.

April 27, 1965
Pascual Hits Second Grand Slam

Before even climbing the mound, Camilo Pascual hit the only grand slam by a pitcher in Twins history, staking himself to a 7-0 first-inning lead in Cleveland on this date in 1965. He went on to pitch a heckuva game, allowing just two hits and two walks in an 11-1 Twins win.

Pascual had previously hit a grand slam in the Senators’ final season in Washington, on August 14, 1960. Those four RBI were significant, as the Senators won the first game of the doubleheader at Yankee Stadium 5-4. (They won Game 2 in 15 innings.)

April 27, 1969
Killebrew Hits 400th

Harmon Killebrew hit his 400th career home run in the top of the first inning of an afternoon game in Chicago on this date in 1969.

Rod Carew hit a two-run homer in the seventh to give the Twins a 4-3 win.

All told, Killebrew hit 573 home runs, fifth-most in MLB history at the time of his retirement. He hit 84 as a member of the Washington Senators, 14 as a Kansas City Royal in 1975, and 475 in a Twins uniform.

April 27, 1994
Erickson Pitches No-Hitter

Scott Erickson pitched the first no-hitter in Metrodome history on this date in 1994, as the Twins beat the Brewers 5-0. It was the third of five no-hitters in Twins history, and the first since Dean Chance in 1967.

The Twins scored in each of the first four innings, staking Erickson to an early 5-0 lead.

The ninth inning was a little suspenseful. With two out in the inning, Erickson walked two batters before finally getting the dangerous Greg Vaughn to fly out to Alex Cole in left.

Kirby Puckett went 4-for-5 in the game.

Erickson, who led the American League with 20 wins and finished second in Cy Young balloting in 1991, was coming off a 1993 season in which he led the league with 19 losses and 266 hits allowed. He was 1-3 with a 7.48 ERA on the season prior to pitching his no-hitter.

Francisco Liriano was 1-4 with a 9.13 ERA before pitching his no-hitter on May 3, 2011.

April 27, 2003
Ortiz Hits First Homer with Red Sox

David Ortiz hit his first home run as a member of the Red Sox on this date in 2003.

One of the Twins’ grievances with Ortiz was his supposed inability (or unwillingness) to hit to the opposite field, so of course his first home run with Boston was to the opposite field in Anaheim, where the Twins lost the ALCS six months earlier. Feels like he was trolling us.

April 27, 2022
Ryan Pitches a Gem

Rookie Joe Ryan pitched a heckuva game on this date in 2022, giving up just one hit over seven scoreless innings, lowering his ERA to 1.71 through his first four starts of the season.

April 28
Happy Birthday, Pedro Ramos

It’s the birthday of 15-year major leaguer Pedro Ramos, born in Pinar del Rio, Cuba in 1935. He pitched a three-hit shutout at Yankee Stadium in the very first regular season game in Twins history.

April 28
Happy Birthday, John Gaub

It’s the birthday of 2003 South St. Paul graduate, Golden Gophers all-time great, and former Cubs pitcher John Gaub.

He struck out the first batter he faced in his major league debut on September 12, 2011.

April 28, 1985
Hatcher Ties Oliva’s Consecutive Hits Record

Mickey Hatcher connected for his ninth consecutive hit on this date in 1985, tying Tony Oliva‘s team record set in 1967. After going 5-for-5 the previous day, Hatcher reeled off four-straight hits, going 4-for-5 in a 10-1 win over Oakland at home in the Dome on this date.

Todd Walker also tied the team record with nine-straight hits in 1998.

April 28, 1988
Twins Clip Orioles’ Wings

The Twins beat the Orioles 4-2 on this date in 1988, dropping Baltimore to an abysmal 0-21 to start the season.

Kent Hrbek finished a triple shy of the cycle.

April 28, 1991
Morris Wins 200th

St. Paul native Jack Morris earned his 200th major league win at the Metrodome on this date in 1991.

Morris—who the Twins made the highest-paid pitcher in the majors over the offseason—entered the game 0-3 with a 6.38 ERA and 1.492 WHIP. Needless to say, he got things figured out.

April 28, 2010
Hughes Homers in First At-Bat

Australia native Luke Hughes homered off Max Scherzer in his first major league at-bat on this date in 2010.

Hughes originally came to the plate with two out in the second inning, but Delmon Young was thrown out attempting to steal third base for the third out of the inning. So Hughes came up again leading off the top of the third, and lifted Scherzer’s 2-2 pitch over the right-fence wall for an opposite field homer.

Six Twins have homered in their first major league at-bat: Rick Renick, Dave McKay, Gary Gaetti, Andre David, Hughes, and Eddie Rosario.

Between August 26 and September 20, 1981, Kent Hrbek, Tim Laudner, and Gary Gaetti each homered in their first major league game.

April 28, 2021
Buxton Shows Off His Tools

Byron Buxton went 5-for-5 with a home run and a stolen base on this date in 2021.

The only other players in franchise history with five hits, a home run, and a stolen base in a game are Boileryard Clarke on June 18, 1901, and Jacque Jones on May 6, 2003.

April 29, 1962
Twins Hit Six Solo Home Runs

The Twins hit six solo home runs in the second game of a doubleheader in Cleveland. Lenny Green, Don Mincher, Zoilo Versalles, and Bill Tuttle hit one each, and Johnny Goryl hit two. Pitcher Don Lee singled home Earl Battey for a 7-3 Twins win.

The Twins did not hit a home run in the first game, which they won 8-4.

See the game log on Baseball Reference ⇨…

April 29, 1986
Beane Goes 5-for-5

Entering the game with three hits in 17 major league games dating back to 1984 (zero hits in four games with the Twins), Billy Beane goes 5-for-5 with a walk and his first career home run in a 14-11 Twins loss at Yankee Stadium.

The five hits accounted for 7.6% of the just 66 hits the former first-round draft pick connected for over parts of six major league seasons. He had fewer than five hits total in four of his six major league seasons.

See the game log on Baseball Reference ⇨…

April 30, 1891
Birthdate of Tony Brottem

Major league catcher Tony Brottem was born in HalstadMN on this date in 1891. He played a total of 62 major league games with the Cardinals in 1916 and ’18, and the Senators and Pirates in 1921.

April 30, 1961
Killebrew’s First HR as a Twin

Trailing the White Sox 5-2 in the bottom of the 11th in Bloomington, Harmon Killebrew hits his first home run in a Twins uniform. The White Sox held on to win 5-3, with Bob Shaw pitching all 11 innings.

April 30, 1983
Ninth-Inning Comeback

With the Twins trailing the Brewers 7-5 in the bottom of the ninth, John Castino and Kent Hrbek each drive in a run before Tom Brunansky ends it with a two-out, two-run walk-off homer.

April 30, 1994
Puckett Hits in 24 of First 25 Games

Right fielder Kirby Puckett goes 2-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored in an 11-9 home win over the Blue Jays, giving him a hit in 24 of the team’s first 25 games. He had started the season with a 15-game hitting streak.


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