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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Tale of honesty and Griffiths' baseball patriarch

Posted by: Patrick Reusse Updated: May 24, 2014 - 2:23 PM

Barney Johnson of Mayer, Minn. sent me this tale of honesty from long in the past:

My mother’s family members were Griffiths. My great-great grandparents divorced in 1862, with my great-great grandfather spiriting the eldest son back to Pennsylvania to live with Griffiths. The youngest son, Thaddeus, was given up for adoption.

My great-great grandfather remarried in Iowa and had two children, a boy and a girl.  The son was named Clark C. Griffith.

Thaddeus knew he was adopted and eventually learned of his brother and half-brother, but must not have known much about them.  He assumed the Clark C. Griffith who owned the Washington Senators was his half-brother (he was not).

In his will, Thaddeus left the Senators owner $10. I don’t know if this was a lot for 1943 or an insult. He also left Clark C.’s three children, Mildred, Thelma and Calvin C. $100 each.

Clark and his family knew it was a mistake and donated their share, half to Father Flanagan’s Boys Town, and half to the Methodist Church that Thaddeus belonged to.

I hope this adds to your appreciation for baseball lore. -- Barney.

[Clarification: Mildred, Thelma and Calvin were the three oldest Robertson children from Montreal, two nieces and a nephew to Clark C. Calvin and Thelma came to Washington, D.C. to live with Clark and his wife (their aunt) and later inherited the Griffith share of the Senators.]

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