The Minnesota Twins' first third baseman has died.
Reno Bertoia died Friday at a hospital in Windsor, Ont., after a brief battle with lymphoma. He was 76.
The Italian-born infielder started at third base for the Twins and batted seventh in the lineup on Opening Day in 1961, after the franchise was moved from Washington, D.C.
In that opener on April 11, Bertoia hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning in the Twins' 6-0 victory over the host New York Yankees. Bob Allison hit Minnesota's first home run an inning earlier.
Bertoia played 34 more games with the Twins before being sent to Kansas City and then to Detroit, where he had first broken into the majors in 1953 and had spent most of his career.
As a Twin, the 26-year-old Bertoia batted .212, with that one home run and eight runs batted in. In 32 games at third, he committed nine errors.
He retired early the next season, ending his career as a .244 batter.
In 1957, he led the American League in batting for the first half of the season, only to swoon starting in June and finishing with a .275 average.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482
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