4/6/1951 – Twins pitching great and MLB Hall of Famer Rik Aalbert “Bert” Blyleven was born on this day in Zeist, Netherlands. Blyleven, now a Twins TV color commentator makes a big deal about his birthday and seems to mention his birthday on every Twins telecast and can tell you on any day of the year how many days it is until his next birthday. Bert is famous for using his “telestrator” for circling Twins fans in the crowd who have brought their “Circle me Bert” signs to the ball game.
4/6/1972 – For the first time in history, the major leagues failed to open because of a player strike, which started on April 1. The traditional season opener between Houston and Cincinnati was canceled and 86 games were lost before the strike was settled.
4/6/1973 – Tony Oliva hits the first home run ever by a designated hitter in AL history when he cranks one out against “Catfish” Hunter in Oakland in the Twins 8-3 victory.
4/6/1978 – In only the second game of the season while playing in the Kingdome, Twins 2B Rob Wilfong is hit by a pitch thrown by Mariners reliever Shane Rawley in the sixth inning and suffers a broken bone in his hand which sidelines him for a month.
4/6/1982 – A huge crowd of 52,279 turns out for the inaugural game at the brand-new Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. Twins rookie 3B Gary Gaetti goes 4-for-4 with a pair of home runs, but Seattle wins 11-7. By the way, the temperature outside that day was 28 degrees.
4/6/2004 – Playing in just his second major league game, Twins star rookie catcher Joe Mauer hears something “pop” as he slides and tries to catch a foul pop-up in a game against the Cleveland Indians at the Metrodome. The Twins actually ended up winning the game 7-6 in 15 innings. A few days later, April 8th, Joe ends up having surgery to repair a medial meniscus tear in his left knee. Mauer returns to the line-up on June 2 but continues to have trouble off and on with the knee swelling and he plays in his final 2004 game on July 15 and his first season as a Twin ends after just 35 games but in that short period he showed all of us what kind of bat he had as he hit .308 in 107 at bats.
4/6/2005 – The Twins are leading the Seattle Mariners 3-1 in the top of the 8th inning at Safeco Field when Ron Villone is brought in to face Twins 1B Justin Morneau. Villone beans Morneau and in the process Morneau suffers a mild concussion. According to a Star Tribune article in 2005, “Contributing to the concern is Morneau’s history of concussions. This was his fifth, although the first involving baseball. He suffered others playing basketball and hockey and, in the worst one, running backward in 2000 during a workout. He fell and hit the back of his head on the ground.” Morneau saw the pitch coming toward his head – a frightening recollection. “A heat-seeking missile,” Morneau called it. After a 2 week stint on the DL, Morneau returned to the line-up on April 22.
4/6/2009 – The Twins open their 28th and final season at the Metrodome with a 6-1 loss to the Seattle Mariners. The Twins opponent in the first regular season game at the Metrodome on April 6, 1982 was also the Mariners and the Twins lost that game 11-7.
By the way, I just set up a new page that I call Twins Audio and Video clips, check it out if you have a few minutes.