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Continued: Millers, Saints were gateway to the majors for several baseball stars

  • Article by: STEW THORNLEY , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Last update: July 9, 2014 - 12:51 AM

Possibly the best third baseman in baseball, Dandridge spent his prime years in the Negro and Mexican leagues. After the color barrier was broken, he spent four seasons with the Millers and was the league’s Most Valuable Player in 1950. Although he never got his chance in the major leagues, Dandridge was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1987.

Catcher: Wes Westrum.

A Minnesota native, Westrum had a few stints with the Millers, including 1947, when he hit 22 home runs. He played 11 seasons with the Giants, a team he later managed. Westrum also managed the Mets, succeeding Casey Stengel in 1965. He nudges out Bubbles Hargrave, who played for both the Millers and the Saints, and was one of the best catchers in the majors during the 1920s.

Righthanded pitcher: Hoyt Wilhelm.

The knuckleballer was a starter in Minneapolis in 1950 and 1951 before becoming one of the great relievers in the majors. He was the first pitcher to appear in 1,000 games and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1985.

Lefthanded pitcher: Rube Waddell.

The Hall of Famer pitched for the Millers in 1911 and 1912, after a decade of being the top southpaw in the majors.

Manager: Donie Bush.

Bush skippered the powerful Millers teams of the 1930s. He had been a shortstop and teammate of Ty Cobb’s on the Tigers for many years and managed the Pittsburgh Pirates to the pennant in 1927. He’s the pick over Gene Mauch, who took Minneapolis to the Junior World Series in 1958 and 1959 before a long career managing in the majors.

St. Paul Saints

Outfielders: Duke Snider, Eric Tipton, Ginger Beaumont.

Snider played for St. Paul in 1947 after being sent down by the Dodgers. He eventually made it in Brooklyn, hitting at least 40 home runs in five consecutive seasons, and he was elected to the Hall of Fame. Tipton, though not notable for his major league résumé (he might be better known for his football career at Duke), he was a favorite in St. Paul in the 1940s. He reached 100 RBI with the Saints four times and hit 28 home runs in 1940. Beaumont gets the third spot, over Ben Chapman and Ben Paschal. A turn-of-the-century star with Pittsburgh, Beaumont has the distinction of being the first batter in the World Series, in 1903.

First base: Jim Gentile.

After hitting 27 home runs for St. Paul in 1959, Gentile had a nine-year career in the majors. He had 46 home runs and 141 RBI for Baltimore in 1961.

Second base: Wayne Terwilliger.

Terwilliger, who played in 1952 for the Saints, gets the nod for his 60 seasons in professional baseball as a player, coach and manager. He coached for the Twins and then for the St. Paul Saints in the Northern League.

Shortstop: Leo Durocher.

He played 171 games for St. Paul in 1927 and had a 17-year playing career in the majors, where he also managed from 1939 to 1973. His Hall of Fame plaque gives him the edge over another Saints shortstop who became a noted manager, Don Zimmer, who survived a serious beaning while playing for St. Paul in 1953 and came back to play with the Saints in 1954.

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