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:

January 21, 2016

Torii’s turn: Hunter reflects on his baseball career via The Players’ Tribune

First Michael Cuddyer and now Torii Hunter, both of whom played for the Twins, has penned some thoughts about his playing career on The Players’ Tribune after he retired at the end of last season. .@toriihunter48 reflects on his baseball beginnings, the 2002 @Twins and pranking Big Papi. https://t.co/nCfeANZw8G pic.twitter.com/cTPWOCTNqS — The Players' Tribune (@PlayersTribune)... Continue Reading »

January 18, 2016

Sam Mele, who guided Twins to 1965 World Series appearance, turns 94 this week

Sam Mele, who won 524 games as manager of the Twins from 1961 to 1967, will celebrate his 94th birthday on Thursday. Mele’s tenure with the Twins wasn’t long, but after the Washington Senators relocated to Minnesota for the 1961 season, it also wasn’t long before the Twins showed improvement. Under Mele, the Twins won... Continue Reading »

January 17, 2016

A State of the Union address for Twins fans

President Barack Obama delivered his final State of the Union address last week, reassuring Americans that the country remains in good shape, despite recent concerns about the economy and national security. The 2011 State of the Union address But this is a blog about one particular baseball team, so I ask: What’s the state of... Continue Reading »

January 11, 2016

Yes, Torii Hunter will be voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame

After a 19-year career in the Major Leagues, including 12 seasons spent with the Twins, Torii Hunter retired at the end of last season. He’ll now have to wait five years before he appears on his first Hall of Fame ballot. Torii Hunter But once he does, I believe he will be enshrined. It won’t... Continue Reading »

January 7, 2016

Remembering Brian Harper, baseball catcher

I have a small but growing collection of Twins’ memorabilia: there’s Kirby Puckett’s rookie card, the license plate, the old pennant flag, the Brad Radke bobblehead, a Casey Fien-signed baseball, a ball with Frank Viola and Jack Morris signatures and the Johan Santana autograph. The newest addition, which I received as a Christmas gift, is... Continue Reading »

December 30, 2015

New Billy Martin biography sheds light on Martin’s time with Twins

When one thinks of Billy Martin, synonymous with the New York Yankees as a player and manager, this image doesn’t come to mind: The Martins’ Richfield neighborhood had big, old maple trees and was close to the Twins’ ballpark in Bloomington. There was a backyard for Billy Joe — Gretchen called him B.J. — and... Continue Reading »

December 21, 2015

Former MLB pitcher Philip Humber turns 33 today. Happy birthday, Phil.

Despite winning only 16 games in eight seasons, Philip Humber, who happens to turn 33 today, will be remembered for throwing the 21st perfect game in Major League history. He accomplished that feat for the Chicago White Sox on April 21, 2012, beating the Seattle Mariners 4-0. Humber threw 96 pitches over nine innings and... Continue Reading »

December 16, 2015

Thirteen years ago this month the Twins released David Ortiz

All professional sports teams have their share of bad personnel moves: paying too much for a free agent, getting stuck on the wrong end of a bad trade or letting go of a player who becomes a much improved player elsewhere. Some teams (see the Seattle Mariners) struggle with their personnel moves more than other... Continue Reading »

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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.