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REVIEW: 'Minnesota Twins Baseball' by Stew Thornley

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Hardball history on the Minnesota prairie started long before the Twins moved to the Upper Midwest. Baseball legends like Ted Williams and Willie Mays called Minnesota home before making their big league debuts. There was a lot that went into the Twins becoming the franchise they are today and the club's entire history is summarized in the new book Minnesota Twins Baseball: Hardball History on the Prairie.

There are plenty of people who know a lot about Twins baseball but author Stew Thornley is a little closer to the action than most. He is the official scorer for Twins home games and he has written more than 40 books including Onto Nicollet: The Glory and Fame of the Minneapolis Millers. He's been around baseball, and more specifically the Twins, for decades and his historical knowledge is evident to the reader.

Minnesota's rich history of supporting teams like the Saints and the Millers gave way to talk of a major league team moving to Minnesota. The Giants and the Dodgers were some of the team's discussing a move but Minneapolis wasn't attractive enough for their organizations. Both team's moved west and thankfully the Senators were also looking for a new home and their rich crop of young players helped to make the team successful early in the club's history.

Throughout the pages of this 126-page book, Thorney does a good job of retelling the major events in Twins history one decade at a time. There have been good and bad times over the last five decades and the author employs his collection of knowledge to convey that to the most passionate of Twins fans. He tells stories that might not be familiar and even provides insights into his own private collection of baseball artifacts.

Some of the best parts of this book are the stories before Minnesota had the Twins. One of the most interesting stories was that the New York Giants organization took out a full page ad in the Minneapolis Tribune to apologize for calling up Willie Mays after only 35-games with the Millers. As the Giants President Horace C. Stoneham said, "We honestly admit too, that this player’s exceptional talents are the exact answer to the Giants' most critical need." He was certainly right about Mays.

The fight to avoid contraction and to build a new stadium has been central to the Twins organization in recent decades. The Minnesota Twins could have become the North Carolina Twins at one point but that story line never played itself out. The club started to play better, a new stadium was built, and it is truly hard to imagine a summer in the Upper Midwest without the Twins being part of this generation or the next.

Even though this book is a quick read,there is great information packed onto every page. The inset stories and pictures provide a look at how baseball has changed on the prairie since the 1880s. For even the most dedicated Twins fan there will be stories in this book that one has forgotten or stories that one would love to relive again. This book can be read over a long weekend at the lake but the memories will stick with you forever.

When Calvin Griffith decided to name his team the Minnesota Twins, he said, "We want our new baseball enterprise to be for everyone in Minnesota and the Upper Midwest." Twins Territory has expanded beyond the boundaries of Minnesota and the history of baseball in the region is something every fan can cherish.

Comments

  1. ScrapTheNickname's Avatar
    I wonder if there was a competition for naming the team? What were the other contenders, besides Twins?
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