A baseball memory from a cold July 4th

The July 4th holiday fell on a Tuesday back in 1967. What a cold Tuesday it was, one of the coldest in the modern era. Pipestone started the day with a reading of 36 degrees F, while campers at Itasca State Park built fires to stay warm with 35 degrees F. Further north in Baudette and Orr it was just 34 degrees F.

In the Twin Cities the Old Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington hosted a double header between the Twins and the Yankees with nearly 25,000 fans in attendance. The Twins were contending that year for the American League Pennant (they ended up finishing 1 game behind the Boston Red Sox), and Rod Carew was having a great year, later rewarded by being named AL Rookie of the Year.

But this July 4th baseball doubleheader was the coldest ever played at the Old Met. During this doubleheader the temperature fluctuated between 55 and 58 degrees F under overcast skies with easterly winds of 8-10 mph. Many of the fans were wearing sweatshirts and jackets, and the pitchers wore their warm up jackets between innings. Despite two homeruns by Mickey Mantle, the Twins won the first game (8-3) behind Tony Olivia (HR,2 RBI) and Cesar Tovar (3 hits, 3 RBI), and 9 strong innings from Mudcat Grant. In the second game, after 3 hours and 15 minutes Tony Olvia hit a single to right field to score Cedar Tovar in the bottom of the 9th inning as the Twins won (7-6) for reliever Al Worthington.

In all the Twins fans endured nearly 6 hours of baseball that day in some of the coldest July weather in history. Most who attended remember the game for two reasons: a rare sweep of the Yankees; and the cold, cold weather. Perhaps such memories will be in the making for the new Twins Stadium starting next year.

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