January 5, 1935: Birthdate of Earl Battey

It’s the birthdate of five-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove catcher Earl Battey, born in Los Angeles in 1935.

Battey saw limited playing time with the Chicago White Sox between 1955 and ’59. Then, on April 4, 1960, the White Sox traded Battey and Don Mincher to the Washington Senators for 1957 American League home run leader Roy Sievers. Battey broke out that season, winning his first of three consecutive Gold Glove Awards, and even garnered some MVP votes.

Battey scored the first walk-off run in Twins history on a Zoilo Versalles sac fly on April 22, 1961.

He picked off 15 runners in 1962.

His 26 home runs in 1963 stood as the franchise record for a catcher until Mitch Garver hit 30 in 2019 (plus one as the DH). (Joe Mauer hit 28 in his 2009 MVP season, but three came as the DH, and one as a pinch hitter).

He retired after the 1967 season, having caught 831 games in a Twins uniform. That stood as the club record until Joe Mauer surpassed him on August 27, 2012 (ultimately catching in 921 games, including one pitch on September 30, 2018).

In 1980 Battey enrolled at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, FL, graduating Summa Cum Laude in just 2½ years. After graduation he became a high school teacher and baseball coach in Ocala, FL.

Earl Battey passed away on November 15, 2003. He was just 68 years old. He was inducted as the 13th member of the Twins Hall of Fame in 2004.

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