Brant Alyea knew how to make a strong first impression. He hit a three-run pinch-hit homer on the very first major-league pitch he saw playing for the Washington Senators on September 12, 1965. Who was his manager looking on from the Senators bench? None other than the Splendid Splinter himself, Ted Williams. Alyea only got into eight games that season, though, and didn’t make it back to the majors until 1968.
Then, prior to the 1970 season, the 6-foot-3 left fielder was traded to the Twins in exchange for pitchers Joe Grzenda and 1965 Minneapolis Edison graduate Charley Walters. With the Twins, Alyea once again made a strong first impression, tying the team record with seven RBI on Opening Day, going 4-for-4 with a pair of three-run homers as Jim Perry earned a 12-0 complete-game win in Chicago. He drove in four more runs with a grand slam in Perry’s second start of the season (April 15). It was one of three home runs in the Twins’ eight-run sixth inning (César Tovar and Leo Cárdenas). He went on to drive in 20 runs in the Twins’ first 12 games, with a remarkable 19 of those RBI coming in Perry’s first four starts. Incidentally, Jim Perry won the AL Cy Young Award in 1970, perhaps thanks in part to Alyea’s run support.
Alyea matched the single-game RBI record again in the first game of a home doubleheader against Milwaukee on September 7, 1970, going 3-for-4 with a grand slam in the first inning, and three-run homer in the third to drive in all seven runs in a 7-6 Twins win. It was the beginning of a Twins record nine-game RBI streak during which he drove in 17 total between September 7 and September 13 (two doubleheaders).
Interestingly, Harmon Killebrew drove in seven runs in his first two (and only) at-bats exactly one year earlier—September 7, 1969. He hit a three-run homer in the first inning, and grand slam in the second before coming out in the bottom of the fourth inning of a 16-4 win in Oakland.
The second game of that September 7, 1970 doubleheader featured the major league debut of pitcher Hal Haydel (who shares a 1972 Topps rookie card with Lamberton, MN native Bob Gebhard). Haydel started the top of the second in relief of Luis Tiant. Haydel doubled and scored in his first at-bat, and homered in his next at-bat, while holding the Brewers to two runs on four hits over five innings to earn the 8-3 win. Ron Perranoski earned the three-inning save, after pitching the ninth in Game 1 (times have changed).
Alyea played 94 games altogether in 1970, hitting .291 with 16 home runs, 61 RBI, and 34 runs scored.
Alyea struggled in 79 games with the Twins in 1971, and was selected by the Athletics in the Rule 5 Draft that November. He played 20 games with Oakland and St. Louis in 1972, his final major league season.
Glenn Adams set a new team record with eight RBI on June 26, 1977. Randy Bush tied that record on May 20, 1989.