Two big league debuts as Twins, 47 years apart
Hank Izquierdo (C) – August 9, 1967 – Signed as a Free Agent with the Minnesota Twins prior to the 1963 season. Debuted in the 16th inning of a 20 inning 9-7 loss to the Washington Senators at Met Stadium as a PH and went 0 for 2.
J.G. Preston wrote the following about Izquierdo in his blog the J.G. Preston Experience:
“”Another Twins player who debuted at age 36 (and one who, like Mendoza, was also a native of Cuba) was Enrique “Hank” Izquierdo, who had actually retired as a player five years before he finally made the big leagues in 1967. In four seasons with Cincinnati’s Class AAA teams from 1957-60 Izquierdo posted batting averages of .153, .196, .218 and .186. Not exactly encouraging. In 1961 he was a player-coach with the Reds’ AAA team at Jersey City, and in 1962 he stopped playing altogether to be a bullpen catcher for the Cleveland Indians.
But he missed playing, so in 1963 Izquierdo hooked up with the Twins and dropped down to the Class A Florida State League, where he hit .297 and rekindled his career. By 1966 he was back up to AAA, and in ’67 he hit .300 for Denver of the Pacific Coast League to earn another call to the big leagues — this time as part of the active roster, when Earl Battey went on the disabled list with a dislocated thumb. It didn’t hurt that Cal Ermer had replaced Sam Mele as the Twins’ manager; Ermer had started the season at Denver and had also managed Izquierdo in winter ball.
With the Twins in the thick of one of the greatest pennant races in history (they wouldn’t be eliminated until the last day of the season), Izquierdo did just fine when called upon. The Twins went 7-2 in the games he started, and he finished the season with seven hits in 26 at-bats for a .269 batting average.
After the season Izquierdo was drafted by the Houston Astros’ Oklahoma City farm club and spent two years with them. After the 1968 season he was nearly killed while driving a cab in Miami when he was shot during a robbery, then his 1969 season ended prematurely when he was suspended for the rest of the season by American Association president Allie Reynolds after swinging a bat at future major league star Ted Simmons during an on-field argument. Izquierdo went on to manage in Mexico before returning to the Twins as a scout.”