Minnesota Twins Information
The franchise originated in Kansas City, Missouri in 1894, moved to Washington, D.C. in 1901 when the American League was formed, and played there through the 1960 season.
The Kansas City Blues were a charter member of the Western League, a minor league at the time. Byron "Ban" Johnson, president of the Western League, changed the name to the American League in 1900 and major league status was awarded a year later. The Blues were champions of the Western League in 1898, taking the league by a game-and-a-half from the Indianapolis Hoosiers.
The Washington ballclub was known by two nicknames, the Nationals and the Senators, for most of its history prior to moving to Minnesota. The team was called the Senators from 1901-04. Before the 1905 season team owner Thomas C. Noyes asked a group of sports editors to come up with a new name, they chose Nationals. From 1905 to 1906 the team actually wore "Nationals" on their jerseys, the first team to do so. Otherwise, the jerseys either read "Washington" or carried a plain block "W". Newspaper articles for decades used the names "Senators" and "Nationals" (or "Nats") interchangeably, often within the same article. Baseball guides even said "Nationals or Senators" when listing the nickname. By the 1950s, "Nationals" was pretty much passe. Then, following the 1956 season, owner Clark Griffith decided to officially change the name to Senators beginning in the 1957 season. In 1959 the word "Senators" finally appeared on their shirts. They and their expansion-replacement in 1961 would remain officially the "Senators" for good, although space-saving headline writers continued to refer to them as "Nats" frequently.
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During the period 1907 to 1927, the team's line up boasted the presence of Walter "The Big Train" Johnson and they won the 1924 World Series. They also appeared in the 1925 and 1933 Series and came very close in 1945. After that, the team fell into mediocrity quickly. That, along with its poor early years, resulted in the team being remembered mostly for its failures rather than its successes. During one portion of its history, the team was so notoriously inept that it inspired San Francisco Chronicle columnist Charley Dryden to joke: "Washington: First in war, first in peace, and last in the American League." This was a play on Light Horse Harry Lee's remembrance of George Washington: "First in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen." The team's difficulties on the field also inspired the book The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant (see below).
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Minnesota Twins, 1961 to present
The "Minnesota" designation, instead of "Minneapolis", comes from the fact that the team is intended to represent the twin cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul (and, presumably, the entire state). This fact is reinforced by the stylized TC logo worn on home caps, and by their mascot, TC Bear. The name "Twins" derives from the popular name of the region, the Twin Cities.
1960s: The Twins arrive in Minnesota and rise in the standings
The Twins were eagerly greeted in Minnesota when they arrived in 1961, and they advanced to the World Series in 1965, driven by the exciting play of superstar first baseman Harmon Killebrew. They were defeated in the World Series by the Los Angeles Dodgers, but the championship drive cemented the team's relationship with the people of Minnesota.
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The team continued to post winning records through 1971, winning the first two American League West division titles. However, they then entered a decade-long slump, finishing around .500 for the next eight years. Tony Oliva and Rod Carew continued to provide offensive pop, but Killebrew's batting average suffered and the pitching staff languished.
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In the early 1980s, The Twins fell further, winning only 37% of its games in 1981 and 1982. Through 1981, the team played its games at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, a suburb south of the Twin Cities. The Mall of America now occupies the spot where the "Old Met" stood, complete with home plate and the seat where Harmon Killebrew hit a 520 foot home run. The 1982 season brought the team indoors, into the Metrodome, which is in downtown Minneapolis near the Mississippi River. After several losing seasons in the Dome, the arrival of 1980s superstars Kent Hrbek and Kirby Puckett electrified the team and sent the team back to the World Series. The Twins defeated the St. Louis Cardinals to win the 1987 World Series. The 1987 Twins were unique from the standpoint that with their regular season record of 85-77, they became worst performing team (winning percentage wise) to win the World Series. While their 56-25 record at the Metrodome was the best overall home record for 1987, away from the Metrodome, the Twins had an appalling 29-52 mark. The Twins only won nine road games after the All-Star break. The Twins won more games in 1988, but could not overcome the powerhouse division rival Oakland Athletics. 1989 saw a decline in the win column.
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In 1990, the Twins surprisingly did quite poorly, finishing last in their division with only 74 wins. 1991 brought breakout years from newcomers Shane Mack, Scott Leius, Chili Davis, and rookie of the year Chuck Knoblauch, along with consistently excellent performances from stars Hrbek and Puckett. The pitching staff excelled as well, with Scott Erickson, Rick Aguilera, and St. Paul native Jack Morris having all-star years. The Twins defeated the Atlanta Braves to win the nail biting 1991 World Series (which has been considered by some to be the greatest of all-time). Game 6 is widely considered to be one of the greatest World Series games ever played. With the scored tied 3-3 in the bottom of the 11th inning, Kirby Puckett stepped up to the plate and drove the game winning homerun into the left field seats to force a decisive Game 7.
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1992 saw another superb Oakland team that the Twins could not overcome, despite an excellent 90-win season. After 1992, the Twins again fell into an extended slump, posting a losing record each year through 2000. From 1994 to 1997 a long sequence of retirements and injuries (including superstars Kent Hrbek and Kirby Puckett) hurt the team badly, and Tom Kelly spent the remainder of his managerial career attempting to rebuild the Twins. In 1998, management cleared out the team of all of its players earning over 1 million dollars (except for pitcher Brad Radke) and rebuilt from the ground up; the team barely avoided finishing in the cellar that year, finishing just five games ahead of perennial cellar dwellers Detroit Tigers and avoiding the humiliating mark of 100 losses by just eight games.
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Things turned around, and in 2001 to 2005, the Twins compiled the longest streak of consecutive winning seasons since moving to Minnesota, going 85-77 in 2001, 94-67 in 2002, 90-72 in 2003, 92-70 in 2004 and 83-79 in 2005. From 2002 to 2004, the Twins compiled their longest streak of consecutive league/division championships ever (previous were the 1924 World Champion-1925 AL Champion Senators and the 1969–70 Twins). Threatened with closure by league contraction in 2002, the team battled back to reach the American League Championship Series before being eliminated 4-1 by that year's eventual World Series champion Anaheim Angels. Their streak of three straight division titles, along with some bitterly fought games, have helped to create an intense rivalry with the Chicago White Sox in recent years, starting with 2000 when the Sox clinched the division at the Metrodome, and heating up especially in 2003, 2004 and 2005.
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The Twins wish to replace the Metrodome with a new ballpark within the next half decade, claiming that the Metrodome generates too little revenue for the Twins to be competitive. In particular, the Twins receive no revenue from luxury suite leasing (as those are owned by co-tenant Minnesota Vikings) and only a small percentage of concessions sales; also, the percentage of season-ticket-quality seats in the Metrodome is said to be very low compared to other stadiums, and the capacity of the stadium is far too high for baseball. However, attempts to spur interest and push legislative efforts towards a new stadium have repeatedly failed. The Dome is thought to be an increasingly poor fit for all three of its major tenants (the Twins, the Vikings and the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers football team). In fact, in addition to the Twins, the Vikings and Gophers both have new stadium proposals in various stages of development.