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Harmon Killebrew, the Twins left fielder in 1963, had a team-high 45 home runs and was fourth in AL MVP voting.

Star Tribune file,

Forgotten anniversaries: 1963 Twins

  • June 21, 2013 - 12:34 AM

Plenty of Minnesota sports anniversaries and years are embedded in our collective sports minds. Merely mention 1987, 1991 or 1998, for example, and the Twins’ two World Series titles plus the Vikings’ 15-1 season spring immediately to mind. But what about some lesser-known anniversaries? We’re here to take a look back at some of those, in increments of five years, dating backward from 2013.

Today, to finish up the series: The 1963 Twins — and five things you might have forgotten about that season (or perhaps never knew).

1. In case you didn’t know too much about the franchise history before the team moved from Washington, D.C., to Minnesota, well … things were pretty terrible. The Senators had only one season above .500 in the 15 seasons before moving to Minnesota. The Twins were 70-90-1 their first year here in 1961, then suddenly started to get better. That includes 1963, when an underrated squad went 91-70, their second 91-victory season in a row.

2. Led by Camilo Pascual, who went 21-9 with a 2.46 ERA, the Twins’ pitching staff was downright stingy (particularly by today’s standards). They gave up just 602 runs all season, an average of 3.7 per game. The World Series-winning Twins of 1987, by contrast, gave up 806 runs.

3. Could they hit the ball over the fence? Of course, they could. Harmon Killebrew led the way with 45 home runs, while Bob Allison hit 35 and Jimmie Hall 33. As a team, the Twins hit 225 home runs, ranking first in the American League.

4. The Twins were just 1½ games out of first place in late June, but a stretch of nine losses in 10 games pretty much knocked them out of contention. Remember, this was before division play — and waaaaay before any sort of wild-card system. So even though they finished with 91 victories, they were never closer than 12 games from first place (or making the playoffs) in September.

5. Slow play has been a big topic of discussion this season. That year’s Twins team played more than half of its games (81 of 161) in 2 hours, 30 minutes or less. It played six games in two hours or less. Can you even imagine?

Michael Rand

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