Play ball! Five decades of Twins Opening Day photos

Minnesota Twins opening day baseball photos from the Star Tribune archive. 


It’s the call baseball fans wait for all winter: the start of a new season. Umpire Al Salerno did the honors at the Twins’ 1964 home opener at Metropolitan Stadium
In 1969, a young Rod Carew was in his third season with the Twins. The future Hall of Famer signed an autograph for a smitten fan — 5-year-old Chele Rae Wheeler — before the start of the home opener against the California Angels, for whom Carew would play after 12 seasons with the Twins.
At the 1963 opener, rookies ( L-R), Garry Roggenburk, Jim Hall, Paul Ratliff, Fred Lasher, Jim Roland lined up for a photo.
Jim Kaat, top, took a well-deserved rest in the locker room after pitching a complete game to open the 1970 season. Kaat spent a whopping 25 years in the league, 15 of them with the Twins.
Jim Perry in 1964 In 1969, Perry won 20 games for the first time in his career and led the Twins to their first-ever American League West title.
Twins outfielder Steve Brye, above, searched for home plate — and perhaps a sign of spring — at Met Stadium the day before the 1972 opener. The snow forced the team to cancel workouts that day, but the forecast called for sun and a balmy 58 degrees for opening day.
Proving once again that spring in Minnesota can be extreme, it was 85 degrees when Brian Granberg of Minneapolis brought his 7-month-old daughter, Layla, to the Met for the 1980 Twins home opener. Granberg kept a relaxed Layla in the shade during the seventh-inning stretch.
Minnesota Twins shortstop Roy Smalley hurdled California's sliding Joe Rudi and completed a double play throw to first on April 17, 1979. The Twins lost, 6-0. Smalley was a member of Minnesota's 1987 World-Series-winning team.
Members of the Save the Met group spent the 1982 opening day tailgating at the Metropolitan Stadium parking lot while the Twins were christening the new Metrodome. The Met was demolished in 1985, the lot empty until the 1992 Mall of America opening.
The marching band at the 1982 regular season opener at the Metrodome drew lines on the field with tape so it could spell out Twins.
Twins great (and fan favorite) Kirby Puckett was all smiles before the start of the 1993 season. Puckett, a Hall of Fame center fielder, played his entire career in Minnesota, retiring in 1996.
Minnesota Twin Gary Gaetti gets called out by umpire Bill Haller at home plate. Gaetti had tried to stretch a triple into an inside-the-park home run on April 6, 1982. This was the first ever regular season game played at the Metrodome.
Fans from Marshall, Minn., kicked off the 1984 season with great fanfare at the Metrodome. That season the Twins set an attendance record (1.6 million) and the team was sold to local investor Carl Pohlad.
Muriel Humphrey Brown, top, threw the ceremonial first pitch in 1982 to open the new Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, named after her late husband, as then-Gov. Al Quie looked on.
Carl Pavano threw the first pitch against the Boston Red Sox on opening day in 2010 at Target Field. In 2010 Pavano was named the Twins' Pitcher of the Year
For Derek Anderson of Minneapolis, the 2011 season (and his helmet) was about the return of the “piranhas,” the nickname given to a pesky group of hitters in 2006 by White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen
Hometown hero Joe Mauer took his spot at first base as the 2012 season opened at Target Field. Mauer, who also played his entire career with the Twins, split time between first base and catcher that season