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#1 BigTrane


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Posted 27 April 2014 - 11:21 AM

Thanks to tshide the post on the Twins Mt. Rushmore to get my butt into gear on this! I've been dabbling with this for a while, but now I have to pull the trigger...

“First in war, first in peace, last in the American League”

Well, that’s how the Senators have come down to us- if we accept them at all.

With Gardy's 1,00th win and the All-Star Game coming up, the question of how the story Twins history is told is constantly crossing my mind. Then I saw the first roll-out of All-Star related stuff on the Twins' website and apparently Year Zero for this club is 1961. But then, I teach history, and even my user name shows my bias, so there you go…

Still, most here would probably agree that baseball is the ultimate stat-friendly, stat-driven game. Each of those stats is a moment in history, and was recorded as history. The urge to record sporting events as history, and preserve a mathematically-based, statistically valid and historically verifiable record for the ages derives from this impulse... imho.

As most Twins fans are aware, our present club evolved out of the Washington Senators, which had evolved from the Kansas City Blues of the American Association. While I’m still digging into the Blues part of the story, it really bothers me that- for many- The Senators- the first 60 years of the club's history- seem to have been Photo Shopped out of the picture. Total whitewash.

The Twins own the Senators’ records, yet hang no banners relating to the Senators' record. No '24 WS title is acknowledged. No '25 pennant. Yet when teams are ranked in all-time postseason appearances and titles, that is counted in the overall, all-time MLB records.

Many fans might argue- with reason- that the Senators’ greatest contribution to the game is enabling the Yankees to become a sports dynasty (a tradition we still honor.) Is that why we avoid this part of the story? Are we that fickle?

Consider, though, that 2014 is a special year:
This year, the Twins will reach out to Chuck Knoblauch and induct him into the Twins HOF.

This year, the 2014 All-Star Game will certainly include the requisite highlight reel/presentation of the teams' history, ballparks, etc. We'll see plenty of '87, '91, maybe a glimpse of '65... but any mention of '69- or just airbrushed?
Who wants to bet any of that stuff goes back before the move to The Met?

This year, the Nats were again heavily favored- but not looking good right now. Should they put it together and win it all, though, it would represent the first title for DC in 90 years- first since the 1924, the Senators' (Twins) victory.

Considering how much effort the Twins put into honoring past greats, this is puzzling to me. Sure, the Sens were a crummy team, but they had some greats- and some of the greatest of all time!

Why flush that down the memory hole, and make those players virtual baseball orphans? I mean, we own their stats! If nothing else, we have the musical Damn Yankees, movie, and expression “Damn Yankees” to thank them for...

Checking the Twins website, I see no ‘history’ section, and no mention of the Senators. Walter Johnson is perhaps- second only to Cy Young- the greatest pitcher in baseball history. Nobody claims him, yet we own his record. Sam Rice, etc.- nothing? Really? Why?

My question to fellow fans: why do the Twins place their own history in a black hole? Though the Senators had a tradition of losing, it’s not as though there’s nothing to be proud of. Another question to fellow fans: how do you think the Twins should present their story? Does it begin in 1961, 1901, or 1898?

I think baseball is as history-driven as it is stat-driven, and the two go hand in hand. So, rant over.... I'd love nothing more than to hear what other Twins fans think about how to frame their history. Please jump in and dish it out!
Feel free to pile on about Suzuki.

#2 longstrangetrip


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Posted 27 April 2014 - 12:50 PM

Intriguing question, trane, but I come down on the other side. My grandfather used to regale me with stories about Walter Johnson, but I never staked a claim to him or the Washington Senators. As far as I was concerned, the franchise I love didn't exist before 1959. I guess to me allegiance to a team has more to do with geography than ownership. It probably doesn't help that there is almost no mention of the Senators in baseball lore since the 1920s.

I don't think my position is unique. I was a huge Minneapolis Laker fan as a kid, being the only major league franchise in town in the 50s. But I now live in LA, and I dislike the Lakers with every bone in my body. And it works in reverse too...I don't know one current Laker fan who can tell you anything about Vern Mikkelson or Jim Pollard. There are several retired number jerseys hanging in Staples Center, but the only one that ever appeared in Minneapolis is Elgin Baylor...and only for a year. LA people think of George Mikan like I think of Walter Johnson...a great player with no ties to the current franchise.

I suspect most of even the most avid Twins fans couldn't name the greatest Senator at every position, or even fill out a lineup card with former Senators. Calvin made a good decision when he retired the Senators nickname, and that effectively cut off allegiance to the Senators for most Twins fans.

#3 ashburyjohn


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Posted 27 April 2014 - 02:01 PM

I think there is value in keeping a distinction between team and franchise. Records and achievement lists can be constructed both ways.

#4 Taildragger8791


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Posted 27 April 2014 - 02:29 PM

I've always wondered this as well. It seems strange that there isn't at least a minimal acknowledgement of the Senators history. It's like those players and achievements have just been forgotten.

#5 oldguy10


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Posted 27 April 2014 - 06:48 PM

Who hopefully has time to put something together incorporating both the old Washington teams and the Twins, PLEASE! I grew up with the old Minneapolis Lakers but once they moved to L.A. I switched my allegiance to the Celtics, it just seemed to be the right thing to do. Where on the board can any of us discuss this?

#6 BigTrane


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Posted 27 April 2014 - 07:49 PM

There is the Sports Bar section in the forums...

Thanks for all the replies- more or less what I expected...

This was inspired by seeing the Twins listed in the Top 5 all-time in WS wins/postseason appearances following the BoSox WS win last year, and got me wondering about the records and stats. While I appreciate the team/franchise distinction (good point!) it still feels wrong that those players and stats are effectively orphaned. For a sport that celebrates its' history as much as baseball, this is glaring... and seems unique to Twins fandom.

I suspect Giants and Dodgers fans don't have such a firewall between the old and new clubs.
Feel free to pile on about Suzuki.

#7 tarheeltwinsfan


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Posted 27 April 2014 - 07:52 PM

My Twins history began with at Griffith Park in Washington with my grandfather. Probably yours did not. It is disappointing that the Twins do not acknowledge their founders. Baseball is replete with history. Remember what George Santayana said about failure to acknowledge one's history: Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. Yikes...it's happening.

#8 stringer bell

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Posted 27 April 2014 - 08:31 PM

Let's look at how other teams regard their forebears before we criticize the Twins. Do the Giants memorialize the NY Giants, how about the Dodgers and the Braves? At least those teams kept the nickname for their franchise, and so did the Athletics. The Orioles (St. Louis Browns) changed everything, so did the Twins after more than 50 years. The Rangers and Milwaukee changed everything after shorter stays at the original city.

#9 Hawkeye12


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Posted 27 April 2014 - 08:47 PM

When I went on the tour of Target Field three years ago, there was at least one spot where they acknowledged the Senators lone championship, but I can't remember exactly what it was. But I remember thinking I was glad they didn't whitewash the entire history. I'd like to see them add a former Senator into the Twins Hall of Fame every couple years to help bring that to light. Plenty of HOFers that played with the Senators at various times. Plus, Kaat, Killebrew, Allison, etc did come over with the move, so it isn't like we started with an expansion draft and clean slate.