An Informal History Of The Minnesota Twins
In the beginning, there were Clark Griffith, Walter Johnson and a handful of other studly players called the Senators because the team played in Washington. The Senators were actually pretty good for about twenty years (1911-1933) but then didn't bother building a farm system like the other major league teams. Thus they became infamous losers ("First in war, first in peace, and last in the American League") until signing gentle giant Harmon Killebrew in 1954.
Killebrew proceeded to hit many homers, and Clark's adopted son Calvin Griffith, who had inherited the team, surrounded him with decent players. Unfortunately for the Senators (sometimes called Nats because baseball writers were lazy) the white people who used to come to baseball games moved out to the suburbs and started watching football, and it was apparently too much work to get black people to come to ball games. Therefore Calvin moved the Senators to Minnesota and changed their name to the Twins. The Twins proceeded to be competitive through the 1960s, thanks to Bob Allison, Mudcat Grant, Killebrew, Tony Oliva and Rod Carew and Jim Kaat, even making one appearance in the World Series (1965). However, the Twins then went back to being horrible when free agency arrived, since most of their free agents chose to play someplace that wasn't frozen 9 months out of the year, and Calvin refused to pay the going rate for free agents.
The Twins continued to wander in the frozen wilderness for another two decades, and in the fullness of time were sold to an old skinflint banker named Carl Pohlad, who never loaned out a nickel without getting three cents interest. He managed nonetheless to assemble a squad made of the obligatory Large White Sluggers (Kent Hrbek, Tom Brunansky), competent shortstop (Greg Gagne), slick utility guy (Al Newman) and Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett. The pitching staff consisted of Frank Viola (stolen from the Mets) Bert Blyleven (in a Special Return Engagement with his Deadly Hook) 50,000-Year Old Joe Niekro, and a bunch of other guys who weren't very good except for flamethrowing reliever Juan Berenguer and closer Jeff Reardon (stolen from the Expos). This team proceeded to beat the Royals by 2 games for the AL West title, ambush the Detroit Tigers for the pennant, and then embarrass both the national media and the Whitey Herzog's St. Louis Cardinals by winning all four games at the insanely loud Metrodome, a football stadium with a trash bag serving as the right field wall.
Things fell apart after that for a few years. Viola left as a free agent, being replaced by Jack Morris, who came home to Minnesota. Also starting were a blue collar fellow from Escanaba by the name of Kevin Tapani, Saturnine Scott Erickson who won twenty games with his sinkerball, and a competent bullpen setting things up for closer Rick Aguilera. Gagne was still at short, and rookie Chuck Knoblauch nailed down second. Behind the plate, Brian Harper was marginal as a catcher, but he could hit .300 with Baggie Doubles Power in his sleep. In the outfield, Kirby Puckett and Dan Gladden remained from the '87 team, supplemented by speedy Shane Mack. This team came from last place in 1990 to the top of the AL West, beat the Toronto Blue Jays in the playoffs, and once again dominated at the Humpdome as they beat the Atlanta Braves four games to three to win their second World Championship in four years.
As usual, things fell apart and key players either left by free agency, retired, or fell back to earth and became ordinary again. The team stunk for several years, at one point almost being outdrawn by the short-season St. Paul Saints of the independent Northern League. Longtime manager Tom Kelly retired and was replaced by senile third base coach Ron Gardenhire; Carl Pohlad died and left the team to his three sons, and at one point it seemed that the Twins and Expos would both be contracted out of existence. Eventually the Twins and sympathetic politicians screwed Minnesota taxpayers out of a new outdoor ballpark, conveniently located downtown next to the county garbage burner.
Perhaps not coincidentally, the team has lately become competitive thanks to a couple of Large White Sluggers (Justin Morneau & Joe Mauer) and a fling of young pitchers who may actually turn out okay if Gardenhire doesn't kill them first.
UPDATE: It has been pointed out to me that the shortstop on the 1987 and 1991 World Championship teams was Greg Gagne, not Gary Gaetti. Thanks to avalyn for the correction.
UPDATE UPDATE: Original title restored. Thanks to mauler for the tip.