October 22, 2020

The day Wayne Terwilliger was a footnote in a trade to get ‘Pafko at the Wall’

Wayne Terwilliger, the former longtime fist-base coach for the Twins, played 37 games for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1951. The Dodgers weren’t interested in Twig, but they did want the Chicago Cubs’ Andy Pafko, so the Dodgers sent a handful of players to the Cubs and got Pafko, Twig and more in return. Pafko was a decent hitter, but he is perhaps best remembered in a photograph that shows him against the outfield wall at the Polo Grounds, looking up at a home run hit by the New York Giants’ Bobby Thomson, also known as the “shot heard ’round the world.”

That’s according to Roger Kahn’s, “The Boys of Summer,” widely regarded as one of the best books about sports. I have long wanted to read the book and was lucky enough to get it for my birthday. The book is divided into two parts: the first part is about Kahn growing up in Brooklyn to become a sportswriter for the New York Herald Tribune — his observations about hard-boiled Daily News reporter, Dick Young, is one of the best things about the book — followed by a second part that focuses on several former Dodgers and the somewhat tragic (Roy Campanella, Clem Labine) humdrum lives they later lead.

And there’s no telling a Brooklyn Dodgers story without mentioning Jackie Robinson, the most important figure in the history of baseball. And we see him here, asked to turn the other cheek for years to the racial abuse he endured, dishing out anger in his own way.

The book was sailing along for me until a chapter about former Dodgers pitcher Carl Erskine and one of his children, Jimmy, someone we would describe today as having Down Syndrome, or more politely, a mental disability. But Kahn describes him as “mongoloid” which I find to be incredibly offensive.

His book was originally published in 1972, which seems modern enough to me to know that the term “mongoloid” is unacceptable. But maybe not. Kahn also resorts to “retarded,” which seems little better. Both uses put me off quite a bit and have hurt my overall enjoyment of the book. I’m glad we have learned to choose our words more carefully. I guess the other thing that bothers me about that chapter is this feeling that somehow Erskine’s life was diminished by Jimmy, and that is wrong, too.

Extra innings…

-Terwilliger is still with us at 95, according to Baseball-Reference.com, but longtime Minnesota media figure, Sid Hartman, died Sunday at 100. Many on social media left parting words for Hartman.

 

October 15, 2020

Twins killer Whitey Ford, who had career winning percentage of .690, is dead at 91

It’s hard to imagine that 2020 could get any worse, but it has after losing some of the giants of the game. In a matter of weeks, it seems, we have lost Tom Seaver, Lou Brock, Bob Gibson, Joe Morgan and longtime Yankees pitcher, Whitey Ford, the Chairman of the Board. Ford died last week... Continue Reading »

October 3, 2020

Despite the Twins’ monumental postseason failures, the future is bright. Really.

Amid the slow-moving train wreck that was the Twins’ Game 2 loss to the Houston Astros was this: Alex Kirilloff, a highly ranked prospect in the Twins organization, made his major league debut in that game and wasted no time in getting his first hit, a sharply lined single to right field. A right fielder... Continue Reading »

October 1, 2020

There is no God

If you’re a Twins fan of faith, you probably picked up the Good Book, then put it down, or perhaps even put it away. You probably also removed the cross on the wall behind the bed, and before you knelt bedside to say a few words to the almighty, you probably just sat there, head... Continue Reading »

September 30, 2020

Twins’ 17th postseason loss was about one thing: faith

Tuesday’s horrific Twins loss was not about Jorge Polanco, or Marwin Gonzalez, or Sergio Romo, or Tyler Duffey, or a lack of hitting, including 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position. After all, the Twins scored the first run of the game. But it was about faith, or in this case, the lack of faith shown... Continue Reading »

September 28, 2020

Twins win Central, face Houston on Tuesday

Despite losing 5-3 to the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday, the Twins still won the AL Central title because the Chicago White Sox lost again to the Chicago Cubs, 10-8. The Twins will now host the Houston Astros on Tuesday. I guess the Twins could be criticized for not winning the division outright on Sunday, but... Continue Reading »

September 27, 2020

For the Twins, it all comes down to Sunday

The Twins are already in the playoffs, but if they want to win their second consecutive AL Central title, they need to win one more game on Sunday. A Twins loss, combined with a Chicago White Sox win, would mean a title for the South Siders because they hold the tiebreaker, according to MLB.com. The... Continue Reading »

September 25, 2020

Twins extend lead in AL Central to 1 game after Tribe sweep White Sox

The Cleveland Indians just played spoiler. The Tribe swept a four-game series from the suddenly reeling Chicago White Sox on Thursday, increasing the Twins’ lead in the division to one game going into the final weekend of the 2020 season. The Twins host the Cincinnati Reds this weekend, while the White Sox host the Chicago... Continue Reading »

September 23, 2020

Attention South Siders: Here come the Twins

The Twins moved within a half-game of the Chicago White Sox for the top spot in the AL Central after they, and the Cleveland Indians, rallied to beat their respective teams on Tuesday. The Twins topped the Tigers in 10 innings and the Tribe, incredibly, losing 3-1 going into the bottom of the 10th inning,... Continue Reading »

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Hi, I’m Rolf Boone, Twins fan.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.