Today we have a guest post by Treavor Lenz who is celebrating the 40th anniversary of his first Twins game which he saw at Met Stadium. I enjoy the stories and thoughts that readers of this site share either through comments, messages or e-mails. If I can, I try to share them with other Twins fans. In this case Treavor talks about many different Twins historical events that he has had the pleasure to witness in person over the last 40 years. That is one of the cool things about baseball, it seems like certain games or events stay with you for a life time.
The young Twins fans of today haven’t had the opportunity to witness some of the wonderful events that have taken place over the years. What is cooler than reading about a Twins historical event from a person that actually was there when it took place? Thanks for taking the time to share your memories with us Treavor!
Hi Twins fans!
This August 16th marks a famous day in Twins history…. Well, for me, at least. It’s the 40th anniversary of my first Twins game I ever attended at the Old Met. I had just turned 7 and my Dad and I joined a Knothole Gang bus tour out of Eagle Lake, MN (I grew up in Waseca, MN.). The sights and sounds of the ballpark were awesome for me and the game had a few historical significance’s, too. The Indians were managed by Frank Robinson, a future HOFer and the first African-American to lead an MLB team. As noted in the Twins Trivia “This Day In Twins History” page, the Twins set an MLB record as all 9 players in the starting lineup had at least 2 hits, 20 total on the day. Phil Roof’s home run landed just a section away from where we were sitting! Tony Oliva and Rod Carew were definite favorites. It’s too bad… I had missed out on seeing Harmon Killebrew by one season.
I was hooked; I wanted to see the Twins play each year and on or around my birthday, for sure. I made it back to the Old Met, Metrodome and Target Field at least once each summer until 2011, 37 straight years! After college at Iowa State, getting married and starting a family, my career took me to Wisconsin in 1999, so getting back for a game became wasn’t as easy as just picking up one evening and going to the Twin Cities from southern MN, but my desire spurred by that 7 year old’s memories kept it going for a while.
I wanted to share a few favorite memories of Twins games I attended with you today.
Other “This Day In Twins History” games I saw were:
- Dave Goltz’s 180 (!) pitch, 11 inning, complete game 2-1 win over the A’s on July 25, 1977. I only realized a few years ago researching games I’d been to how high his pitch count was.
- The only double-header in Metrodome history on August 1, 1983 (my 15th birthday) vs. the Angels, caused by the April 14, 1983 snowstorm that deflated the Metrodome roof. On that April day when they announced when the double-header would be, I simply told my folks, “We’re going!” Two games and a return trip of Rod Carew! Reggie Jackson had two doubles in the first game. The Twins split, with Rick Lysander winning the second game with an amazing complete game, 11-hit shutout. Darrell Brown went 4-4, too.
- Dave Kingman’s pop up that got stuck in the Metrodome roof on May 4, 1984, that, after much deliberation, the umpires ruled a ground rule double.
- Steve Carlton’s last MLB win (329) vs. the A’s in an important 1987 AL West division game. He went 8 and 2/3’s innings. Also, Don Baylor was an underrated pickup for the 1987 Champs!
- Casey Blake was on fire on July 5, 2003! The Indians’ slugger was 5-5, with two doubles and two HRs, adding 7 RBIs in Cleveland’s 13-2 win. My brother “became an Indians fan” in the seventh, “since they were the only ones hitting that day.”
Other memories include:
- In 1976 vs. the Yankees, my Dad almost broke his hand on a Mickey Rivers’ foul liner that just kept climbing into the second deck, 3rd base side.
- A 1977 tilt, when Lyman Bostock had a go-ahead, 8th inning homer, the White Sox and Twins seventh of the day, to win it 7-6 and the whole 1977 season when Carew, Bostock, Hisle and Ford were key hitters in a fun season. (Reminds me a little of the current 2015 Twins!)
- A great stab by Rob Wilfong going towards first, starting a 4-6-3 DP, of a line one hop smash by Jim Rice. My section was right in front of it! You’ve got to give Rice credit; he hustled and almost beat it out. The Twins beat a star-studded Red Sox team 5-2 on July 25, 1978 that featured Fred Lynn, Carl Yastrzemski, Carlton Fisk, George “Boomer” Scott and Jim Rice.
- Waiting out a 2 hour rain delay to see Detroit bet the Twins 8-3 in 1979. Willie Norwood would always have a good game at the plate when I went.
- Jerry Koosman pitched a 10 inning complete game 2-1 win over the 2 time defending World Champ Yankees the day before my 12th birthday, July 31, 1980. John Castino doubled in Ken Landreaux all the way from first off of future HOF closer Goose Gossage. Even Reggie’s strikeouts were majestic!
- Seeing Harvey Kuenn’s Wallbangers with Paul Molitor, Robin Yount, Ben Oglivie, and Gorman Thomas in the last game I saw at Met Stadium in September 1981. They did in the overmatched Twins 16-5. Mark Funderburk hit a towering sacrifice fly in his Twins’ debut at-bat.
- My first game in the Metrodome in 1982. First (full) year phenom Kent Hrbek was intentionally walked with no one on and 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th as Texas preserved a 3-2 win.
- The arrival of a dynamo named Kirby Puckett, who swung at anything and hit line drives and ran everything down in center. KIRRR-BY PUCKETT!!!!—never got tired of the PA announcer’s call!
- A fan a few rows in front of me made a great bare handed catch of a foul liner off of the bat of Orioles’ first baseman Eddie Murray. If it had skipped through, I was ready!
- A fan a few rows behind me by the cement aisle steps dropped a foul pop from Randy Bush. As I got my hand on it after judging the one hop, my brother informs me that another fan pushed me squarely in the back trying to reach over me for it, too. The ball skittered away from both of us. I never got any closer to a ball than that!
- Oakland CF Dave Henderson losing the ball in the white Metrodome ceiling and LF Rickey Henderson’s mad dash (to no avail) to try to catch it behind him!
- Seeing 12 games in 1987, including Game 2 of the 1987 World Series! My Dad’s brother, Uncle Fred got 2 sets of 2 tickets to it. My brother, Aaron, and I sat in one and Dad and Fred in the other. Gary Gaetti’s HR (inside the foul pole right in front of us), Randy Bush’s RBI double, Bert Blyleven going 7 innings and the loudest atmosphere I’d ever been in stand out. A Tom Brunansky bottom of the 9th HR vs. the Brewers for a 2-1 win was key that year. KC Royals Danny Tartabull’s 9th inning 3 run HR off of Jeff Reardon was not. Oddly, the Twins were 5 wins and 6 losses in the 11 regular season games I attended—the year they had such a great home record!
- Boston’s Roger Clemens outdueled Scott Erickson 1-0 in about 1990. Clemens finished with a complete game 2 hitter and Scotty went about 7 and 2/3’s. Leadoff batter Billy Hatcher cueballed a spinning double past Kent Hrbek down the first base line, Wade Boggs singled him in and that was it for the scoring after the top of the first!
- Seattle’s Ken Griffey, Jr and Ken Griffey, Sr playing together. Junior homered, naturally…
- The M & M boys (Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau) hit line drives all over the place.
- The last game I saw at the Metrodome was in July 2009 vs. Detroit. Each time Detroit would score so would the Twins until their one run in the 16th inning could not match the three the Tigers had scored. Longest game I’ve ever attended!
- The two games at Target Field in 2010 and 2011, both against the Rays. Jim Thome’s shot off the wall only resulted in an RBI single (a few feet short of a home run) as they lost in ’10, but Michael Cuddyer’s bloop RBI single was the winning margin in ’11.
I’ve probably left off a few deserving entries, but what I enjoyed the most about going to a Twins game was attending WITH MY FAMILY! My Dad Ken, Mom Kathy, sister Kelli, brother Aaron, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and later, my wife Becky, my kids Trey, Kylie, and the twins (of course!) Mikayla and Mackenzie, her folks Arlin and Carol, brother Brian, and sister Deb’s family are the people with whom I enjoyed Twins games!
I hope you enjoyed a look at the last 40 years of Twins baseball as I saw it! Go Twins!!!
As I was prepping this post by tagging all the players that Treavor mentioned it dawned on me that some of these players had slipped into the archives of my own memory banks as I age but seeing their name in print again brought back many memories, some funny, some exciting, some good, some bad, some historic, and some that are just plain sad. That’s a good thing, damn I love baseball. Thanks again Treavor.