1961 Minnesota Twins season

1961 Minnesota Twins
First season in Minnesota
Major League affiliations
Other information
Owner(s) Calvin Griffith (majority owner, with Thelma Griffith Haynes)
General manager(s) Calvin Griffith
Manager(s) Cookie Lavagetto, Sam Mele
Local television WTCN-TV
Local radio 830 WCCO AM
(Bob Wolff, Ray Scott, Halsey Hall)
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In 1961 the Twins finished the season with a record of 70–90, good for seventh in the American League, which had expanded from 8 to 10 teams during the 1960–61 offseason. It was the franchise's first season in Minnesota after 60 seasons in Washington, D.C. The Twins played their home games at Metropolitan Stadium.


After 60 seasons in Washington, the Senators franchise moved to the Minneapolis–Saint Paul area – or, more precisely, Bloomington, Minnesota – in 1961. In honor of the cities' nickname, "The Twin Cities", the franchise changed the team's name to the Twins. As one of the conditions to allow the team to move, there would be a new Senators franchise in Washington in 1961, an expansion team that joined the league along with the Los Angeles Angels.

Opening Day

The Twins won their first-ever game, when Pedro Ramos shut out the New York Yankees in Yankee Stadium on April 11. In beating the defending American League champs 6–0, Ramos out-dueled New York ace Whitey Ford, allowing just three hits and a walk. Ramos drove in two with a single himself. Bob Allison hit the first home run in Minnesota big-league history with a solo shot off Ford in the seventh inning, and Reno Bertoia followed with another homer, a two-run blast, an inning later off Ralph Terry.[1] On April 21, the Twins lost their home opener to the expansion team that replaced them in the nation's capital, the second edition of the Senators, 5–3, before 24,606 at Metropolitan Stadium.[2]

Starting lineup, April 11, 1961

  2Zoilo Versalles   SS
  7Lenny GreenCF
  3Harmon Killebrew   1B
23Jim LemonLF
  4Bob AllisonRF
10Earl BatteyC
  1Reno Bertoia3B
  9Billy Gardner2B
14Pedro RamosP[1]

Regular season

The move to Minnesota immediately paid dividends at the turnstiles, where they drew 1,256,723 fans, the third highest total in the American League. The previous year in Washington, the Senators drew just 743,404 fans, worst in the league.[3] However, the team's record went in the other direction, as they dropped from 73–81 and fifth place in 1960 to 70–90 and seventh place under the new 162-game AL schedule.

In early June, after a losing streak that reached eleven games, Twins owner Calvin Griffith directed manager Cookie Lavagetto to take a week-long sabbatical. Two weeks after his return, Lavagetto was fired by Griffith. Cookie had been managing the club since the 1957 season. He was replaced by his first base coach Sam Mele.[4]

In a home Fourth of July double-header against Chicago, the Twins' Julio Bécquer hit a pinch hit grand slam home run that was the first of its kind in major league history—each run was credited to a different Chicago pitcher (Billy Pierce, Russ Kemmerer, Frank Baumann and Warren Hacker). In the second game, Twins slugger Harmon Killebrew hit an inside-the-park home run—the only one he would hit in his 573-homer career.

Two Twins made the All-Star Game: first baseman Harmon Killebrew (both games) and pitcher Camilo Pascual (second game).

On August 20, pitchers Jack Kralick and Al Schroll each hit a home run against the Los Angeles Angels—the sixth and final pitching duo to do so in the same game. On September 27, Schroll took a no-hitter into the ninth inning before giving up four runs on two walks and two hits.[5]

Pedro Ramos was the first pitcher to lead the American League in losses for four years in a row.[6] Both Harmon Killebrew and Bob Allison topped 100 in RBI, walks and strikeouts.

Harmon Killebrew led the team with 46 home runs, 122 runs batted in, and 94 runs scored. Camilo Pascual led the Twins with 15 wins and a 3.46 ERA. Catcher Earl Battey won his second Gold Glove Award.[7]

Season standings

American League W L Pct. GB
New York Yankees10953.673--
Detroit Tigers10161.6238
Baltimore Orioles9567.58614
Chicago White Sox8676.53123
Cleveland Indians7883.48430.5
Boston Red Sox7686.46933
Minnesota Twins7090.43838
Los Angeles Angels7091.43538.5
Kansas City Athletics61100.37947.5
Washington Senators61100.37947.5

Record vs. opponents

1961 American League Records

Baltimore 11–711–79–99–913–58–1011–79–9–114–4
Boston 7–119–95–138–1010–811–7–111–75–1310–8
Chicago 7–119–912–66–1214–410–89–9–16–1213–5
Cleveland 9–913–56–126–128–910–810–84–1412–6
Detroit 9–910–812–612–612–6–114–411–78–1013–5
Kansas City 5–138–104–149–86–12–19–97–114–149–9
Los Angeles 10–87–11–18–108–104–149–98–96–1210–8
Minnesota 7–117–119–9–18–107–1111–79–84–148–9
New York 9–9–113–512–614–410–814–412–614–411–7
Washington 4–148–105–136–125–139–98–109–87–11

Notable transactions


1961 Minnesota Twins
Pitchers Catchers


Outfielders Manager


Player stats

= Indicates team leader


Starters by position

Note: Pos = Position; G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Pos Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
CEarl Battey133460139.3021755
1BHarmon Killebrew150541156.28846122
2BBilly Martin10837492.246636
CFLenny Green156600171.285950
RFBob Allison159556136.24529105

Other batters

Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
José Valdivielso7614929.19519
Reno Bertoia3910422.21218
Ron Henry20284.14303
Billy Consolo1150.00000


Starting pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Pedro Ramos42264.111203.95174
Camilo Pascual35252.115163.46221
Jim Kaat36200.29173.90122
Bert Cueto721.1137.175

Other pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Gerry Arrigo79.20110.246

Relief pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; SV = Saves; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G W L SV ERA SO
Ray Moore4644143.6745
Gary Dotter20009.002
Fred Bruckbauer10000

Farm system

Level Team League Manager
AAA Syracuse Chiefs International League Gene Verble and Frank Verdi
AA Nashville Vols Southern Association Spencer "Red" Robbins
A Charlotte Hornets Sally League Ellis Clary
B Wilson Tobs Carolina League Jack McKeon
D Fort Walton Beach Jets Alabama–Florida League Vern Morgan
D Wytheville Twins Appalachian League Red Norwood
D Erie Sailors New York–Penn League Harry Warner



  1. 1 2 Retrosheet box score: 1961-04-11
  2. Retrosheet box score:1961-04-21
  3. 1960 Senators at Baseball-Reference
  4. Minnesota Twins: The Complete Illustrated History, 2010 Edition, p. 31, Dennis Brackin and Patrick Reusse, MVP Books, ISBN 978-0-7603-3684-7
  5. "Minnesota Twins". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved January 18, 2016.
  6. Great Baseball Feats, Facts and Figures, 2008 Edition, p. 348, David Nemec and Scott Flatow, A Signet Book, Penguin Group, New York, ISBN 978-0-451-22363-0
  7. "Minnesota Twins". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved December 15, 2015.
  8. Faye Throneberry at Baseball Reference
  9. Jackie Collum at Baseball Reference
  10. Billy Martin at Baseball Reference
  11. Bill Tuttle at Baseball Reference


  • Player stats from www.baseball-reference.com
  • Team info from www.baseball-almanac.com
  • Johnson, Lloyd; Wolff, Miles, eds. (1997). The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball (2nd ed.). Durham, North Carolina: Baseball America. ISBN 978-0-9637189-8-3. 
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