Twins opening day tidbits

March 31, 2011 – I thought that it would be fun to look over the Twins 50 year history of Opening Days and see who has started the most games at each position. Through their first fifty years, the Twins record on Opening Day is 24-26 and they are currently on a two game losing streak.

The Minnesota Twins first Opening Day was at Yankee Stadium on April 11, 1961 in front of only 14,607 fans and the Twins played and won their first ever game by a score of 6-0. Their Opening Day line-up that day had Earl Battey catching, Harmon Killebrew at first, Billy Gardner at second, Zoilo Versalles was at short, Reno Bertoia played third, Jim Lemon was in left, Lenny Green was in center, Bob Allison was in right, and Pedro Ramos was the starting pitcher. Little did anyone know at the time that the Twins second baseman that day, Billy Gardner, would become the Twins manager twenty years later. The Twins have only fielded the same opening day line-up from one year to the next on one occasion in 50 years and that was in 1970 (won 12-0) and 1971 (lost 7-2) when the Twins had George Mitterwald catching, Rich Reese at first, Rod Carew at second, Leo Cardenas was at short, Harmon Killebrew was at third, Brant Alyea was in left, Cesar Tovar was the centerfielder, Tony Oliva was in right and Jim Perry was the starting pitcher. This goes to show how much things change from year to year.

I told you earlier that I was going to find out what Twins have started the most Opening Day games by position and here is what I have found.

  Total # of players that have played this position on opening day Started most opening days at this position
Catcher 20 Earl Battey, Butch Wynegar, Joe Mauer – 6
1B 19 Kent Hrbek – 12
2B 20 Rod Carew – 9
SS 16 Zoilo Versalles, Roy Smalley, Greg Gagne – 7
3B 23 Gary Gaetti – 9
LF 25 Mickey Hatcher, Dan Gladden, Marty Cordova, Jacques Jones – 4
CF 20 Torii Hunter – 9
RF 19 Tony Oliva – 8
DH 25 Paul Molitor, Randy Bush, Glenn Adams – 3
P 25 Brad Radke – 9


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