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A Special Fan

June 19, 2007 3:21 AM

July 7, 1966

July 7, 1966 (Click to see the entire scorecard with ads)

On July 7, 1966 the Twins lost to the Detroit Tigers, 4 to 3. It was a game with very little meaning to anyone in the baseball world, but would come to have great meaning to me.

Harmon Killebrew and Rich Rollins homered for the Twins that day, as did Al Kaline for the Tigers. The Twins rallied, but stranded the tieing and winning runs at first and second in an exciting bottom of the ninth. Mudcat Grant dropped to 5-12 with the loss, Dave Wickersham (5-2) got the win, and Fred Gladding got the save.

My grandmother was in the stands that day at Metropolitan Stadium and kept score. Several years later, when I was old enough to appreciate it and be careful with it, she gave me her program and scorecard from that game as a special gift. From that moment, baseball would be the basis for the warm bond we shared. I've always cherished that program as the first and oldest baseball souvenir I ever had.

She died this weekend at the ripe old age of 89. It's hard to be too sad because her life was so long, and her body had become quite frail these past years -- even though her mind remained razor-sharp. This was her time, she knew, and she was ready. I'd had my chance to say goodbye, and her passing was peaceful, with family nearby, in her own home. We should all be so lucky.

When I last saw her a couple of months ago, she wanted to know what I knew about all these new pitchers. She knew enough about the rotation to be openly skeptical (she was equally skeptical about the Vikes). She smiled broadly when talking about Mauer and Morneau and Santana and Hunter, despite the fact that macular degeneration had stolen most of her vision and she hadn't actually seen much of what they'd done. But she thought there was greatness to be found within this team. UPDATE: A cousin told me today that, when he saw her the night before she died, she really wanted to know whether this Slowey was going to be any good. Hard to know what she would have thought after his outing the next day: 5.1 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 3 HR...

She lived with our family for a time when I was growing up, and loved to play catch in the afternoons. I could not begin to count the number of hours we spent together out there with either a baseball, softball, or Frisbee. She was also known to join in our pick-up games, and she was catching the day I got beaned in the eye with a batted ball (our pitcher's mound was always a little too close to the plate).

Many people in my life have loved baseball, and many have loved the Twins, but Grams was especially loyal. A couple of years ago she gave me all of her remaining baseball keepsakes. Never has an envelope of ticket stubs and a carefully-folded Homer Hanky meant so much.

I'll miss her, but part of my love for the game came from hers, so I'll always carry her with me.

Grams


Comments


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I farm in Northwest North Dakota. My Dad was a lifelong baseball fan and a Twins fan from the day the team came to MN. A satellite dish allowed him to watch many games in his last years.

On the day of his funeral as we were leaving the church to go to the cemetery one of the casket bearers, a neighbor, came up to me and asked if it would be ok if he wore a Twins cap at the grave site service in honor of my dad being such a fan. I said that would be very nice.

The touching story of your Grandmother reminded me of the tribute my neighbor paid to my Dad.

Baseball memories last a long time. Thank you for sharing your story and may your Grandmother rest in peace.

Posted on June 19, 2007 at 08:38 AM by Bruce Highlight this comment 1

My great-grandparents were farmers in Fargo, ND (reoccurring pattern it seems, Bruce). I was young when they died, but I'll never forget how much they loved the Twins. Thank you for sharing your memories, it brought back many fond ones for me as well.

Posted on June 19, 2007 at 9:35 PM by Joe Highlight this comment 2

Booom shakalakalakalaka!

Note to Carl, Oputz and the sham 'ball park commission', get your wish list out and start crossing things off. The price of poker on Mpls realestate just went through the roof!

Posted on June 21, 2007 at 08:10 AM by Zygmeister Highlight this comment 3

So you choose to comment on a thread he devotes to his grandmother. You're a misinformed loser. Go back to the forum where they barely tolerate you.

Posted on June 21, 2007 at 11:08 AM by mullen Highlight this comment 4

riiight. I think 2 days is an appropriate "moment of silence" considering the circumstances. Who told what what 'misinformed' means?

Posted on June 21, 2007 at 12:09 PM by mullenisaloser Highlight this comment 5

C'mon fellas. Let's be respectful.

Posted on June 21, 2007 at 2:28 PM by Lafferty Daniel Highlight this comment 6

thanks for sharing a well-written tribute!

Posted on June 22, 2007 at 8:47 PM by yeahklye Highlight this comment 7

An open-air ballpark? Bad idea. An enclosed, retractable-dome ballpark would have worked out better for the Twins. Yes, it would have cost a fortune to build. This cost saving measure of building an open-air ballpark is going to come back and haunt the Twins later on.

Posted on July 3, 2007 at 5:11 PM by Block E Highlight this comment 8


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Supports viewed from beneath. These seats will be just a few feet from the outside edge of the building!



Detail of the Puckett wall hanging



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Bike parking available along Second Avenue



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B ramp improvements are finally becoming usable. The doors lead to the plaza beneath the skyway steps.



Justin Morneau, mobbed after a game-winning homer on June 9









The overhang as seen through the unnumbered gate



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Inexplicable bright yellow baseball amid the trees.






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Revised outfield configuration (courtesy HOK Sport)


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