Monday, January 04, 2010

The Original Senators Final Opening Day Lineup--The Picture Of The Day

Billy Gardner, Lenny Green, Don Mincher, Jim Lemon, Harmon Killebrew, Earl Battey, Billy Consolo, and Camilo Pascual--eight of the nine players in the Opening Day Lineup for The Original Washington Senators on April 17th at Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C. Five months later, Senators Owner Cal Griffith would receive permission to move Washington's American League Team to Bloomington, Minnesota to become The Twins. Little did anyone realize at the time, the core of this last Original Senators Team would become the backbone of the first World Series Team for Minnesotans in 1965.

Mincher, Killebrew, Battey & Bob Allison (not pictured but in the starting lineup that April, 1960 Day) would become everyday players for The 1965 American League Champion Twins--Pascual the 4th starter that season. 1960's Rookie Senators Pitcher--Lefty Jim Kaat--would go on to become a 16-time Gold Glove Winner and workhouse for the '65 Twins winning 18 games while starting 42 Games. Including the World Series that season against The Los Angeles Dodgers, "Kitty" pitched 319 total innings and 20 complete games. 25 years after his Major League Career began with The Washington Senators, it ended in 1983 after 283 victories and a near Hall Of Fame Career. Jim Kaat now a well known and respected broadcaster for the MLB Network--after many years broadcasting for The New York Yankees.

The 1965 American League MVP--Minnesota Shortstop Zoilo Versalles--was also an original Senator--as were '65 Twins regulars Rich Rollins & Jimmie Hall (both drafted by Washington). The amateur free agent signing of Tony Oliva in 1961 (one of the greatest hitters to ever play the game and whose persistent knee injuries curtailed a marvelous career) became The Twins rightfielder, and trades to acquire pitchers Jim Perry in 1963 and Mudcat Grant in 1964 on the mound--put these Minnesota Twins over the top four years after leaving The Nation's Capital.

The Dodgers beat Minnesota in that season's World Series in seven well played games, but The Twins of the 1960's were one of best teams in the game that decade--and unfortunate losers in the very first two American League Championship Series ever played in 1969 & 1970 (The Baltimore Orioles beat them both times). The Expansion Washington Senators, who replaced them in D.C., one of the worst teams of the decade.

Washington, D.C. has not hosted a World Series Game since 1933--when The New York Giants defeated The Nats in five games. But if The Original Senators did not field this pictured Final Opening Day Lineup that April 17th, 1960 afternoon and went on to participate in the 1965 World Series in D.C.--Major League Baseball might well have thrived here for decades to come with Washington as an American League Franchise.

The Minnesota Twins--participants in 10 playoffs, three World Series and winners of The World Series in both 1987 and 1991--since 1960. By comparison, The Orioles have appeared in just as many playoffs during the same time span and won just one more World Series Championship (3 out of Six trips).

The Original Senators Final Opening Day Lineup--The Picture Of The Day.

PS--Original Senator Jim Lemon in that final 1960's Starting Lineup was The Twins 1st Base Coach in 1965 (The Fiery Billy Martin the 3rd Base Coach). And Don Mincher would go on to become the only player to be a team member of both The Original Senators and Expansion Senators. He was also in uniform for Washington on September 30, 1971. Ironic and true.

Photo credit--Bettman/Corbis


Unknown said...

Thanks for the post. We have heard so much about the horror of the Senators leaving in 1971 but I often wondered what was the reaction to the Senators leaving in 1960? Supposedly they were bad and the announced a new franchise to replace that it wasn't as big a deal?

Screech's Best Friend said...

Phil Wood told me once that he recalls that The Expansion Senators were named right away to replace The Original Senators and it was like not that big of a deal--especially after during the first quarter of the 1961 Season, The New Senators were playing much better than the Now Twins. Of course, that didn't last long.

saxmanager said...

As I recall, the Senators were right around .500 the year before they moved to Minnesota. We really had high hopes for them, and as it turned out, we were right . Unfortunately, Griffith had other ideas and we were stuck with the hapless expansion team that stunk the place up until '71(or'72?)