A season after the Twins went to the World Series in 1965, they got off to a slow start and played mostly .500 ball. But there were signs the second half of the season might be different, particularly on June 9, 1966, when the Twins hosted the Kansas City A’s before only 9,600 fans.
Curveballer Camilo Pascual got the start for the Twins, while Catfish Hunter, pitching in his second full season of major league baseball, earned the nod for the A’s. Pascual couldn’t get out of the first inning and the A’s took the early lead.
Hunter would go six-plus innings, but the young pitcher encountered a wrecking crew in the seventh when the Twins hit a history-making five home runs off him and a reliever. It started with Rich Rollins, followed by Zoilo Versalles, Tony Oliva, Don Mincher and finally the big bopper himself, Harmon Killebrew. When it was all over, the Twins led 9-4 and preserved that lead for the win.
Pascual was spelled by Twins reliever, Dwight Siebler, who pitched four scoreless innings. Pete Cimino picked up the win and Al Worthington notched the two-inning save.
The Twins finished the first half of 1966 at 40-45, but were a sizzling 49-28 the rest of the way, including 21-11 in August. The Twins were 10-8 versus the A’s that season and an incredible 28-8 against the Chicago White Sox and Washington Senators. The Twins were good enough to finish the season at 89-73, but not good enough to overtake the Baltimore Orioles, who won the American League by nine games. The O’s went on to sweep the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series. Consider this feat: they beat Don Drysdale twice and Sandy Koufax once en route to the title.
-Hunter’s career with the A’s finally turned a corner in l970 when he won 18 games. He then reeled off five straight seasons of 20 or more wins with the A’s and New York Yankees.
-After the win over the A’s on June 9, the Twins headed to Chicago and swept the Pale Hose in three games.
-Twins pitcher, Jim Kaat, had his best season in 1966. He was 25-13 with a 2.75 ERA and had 205 strikeouts in 304-plus innings, a career high for innings pitched.
-Denard Span, who spent five of his 11 seasons in major league baseball with the Twins, has announced his retirement. He hit .311 in 2009.
-In last week’s amateur draft, the Twins’ first pick went to University of North Carolina first baseman Aaron Sabato. Sabato, according to MLB.com, hit 343/.453/.696 with a North Carolina-record 18 homers as a freshman in 2019.
Griffith Stadium, Washington DC, July 27, 1960 – Harmon Killebrew of Senators and Tigers catcher Hank Foiles can only wait as game is delayed in 12th inning due to heavy fog. Sens won it 5-4 in 15 innings. Foiles in his Tigers debut (traded from Cleveland) cranked out 5 hits pic.twitter.com/J8eKrSeOop
— Old-Time Baseball Photos (@OTBaseballPhoto) June 14, 2020