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Calvin Griffith in 1978

Ben Welter, Associated Press

Carew supports Griffith statue being placed near his Target Field gate

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH
  • Star Tribune
  • August 27, 2010 - 4:33 PM

A statue of Calvin Griffith, the first owner of the Minnesota Twins, will be unveiled next week outside the Target Field gate that bears jersey number of a former Twins star who clashed with Griffith.

The ceremony is scheduled for Sept. 3, and the public is invited to attend, said Twins spokesman Kevin Smith. The statue joins others at the new stadium honoring Twins legends Harmon Killebrew, Carew and Kirby Puckett.

Like the other three, the Griffith likeness is the work of noted Twin Cities sculptor Bill Mack.

"We will have various dignitaries on hand, along with Mr. Griffith's family to execute the unveiling," Smith said. The artwork was paid for by the team, he said.

Griffith took over the Washington Senators from in 1955 and moved the franchise to the Twin Cities in 1961. He sold the team to Carl Pohlad in 1984. Griffith died in 1999 at age 87.

At a Waseca Lions club gathering in September 1978, Griffith said that Carew was "a damn fool" for playing for as little as he pays him; and the Twins decided to move to Minnesota "when I found out you only had 15,000 blacks here."

Carew, who is black, responded by saying that he longer desired to be working on Griffith's plantation. Carew was traded after that season.

Smith said there is nothing symbolic about placing the statue near Gate 29. Carew was made aware of the location of Griffith's statue and is "fully supportive," he added.

Smith said Carew long ago put the dispute behind him. When first notified in 1991 that he was entering the Hall of Fame, "the very first person Rod Carew called to thank was Calvin Griffith."

On the day of the statue's unveiling, the Twins play the Texas Rangers, another franchise that was moved from the nation's capital.

Plans are also in the works later this season for adding a statue at Target Field depicting Pohlad, who died in Jan 2009, and his wife, Eloise, who died in 2003.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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