Knoblauch's assault charges prompt Twins to cancel HOF induction

Assault charges cause the Twins to cancel their Hall of Fame plans for him.


Chuck Knoblauch, Minnesota Twins at Spring Training.

Photo: Brian Peterson, Star Tribune

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Because of his past transgressions, Chuck Knoblauch expected some scrutiny next month when he was scheduled to be inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame.

“He was prepared to handle those questions and address the media when he was in Minneapolis, and ultimately stand in front of fans,” said Twins President Dave St. Peter, who had spoken with Knoblauch several times in recent months. “He had given a lot of thought to that.”

The four-time All-Star second baseman had told St. Peter that he was in a better place in his life. But he took a step back to the darker moments of his past, a step that will cost him induction into the Twins Hall of Fame.

The Twins on Thursday announced that the Aug. 23 induction ceremony at Target Field — where Knoblauch was to become the 27th member of the Hall of Fame — has been canceled after Knoblauch was charged with misdemeanor assault on a family member and was released on $10,000 bond.

According to News92FM in Houston, police were called to a home around 4 a.m. Wednesday. When they arrived, they said Knoblauch appeared to be intoxicated. Police said Knoblauch’s ex-wife, Cheri, told them she was asleep in her child’s room when her ex-husband came in, upset that she wasn’t sleeping in their bed. He allegedly grabbed her by the arm and started smashing her head into a wall.

Knoblauch is accused of throwing a humidifier at her before she ran from the room. Police said Knoblauch’s ex-wife had a large bruise on her arm, a large scratch on the left side of her face and a visible knot on her forehead.

Knoblauch, who played for the Twins from 1991 to ’97, responded to a text message from the Star Tribune, saying: “I can’t comment on it. Other than I’m sorry to my Cheri and my family and all Twins fans. Can’t comment on the legal stuff.”

The Twins learned of the arrest Thursday.

“My first course of action was to call Chuck to better understand directly from him what had happened,” St. Peter said. “Chuck and I had that conversation; I told him I would follow up with him later in the day. I had subsequent conversations with our ownership as well as with Rod Carew, who acts as the chair of the Twins Hall of Fame, and ultimately I contacted Chuck later in the day to let him know we had made the decision to cancel the Aug. 23 induction ceremony.”

St. Peter said Knoblauch sounded relieved that the Twins reached a decision so quickly.

“He had been very much looking forward to his induction ceremony,” St. Peter said. “He was getting nervous. Today I would say he was doubly humbled and apologetic and accepting of whatever decision the ballclub was willing to make.”

In 2009, Knoblauch faced charges that he choked a former wife and received a one-year probation. In March of this year, he was charged with interference with public duties after pushing a police officer.

His arrest Wednesday will cost him the chance to face Twins fans, many of whom haven’t forgotten his demand to be traded following the 1997 season.

Knoblauch’s was voted into the Twins Hall of Fame by a 62-member panel. But No. 11 won’t be hung in Target Field any time soon. He’s listed on page 393 of the Twins media guide as the sole member of the Class of 2014, but indications are that will be removed from next year’s guide.

“At this point, there are allegations,” St. Peter said. “But as a sports franchise, certainly when you start a Hall of Fame or things of that nature that pay tribute to certain players, I do think you also have a responsibility to take off-field activities into account. At the end of the day there’s a lot of focus on on-field pieces, but to me the off-field elements are equally important relative to the franchise’s brand and ultimately the reality that our players and former players are role models.”

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