SEASON: 13 | YEAR: 1961

Game 93 | January 16, 1961 | Cookie Lavagetto, Harmon Killebrew
Lavagetto was best known for his pinch-hit double to ruin Bill Bevens' no-hit bid in the 1947 World Series. He was the manager of the Washington Senators, who moved here to become the Minnesota Twins. With his Twins in 9th place, he was fired on June 23, 1961, and replaced by Sam Mele. Killebrew, the Twins' all-time home run leader, hit 46 homers in the Twins' first season, and drove in 122 runs while batting .288.

Game 94 | February 10, 1961 | Norm Van Brocklin
The "Dutchman" was named head coach of the new Minnesota Vikings just 23 days before he appeared at Dunkers. He remained the Vikings head coach until February 1967 when he resigned and was replaced by Bud Grant. As a player; Van Brocklin put together a Hall of Fame career through-out the 1950s as quarterback of the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles, which he led to the NLF title in 1960.

Game 95 | February 16, 1961 | Althea Gibson
Often referred to as "the Jackie Robinson of tennis," Gibson became the first international tennis star. She broke tennis' historic color barrier in 1950 and won both the U.S. Open and Wimbledon single titles in 1956. Tennis players made no money in those days. She suffered a stroke in 1992 and confided to her former doubles partner that she was on the brink of suicide. Her partner wrote a letter to the leading tennis magazine, and Gibson's mailbox was flooded with nearly $1 million in checks and cash. She died in 2003 at age 76.

(LtoR) Norm McGrew (physician), Althea Gibson, Jerry Moore

Game 96 | April 21, 1961 | Ford Frick
A former sports writer, Frick served as president of the National League from 1934-1951 and as commissioner of baseball from 1951 to 1965. He flew to Minnesota to welcome major league baseball to Minneapolis/St. Paul. Later that year; he was to make his most controversial decision when he ordered an asterisk to be placed next to Roger Maris' record-breaking 61 home runs. He argued that Babe Ruth's 1927 record of 60 home runs was achieved in a shorter season. The asterisk was later removed, and both records were surpassed by Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds.

(LtoR) Charlie Johnson (physician), Ford Frick, Ray Ewald

Game 97 | June 7, 1961 | Bud Erickson, Dan McGuire
Pete Rozelle, a former public relations executive, knew the value of good PR. He dispatched Erickson, the PR director for the Detroit Lions, and McGuire, the PR director for the San Francisco 49ers, to Minneapolis to help stir excitement for the Vikings' inaugural season.

Game 98 | September 27, 1961 | Jimmy Piersall, Jimmy Dykes
The Cleveland Indians were in town to play the Twins, and the Dunkers were entertained by centerfielder Piersall and manager Dykes. Piersall spent most of his major league career with the Boston Red Sox. He suffered from bipolar disorder, and his story was told in the movie, Fear Strikes Out. Dykes came to Cleveland the year before in a rare trade of managers that sent Joe Gordon to Detroit.

Game 99 | October 19, 1961 | Johnny Blanchard
A great athlete at Minneapolis Central High School, Blanchard was an outfielder and catcher for the New York Yankees, Kansas City Athletics and Milwaukee Braves. He appeared at Dunkers after starring in the 1961 World Series, in which he slugged two home runs while batting .400 and leading the Yankees to victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

Game 100 | November 17, 1961 | Fran Tarkenton, Tommy Mason
Tarkenton, a third-round draft choice out of Georgia, entered the Vikings' first regular-season game and led them to an upset of the Chicago Bears. He played 16 seasons in the National Football League and still leads the Vikings in career passing yards (33,098) and passing touchdowns (239). He was the league's Most Valuable Player in 1975 and was elected to the Pro Hall of Fame in 1986. Mason, a running back from Tulane who was the Vikings' first-ever draft pick, rushed for 3,285 yards and 28 touchdowns in six seasons with the Vikings.

(LtoR) Back row: Pug Lund, Bill Boyer (physician); Front row: Fran Tarkenton, Tommy Mason

Game 101 | December 12, 1961 | Sandy Stephens, John Mulvena, Bobby Bell
The 1961 Gopher football team went to the Rose Bowl for a second straight year and won the game over UCLA by a score of 21-3. Stephens and tackle Bell both were named All Americans. Stephens was the first African American All-American quarterback in college football history. Mulvena, a guard, was the team captain.


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