The Twins Almanac for April 6th


• Happy Birthday, Bert Blyleven and Joe Barbeln
• Twins Trade Stigman
• Oliva Hits First HR by DH
• First Regular Season Game at Dome
• Puckett and Winfield Thrill the Home Fans
• Offerman’s Memorable Twins Debut 

April 6
Happy Birthday, Bert Blyleven

It’s the birthday of two-time World Series Champion and noted flatulence enthusiast Rik Aalbert “Bert” Blyleven, 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 off 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.



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