The Twins Almanac for March 28



• Some Unsettling News About Kirby
• Berríos Historically Good on Opening Day
• Brainerd Grad Makes MLB Debut

March 28, 1996
Puckett Wakes Up with Vision Problem

36-year-old superstar Kirby Puckett appeared poised for a big year, hitting .344 in spring training, when on the last day of camp he woke up unable to see out of his right eye. He would be diagnosed with glaucoma and one day later placed on the 15-day disabled list (or injured list) for the first time in his career.

Quoting directly from a New York Times article from March 31, 1996:

“Kirby Puckett’s blurry vision is being caused by a partial blockage of a blood vessel in his right eye, and the Minnesota outfielder will miss the season opener, the Twins said Friday after placing him on the 15-day disabled list … retroactive to Thursday, making him eligible to return April 12. During that time, he will undergo treatment and will be able to work out with the club. Matt Lawton, who went 2 for 4 with a run batted in in Puckett’s place Friday, will start against the Tigers tomorrow.”

Unfortunately, four surgeries did nothing to improve Puckett’s vision, and he officially retired on July 12.

March 28, 2019
Berríos’s Historically Good Opening Day Start

José Berríos was historically good on Opening Day 2019, giving up just two hits and a walk while striking out 10 over 7.2 innings. He was the first pitcher in franchise history to pitch at least seven scoreless innings and strike out 10 on Opening Day since Walter Johnson did so in 1917. 

Worth noting that Brainerd native Bullet Joe Bush took the loss for the Philadelphia Athletics in that 1917 game. And since we’re talking about 1917, Red Sox pitcher Babe Ruth beat the Yankees on Opening Day that year. 

Taylor Rogers retired the final four batters, striking out three, to secure the 2-0 Twins win over Cleveland at Target Field. The Twins’ only runs came on a Marwin Gonázlez double off Corey Kluber in the seventh, knocking in Nelson Cruz and C.J. Cron. (All three players were making their Twins debuts, providing plenty of optimism to start the season.) Chaska native Brad Hand came in to get the final out for Cleveland in the bottom of the eighth. 


Berríos’s 10 Opening Day strikeouts set a new Twins record, breaking Brad Radke’s previous record of eight K’s over six innings in 1996 (Radke’s second season). 

Berríos’s gem was the fourth Opening Day shutout in Twins history, and the first since Jim Perry’s complete-game shutout in Chicago in 1970.

The second Opening Day shutout in Twins history was by Dean Chance in Washington in 1968, with the Twins’ two runs coming on Harmon Killebrew and Bob Allison home runs off Senators pitcher Camilo Pascual

And the first Opening Day shutout came in the very first regular season game in Twins history, with Pedro Ramos spinning a three-hitter opposing Whitey Ford at Yankee Stadium in 1961. After Bob Allison put the Twins on the board with the first home run in team history leading off the top of the seventh, Ramos himself knocked Ford out of the game with a two-run single to center, driving in Earl Battey and Reno Bertoia en route to a 6-0 Twins win. 

March 28, 2019
Nick Anderson Makes MLB Debut

Brainerd High School graduate Nick Anderson made his major league debut with the Marlins on this date in 2019, retiring the only batter he faced, stranding a runner on second to end the inning.

Two days later, he came in and struck out all three batters he faced in the eighth inning of a 7-3 Marlins win over the Rockies. 

Anderson was striking out batters at a pretty impressive rate right out of the gate, K’ing 27 of the first 51 batters he faced to begin his MLB career. (There were two home runs mixed in there.)

Worth noting that the Twins had Anderson in their system, but they traded him for an infielder nobody has ever heard of prior to the 2019 season. 

Anderson will be pitching out of the Kansas City Royals bullpen this season. 

He is the third Brainerd alumnus to pitch in the majors, following three-time World Series Champion Bullet Joe Bush and Todd Revenig (0.00 MLB ERA). And of course Hall of Famer Charles Albert Bender was born near Brainerd in 1884. 



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