December 12, 2022

Zen and the artlessness of the Minnesota Twins

Robert Pirsig, whose manuscript for a book called “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,” was reportedly rejected more than 100 times, finally found overwhelming success when it was published in 1974. Ostensibly about a motorcycle trip from Minnesota to California, the book uses the journey and motorcycles to make a philosophical exploration. Its tagline is, “An Inquiry into Values.”

I couldn’t pinpoint the exact date of publication, but by May 15, 1974, author Pirsig has a hit on his hands, according to the New York Times, which caught up with him that month. We learn the first three printings have sold out (48,000 copies) and that a major paperback publisher has made a six-figure bid for the book. This paperback can be found in every home in the country. If it’s not in yours, ask your parents, they have a copy, believe me.

As for Pirsig, according to the Times, he was still living in Minneapolis. Born in Minnesota, he later attended the University of Minnesota, a school where his father was once dean of the law school.

As for the Twins on May 15, 1974, they were on the receiving end of a near perfect game as tossed by Stan Bahnsen of the Chicago White Sox. Bahnsen, a former Rookie of the Year with the New York Yankees, two hits the Twins over nine innings with eight strikeouts for the 1-0 win. The Twins’ Bert Blyleven allows a run over eight innings and loses. Combined, the two pitchers wrap things up in one hour, 58 minutes before a paltry crowd of 6,600 fans at White Sox Park.

For the Twins, it was another ho-hum game for a ho-hum season, the club finishing the year at 82-80. They scored four more runs than they allowed and wound up in third place in the American League West. There’s your silver lining. As for attendance, they were dead last in the league at 12th out of 12 teams. At least they played better ball later in the season than in April.

On the second game of the season, they were walloped 23-6 by the Kansas City Royals. The next day the Minneapolis Tribune ran a front page teaser that reads, “23? Yup 23.”

“Ending their one-game winning streak, the Twins reverted to spring training form — little fielding and less pitching,” the Tribune reported.

Extra innings…

-Gretchen Ann Creswell, who was married to former Twins manager Billy Martin for 18 years, died Nov. 27, 2022, after a five-year battle with cancer, according to her Forth Worth Star-Telegram obituary. She was 87.

“She was an avid Texas Rangers fan and may have been their longest-season ticket holder,” the obituary reads.

Sources:, The New York Times,, “Billy Martin: Baseball’s Flawed Genius.”


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.