I had the opportunity to interview The Guide a few years ago in 2018 which you can revisit here, and what’s great about the archives tour is, with a Legends Club ticket, it can be a self-guided tour. That said, what you’ll be missing are the countless stories that Doepner has to go with each piece of memorabilia that is displayed at Target Field. Not just a curator, Doepner is a former United States history teacher which, explains why he’s such a phenomenal storyteller making the memorabilia come to life through anecdotes that he keeps on an imaginary rolodex in his brain. Before sharing stories of the memorabilia, you learn of how he came into his role with the Twins which is also told in the interview linked above. In short, it started with a “thank you” and a cheap Twins owner, and then Doepner starts the tour.
The tour starts at Hrbek’s Pub right behind home plate. As you can imagine, or maybe have seen, the pub is full of memorabilia from Kent Hrbek’s career, including a bobblehead of the “wrestling move” in the 1991 World Series as The Guide put it, that you might have heard about once or twice. The picture below is from my personal bobblehead collection.
He goes on to point out each of Hrbek’s jerseys from his professional career from the Elizabethton Twins to the Minnesota Twins before pointing out that he was also able to grab Hrbek’s high school uniform from his time at Bloomington Kennedy. After coming up empty when he reached out to Hrbek and his former varsity coach, he was able to acquire the jersey from the former Athletic Director who was hesitant to hand over the piece of history. You’ll notice that all of the jerseys are hung high enough in the bar it would require a ladder to get them down, and when the former AD asked about the placement of the uniform Doepner told him “it’s so you can never take it back” with a chuckle. It was getting busy and our group was in the way so I couldn't get a picture of the jersey, but you can see it in the header photo on the bars website.
After you finish your drink at Hrbek’s, you can head up to the Legends Club (again, you’ll need a ticket to access the rest of the tour) and find the wood burned mural of Kirby Puckett behind the bar named after the Twins Hall-of-Famer and make your away to the display case near the back of the bar.
Doepner shares countless stories about the former third overall pick but what I find most interesting is the willingness of the family to “loan” the memorabilia to Target Field for all fans to see. In fact, even when Kirby’s children turned 18 and became the legal owners of Kirby’s estate, they agreed with their Mom that it belonged at Target Field. Every so often, Doepner will rotate things in and out of the case and had just done so at the start of the 2022 season.
As you’re making your way around the same case, you’ll come across one display dedicated to the three All-Star Games that the Minnesota Twins have hosted…1965 at Met Stadium, 1985 at the HHH Metrodome, and of course 2014 at Target Field. Doepner has the 2014 All-Star game as the second greatest event that Target Field has hosted only behind the stadiums first game in 2010.
Once you’ve reminisced over your favorite All-Star Game memories, head across the hall and find two cases dedicated to another hometown kid, Joe Mauer. Doepner hopes to double the size of this display sometime in the near future and is quick to point out Joe’s first uniform as a member of the Minnesota Twins organization is number 71…not number 1 like is the practice now when you’re a first round pick.
Doepner recounts living near the ballfield that Mauer grew up on and watching him as a little kid, not being the biggest kid on the diamond but being the best hitter he’s ever seen. It’s hard not to get the same chills you got on September 30th, 2018 when Doepner highlights the catcher’s gear that Mauer wore in the final game, final inning, and final pitch of his career. Despite hesitation from his doctors and his wife due to the number of concussions he’s had, Mauer sat behind home plate one more with the promise from the White Sox that Yoan Moncada would not swing at the final pitch Mauer would catch. I like to think of it as an ode to a player who was infamous for not swinging at the first pitch of an at-bat.
The Guide finishes the tour down the hall from Mauer’s display case by recounting memories from Hammerin’ Harmon Killebrew. In the display case, you’ll see a lot of non-baseball or Twins memorabilia that helps tell the story of Harmon’s life. From his days as an eight-year-old basketball player when he donned the number 3 which is now a retired number within the Minnesota Twins organization to when he was a senior in high school choosing his next path in life.
Despite being known as one of the most prolific home run hitters in Major League Baseball history, The Killer had offers to play football from the cream of the crop of football powerhouses at the college level. Fortunately for the Minnesota Twins franchise and baseball fans alike, he chose to sign a 3-year, $10,000 contract with the Washington Senators because he wanted to provide financial support for his family. From there the rest is history, with Killebrew hammerin’ 573 home runs…the final one fittingly coming as a member of the Kansas City Royals at Met Stadium and you can see the exact bat used in the display case.
This article (and surely the pictures...see the note below) doesn’t do the tour or Clyde “The Guide” Doepner justice. If you’re ever given the opportunity, please say “hi” to Clyde if you see him in the halls. He’s always around. If you’re lucky, you can pluck his brain on anything and everything related to the Minnesota Twins.
Note: I apologize for the picture quality. I’m not a photographer by any stretch and I did the best I could with the lighting! Even more reason to go on the self-guided tour yourself!