1969 & 1970: Twins clinch the AL West

September 22, 1969

September 22 was a good day for the Twins. In 1969, it was the day that the team clinched the first ever AL West Division title.

After failing to clinch at home in a 4-3 loss to the Seattle Pilots the day before, the Twins took care of business on the road with a 4-3 win over Kansas City. 7,727 Royals fans looked on as Bob Miller allowed three runs over eight innings pitched. Harmon Killebrew’s solo home run in the top of the fourth inning, his 47th of the season, started the scoring for the Twins. Cesar Tovar had two RBI’s in the game, helping the Twins to a 4-1 lead heading into the ninth inning.

Miller ran into some trouble there, but Al Worthington came on to make the save with the go-ahead run at the plate.

September 22, 1970

A year to the day after they clinched the first AL West title, the Twins added the second to their trophy case. This time they did it with a 5-3 win over the second-place Oakland A’s in Oakland. The big hit of the game came in the top of the first inning, when Tony Oliva hit a two-run home run that gave the Twins a lead they would never give up. Jim Holt knocked in two runs as well, helping Jim Kaat earn his 13th win of the season.

A note from Bob Fowler in TSN described an incident at the celebration:

During the early morning celebration after clinching the division title, pitcher Dave Boswell was hit by catcher Paul Ratliff and fell to the floor in a motel hallway, and a glass he was holding shattered in his right hand. Boswell received 22 stitches and an apology.

The doctor’s report said that Boswell would not miss any pitching time the next season. It turned out that he did pitch, but not in Minnesota. For his part, Ratliff figured the incident had “seriously damaged” his career. Still, he had four PA’s in Game 3 of the ALCS, and returned to the team for the start of 1971. He was traded to Milwaukee in July.

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