Almost 60 years ago, the Washington Senators made the move to the Twin Cities and became the Minnesota Twins. Starting with their first-ever game in Minnesota, the name you need to know is Pedro Ramos.
The Cuban pitcher made his MLB appearance on April 11, 1955 for the Washington Senators. He spent his first six years with the Senators before the franchise moved up to Minnesota. I wouldn’t blame you if his name doesn’t come to mind—he posted a career 117-160 pitching record and ERA of 4.08. However, April 11th, 1961, six years to the day after making his MLB debut, the 6’0 right hander put his name into the history books.
The Minnesota MLB franchise was just about to play their first ever game. That first game, (of course,) had to be at Yankee Stadium against the New York Yankees (who just so happened to have Yogi Berra, Roger Maris, and Mickey Mantle on the team at the time.) This New York Yankees team would dominate the season, winning 109 games and the World Series in five games over the Cincinnati Reds. This would give them a remarkable 19th World Series and they would even add a 20th the following year.
April 11th 1961 was not kind to the Yankees though. Pedro Ramos went into Yankee Stadium in front of over 14,000 in attendance and absolutely dominated the Yankees. He pitched a complete game shutout, giving up only three hits, and striking out five. The Twins went on to win the game 6-0 and have the most perfect day they could ask for. Who would have thought that going into Yankee Stadium opening day and shutting out the Yankees—with the talent they had on the roster—would be possible?
Apparently, Pedro Ramos did. He never had a “career year” in baseball but he sure did have a career defining day. The Minnesota Twins franchise got off to a perfect opening day start in large part because of Ramos’ cold-blooded dominance on the mound that day.
Side note: The Twins would go on to finish 70-90 on the season and miss the playoffs, but four years later they would make the World Series in 1965, losing in seven to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Pedro ended up losing 20 games in the 1961 season (which meant he lead the league in losses for a fourth straight year). He would actually make his career one all-star appearance during his four straight years of leading the league in losses.. Interestingly, he went on to play for the Yankees from 1964-1966; and made unexpected history while there as he couldn’t pitch in the 1964 World Series due to being traded after August 31st.
Ramos didn’t have a hall of fame career but he put himself in Minnesota Twins history forever because of April 11, 1961.