Friday April 21, 1961
As Shirley Povich pointed out in the Sporting News, technically the first ever home major league game in Minnesota was between the Washington Senators and the Washington Baseball Club, Inc, who hadn’t yet bothered to redraw incorporation papers since the move.
24,606 Minnesota baseball fans piled into Metropolitan Stadium for the event. AP Writer George Moses led with this list of disappointments from what should have been a great day in Minnesota:
1. They lost the opener to the new Washington Senators, the team that replaced them in the nation’s capital.
2. Attendance was about 7,000 less than capacity.
3. The defeat knocked them out of first place.
The attendance was particularly disappointing due to the weather, fair skies with highs in the low 60’s. The Twins were hoping for at least 30,000.
Aside from the listed problems, there were some other small problems associated with the first major league game in Minnesota. Team owner Calvin Griffith was initially denied entry into the press box for lack of credentials (no word if anybody lost their job that day). The Senators waited around outside the stadium for about 20 minutes looking for the correct gate, and the Commissioner of baseball Ford Frick had difficulty raising the U.S. Flag in a pregame ceremony. Despite receiving help, the flag was stuck at half-staff, where it stayed for the duration of the game.
There was a game as well, and the Twins fell behind immediately when Washington posted two runs in the first inning, including a solo home run by Dale Long – the first major league home run at the Met. The first Twins’ home run came off the bat of Don Mincher, who hit a two-run shot in the bottom of the fourth. Lenny Green hit a solo home run for the Twins in the bottom of the eighth, but those two plays accounted for all of the Twins’ scoring in a 5-3 loss.
Green’s run briefly tied the game, and took Camilo Pascual off the hook for the decision, but the Nats scored a pair off of Ray Moore in the ninth inning to secure the win.
Team Name G W L T PCT GB RS RA Detroit Tigers 6 5 1 0 .833 - 43 18 New York Yankees 6 5 1 0 .833 - 23 18 Minnesota Twins 7 5 2 0 .714 0.5 31 26 Cleveland Indians 7 4 3 0 .571 1.5 28 30 Chicago White Sox 6 3 3 0 .500 2.0 17 26 Washington Senators 7 3 4 0 .429 2.5 22 23 Boston Red Sox 5 2 3 0 .400 2.5 12 13 Kansas City Athletics 4 1 3 0 .250 3.0 11 15 Baltimore Orioles 6 1 5 0 .167 4.0 23 30 Los Angeles Angels 6 1 5 0 .167 4.0 17 28
Up next: Game 2 of the series Saturday – Pedro Ramos vs Bennie Daniels.