This Day in Twins History – May 31

 

Bert Blyleven

Bert Blyleven

5/31/1976 – With trade rumors running rampant due to how poorly salary negotiations had progressed, Bert Blyleven walked off the mound after pitching a complete game at the Met in front of 8,379 fans trailing the California Angels 3-1. A number of fans were on Blylevens’ case shouting and singing “bye-bye Bertie” and Blyleven angrily looked up at the hecklers and flashed them the “one finger salute”. That was the final straw for Twins management and Bert along with shortstop Danny Thompson was traded to Texas the next day for pitchers Bill Singer and Jim Gideon, shortstop Roy Smalley, 3B Mike Cubbage and $250,000.

Here is what Blyleven had to say about that trade in a piece he penned for NBC Sports in July 2010 – “In 1976, I could see my first trade coming. I was going to become a free agent at the end of the year, and Twins owner Calvin Griffith didn’t have any interest in negotiating a new contract with me. In fact, at the start of the year, he sent me a contract for the exact same amount I had made the previous year. I rejected it, hoping to get a raise, but his next offer was for 20 percent less, which was allowed as I was under team control. Obviously that was a sign that the Twins weren’t going to keep me around. When the trade to the Rangers came down on June 1 that year, I didn’t handle it very well. When I got my last out in a 3-2, complete-game defeat the night before, I gave the fans a one-finger salute as I left the field. It was a mistake on my part, but I was young and upset at how ownership had treated me. But despite my initial unhappiness, things worked out in the end, and Texas gave me a three-year contract for three times as much as I was making in Minnesota. When the Rangers needed hitting a year and a half later, they dealt me to Pittsburgh as part of a four-team deal. The Pirates added three more years to my contract, which was nice, and also gave me a chance to win my first championship, as we took the World Series in 1979.”

Ken Landreaux5/31/1980 – Outfielder Ken Landreaux goes 0-for-4 in Minnesota’s 11-1 loss to the Orioles Scott McGregor, ending his hitting streak at 31 consecutive games. It is the longest streak in the AL since Dom DiMaggio’s 34-game streak in 1949. Ken’s streak started on April 23rd. Landreaux had 49 hits in 125 at bats during the streak for a .392 batting average. This streak still remains the team record.

 

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