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.
-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.
My father’s extraordinary and resilient life has come to a peaceful conclusion surrounded by his family.
— Chad Hartman (@ChadHartmanShow) October 18, 2020
Like this 2020 year hasn’t been tough enough on everyone, now the passing of Minnesota legend Sid Hartman is another sad moment. Sid was like a father to me when I first joined the Twins in 1970. My heart is broken hearing the news. RIP Sid 🙏
— Bert Blyleven (@BertBlyleven28) October 18, 2020
My “Sid” moment was from 2012. Friday of Twinsfest and he approaches me with a mic and tape recorder, both of which were older than me. New on the job and he starts asking about my history. I’m 5 words into my answer when he bolts, muttering “Jim Pohlad walked in. Bye.” #RIPSid
— Cory Provus (@CoryProvus) October 18, 2020