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 Posted: Fri Jun 19th, 2020 05:50 pm
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lobo316



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The Minnesota Twins announced Friday the removal of a statue in front of Target Field of former owner Calvin Griffith.

Griffith relocated the Washington Senators to Minnesota ahead of the 1961 season and remained owner until 1984. He died in 1999 at the age of 87.

Griffith was a major figure in the franchise's history, but racist remarks he made at a 1978 speaking engagement marred his legacy.

"I'll tell you why we came to Minnesota. It was when we found out you only had 15,000 blacks here," Griffith said then. "Black people don't go to ballgames, but they'll fill up a rassling ring and put up such a chant it'll scare you to death. We came here because you've got good, hardworking white people here."

He was unaware a newspaper reporter was present at the dinner.

"While we acknowledge the prominent role Calvin Griffith played in our history, we cannot remain silent and continue ignoring the racist comments he made in Waseca in 1978," the Twins said in a statement Friday. "His disparaging words displayed a blatant intolerance and disregard for the Black community that are the antithesis of what the Minnesota Twins stand for and value.

"Our decision to memorialize Calvin Griffith with a statue reflects an ignorance on our part of systemic racism present in 1978, 2010 and today. We apologize for our failure to adequately recognize how the statue was viewed and the pain it caused for many people -- both inside the Twins organization and across Twins Territory. We cannot remove Calvin Griffith from the history of the Minnesota Twins, but we believe removal of this statue is an important and necessary step in our ongoing commitment to provide a Target Field experience where every fan and employee feels safe and welcome."
Griffith's statue is one of several that sits in Target Plaza outside of the Twins' stadium. The statues include those of former players Rod Carew, Kent Hrbek, Harmon Killebrew, Tony Oliva and Kirby Puckett, former manager Tom Kelly, former owners Griffith, Carl Pohlad and Eloise Pohlad, and Twins mascot T.C. Bear.
Target Field, which opened in 2010, is in Minneapolis, the same city in which George Floyd, a black man, died after a white police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly eight minutes.

Carew, whom Griffith called a "damn fool" for playing for only $170,000 during that same 1978 appearance, said he long ago forgave Griffith but understands the Twins' decision on the statue.

"I understand and respect the Minnesota Twins decision to remove the Calvin Griffith statue outside Target Field," Carew, who is black, said in a statement released by the team. "While I've always supported the Twins decision to honor Calvin with a statue, I also remember how inappropriate and hurtful his comments were on that fateful day in Waseca. The Twins did what they felt they needed to do for the organization and for our community. While we cannot change history, perhaps we can learn from it."

Last edited on Fri Jun 19th, 2020 05:50 pm by lobo316

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 Posted: Fri Jun 19th, 2020 05:55 pm
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Heenan Fan
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1978? There should be a statue of limitations on this bullshit. See what I did there?



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 Posted: Fri Jun 19th, 2020 06:48 pm
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tamalie
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Calvin Griffith made those comments on Thursday September 28, 1978 at the Lions Club in Waseca, MN, about an hour to an hour and half drive south of the Twin Cities. The Twins had an off day and would start a three game series at the Royals the next day. The team was already eliminated from any possibility of postseason play. The story about the speech and its offensive content were printed in the Sunday October 1, 1978 edition of the Minneapolis Tribune, making the front page of the paper.

It was huge news at the time with Griffith's racist remarks and his belittling of Rod Career being among many offensive things he stated in a generally outrageous speech.

- He knocked catcher Butch Wynegar for getting married. Butch had made the All Star Game in 1976 and 1977, but fell off in 1978 which Griffith attributed to him "playing hands" with his new wife during spring training. Griffith said he'd sent a letter to another Twins player over getting married telling him "he signed his ticket to Tacoma (then the Twins AAA affiliate).

- He also essentially said that ballplayers should take advantage of the opportunities to bed groupies on the road.

- He knocked former Twins manager Billy Martin, claiming Billy had never punched anyone his own size or bigger.

- When asked about Jerry Terrell of the Royals, who was from Waseca, Griffith completely missed the attempts by the master of ceremonies to guide him towards saying something complimentary about the player and instead ran the guy down for asking for a multiyear contract, a request that caused Griffith to throw him out of his office. Griffith added that it was a disgrace that Terrell was on an MLB roster.

- Griffith took some hard shots at the Metropolitan Sports Commission over the design of what would become the Metrodome, being upset over its football oriented design and bad sightlines for baseball. He was actually right to be angry and unhappy over that, but his verbal barrage was not helpful to rectifying the situation.

In the aftermath, Calvin Griffith claimed he was misquoted and misunderstood. Twins players were unhappy and Rod Carew, who had a year left on his contract, forced a trade, going to the Angels, despite his one time desire to stay in Minnesota because he'd spent a dozen or so seasons with the team and his then wife was local.

One thing that was certain was Griffith had a lot to drink before stepping to the dais and talking with his guard down. The odd thing is that it had no lasting impact on the Twins. Carew left but everyone expected him to go soon anyway because the Twins could not possibly pay him fair market value in comparison to what he'd get as a free agent. He'd have either been traded or would have walked away after the 1979 season. Most of the ill feeling for Calvin Griffith in the years afterward concerned his inability to pay for free agents and the Twins therefore losing talented guys or trading them as well as his implied and blatant threats to relocate the team due to poor attendance. After selling the team during the 1984 season, he became sort of a grandfatherly character people would reminisce about. This speech had no lasting negative impact on him until his death at 87 in 1999.

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 Posted: Fri Jun 19th, 2020 07:10 pm
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The Griffiths are a legendary name dating back to the earliest days of baseball. Although not biologically related, Calvin's step-father was Clark Griffith, a HOF pitcher during the dead ball era who began his career in 1891 and amassed more than 200 wins. He won more than 20 games 7 times (of course that happened a lot more often then) and led the league in ERA at 1.88 in 1898.  Towards the end of his career, he became a player-manager, as was very common then, and he became the first-ever manager of the Yankees when they were known as the Highlanders, serving from 1903-1907. Jack Chesbro was the team's first great pitcher though, as Griffith was already past his prime on the mound and was no better than the Highlanders' 3rd best pitcher.  In 1912, he began his association with the Senators and got a 10% ownership stake along with the manager's job. The Senators absolutely sucked, but Griffith had a lot of good promotional ideas and was popular, and wound up owning more than 50% of the team by the end of his life, accumulating more and more shares over the course of many years.

By the 1940s, as many old-timers rejected the new style of A.L. play that Babe Ruth ushered in, nostalgia took over and Clark's popularity exploded. He started getting called "the real father of the American League" since he had been around from Day One as a top player, manager, and owner. He never received any serious HOF support when he was on the ballot earlier, but the Veterans Committee stepped in and overwhelmingly supported his entry in the early '40s.

Calvin inherited the Senators when his father died in 1955, along with his sister, who basically never had an opinion on any baseball matters and just voted Calvin's way and collected money.

Last edited on Fri Jun 19th, 2020 07:23 pm by srossi



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 Posted: Sat Jun 20th, 2020 04:11 am
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tamalie
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Here is the statement released today by Rod Carew, in its entirety.

STATEMENT FROM ROD CAREW ON CALVIN GRIFFITH
MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL, MN – “I understand and respect the Minnesota Twins decision to remove the Calvin Griffith statue outside Target Field. While I’ve always supported the Twins decision to honor Calvin with a statue, I also remember how inappropriate and hurtful his comments were on that fateful day in Waseca. The Twins did what they felt they needed to do for the organization and for our community.

“While we cannot change history, perhaps we can learn from it.

“I first met Calvin Griffith in 1964 when he travelled to New York City to watch me workout at Yankee Stadium. Calvin and longtime Minnesota Twins scout Herb Stein must have liked what they saw as they signed me to a professional contract shortly thereafter. I can tell you when I got to the major leagues with the Twins in 1967, Calvin was my most ardent supporter. He told manager Sam Mele that I was the Twins everyday second baseman. I saw no signs of racism whatsoever.

“In 1977, my MVP year, I made $170,000. When the season was over, Calvin called me into his office, thanked me for a great season, told me that I had made the team a lot of money and handed me a check for $100,000. You could have knocked me over. A racist wouldn't have done that.

“There is no way I can apologize for what Calvin said in Waseca in 1978. His comments were irresponsible, wrong and hurtful. I recall my response at the time reflected my anger and disappointment.

“Now that more than four decades have passed, I look back on Calvin’s comments and our personal relationship with additional context and perspective. In my view, Calvin made a horrible mistake while giving that speech in 1978. I have no idea what happened that day, but who among us has not made a mistake? I know Calvin paid a heavy price for those comments and I believe his thoughts on race evolved over time.

“When he traded me prior to the 1979 season, Calvin told me he wanted me to be paid what I was worth. Later that year the Angels made me the highest paid player in baseball. A racist wouldn't have done that.

“In 1991, the first person I called after I was told I had been elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame was Calvin.

“I have long forgiven Cal for his insensitive comments and do not believe he was a racist. That was NOT my personal experience with Calvin Griffith – prior to or following that day in 1978.”

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 Posted: Sat Jun 20th, 2020 02:22 pm
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srossi

 

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Rod Carew is, and always has been, an incredibly classy guy.



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 Posted: Sat Jun 20th, 2020 04:59 pm
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The Ultimate Sin
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He's my favorite player ever.



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 Posted: Sat Jun 20th, 2020 06:52 pm
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My dad modeled my early batting stance after Rod.



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 Posted: Sat Jun 20th, 2020 07:01 pm
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srossi

 

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Franchise wrote: My dad modeled my early batting stance after Rod.
It was an awkward stance that I don’t think many kids (or adults for that matter) could pull off, but it worked for him. 



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 Posted: Sat Jun 20th, 2020 08:22 pm
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It was mostly the bat position. Helped me close the distance until I could develop an eye.



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 Posted: Sun Jun 21st, 2020 04:36 am
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The Ultimate Sin
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srossi wrote: Franchise wrote: My dad modeled my early batting stance after Rod.
It was an awkward stance that I don’t think many kids (or adults for that matter) could pull off, but it worked for him. 

You don't see "open" and "closed" stances anymore.  

Brian Downing batted leadoff with a very closed stance. Carew batted second and had a very open stance.  They were like polar opposites.



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 Posted: Tue Jun 23rd, 2020 10:12 am
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What a garbage statement by the organization failing to recognize that the only reason they exist is because of exactly what Calvin said.



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 Posted: Thu Jun 25th, 2020 08:14 pm
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The Ultimate Sin wrote: srossi wrote: Franchise wrote: My dad modeled my early batting stance after Rod.
It was an awkward stance that I don’t think many kids (or adults for that matter) could pull off, but it worked for him. 

You don't see "open" and "closed" stances anymore.  

Brian Downing batted leadoff with a very closed stance. Carew batted second and had a very open stance.  They were like polar opposites.
Downing also had an open stance.



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 Posted: Thu Jun 25th, 2020 10:48 pm
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Yeah I remember Downing with a very open stance. Best example of a closed stance maybe would be George Hendrick. Dude’s back was to the pitcher.



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 Posted: Fri Jun 26th, 2020 05:07 pm
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The Ultimate Sin
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WongLee wrote: The Ultimate Sin wrote: srossi wrote: Franchise wrote: My dad modeled my early batting stance after Rod.
It was an awkward stance that I don’t think many kids (or adults for that matter) could pull off, but it worked for him. 

You don't see "open" and "closed" stances anymore.  

Brian Downing batted leadoff with a very closed stance. Carew batted second and had a very open stance.  They were like polar opposites.
Downing also had an open stance.


Ahh my memories of 82 must be clogged with malted hops.  I was thinking they were opposites. I just remember they had two unique stances at the top of the order.



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