November 28, 2022

The day the Twins’ Earl Battey met President Kennedy

In 1962, a year when major league baseball still played two All-Star games, the first of those games was played before 45,000 fans at D.C. Stadium on July 10. Among the fans that day, if one can call him that, was President John F. Kennedy.

The Twins produced three All-Stars for the game: Catcher Earl Battey, third baseman Rich Rollins and pitcher Camilo Pascual.

“The President seemed to be enjoying himself today,” the New York Times reported.

Before the start of the game, the National League’s Stan Musial and the American League’s Luis Aparicio were called to the president’s box for a special audience, according to the Times.

And then the President tossed out the first ball.

“He reared back and threw the ball into the waiting mitt of Earl Battey, the Minneapolis Twins catcher,” the Times reported. The newspaper of record apparently hadn’t caught on that the Twins were from Minnesota, representing both Minneapolis and St. Paul, otherwise known as the Twin Cities.

“In an obliging mood, he did it again for the photographers,” the Times noted about the President.

The National League won the first game, 3-1. Battey went hitless, Rollins had a hit and Pascual took the loss in relief of starter Jim Bunning, who went 19-10 in ‘62. The pitching win went to Juan Marichal, who followed Don Drysdale.

Twenty days later, the N.L. and A.L. All-Stars did it all over again, this time playing before 38,000 fans at Wrigley Field in Chicago. And this time the American League rolled to an easy victory, beating the National League 9-4.

Rollins had another hit, Battey walked and scored a run, and although Pascual and Jim Kaat were named to the team, they did not play.

Battey played eight of his 13-season major league career for the Twins. He was a five-time All-Star, a three-time Gold Glove winner and he slashed .270/.349/.409 over those 13 seasons.

As with most expansion clubs, the Twins turned in a disappointing first season with 90 losses, but then flipped the script for 1962 with 91 wins and a second place finish in the American League, five games behind the New York Yankees.

Also in 1962:

Harmon Killebrew smashed 48 home runs with 126 RBI and he walked more than 100 times, six of them intentional passes. That number would grow even higher as American League pitchers became more familiar with him. By 1966, he led the majors in intentional base on balls, according to

Pascual won 20 games, hurled 18 complete games, pitched five shutouts and struck out 206 batters with a 3.32 ERA.

The Twins attracted 1.4 million fans to the Met in 1962, the second highest total that season. Only the Yankees had more fans that season at 1.49 million.

The Dodgers’ Drysdale won the Cy Young with a record of 25-9 and a 2.83 ERA. The Giants’ Marichal went 18-11 with a 3.36 ERA.

Hat tip: The Twins Almanac.


Hi, I’m Rolf Boone, Twins fan.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.