Patrick Reusse has been covering sports in the Twin Cities since 1968. He has been a Star Tribune sports columnist since 1988. His sportswriting credo is twofold: 1. God will provide an angle; 2. The smaller the ball, the better the writing.


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A night Calvin cackled at the National League

Posted by: Patrick Reusse Updated: July 12, 2014 - 6:06 AM

I was looking up information on the All-Star Games in which the Twins had the American League manager: Sam Mele in 1966 and Tom Kelly in 1988 and 1992. I covered those last two games for the Star Tribune, and there will be a brief recollection in Sunday's print edition.

The '92 game was a 13-6 victory for the AL in San Diego. During the course of that whuppin', I was inspired to call Calvin Griffith, the former Twins' owner who had suffered much as the National League dominated the All-Star Game for a quarter-century in '60s, '70s and into the '80s.

Here's a look back at that brief, entertaining conversation with a giddy Griffith from July 1992:

SAN DIEGO -- The old American Leaguer was called to the phone at his summer home in Helena, Mont. It took a few minutes for the old-timer to get there. The caller had only one question: "Are you enjoying this, Calvin?"

Calvin Griffith chuckled and said: "You bet I am. They used to beat the hell out of us, and then they would laugh about it. They made us feel like small boys after those games. I can't believe we're beating 'em 10-0. Horace Stoneham and those old fellows used to give me such a hard time. I just wish Horace was around to watch this."

From 1960 through 1985, the American League's record in All-Star Games was three victories, 25 losses and one tie.

When the National League's domination started, Calvin's ballclub still was the Washington Senators. When it stopped, with a 6-1 NL victory in the Metrodome in 1985, Calvin had been out as owner of the Twins for less than a year.

Since that boring loss in the Dome, the American Leaguers have turned into All-Star terrors. They have won five in a row and six of the past seven.

Calvin has been able to sit back and enjoy it, maybe to cast a satisfied smile skyward toward Stoneham and Walter O'Malley and the rest of his former tormentors, now deceased.

When it was over, the American League had a 13-6 victory and a record 19 hits, and jolly old Calvin had chuckled his way through every one of them.

FOOTNOTE: Calvin died in October 1999, in the midst of an American League run in which it went 18-3-1 in All-Star Games. This would seem to guarantee that Mr. Griffith's last thoughts of the Midsummer Classic were happy ones.

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