FIVE TWINS OPENERS TO REMEMBER
Twins 6, Yankees 0
April 11, 1961 at Yankee Stadium
In the Twins’ first game ever, Pedro Ramos and Yankees ace Whitey Ford were scoreless into the seventh when Bob Allison homered to start a three-run rally. Ramos pitched a three-hit shutout, with one walk and five strikeouts. Reno Bertoia hit a two-run homer off Ralph Terry in the eighth — in Terry’s first appearance since giving up a World Series-losing home run to Pittsburgh’s Bill Mazeroski the previous October.
Twins 5, Yankees 4 (11)
April 12, 1965 at Met Stadium
The Twin Cities were ravaged by record floods in 1965, causing dead-stopped traffic from Burnsville to Bloomington. Starting pitcher Jim Kaat and teammates Dick Stigman, Rich Rollins and Bill Bethea portaged the Minnesota River by helicopter. Cesar Tovar’s single — off now-Yankees reliever Pedro Ramos — won the game in the bottom of the 11th.
Twins 2, Senators 0
April 10, 1968 at D.C. Stadium
There was no festive Presidential first pitch to open the season. Dr. Martin Luther King had been assassinated April 4 in Memphis. The start of the season was delayed. The stadium was a staging area until the night before the game for troops and others responding to riots in D.C. that followed MLK’s murder. Dean Chance pitched a four-hit shutout with no walks and eight strikeouts.
Twins 11, RANGERS 4
April 8, 1975 at Arlington Stadium
Tony Oliva, basically hitting and jogging off one leg because of his ravaged right knee, was starting his final season as a full-time designated hitter. The Twins knocked out Fergie Jenkins with six runs in 1⅔ innings, the last three coming off Oliva’s long home run to left field. The Twins had 17 hits, with three from Larry Hisle that included a three-run homer.
Twins 5, A’s 4 (10)
April 7, 1987 at Metrodome
The Twins were down 4-3 in the eighth when Kirby Puckett, Gary Gaetti and Kent Hrbek combined to produce a tying run. In the 10th, Steve Lombardozzi’s single, Puckett’s double and Hrbek’s single off Bill Krueger won the game. The fans that remained after three-plus hours left happy. The crowds got larger and happier by the time 1987 baseball ended in the “Thunderdome’’ on Oct. 25.