1981: Laudner’s Debut

August 28, 1981

Just four days earlier, Twins rookie Kent Hrbek made an impression when he hit a home run in Yankee Stadium in his first major league game. The Twins were back home after a nine-game road trip and decided to start another young player in his first major league game on the second day of the home stand.

Tim Laudner had been tearing up the Southern League. In fact, the Mason City, Iowa native was later named the league’s MVP thanks in part to his 42 home runs with Orlando. Billy Gardner wrote the Friday night lineup with Launder batting eighth, between Gary Ward and Lenny Faedo.

Laudner’s first at-bat led off the third inning. He singled up the middle but ultimately was stranded when the next three Twins were retired. He came around again in the very next inning, this time drawing a walk with two outs and a runner at third.

The most memorable plate appearance didn’t happen until the seventh inning. WIth no outs and Ward on first, Laudner launched his first major league home run. It came off of Tiger starter Dave Rozema, who failed to retire Laudner. The rookie didn’t make an out until Aurelio Lopez forced him to pop out to the catcher in the bottom of the eighth. By that time, the Twins already had a 6-0 lead, one that held up for the win.

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