I picked the worst time to become a Twins fan as a kid. I started watching games in 1993 as a seven-year-old in my grandma’s basement, and I was immediately hooked. On nights the Twins weren’t on, I’d scavenge the channels on our channel changing box on top of our old Panasonic set to see if I could find a Cubs or White Sox game on WGN or failing that, the Braves on the Superstation.
The 1992 Twins had just won 90 games and finished in second place behind the Oakland A’s — six games out in the AL West. That ‘93 team started the run of eight straight sub-.500 finishes, and I lived and died with each of those games.
The 1994 season was particularly rough. The Twins weren’t downright terrible — a .469 winning percentage is nothing to write home about — but the season was cut short due to the player’s strike. That strike abruptly ended Kent Hrbek’s career, Dave Winfield’s career with the Twins and shortened the penultimate season of Kirby Puckett’s career, as well.
But early that season, there was a glimmer of hope. Scott Erickson, the wunderkind righty whose striking good looks, steely gaze and hawkish demeanor on the mound won fans over in 1991, took to the mound on April 27 to start the first game of a rarely-seen two-game set with the visiting Milwaukee Brewers. He was opposed by Jaime Navarro, and a familiar face — former Twins catcher Brian Harper — started in right field, of all places, for the visitors.
Erickson wasn’t particularly dominant, but it didn’t matter as he carved up the Brewers for nine shutout innings. He fanned five batters, walked four and only got nine swinging strikes on 128 (!) pitches. But, at the end of the night, there was a zero in the hit column, and Erickson had pitched his way into Twins immortality as the first hurler to throw a no-hitter at the Metrodome — a feat later accomplished by Eric Milton, as well — as the first pitcher in club history to throw a no-no since Dean Chance had done so on Aug. 25, 1967 — 162 days before Erickson was born.
The Associated Press wrote about the unlikely no-hitter from the sinkerballer who ended the night with a 5.28 ERA, and later even The Onion got in on the action. An autographed, game-used ball from that game went for $230 in a recent online auction.
In lieu of full-game footage, which doesn’t exist online at this time — get on that, Classic Twins! — we’ve managed to cobble together some highlight footage, not only from the game, but post game stuff as well as Erickson reflecting about it years later. Enjoy!