January 28, 2016

Inside baseball: Former Twins sponsor has ties to current team ownership

The Classic Minnesota Twins! blog has a new post about an old film discovered on YouTube. The 22-minute film is about the 1970 team, which won 98 games that year, but lost badly to the Baltimore Orioles (again) in the post-season.

But what was interesting to me were the first few images of the film, showing the name of the sponsor — Midwest Federal — and an introduction by a sponsor representative, Harold Greenwood Jr., identified as the president of the bank.

Midwest Federal Savings and Loan, which was based in Minneapolis, had been in business 99 years until it failed in 1989 as part of the savings and loan crisis that swept the country during the 1980s.

Greenwood and others were later indicted on Federal fraud and conspiracy charges for financial losses at the failed thrift. Greenwood eventually was sentenced to 46 months in prison and ordered to forfeit $3.6 million for racketeering.

MinnPost, an online news site, included the above in a list of 150 Minnesota moments “we’d just soon forget.”

But after Midwest Federal savings collapsed, another name familiar to Twins fans stepped forward to sort through the wreckage: Carl Pohlad.

After Pohlad bought the Twins from Calvin Griffith in 1984 — and then watched as the Twins won the World Series in 1987 and 1991 — Pohlad made a shrewd business deal in 1989, paying $3.2 million to acquire the deposits of eight former Midwest Federal branches, totaling $638 million.

Pohlad was no dummy. After investing in community banks and other companies for most of his career, Pohlad’s net worth had climbed to $3.6 billion before his death in 2009. He was 93. The Pohlad family continues to run the Twins today.

Here’s the old film on YouTube that was sponsored by Midwest Federal:


Hi, I’m Rolf Boone and I love the Twins.

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.