Last week, Nate Palmer wrote an article here at Twins Daily about the 1978 event in Waseca in which then owner Calvin Griffith, who brought the team to Minnesota from Washington DC in 1961, spoke to a group of citizens.
In his discussion with the Waseca Lions, Griffth was quoted as saying, "“I’ll tell you why we came to Minnesota. It was when I found out you only had 15,000 blacks. Black people don’t go to ball games, but they’ll fill up a rassling ring and put up such a chant it’ll scare you to death. It’s unbelievable. We came here because you’ve got good, hardworking, white people here."
In addition, he chose to go after Hall of Famer Rod Carew, calling him a "fool" for taking the contract he did.
Carew released a statement, which you can read by clicking Aaron's tweet below. It begins:
"I understand and respect the Minnesota Twins decision to remove the Calvin Griffith statue outside Target Field. While I've always supported the Twins decision to honor Calvin with a statue, I also remember how inappropriate and hurtful his comments were on that fateful day in Waseca. The Twins did what they felt they needed to do for the organization and for our community. While we cannot change history, perhaps we can learn from it."
The decision to remove the statue continues a trend of the Twins doing great things in the organization and in the community including:
- First team to announce they would not be releasing any minor leaguers and would continue to pay them through August.
- Pohlad Family Foundation donated $25 million commitment to racial justice.
The Twins released the following statement in regard to their decision to remove the statue of Calvin Griffith.
“When we opened Target Field in 2010 in conjunction with our 50th season in Minnesota, we were excited and proud to welcome fans to our ‘forever ballpark.’ As such, we wanted to pay permanent tribute to those figures and moments that helped shape the first half-century of Minnesota Twins baseball – including a statue of Calvin Griffith, our former owner and the man responsible for moving the franchise here in 1961.
“While we acknowledge the prominent role Calvin Griffith played in our history, we cannot remain silent and continue ignoring the racist comments he made in Waseca in 1978. His disparaging words displayed a blatant intolerance and disregard for the Black community that are the antithesis of what the Minnesota Twins stand for and value.
“Our decision to memorialize Calvin Griffith with a statue reflects an ignorance on our part of systemic racism present in 1978, 2010 and today. We apologize for our failure to adequately recognize how the statue was viewed and the pain it caused for many people – both inside the Twins organization and across Twins Territory. We cannot remove Calvin Griffith from the history of the Minnesota Twins, but we believe removal of this statue is an important and necessary step in our ongoing commitment to provide a Target Field experience where every fan and employee feels safe and welcome.
“Past, present or future, there is no place for racism, inequality and injustice in Twins Territory.”