In Jon Kerr’s 1990 biography about former Twins owner Calvin Griffith, “Calvin: Baseball’s Last Dinosaur,” Griffith tells the story about being invited to New York by Donald Trump in 1983 when Trump was trying to purchase the Twins.
Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, offered $50 million for the franchise — more than the approximately $36 million Carl Pohlad reportedly paid for the team the following year.
“It was a lot of money, no question about it,” Griffith told Kerr. “I never thought I’d get in a room talking about the kind of money he was talking about.”
At the time the Twins’ attorney was Peter Dorsey, who went along with Griffith on the trip, and verified Trump’s interest at the time.
“We met up in his office and he said, ‘I’ve got something that a lot of other people have and I don’t have something that a lot of people do have. I don’t have a board of directors or shareholders. And I do have a helluva lot of money,’ ” Dorsey recalled, according to the biography.
Dorsey went on to tell Kerr that when the two sides disagreed on the price, Trump almost nonchalantly said he would increase his bid by $3 million.
Griffith would later sell the club to Pohlad, who was working as a banker in Minneapolis at the time. Pohlad also had to buy out the shares of Gabe Murphy, who also owned a stake in the club.
Kill stays in football
As former Gophers football coach Jerry Kill looked for a job, he wanted something that would keep him closely tied to college football, and he found that with an associate athletic director job at Kansas State.
The Manhattan (Kan.) Mercury reported, “The role will allow Kill to oversee the football program in a support capacity to coach Bill Snyder. The hire gained attention Tuesday when national media suggested Kill might be looking to succeed Snyder as coach when he retires. Others speculated he could directly aide [Kansas State athletic director John] Currie in appointing Snyder’s successor.”
The job is similar to what Kill wanted at the University of Minnesota. The word is that interim Gophers AD Beth Goetz was willing to give him that position, but the administration wouldn’t go along with it.
Kill said Wednesday that the most important thing to him was getting to be involved with football again.
“Yeah, I’ll get to go out there and be a part of Saturdays and be a part of the game of football,” he said. “That was important to me. And I think I can be a valuable asset.”
He described what his role will be like.
“My job will be working with the day-to-day operations with football,” Kill said. “[It will] be very similar to what Dan O’Brien did [for the Gophers], except I’ll probably be more involved in a little different process. … I would say that’s the best comparison I can give. I’ll be working with football and the players and coach Snyder and the assistant coaches.”
While some are speculating that Kill was hired to eventually replace Snyder, who will turn 77 in October, Kill said he thinks Snyder can continue coaching for some time.
“He might go forever, he’s like you,” Kill said. “Coach Snyder is an icon in this game, just recently got named to the Hall of Fame. He’s in great shape. Nobody knows the answer to that question but him. You don’t get in the Hall of Fame unless you have done something.
“I get the privilege to work with a great AD, work at a great university, and I get to work with an icon and a Hall of Famer in college football. It doesn’t get much better than that. Then I get to go home and my mom is only two hours away.”
Several job offers
Kill refused to confirm the rumor that one of his offers was with Michigan, but my sources informed me he was offered a job with the Wolverines shortly after he resigned at Minnesota.
He did say he had offers from at least three other schools and that he was helped throughout the job search process by a who’s who of collegiate football coaches and administrators.
“The biggest thing is I was fortunate to have three or four offers,” he said. “I won’t mention those schools in respect to them, but I just have been fortunate. I’ve been in the game for 32 years. From Jim Phillips, the [Northwestern] athletic director that has always helped me out a lot, and coaches — you know [Arkansas coach] Bret Bielema helped me out a lot through this process, and coach [Dennis] Franchione, I’ve had great people in my corner for a long time, [former Arkansas] coach [Frank] Broyles.
“You name it and people have been great to me in football. [Former Texas coach] Mack Brown, [TCU coach] Gary Patterson … [Big Ten] Commissioner [Jim] Delany has always treated me tremendous and helped me during tough times. I just have a lot of people that have been good to me.”
The Mercury reported that Currie vetted Kill for some time before offering him the position and also got coach Snyder’s permission.
“I sat down with coach Snyder in Phoenix at the Big 12 meetings after he got out of his coaches’ meeting,” Currie told the media. “I shared the news that I had a preliminary conversation with Coach Kill and wanted to know what he thought about it. Coach Snyder was excited about it. He was excited that I understood that it is really important to have someone that understands football serving in that capacity of supporting football and handling some administrative duties around football.”
Currie added, “Coach Kill will primarily be a resource for our football program and Coach Snyder. Obviously that’s really critical to our success, and he’ll have other duties as they evolve.”
Kill added that, most importantly, the position is a great fit for his health as he continues to manage his epilepsy.
• Danny Valencia, traded from the Twins to the Red Sox in August 2012, also was with the Orioles, Royals and Blue Jays before joining the Athletics last year. He is batting cleanup for the A’s now, hitting .357 on the season, including .478 with six home runs and 11 RBI in his past six games. He went 3-for-5 with three home runs and five RBI in a 7-6 victory over the Rays on Sunday.
• Former Twins reliever and Park Center standout Pat Neshek is off to a great start this season with the Astros. He has a 2.84 ERA with 12 strikeouts in 12 ⅔ innings.
• The Gophers men’s track and field program moved up No. 13 in the latest U.S. Track & Field and Cross-Country Coaches Association rankings for Division I. … The Gophers baseball team continues to be rated 24th in the country.
Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on 830-AM at 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. email@example.com