The Minnesota Twins are playing their final spring training game today and I am sure they are hoping for a quick non extra inning game so they can grab a quick shower and board the plane for their flight to Minneapolis where they look to get settled in before they open the season against the Detroit Tigers on Monday, April 1. It seems that the baseball gods are having a good laugh and are playing an April Fool’s joke on both the Twins and the Tigers by making them play ball on day that the weather prognosticators say will be a windy 31 degrees at game time with wind chills in the 20’s.
When the Twins first moved here from Washington they played outdoors in Metropolitan Stadium from 1961 through the 1981 season. In-door baseball was just at the starting gate about this time as Roy Hofheinz was in the process of building the “Eighth Wonder of the World” in Houston in what would open in April 1965 as the Harris County Domed Stadium but was later called simply as the Astrodome.
Let’s take a look at some of the interesting facts about the Twins home openers.
- The Twins called the “Met” home for 21 years and their record in their Met Stadium home openers was 21-9 including winning 10 out of 11 between 1964-1974.
- The first Twins pitcher to get credited with a win in a Twins home opener was Bill Pleis in 1964.
- Of those 21 Met home openers, only 5 of the games were actual season openers as the Twins started their season on the road most of the time. The Twins were 2-3 in season openers at the Met.
- During the Met Stadium years the Twins opened the season 6 times against the A’s, five times as Oakland and once as Kansas City and they won four and lost two.
- Between 1961 and 1981 they opened the home season as early as April 6 (1971) and as late as April 23 (1972).
- The average temperature at the start of a Twins home opener at Met Stadium was 56.48 degrees.
- The coldest start to a Twins home opener occurred on April 14, 1962 when it was 33 degrees at game time and the Twins ended up losing to the Los Angeles Angels 12-5 in front of 8,363 hardcore Twins fans. The coldest start ever to a game at Met Stadium took place against the New York Yankees in May 2, 1967 when the temperature stood at 32 degrees and the Twins trounced the Yankees 13-4.
- The warmest start to a Twins home opener took place on April 22, 1980 when the California Angels and Rod Carew were in town to take a 8-1 pasting at the hands of the Twins who were as hot as the 89 degree temperature that day. Geoff Zahn pitched a complete game and Hosken Powell, Ron Jackson and Roy Smalley all hit home runs.
The Twins moved indoors in 1982 and played in the HHH Metrodome through the 2009 season so the out-door temperatures mattered little as it was always between about 66-72 degrees inside.
- Of the 28 seasons that the Twins played dome ball, they opened the season at home 15 times and their record in these season opening games was 7-8.
- The Twins were 9-4 when their first game of the season at the Dome was not a season opener.
- Many of the Twins openers at the Dome were night games, something not done at any out-door venue in Minnesota.
- Between 1982 and 2009 they opened the home season as early as March 31 (2008) and as late as April 27 (1995).
Since the Twins have called Target Field home in 2010 they have never played a season opening game there until this year. The earliest game they have played there was April 8, 2011. The Twins are 2-1 in Target Field home openers. The average temperature at a Target field home opener so far has been 57.67 degrees but even if the temperature is only 31 degrees on Monday, the average temperature for a Target field home opener will still be about 51 degrees.
Here is a chart showing the Twins outdoor home openers.