StribSports UPLOAD is where you’ll see what other people are saying about Minnesota sports. It could be a report from another city’s media following a game. It could be a blog or video from somewhere in Minnesota. It could be serious or funny, on point or off the wall. It could be something you tell us about. Send stuff to UPLOAD here. All correspondence to UPLOAD is on the record unless requested otherwise.

Recalling Calvin Griffith's bigoted outburst in southern Minnesota

Posted by: Howard Sinker Updated: April 29, 2014 - 2:05 PM

In 1978, former Twins owner Calvin Griffith was invited to speak to the Lions Club in Waseca, a small city in southern Minnesota. Among those in the audience was Nick Coleman, a former Star Tribune reporter and columnist who is currently executive editor of The UpTake, a Twin Cities-based non-profit news organization.

Taking questions from the audience, Griffith was asked why he brought the Twins to Minnesota from Washington, D.C., in 1961. Coleman wrote that Griffith answered the question with a criticism of Twin Cities sports reporters -- and then he changed direction, moving on to the subject that would dominate local headlines for days to come::

Coleman wrote "At that point Griffith interrupted himself, lowered his voice and asked if there were any blacks around. After he looked around the room and assured himself that his audience was white, Griffith resumed his answer. 'I'll tell you why we came to Minnesota,' he said. 'It was when I found out you only had 15,000 blacks here. Black people don't go to ball games, but they'll fill up a rassling ring and put up such a chant it'll scare you to death. It's unbelievable. We came here because you've got good, hardworking, white people here.' "

His comments have been recalled by Coleman and others in the aftermath of the NBA's ban of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for his remarks about African-Americans.

Griffith went on to call Twins superstar and Hall of Famer Rod Carew  "a damn fool" for agreeing to a three-year contract that paid him $170,000 per year: "He only gets $170,000 and we all know damn well that he's worth a lot more than that, but that's what his agent asked for, so that's what he gets. Last year, I thought I was generous and gave him an extra 100 grand, but this year I'm not making any money so he gets 170 -- that's it."

(Griffith went on to an assortment of other topics. At one point, someone asked about whether Jerry Terrell, a former Twins infielder, had a chance of rejoining the team. The questioner noted that Terrell was a "favorite son" and was born in Waseca. Coleman reported Griffith's response: "Terrell came into my office in spring training and said he wanted a multiyear contract, I told him to turn your ass around and get out of there if that's what he wanted. It's a disgrace to major league baseball that Jerry Terrell is on a ball club.")

The Twins were playing in Kansas City at the time, and Star Tribune sports editor Gary Libman reported that "a short time after Carew was informed of Griffith's remarks, he ran up the tunnel, tossed off his clothes in front of his locker, took a shower and prepared to leave the stadium. But he changed his mind and played. He refused to comment on the remarks."

Later, Carew told Libman: "I will not ever sign another contract with this organization. I don't care how much money or how many options Calvin Griffith offers me. I definitely will not be back next year."

Carew also said in a voice that Libman described as soft but angry: "I will not come back and play for a bigot. I'm not going to be another nigger on his plantation."

Libman concluded his story: "He respects nobody and expects nobody to respect him," Carew said, spitting on the carpeted locker room floor. "Spit on Calvin Griffith."

Carew, who won his seventh American League batting title that season, was traded to the California Angels for four players before the 1979 season. He played for the Angels until retiring in 1985.

Reached by telephone while on a hunting trip after his Waseca speech, Griffith denied there was any racism intended in his remarks: "What the hell, racism is a thing of the past. Why do we have colored ballplayers on our club? They are the best ones. If you don't have them, you're not going to win."

Griffith, who died in 1999, owned the Twins until selling to Carl Pohlad during the 1984 season. There were no repercussions from Major League Baseball for his remarks.

You can read the article by Coleman and others that followed here.

ADVERTISEMENT

Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
Utah 6:00 PM
Orlando
Charlotte 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Brooklyn 6:30 PM
Cleveland
Washington 6:30 PM
Miami
Minnesota 6:30 PM
Boston
Toronto 6:30 PM
Detroit
Chicago 7:00 PM
Memphis
Portland 7:00 PM
San Antonio
LA Clippers 8:00 PM
Denver
Oklahoma City 9:30 PM
LA Lakers
Tampa Bay 6:00 PM
New Jersey
Anaheim 6:30 PM
Ottawa
NY Islanders 6:30 PM
Detroit
Boston 7:00 PM
Winnipeg
Dallas 8:00 PM
Calgary
Wilberforce 71 FINAL
Youngstown St 92
Jackson State 49 FINAL
Tulane 56
Siena 29 1st Half 1:00
Radford 38
Stillman 6:00 PM
Alabama
Case Western Reserve 6:00 PM
Bucknell
Niagara 6:00 PM
Buffalo
SD Christian 6:00 PM
UC Santa Barbara
Concordia (MI) 6:00 PM
Central Mich
Northern Ill 6:00 PM
Dartmouth
North Florida 6:00 PM
Florida A&M
Hiwassee 6:00 PM
Gardner-Webb
Tennessee St 6:00 PM
Hampton
NC A&T 6:00 PM
Kent State
Central Penn College 6:00 PM
Liberty
Bethune-Cookman 6:00 PM
Mercer
Eastern Ky 6:00 PM
Miami-Florida
Northern Ky 6:00 PM
Morehead State
Northern Ariz 6:00 PM
Norfolk State
MD-Eastern Shore 6:00 PM
Old Dominion
St Marys-CA 6:00 PM
St Johns
Clemson 6:00 PM
South Carolina
Tenn Tech 6:00 PM
Tennessee
Washington-MD 6:00 PM
William & Mary
Furman 6:30 PM
Fla Gulf Coast
South Dakota St 6:30 PM
CS-Bakersfield
Milligan 7:00 PM
Lamar
LSU-Alexandria 7:00 PM
ULM
Southern Utah 7:00 PM
Loyola-Chicago
Chattanooga 7:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
Seattle 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Lipscomb 7:00 PM
Princeton
Winthrop 7:00 PM
SE Louisiana
Dickinson State 7:00 PM
North Dakota
New Orleans 7:05 PM
Southern Ill
TX-Pan American 8:00 PM
Creighton
Colorado State 8:00 PM
Denver
Alabama A&M 8:00 PM
Marquette
Ark-Pine Bluff 8:00 PM
Texas Tech
Eastern Wash 9:00 PM
California
Idaho State 9:05 PM
Utah State
Arizona 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 10:59 PM
Chaminade
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Ohio Valley 33 FINAL
Youngstown St 84
East Tenn St 48 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 61
Cal-Irvine 44 FINAL
Purdue 69
Campbell 63 FINAL
Stetson 76
Jacksonville St 70 FINAL
Charleston Southern 43
Louisiana 64 FINAL
Alcorn State 57
Denver 63 FINAL
Wright State 72
Blue Mountain 30 FINAL
Central Arkansas 71
Texas State 51 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 40
Albany 62 FINAL
Pepperdine 36
TX-San Antonio 53 FINAL
Houston 56
Yale 66 FINAL
Bucknell 73
Northern Colorado 56 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 69
Belmont 86 FINAL
Mercer 83
Massachusetts 66 FINAL
Georgia State 71
George Mason 64 2nd Half 1:01
Winthrop 54
Portland State 32 2nd Half 6:45
Princeton 96
UCLA 33 2nd Half
Samford 30
Mobile 9 2nd Half
Alabama State 39
Nicholls 11 1st Half 7:33
Texas Tech 26
Toledo 3 1st Half 15:00
Nevada 12
UMass Lowell 10 1st Half 10:24
(13) Duke 24
St Marys-CA 6:00 PM
Virginia
McNeese State 6:00 PM
Rice
McMurry 6:00 PM
Houston Baptist
NJIT 6:00 PM
Seton Hall
(6) North Carolina 6:00 PM
Maine
Lafayette 6:00 PM
Stony Brook
Siena 6:00 PM
Binghamton
Longwood 6:00 PM
Clemson
Savannah State 6:00 PM
Florida State
(19) Syracuse 6:00 PM
(9) Baylor
Buffalo 6:00 PM
Manhattan
Ohio U 6:00 PM
La Salle
Canisius 6:00 PM
Michigan
Davidson 6:00 PM
NC State
Northern Ky 6:00 PM
Delaware
Saint Louis 6:30 PM
Austin Peay
(25) DePaul 6:30 PM
(2) Connecticut
Florida Atlantic 7:00 PM
Long Beach St
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
Tulane
Miss Valley St 7:00 PM
Memphis
Ark-Pine Bluff 7:00 PM
UAB
Bowling Green 7:05 PM
Illinois State
Arkansas State 7:05 PM
Missouri State
ULM 7:05 PM
Wichita State
(16) Oregon State 8:00 PM
Southern Ill
Utah Valley U 8:30 PM
Montana
Pacific 9:00 PM
New Mexico St
No Dakota State 9:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Utah State 9:00 PM
Sacramento St
Bethesda (CA) 9:00 PM
Fresno State
LSU 9:30 PM
UC Santa Barbara

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Will Christian Ponder ever be a full-time starter in the NFL?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT