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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

It's Official: Senators Announce Move To Minnesota, Oct. 26, 1960

NOTE: this post is a part of my ongoing "Twins Genesis" series, with "The Naming Of The Twins" being the other published back on November 26, 2011.

In the October 26, 1960 edition of The Sporting News, Washington Senators President Calvin Griffith emphatically denied that a move of his team to Minnesota was in the works:
"Read my (semi-obscured)
lips - there will be no
move to Minneapolis...
"That's a lot of baloney, and sounds like somebody's pipedream. It is news to me that the American League will discuss transferring the Washington club elsewhere."
But on that very same day, as we well know, Griffith and the rest of the AL bigwig suits came out of a smoke-filled backroom during the Fall MLB Owner's meetings to announce the info about the Senators move, besides the blockbuster new expansion teams being created in Washington (the "new" Senators) and Los Angeles (the Angels) to begin play in April, 1961.

Below embed - From the October 26 and November 2, 1960 issues of  "The Sporting News"

The Fall Owners meeting in '60 was preceeded two days earler by a fateful visit to Griffith's New York hotel suite by young Minneapolis businessman Wheelock Witney and Gerald Moore, Executive Director of the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce, In their last-ditch, final pitch to convince him to commit to a move, they upped the ante by guaranteeing him 1 million in attendance for each of the first three years in Minnesota, plus full concession proceeds and $500,000 in local television and radio rights – almost three times more in broadcast revenue than he was earning in Washington. Now There was no way Griffith would delay. The deal was done - to The Northstar State was he headed. The owners stood by Calvin with a 6-2 vote.

It was the culmination of several years of rumored moves, thinly-veiled threats by Griffith to find greener pastures, and legal action to block said movement. Not that one could blame Calvin for wanting out of perpetual, last place penury, especially in the 1950s, Yankees-dominated era which he had inherited from his Hall of Fame Uncle, Clark Griffith.

 Now, to put a final nail in the upstart Continental League, and to get the jump on the National League, Griffith and his American League backers were moving boldly (if not with great foresight). It was not just a wonderful bonanza in Minnesota, and for its fans to have a professional sports franchise - expansion and relocation signaled the beginning of a new era in American professional sports, happening as it did at the start of the 1960s, with all the innovation and turbulence that change can bring. The NFL, NBA, and the NHL would take their cues, and follow suit in the years to follow.

"So long, everybody!" - Herb Carneal

1 comment:

woodmoto said...

I got to go to the very first game in Minnesota, my Uncle, Gerald Moore, took my father (his brother) and myself and my two brothers. I was 11 at the time and still remember the excitement about it all. Not so much about the game though.