Notable Minneapolis Millers
By Stew Thornley
Author of On to Nicollet: The Glory and Fame of the Minneapolis Millers
DAVE ALTIZER, Shortstop, 1910-18
Altizer had a number of outstanding seasons for the Millers and was one of the top stars on four pennant-winning teams in Minnesota. He led the American Association with 65 stolen bases in 1910, 141 runs scored in 1913, and 98 walks in 1916. He also had 61 sacrifices in 1910, an Association record that was never broken. Altizers last season with Minneapolis was in 1918. Later in the year, less that a month before the armistice that brought an end to the World War, Altizers son was killed in action in France. Altizer did not play in organized baseball in 1919, but he came back to play two more seasons in South Dakota, with Aberdeen and Madison.
NICK ALTROCK, Pitcher, 1909-l1
Altrock spent nineteen years in the majors, compiling a lifetime record of 84-75 with a 2.67 ERA. He won 20 games three straight years for the White Sox and led the 1906 Hitless Wonders to the pennant, then outdueled the Cubs Three-Finger Brown in the opening game of the World Series, which the White Sox won in six games.
Altrocks best year with the Millers was in 1910, when he worked 300 innings and posted a 19-13 record.
Altrock later served as a base coach for the Washington Senators and mixed serious coaching with crowd-pleasing antics. He continued his clowning/coaching into the 1930s.
RUSSELL BUZZ ARLETT, Outfielder, 1934-35
Arlett spent most of his baseball years in his hometown of Oakland in the Pacific Coast League. In the part of his career, Arlett was one of the leagues top pitchers, winning 29 games in 1920. He then became one of the circuits best hitters. Arlett spent one year in the majors, hitting .313 with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1931. He spent the next two years with Baltimore in the International League, and he led the league in home runs both years. Arlett started the season with Birmingham in 1934 but came to Minneapolis in May. Playing only 116 games with the Millers, Arlett had 132 runs batted in and led the American Association with 41 home runs. He played two more years with the Millers. Although he finished his career with four pinch-hitting appearances with Syracuse of the International League in 1937, Arlett returned to Minneapolis to live and operate a bar not far from Nicollet Park after his playing days were over.
DAVE BEAUTY BANCROFT, Manager, 1933
Bancroft, a former shortstop for the Phillies and Giants who would be elected to the Hall of Fame in 1971, managed the Millers in 1933. Under Bancroft, the Millers finished second to Columbus, then lost to the Red Birds in a post-season series to determine who would advance to the Junior World Series.
BABE BARNA, Outfielder, 1941, 1944-48
Barna hit.336 with 24 home runs for the Millers in 1941 and led the American Association with 29 stolen bases, a performance which earned Barna a trip to the majors with the New York Giants. Failing to make good in the big time, Babe returned to Minneapolis three years later and remained a Nicollet Park favorite until 1948, as he twice led the league in home runs.
Barna had been a football, basketball and baseball standout at West Virginia University. Following his baseball career, Babe returned to his native state and operated a bar in Charleston. In May of 1972 he was inducted into the West Virginia Sports Hall of Fame. Seven days later, he died of a stroke.
BELVE BEAN, Pitcher, 1935-40
Bean had a 51-39 record over six years with the Millers. He was later elected Sheriff of Comanche County in Texas and served for eight years.
RUBE BENTON, Pitcher, 1926-33
Notorious for wine and women, Benton won 115 games over eight years for the Millers, including a 20-14 record in 1929. Prior to the Millers, Benton had pitched 15 years in the National League and was involved in the controversy surrounding the 1919 Black Sox scandal. Benton reportedly had advance information that the World Series was fixed, and testimony exists that he had won $3,200 betting on Cincinnati in the Series. Benton narrowly escaped disbarment from baseball.
The southpaw was seriously injured in an auto accident in November of 1930. Although his pitching hand was badly crushed, he came back to pitch three more years in Minneapolis. Benton died in 1937 from injuries suffered in another car wreck near Ozark, Arkansas.
MOE BERG, Third baseman-shortstop, 1924
Berg split time with Toledo and Minneapolis in 1924, hitting .264 in 118 games. After he left Minneapolis, he spent fifteen years in the majors, primarily as a catcher. Probably the most erudite man ever to play professional baseball, Berg accompanied a major league all-star team to Japan in 1934 and carried out a mission for U. S. intelligence authorities by filming military, industrial, and transportation facilities. Bergs pictures reportedly were later used in bombing raids over the Empire, including Jimmy Doolittles 1942 Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo raid.
Berg worked as a spy for the Office of Special Services during World War II. Americas top atomic spy, Berg carried out several dangerous missions to determine the Germans progress toward producing an atomic bomb.
OSSIE BLUEGE, Third baseman-shortstop, 1922
Bluege hit .315 in 44 games with the Millers in 1922. He then moved to Washington, where he played through 1939, holding down the hot corner for all three Senator pennant-winning teams. Bluege later coached and managed the Senators, then moved into the front office. As a scout, he signed Harmon Killebrew to a Washington contract. He eventually became controller and came with the team when it moved to Minnesota. Bluege retired in 1971, completing a 50-year career with the Griffith organization.
ROGER BRESNAHAN, Pitcher, 1898-99
The Millers thought they had bolstered their pitching staff in 1898 with the arrival of 19-year-old righthander Roger Bresnahan. Bresnahan had posted a 4-0 record for the Washington Senators in 1897. After holding out for more money the following spring, he left Washington, pitched briefly in his hometown of Toledo and then, after a three-month layoff, joined the Millers for whom he pitched in three games. The official records dont even list Bresnahan as having been with Minneapolis in 1898. Bresnahan probably wouldnt have minded the oversight he was the losing pitcher in all three games he pitched.
Bresnahan was back with the Millers in spring training the following year and even started the teams opener. But for Roger in 1891, once again, it was three games, three losses.
Apparently soured by his mound experience, Bresnahan turned his attention to the other end of the battery, catching fifteen years for the Orioles, Giants, Cardinals, and Cubs, and compiling a .279 lifetime batting average. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1945, only a few months after his death.
ED BRESSOUD, Shortstop, 1955-57
Bressoud hit .251 with 19 home runs and 74 RBIs in 145 games in the Millers championship season of 1955. He later played 11 seasons in the majors with a .252 lifetime average and 94 home runs.
OWEN DONIE BUSH, Manager, 1932, 1934-38
Bushwho had managed the Pittsburgh Pirates to the 1927 National League pennantcame to Minneapolis in 1932 and led the Millers to the American Association title, a feat which earned him another shot in the majors, with Cincinnati. However, after the Reds finished last in 1933, Bush found himself back in Minneapolis, where he led the Millers to two more flags in 1934 and 1935.
Donie Bush resigned as skipper of the Millers after the 1938 season to take a similar post and become part-owner of the Louisville Colonels.
JOE CANTILLON, Manager, 1910-23
A native of Janesville, Wisconsin, Pongo Joe Cantillon was a familiar face in the Upper Midwest. He had played with many teams in the area, including Winona in 1884, in a career that had begun in 1879. He received his nickname when he was a member of the San Francisco Seals in 1889. Cantillon was popular with the Bay Area fans, and Charley Dryden, a baseball, writer and humorist of national renown, had received many inquiries regarding Joes nationality. Dryden wrote that Cantillon was Italian and his true name was Pongo Pelipe Cantillon, son of a nobleman who had run away from his home in Italy to seek his fortune in America. Italian residents took Dryden seriously and went to the park in droves to cheer their countryman. They would yell to Joe in Italian and the young second baseman answered back in guttural tones so natural that even his teammates wondered if Drydens story was true. (It wasnt.)
As a Western League umpire in the late 1890s, Cantillon was often a favorite scapegoat among Minneapolis sportswriters, and as a scout, Joe was credited with discovering some of the games greatest players, including Walter Johnson, Rube Waddell, and Amos Rusie. He managed the Milwaukee Brewers in the American Association for four years before signing a managerial contract with the Washington Senators. When that commitment was complete, Cantillon joined his brother Mike in Minneapolis and became manager of the Millers.
With Mike in the front office and Joe on the bench and a roster comprised almost entirely of players with previous major-league experience, the Millers rattled off three-straight pennants starting in 1910.
MIKE CANTILLON, Manager-owner, 1907-23
Mike Cantillon, with his brother Joe and their brother-in-law, E. J. Archambault of Milwaukee, became partners in the ownership of the Millers beginning in 1907. Mikes first choice as field manager, however, was unavailable, as brother Joe had just signed a three-year contract to manage the Washington Senators. Instead, Mike directed the team from the bench his first two years, turning over the reins to Jimmy Collins in 1909 and then to his brother in 1910. Cantillon owned the Millers until selling the team in 1918.
ORLANDO CEPEDA, First baseman, 1957
Cepeda won the Northern League Triple Crown with the Class-C St. Cloud Rox in 1956, then jumped four classifications and led the Millers with 25 home runs, 108 RBIs and a .309 average the following year.
With the Giants in 1958, Cepeda was the National League Rookie of the Year. In 1967 with St. Louis, the Baby Bull was the unanimous selection as the National Leagues Most Valuable Player.
Surgery on both knees shortened his playing days, and Orlando finished his career as a designated hitter. Still, he compiled a .297 lifetime average in the majors (nine times hitting over.300) and hit 397 home runs. Still, he compiled a .297 lifetime average in the majors (nine times hitting over.300) and hit 397 home runs. Cepeda was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1999.
LU CLINTON, Outfielder, 1958-60
Lu led the Millers With 20 home runs in 1959 and added two more in the Junior World Series against Havana. He also hit the Millers first inside-the-park home run in Met Stadium in July of that year.
Clinton played eight years for five American League teams in the 1960s.
OTIS CLYMER, Outfielder, 1909-14
An extremely popular Miller, Clymer batted over .300 (with a high of .342 in 1911 and a league-leading 200 hits in 1912) for three straight years starting in 1910. Clymer was killed in a car accident in St. Paul in 1926 at the age of 50.
ANDY COHEN, Second baseman 1932-39
Cohen came to Minneapolis in a trade with Newark in 1932, played against his former mates in the Junior World Series that fall, and stayed with the Millers through 1939. His best season was in 1934 when he hit .311 and scored 106 runs.
Cohen managed the team for the first 23 games of 1937 because of an illness to Donie Bush. He also hit .320 in 131 games that year.
Cohen had played 262 games with the New York Giants during the twenties. He later managed Indianapolis in the American Association and was the head baseball coach at Texas Western College in El Paso for 17 years.
JIMMY COLLINS, Third baseman-manager, 1909
Collins had a number of fine seasons with Boston teams in both the American and National leagues, but he hit only .217 for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1908 and was released when owner Connie Mack decided his salary was too big for his worth to the As. However, Collins rebounded as manager-third baseman for the Millers. Collins had to leave the team for a week in May when his nine-month old child died in Buffalo, New York, but came back to hit .273 and lead the Millers in their first real run at the pennant.
Collins, who had a .294 lifetime average in 14 major-league seasons before coming to Minneapolis, was enshrined in the Hall of Fame, along with another former Miller, Roger Bresnahan, in 1945.
GAVVY CRAVATH, Outfielder, 1909-11, 1922
Had runs batted in been an official statistic at the time, Clifford Cactus Gavvy Cravath undoubtedly would have won the American Association Triple Crown in 1910 and 1911. As it was, Cravath—home-run king of the dead-ball era—led the league both years in batting average, hits, doubles, home runs, and total bases. In 1911 he hit .363 while pounding 29 home runs, eclipsing by 11 the league record set by John Buck Freeman of the Millers in 1907. Cravath later became a judge in Laguna Beach, California, but reportedly had problems when it was discovered that he couldnt hit a scofflaws pocketbook as well as he could a curveball. A member of the clergy, convicted of speeding, received only a token fine from Cravath, which he then suspended because A minister must need the money more than the city of Laguna Beach does.
HUGHIE CRITZ, Second baseman-shortstop, 1923-24
Critz hit .327 in 1923 with 205 hits, 115 runs scored, and 73 knocked in. He also had a 33-game hitting streak, challenging the league record of 36 at that time, set by Bob Fisher of the Millers in 1921.
Critz was sold to Cincinnati in 1924 and broke into the majors with two hits off Grover Cleveland Alexander. He played twelve seasons in the National League with the Giants and Reds.
NICK CULLOP, Outfielder, 1930
The Millers purchased Cullop from the Atlanta Crackers of the Southern Association at the end of the 1929 season, but the road to success in Minneapolis would be paved with adversity for Cullop. During the off-season one of his children was killed after falling out a window of the family apartment in St. Louis. Two months later his other child died of a fever. At that time, his wife had a nervous breakdown and was ill for several months.
When the 1930 season finally began, Cullop was beaned in the teams third game, prompting a battle with ball shyness. In his next fifteen at-bats, Nick could muster only one hit while striking out eleven times. In the Millers first 28 games, Cullop managed only one home run; but in the final 125 games he regained his confidence at the plate and finished the season with a league-record 54 home runs.
RAY DANDRIDGE, Second baseman-third baseman, 1949-52
Ray Dandridge became the first black player to play for the Millers in June of 1949. Dandridge had been signed, along with Dave Barnhill, off the roster of the New York Cubans of the Negro American League.
A 16-year veteran of the Negro and Mexican Leagues, Dandridge was regarded as the greatest third baseman in the history of the Negro Leagues. With the Newark Eagles in the late 1930s, Dandridge was a member of the Million-Dollar Infield, so called because it was said thats what it would have been worth had the players been white.
In the early 1940s, Dandridge left Newark to play in the Mexican League. He became a close friend and a trusted confidant of league president Jorge Pasquel, who often sent Ray back to the states to recruit other Negro League players.
At one point Dandridge and Pasquel had a falling out after a salary dispute. Dandridge was on his way back to the United States when his train was stopped by the Mexican Army, who informed Dandy that Pasquel had changed his mind and was prepared to raise his salary. Despite the occasional hard feelings between the two, Dandridge remained loyal to Pasquel, and even turned down an offer by Bill Veeck to play with the Cleveland Indians in 1947. In 1948, though, Dandridge returned north and became the playermanager for the New York Cubans until he and Barnhill left to join Minneapolis.
Dandridge was 35 at the time, but claimed he was only 35. (After the color line had been broken, many older Negro Leaguers shaved a few years off their age, hoping for an opportunity to plate in the majors.) For Dandridge, however, that chance did not come.
Besides his age, there are other explanations as to why he was never called up by the New York Giants. The Giants already had three blacks on their roster, and an informal quota system was said to still exist. In addition, Giants president Horace Stoneham told Dandridge he was too good a drawing card in Minneapolis to be moved to New York. There was even speculation that his chances were hurt because of his involvement in the Mexican League, which, by the late forties, was viewed as an outlaw league when it began raiding players from the American and National League rosters. Although never given the chance to play in the majors, Dandridge was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1987.
In his rookie season at Minneapolis Dandridge hit .311 and had a 28-game hitting streak during the year. He also had three home runs and eight RBIs in one game in August.
Dandridges 1950 performance in the field and at the plate (a.311 batting average with 106 runs scored and 80 batted in), earned him the leagues Most Valuable Player award.
JIM DAVENPORT, Third baseman, 1957
Davenport hit.291 in 148 games for the Millers before moving up to the Giants, where he played from 1958 through 1970.
CHARLEY DRESSEN, Third baseman, 1931
Dressen hit .257 in 101 games for the Millers. He bad played for the Saints in the early 1920s. Dressen later managed Brooklyn, Washington, Milwaukee, and Detroit until his death in August 1966.
PAT DUNCAN, Outfielder, 1925-28
A hard-hitting outfielder who had played seven years in the majors before coming to the Millers, Duncan compiled a .307 lifetime average in the big leagues and appeared in the 1919 World Series with the Cincinnati Reds.
In 1925 with the Millers, Duncan hit.345 with 218 hits, 128 runs, 27 homers, and 139 RBIs. He followed that up in 1926 with 23 home runs and 123 RBIs while hitting .351.
CARLTON EAST, Right fielder-pitcher, 1923, 1928
East came to Minneapolis in 1923 and led the American Association with 31 home runs while hitting .375. He was then traded to the Washington Senators for George Fisher. For the 30-year-old East, the trade marked his return to the majors, with a team that would go on to win the World Series that year. Easts previous big-league experience consisted of one pitching appearance with the St. Louis Browns in 1915.
But after only two games in Washington, East became angered over remarks made to him by Senators owner Clark Griffith and left the club. He remained out of organized baseball until he came back to Minneapolis and played 15 games for the Millers in 1928.
FRANK EMMER, Shortstop, 1926-31
Emmer came to the Millers in a trade with Cincinnati in July 1926. The next year he led the Association with 32 home runs while hitting .330. He also drove in 116 runs and scored 154. Emmer broke his ankle in the Millers 1928 Opener and played in only 64 games that year.
JOE ENGEL, Pitcher, 1915-16
Engels pitching career, both with the Millers and in the major leagues was brief, but he later became a scout for the Washington Senators and then the longtime owner of the Chattanooga Lookouts in the Southern Association. His predilection for publicity stunts, which included signing a woman and having her pitch to Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Tony Lazzeri during an exhibition game with the Yankees, earned Engel the title of Barnum of the Bushes.
URBAN RED FABER, Pitcher, 1911
Twenty-two-year-old righthander Urban Red Faber appeared in five games with the Millers in 1911, posting a 1-0 record (although the official record books incorrectly list him as pitching in only two games, without a decision.) After two more stops in the minors, Faber moved to Chicago, where he won 254 games with the White Sox. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1964.
GEORGE FISHER, Outfielder, 1924-27
Fisher came to the Millers in 1924 from the Washington Senators in a trade for Carlton East. However, East left the Senators after only two games, and, as a result, Washington owner Clark Griffith then demanded the return of Fisher. Over the protests of the Millers, Judge Landis, Commissioner of Baseball, ordered Fisher to report back to the Senators.
In early June, the Senators attempted to trade Fisher again, this time to the Milwaukee Brewers, bringing another strong reaction from Mike Kelley. This time, Judge Landis sided with Minneapolis and finally awarded Fisher to the Millers. Happy to be in one place, Fisher hit .309 for the Millers but was unable to help them to anything better that a sixth-place finish in 1924.
Fisher did even better in 1925, hitting .350 with 19 home runs and 96 runs batted in.
JOHN BUCK FREEMAN, Outfielder, first baseman, 1907-08
Freeman, who had hit 25 home runs with Washington in the National League in 1899, played for the Millers in 1907 and 1908 and led the American Association in home runs both years. His 18 home runs in 1907 set an American Association record.
FABIAN GAFFKE, Outfielder, 1936-38, 1940
Gaffke patrolled center field for several seasons and in 1936 hit .342 with 25 home runs and 132 runs batted in.
FOSTER BABE GANZEL, Third baseman, 1932-36
The son of Charley Ganzel, a Minneapolis baseball star in the 19th century, Foster Ganzel was named after his fathers best friend, Elmer Foster, another early great with Minneapolis baseball teams. Foster Ganzel was a key member of the powerful Millers teams of the 1930s, hitting 23 home runs and leading the American Association with 143 runs batted in during the pennant-winning season of 1932.
HAROLD TOOKIE GILBERT, First baseman, 1947, 1950-51
A highly-touted prospect, Gilbert may have been picked before he was ripe when he was called up by the New York Giants after only seven games with the Millers in 1950. Failing to make the grade, Gilbert returned to Minneapolis in 1951 and led the Association with 29 home runs. Despite his promise, he never did make much of a splash in the majors. Gilbert died of a heart attack in 1967 at the age of thirty-eight.
JOHNNY GILL, Outfielder, 1934-35
A longtime minor league, Gill had a big season in leading the Millers to the American Association pennant in 1935. Gill led the league with 148 runs scored, 43 home runs, and 154 runs batted in. He also his .361 and had 220 hits.
ANGELO GIULIANI, Catcher, 1941-42, 1949
Giuliani grew up within sight of the center-field gate of St. Pauls Lexington Park and started his professional career in that city, playing for the Saints from 1932 to 1935. Giuliani played for the Millers in the early forties, then came out of retirement in 1949 to help out the Millers when injuries left the team short on backstops.
As a catcher for the Washington Senators, Giuliani caught the first game Hall-of-Famer Early Wynn pitched in 1939, and four years later Giuliani was behind the plate for the last game ever pitched by Hall-of-Famer Lefty Gomez.
Giuliani later became Clinic Director and a scout for the Minnesota Twins. He has performed clinics for over 500,000 youngsters in the Upper Midwest; as a scout, Giuliani witnessed four of his signees appear in the Twins Opening Day lineup in 1984.
JOE GLENN, Catcher, 1933
Glenn hit .333 with 17 home runs and 91 RBIs for Minneapolis in 1933. When the Millers season ended he moved back up to the Yankees and was the catcher when Babe Ruth made his final appearance as a pitcher. Seven years later, Glenn was also the catcher when Ted Williams took the mound for two innings for the Red Sox. Glenn died in his sleep in May 1985, less than 24 hours after being inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.
MIGUEL MIKE GONZALEZ, Catcher, 1930
Gonzalez hit .263 with 5 HR in 92 games with Millers in 1930, but he is better remember for his 17 seasons in the National League, where he was one of the top defensive catchers. Gonzalez was only the third Cuban in the major leagues in the 20th century, debuting with the Boston Braves in 1912, and was the first Cuban manager in the majors, starting with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1938. Gonzalez was a longtime scout and is credited with coining the phrase good field, no hit in a report he filed on another former Millers catcher, Moe Berg. In the winter, Gonzalez played and managed in the Cuban League for many years. As a manager, he led Havana to 14 Cuban League pennants.
HANK GOWDY, Catcher, 1926-27
A 17-year veteran in the majors, Gowdy was a member of the 1914 Miracle Braves who rose from the cellar in mid-July to win the National League pennant and then swept Connie Macks As in the World Series. Gowdy hit .545 in the Series.
Gowdy was the first major-leaguer to enlist in the U. S. Armed Forces during World War I. He saw action at Chateau-Thierry, St. Mihiel, and Argonne, among the bloodiest battles of the war.
ELIJAH PUMPSIE GREEN, Shortstop-second baseman, 1958-59
Green hit .253 for the Millers in 1958 and spent spring training with the Red Sox in 1959. But when Boston sent Green back to the Millers prior to the start of the season, the NAACP in Boston asked a state commission to investigate the employment policy of the Red Sox, who were still the only major-league team who had never had a black on their roster.
The commission eventually cleared the Red Sox of any wrongdoing, and when Green hit .320 for the Millers in 1959 and was named to the Association All-Star team, he was called up by the Red Sox in late July as Boston became final team in the majors to integrate.
SPENCER HARRIS, Outfielder-first baseman, 1928-37
Duluth-native Spence Harris joined the Millers in 1928. In his initial season in Minneapolis, Harris compiled a .327 average and led the Association in runs, doubles, total bases, home runs, and walks, while adding 127 RBIs (hitting mainly in the leadoff spot). During the ten years he would play with the Millers, Harris hit over.300 every year and six times topped the century mark in runs batted in. Speed and grace characterized his play in the pasture, making Harris the premier center fielder in the American Association in the 1930s.
Following his stay in Minneapolis, Harris played another ten seasons on the West Coast, finally ending a 28-year professional career at the age of 48. To this day, Harris remains the minor-league career leader in runs, hits, and doubles and is third on the all-time list, with 3,258 games played.
JACK HARSHMAN, First baseman-pitcher, 1949-50, 1952
Harshman hit 40 home runs for the Millers in 1949, but in 1950, while playing for Jacksonville, he got a chance to pitch for the first time. And even though Jack hit 47 homers for Nashville of the Southern Association in 1951, he came back to the Millers as a pitcher the following year. On the mound, he posted a 6-7 record and threw a one-hitter against Kansas City in the playoffs. Harshman compiled a lifetime record of 69-65 in the majors.
CLINT HARTUNG, Pitcher-outfielder, 1942, 1952-53
Mike Kelley signed Hartung out of Hondo High School in Texas in 1942, had him pitch briefly for the Millers, then shipped him off to Eau Claire to work under the tutelage of manager Rosy Ryan.
When he returned to the Millers ten years later, after spending time in the majors, he was an outfielder. The Hondo Hurricane hit .334 for the Millers with 27 home runs and 93 RBIs in 1952. The following year he hit two home runs in one inning, both in excess of 425 feet.
Hartung never fulfilled his potential in the majors, either as a pitcher or a slugger.
JOE HAUSER, First baseman, 1932-36
The Millers acquired first-baseman Joe Unser Choe Hauser from the Baltimore Orioles of the International League after the 1931 season. Unser Choe (a German expression for Our Joe) had received his nickname while playing for the Brewers in his hometown of Milwaukee in 1920. Because I lived there, nobody was supposed to boo me, Joe explains, but when I had a bad day and some fans did, others told them to knock it off because Das ist Unser Choe.
Hauser came up to the majors with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1922 and had his best year two years later, at the age of twenty-five, when he hit .288 with 27 home runs and 115 RBIs. But a chance for an encore in 1925 was missed when he broke his leg in spring training and spent the entire season on the shelf. Hauser never returned to his previous form and was out of the majors for good after the 1929 season. However, he still had a number of big years left in the minors. Hauser regained his batting touch with the Baltimore Orioles of the International League in 1930 and set an organized baseball single-season record with 63 home runs. He led the International League in homers again the following year before he was sold to the Millers just prior to the opening of the 1932 season.
Hauser hit 49 home runs in 1932, missing a shot at Nick Cullops American Association record of 54 home runs when a bad knee sidelined him the final two weeks of the season. In 1933, despite failing to homer in the Millers first nine games, Hauser set a professional baseball record by hitting 69 home runs. In the process, he became the first (and, until Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire matched the feat in the 1990s, only) player to hit 60 or more home runs in a season twice.
Hauser looked like he would rewrite the record books again in 1934 when he got off to a fast start, producing 17 home runs and 40 runs batted in through the Millers first 20 games.
A knee injury in June sidelined Hauser for three weeks, but he picked up the pace upon his return to the lineup in July (even adding two home runs and six RBIs in the Association All-Star Game at Nicollet Park), and appeared certain to be the home-run king of his league for the fifth consecutive year. On July 29th, however, with 33 home runs already under his belt, Joe fractured his kneecap in Kansas City. Teammate Buzz Arlett, who hadnt even joined the Millers until late May, eventually passed the idle Hauser and took the league crown.
Hauser played two more seasons with Minneapolis and ended his five-year stint with the Millers with 202 home runs, averaging better than 40 a season. Hauser later served as player-manager for Sheboygan in the Wisconsin State League and operated the Joe Hauser Sports Shop, a sporting goods store in Sheboygan, until May of 1984.
BILLY HERMAN, Second baseman-manager, 1948
Billy Herman joined the Millers as manager in June of 1948. He also played in ten games near the end of the season, hitting .452 with two home runs.
Herman had hit.304 in 15 seasons in the majors and had been named to the National League All-Star team ten straight years before coming to the Millers. He would be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1975.
TOM HUGHES, Pitcher, 1909-10, 1918
Long Tom Hughes joined the Millers in 1909 and the following season won 31 games, setting an Association record that was tied (by Tom Sheehan of St. Paul in 1923) but never broken.
MONTE IRVIN, Outfielder, 1955
Monte Irvin was with the New York Giants in 1955 when the Giants came to Minneapolis for an exhibition game. When the Giants left town after the game, they took with them Minneapolis second baseman Wayne Terwilliger and left behind Irvin for the Millers.
Irvin was a veteran of the Negro Leagues (he was a teammate of Ray Dandridges with Newark in 1938) and had been considered by many as the best choice to be the player to break major-league baseballs color barrier. Jackie Robinson would instead become the first black in organized baseball in the twentieth century, but Irvin got his chance with the Giants in 1949. Bill Rigney had been a teammate of Irvins on the Giants in 1951, and recalled that it was Monte who carried the team during a 16-game winning streak that helped the Giants overcome a 13½ game deficit and eventually overtake Brooklyn for the pennant.
Irvin would have a similar hot streak for the Millers during a winning streak later in the year, and Monte hit .352 with 14 home runs in his half-season with Minneapolis. He returned to the majors and completed his playing career with the Chicago Cubs the next year and was voted into the Hall of Fame by the Negro League Committee in 1973.
MIKE KELLEY, Manager-owner, 1906, 1924-46
The most notable baseball man to work both sides of the Mississippi River in Minnesota, Kelley hailed from Massachusetts and played first base on a Louisville team in the National League that featured Honus Wagner, Rube Waddell, Fred Clarke, and Tommy Leach in 1899. His first appearance in the Twin Cities came when he joined the St. Paul team in the Western League in 1901, becoming its manager late in the season and staying with the Saints when they joined the American Association the following season.
Kelley moved to Minneapolis as manager in 1906 but was suspended by the American Association after twice leveling unsubstantiated charges of dishonesty against umpires. He managed in Des Moines and Toronto before the Association lifted his suspension, allowing him to return to the St. Paul Saints in 1908. Hemanaged the Saints, Indianapolis, and the Saints again until he bought the Millers in November of 1923. He managed the Millers for several years before turning the reins over to Donie Bush in 1932, but he continued to own the team until 1946, when he sold it to the New York Giants. Kelley remained a year as honorary president of the club and lived in Minneapolis until his death in June of 1955.
GEORGE KELLY, First baseman, 1930-31
George Kelly played first base for Minneapolis and had a couple of fine seasons, hitting .320 with 20 home runs and 112 runs batted in. However, he found himself dispensable after the Millers acquired slugger Joe Hauser, and Kelly was traded for pitcher Clyde Pea Ridge Day, the champion hog caller of Pea Ridge, Arkansas.
Kelly, who played for the New York Giants for many years and led the National League with 94 runs batted in in 1920 and 23 home runs the following season, was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973.
WILLIE KIRKLAND, Outfielder, 1955-56
Kirkland joined the Millers near the end of the 1955 season after hitting 40 home runs for Sioux City in the Western League. In 1956 Kirkland hit .293 with 37 home runs and 120 RBIs. Kirkland later compiled a .240 average with 148 home runs in nine seasons in the majors.
DAN LALLY, Outfielder, 1895-98, 1900, 1902-04
Lally played with Miller teams in the Western League, American League and American Association. In 1895 Lally hit .400 with 36 home runs. He also scored 205 runs that year, which only tied him for the league lead in that department.
AD LISKA, Pitcher, 1928, 1932
Liska won nine straight games for the Millers in 1928 en route a 20-4 record with 3.68 ERA in 225 innings pitched.
PAT MALONE, Pitcher, 1924-25, 1927
Malone won 20 games for the Millers while working 319 innings in 1927. He later pitched in two World Series for the Cubs and one for the Yankees (Joe McCarthy was his manager for both teams.)
Malone twice won 20 games for the Cubs and had a 134-92 record in 10 seasons in the majors.
DAVE MANN, Outfielder, 1960
Mann led the American Association with 50 stolen bases in 1960. The swift switch-hitter never made the majors, but did lead various minor leagues in stolen bases nine times.
GENE MAUCH, Second baseman-manager, 1958-59
The Millers hired Gene Mauch to manage the team and play second base in 1958. The team finished third in 1958, but Minneapolis beat Wichita and Denver in the American Association playoffs and then swept the Montreal Royals in four games to win their second Junior Series championship. Again in 1959, the Millers could finish no better than second, but made the most of their opportunity in the post-season playoffs, winning the American Association playoffs and advancing to the Junior World Series against the Havana Sugar Kings. The Millers lost to the Sugar Kings in seven games.
Mauch was set to manage the Millers again in 1960 but, just before the season started, was summoned to Philadelphia to become manager of the Phillies. Mauch managed for many years in the National League and in 1976 returned to Minnesota to manage the Twins.
WILLIE MAYS, Outfielder, 1951
The Millers were picked to win the American Association pennant 1951, largely because of a new center fielder who, it was assumed, would spend the entire season in Minneapolis before graduating to the majors. But the New York Giants decided they needed Willie Mays sooner than that, and, in May, Minneapolis saw its new hero disappear before most fans even had a chance to see him play.
His statistics with the Millers make it obvious why the Giants couldnt wait: a .477 average, eight home runs, 30 RBIs and 38 runs scored in 35 games. Mays nearly single-handedly carried the Millers through the first month of the season as the Millers won 21 of those games.
He was equally awesome roaming center field. In early May at Nicollet Park, Louisvilles Taft Wright drilled a liner to right-center. Somehow Willie got to it, leaping against the wall and snagging the ball before it hit the fence. Meanwhile, Wright put his head down and hustled into second base, assuming he had a stand-up double and was incredulous when the umpire informed him he was out. Wright remained at second until manager Pinky Higgins came out and told him that Willie indeed had caught the ball.
After leaving Minneapolis, Mays became the National Leagues Rookie of the Year and helped lead the Giants to the 1951 pennant. Following his career with the Giants and Mets, which ended in 1973, Mays was elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 1979.
BILL MCKECHNIE, Third baseman, 1921
In 1921, Bill McKechnie finished his playing career at third base for Minneapolis. He had only a .234 lifetime average in the major leagues, but hit .321 for the Millers. Following his playing days, McKechnie compiled a long and successful record as a manager, winning pennants with three different National League teams (St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati) and earning himself a spot in the Hall of Fame in 1961. (McKechnie had played for St. Paul in 1912 and is the only Hall of Famer to have played for both the Millers and the Saints.)
BOB MEUSEL, Outfielder, 1931
A big gun on the Yankees Murderers Row in the twenties, Meusel led the American League in home runs and RBIs in 1925, and hit .309 with 156 home runs during his eleven-year career in the majors.
Meusel played in 59 games with the Millers, hitting .283. In one game in July 1931 he had four hits, including a grand slam, and knocked in seven runs.
JIM MIDDLETON, Pitcher, 1925-27, 1929
Middleton was 36 years old when he won ten-straight games for the Millers in 1925. The next year he was a 20-game winner. His four-year record with the Millers was 54-38, even though he consistently walked more batters than he struck out each year.
BILL MONBOUQUETTE, Pitcher, 1958
Monbo was 8-9 with the Millers in 1958. Highlights of his 11-year career in the majors include a 20-win season for the Red Sox in 1963, a no-hitter against the White Sox in 1962, and a game in 1961 in which he struck out 17 batters.
VAN LINGLE MUNGO, Pitcher, 1942
A hard-throwing, hard-living righthander with the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1930s, Van Lingle Mungos blazing fastball, once clocked at over 100 miles per hour, was gone by the time he joined the Millers. After arm surgery in 1940, Mungo relied on a spitter and other off-speed deliveries.
He was 11-3 for the Minneapolis in 1942 before he was sold to the Giants in late July. Millers teammate Bill Barnacle recalled that Mungo was a loner and didnt associate with anyone on the team. Barnacle also reports that Mungo would occasionally disappear for several days, but always rejoined the team someplace.
JOE MOWRY, Outfielder, 1931-33
In 1932, Mowry hit .348 with 19 home runs and 98 runs batted in. He also set an American Association record that was never broken by scoring 175 runs that season.
FRED OLMSTEAD, Pitcher, 1908-13
Olmstead pitched nine shutouts and won 24 games in 1909 despite missing the final month of the season when he was sold to the White Sox. The right-handed spitballer led the Association in wins in 1912 and finished with a 28-10 record.
ERNIE ORSATTI, Outfielder, 1928
Off the field, Orsatti worked as a Hollywood stunt man for many actors, most notably Buster Keaton.
On the field, Orsatti was the property of the St. Louis Cardinals. He was farmed out to Minneapolis and burned up the American Association with a.381 average in 123 games in 1928, but was recalled by the Cards in August. Mike Kelley blames the Millers failure to win the 1928 pennant on the recall of Orsatti.
FRANK YIP OWENS, Catcher, 1910-13, 1916-20, 1922
A durable catcher and clubhouse prankster, Owens played ten seasons in Minneapolis, the longest tenure of any Miller catcher.
Owens had played for Boston and Chicago in the American League before coming to the Millers. He also played for Brooklyn and Baltimore in the Federal League in 1914-15.
Following his career, Owens lived in Minneapolis until his death in 1958.
ANDY OYLER, Shortstop, 1903-1910
Oyler was a steady shortstop for the Millers in their early years in the American Association and the subject of a myth that has him hitting the shortest home run in baseball history. The legend states that, on a rainy day in Minneapolis, Oyler hit the ball into the mud in front of home plate at Nicollet Park and circled the bases while the opposing fielders searched the muddy diamond in vain for the ball. In reality, the light-hitting Oyler hit only one home run while playing for the Millers. It came in a 1904 game in Milwaukee and hardly matched the description of this apocryphal tale.
ROY PATTERSON, Pitcher, 1908-1914,1917-19
The spitballing righthander was a 20-game winner for the Millers in 1908, 1910, 1911, and 1912. He returned to Minneapolis to help a thinned-out mound staff during World War I and pitched three more years. His 10-year record with the Millers was 135-73.
In 1908 Patterson outdueled Indianapoliss Rube Marquard, beating the future Hall-of-Famer, 1-0, in 11 innings. Two years later, Roy relieved a Miller starter in the first and pitched the final 17-2/3 innings for a 3-2 win over St. Paul.
Patterson pitched for the Chicago White Sox from 1901-07. He won 20 games for the Sox in 1901 and also delivered the first pitch for the American League when it became a major league. (The batter he first pitched to was Ollie Pickering, who would later be a teammate of Patterson on the Millers.)
JESS PETTY, Pitcher, 1932-35
The Silver Fox was thirty-eight when he joined the Millers and posted records of 16-10, 18-8 and 19-7 in his first three years with the team.
Petty fanned 11 and pitched a five-hitter in beating Newark, 3-2, in the second game of the 1932 Junior World Series.
ROY PFLEGER, Outfielder, 1936-39
A left-handed hitter who never made the majors, Pfleger hit 87 home runs in 472 games with Minneapolis and twice drove in more than 100 runs in a season.
Pfleger led the Association with 29 home runs in 1937. The year before, he hit two home runs, including a grand slam, in one inning.
CHARLES DEACON PHILLIPPE, Pitcher 1897-98
Phillipe spent his only two years in the minor leagues with the Millers, winning 21 games for them in 1898. He then embarked on a thirteen-year career in the National League, winning 186 games and losing 110.
For Pittsburgh in the 1903 World Series, Deacon pitched five complete games and won three of them. Despite his efforts, the Pirates were beaten in the Series by Boston, five games to three.
DICK RADATZ, Pitcher, 1960
A 1959 graduate of Michigan State, Radatz had a 3-0 record for the Millers in 1960 and was the starting pitcher in the final game ever played by the Millers, September 11, 1960. He was converted into a relief pitcher the following year at Seattle, then moved up to the Boston Red Sox.
The 6-foot-6 righthander with the 95-mile per-hour fastball was nicknamed The Monster. and had some outstanding seasons as a fireman for the Red Sox in the early 1960s.
Radatz did well against Mickey Mantle, although not as well as he claimed. His story of facing Mantle 63 times and striking him out 47 times while allowing only one hit, a home run, has been passed around and become part of the Monsters legend. However, the reality is that Radatz faced Mantle only 19 times in the majors. Mantle had three hits, including a home run, and three walks while striking out 12 times in those plate appearances.
FLINT RHEM, Pitcher, 1929
Much was expected from Rhem in 1929, but he could only produce a 5-11 record with a 5.40 ERA for the Millers.
A drinking companion of Grover Cleveland Alexanders in St. Louis, Rhem once failed to show up for a game for the Cardinals. Upon his return to the team, he claimed he had been kidnapped and forced by his abductors to consume large quantities of whiskey.
PAUL RICHARDS, Catcher 1932
Richards hit .361 with 16 home runs and 69 RBIs in only 78 games with the Millers.
Richards gained fame in the 1950s and 1960s as an innovative General Manager with the Baltimore Orioles, Houston Colts, and Atlanta Braves. He had managed the White Sox to four consecutive winning seasons starting in 1951 and was later lured out of retirement by Bill Veeck in 1976 to manage the White Sox at the age of sixty-seven.
HENRI RONDEAU, Outfielder-catcher, 1913-24
Rondeau spent 12 years with the Millers, longer than any other player. He hit over .300 seven of those years.
EWELL REB RUSSELL, Outfielder-pitcher, 1919-22
Russell pitched with the Chicago Cubs but turned his attention to hitting when he came to Minneapolis in 1919. While still taking an occasional turn on the mound, Russell had his best season in 1921, when he hit .368 with 33 home runs and 132 runs batted in.
WILFRED ROSY RYAN, Pitcher, 1932,1934-36
Ryan pitched ten years in the majors, five of them with the New York Giants. In 1922 he led the National League in ERA, and in three World Series with the Giants, he posted a 3-0 record (all of his wins coming in relief). In 1924 he also became the first National League pitcher to hit a home run in the World Series.
Ryan came to Minneapolis in 1932. As he had in the majors, Ryan worked primarily as a reliever, but still tied for the Association lead with 22 victories in 1932. He had an 11-5 record with the 1935 Millers, but missed most of the 1936 season following an appendectomy.
Ryan came back to manage the Millers in 1944 and 1945, then became their General Manager for 12 years and continued in the post for another ten years when the team was shifted to Phoenix. Ryan died of cancer in 1982.
CARL SAWATSKI, Catcher 1955
A burly catcher who hit.268 with 27 home runs for the Millers championship team in 1955, Sawatski played with four National League teams between 1948 and 1963.
Sawatski later became a minor-league executive and has served as president of the Texas League since 1970.
ALEXANDER RUBE SCHAUER, 1919,1921-23
Born Dimitri Ivanovich Dimitrihoff, the native of Odessa, Russia, won his first nine games with the Millers in 1919. Schauer finished the season with a 21-17 record and a 2.64 ERA in 351 innings pitched.
CHUCK SCHILLING, Second baseman, 1959-60
Schilling hit .314 in 142 games for the Millers in 1960. He played five years for the Red Sox after that and had a .239 lifetime batting average.
FRANK SHELLENBACK, Pitcher, 1918-19
In both 1918 and 1919 Shellenback split time between the Millers and Chicago White Sox. Dependent on a spitball, he was not able to return to the majors when the spitter was outlawed in 1920. Instead, he pitched 19 seasons in the Pacific Coast League and won 315 games in his minor league career. In 1948 he returned to Minneapolis to manage the Millers.
ROY SMALLEY, Shortstop, 1959
The brother-in-law of manager Gene Mauch, Smalley came to the Millers from Houston midway through the 1959 season. He hit only .236 that year, but hit a two-run homer in the second game of the Junior World Series against Havana.
Smalley had played 11 years with the Cubs, Braves, and Phillies.
EARL SMITH, Outfielder, 1922,1924-30
The switch-hitting outfielder knocked in more than 100 runs five times with the Millers. In 1924 he hit .353 while scoring 139 runs. The following year he hit 31 home runs and drove in 156.
ERNIE SMITH, Shortstop, 1930-34
Smith hit .314 in 647 games with the Millers over five years. He scored 108 runs and drove in 111 in helping the Millers to the 1932 pennant.
TRACY STALLARD, Pitcher, 1959-60
Stallard, who had a 9-16 record in his two years with the Millers, is best remembered for giving up Roger Mariss 61st home run in 1961.
CHUCK TANNER, Outfielder, 1959
In 1955 Chuck Tanner homered in his first at-bat in the majors. In the 1959 season opener, he homered in his first at-bat in a Millers uniform. In the Millers home opener that year, Tanner again homered in his first at-bat. Tanner hit .319 for the Millers that year and led the Association in doubles.
Tanner later managed four clubs in the majors. In 1972, while with the White Sox, he was named American League Manager of the Year; in 1979, he led the Pirates to the World Championship.
WALTER TAUSCHER, Pitcher, 1933-41
Tauscher had 133-78 record in nine years with the Millers, including a 21-7 record in 1934.
BOB TILLMAN, Catcher, 1960
Tillman led the Millers with 24 home runs and 82 RBIs, and was the starting catcher in the 1960 Association All-Star game. Tillman played with the Red Sox, Yankees, and Braves from 1962-70.
FRANK TRECHOCK, Second baseman-shortstop, 1940-41,1943,1946-48
Trechock played in only one major-league game, but he held down the middle infield for the Millers through the forties. He left the team to join the Army in August 1943 but rejoined the Millers after the war and hit .290 in both 1946 and 1947.
GEORGE RUBE WADDELL, Pitcher, 1911-13 (1913 with Minneapolis Northern League team)
Waddell pitched for the Millers in 1911 and 1912, compiling records of 20-17 and 12-6, respectively. Waddell, the premier southpaw of his era (and called the greatest pitcher of all time by Cy Young), had led the American League in strikeouts from 1902 through 1907 while pitching for the Philadelphia Athletics. As eccentric as he was brilliant, Rube withstood all attempts by manager Connie Mack to keep his mind on baseball.
According to Lee Allen in his book, The American League Story, Waddell could find much more than just pitching to occupy his time: Consider merely a few of the things that happened to him in one year alone, 1903: He began that year sleeping in a firehouse at Camden, New Jersey and ended it tending bar in a saloon in Wheeling, West Virginia. In between those events, he won 29 games for the Philadelphia Athletics (even though he didnt bother to hang around for the final month of the season), played left end for the Business Mens Rugby Football Club of Grand Rapids, Michigan, toured the nation in a melodrama called The Stain of Guilt, courted, married and became separated from May Wynne Skinner of Lynn, Massachusetts, saved a woman from drowning, accidentally shot a friend through the hand, and was bitten by a lion.
When Waddell joined the Millers in 1911, he had a contract that provided that he be paid no salary, but would be given $10 once a week if he were sober. Even though he had worn out his welcome with Connie Mack and later, with the St. Louis Browns, Rube created remarkably few, if any, problems for Joe Cantillon and the Millers.
During spring training in 1912 at Hickman, Kentucky, Waddell was one of the hardest workers in helping the residents try to save the local levee during a flood. And when the levee broke, Rube did heroic service in helping the panic-stricken citizens to safety. It was also reported that while in Hickman, Rube spent many hours trying to train three wild geese to skip rope.
Waddell finished his career in 1913, with Virginia, Minnesota and Minneapolis in the Northern League. (Even though the records show that he pitched only for Virginia in 1913, he did appear in four games for Minneapoliss Northern League team earlier in the season, winning two, including a shutout.) By the time the season ended, Waddell had contracted tuberculosis. He returned to Minneapolis and continued to reside there until he left the next spring for a San Antonio sanitarium, where he died in April 1914. Waddell was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1946.
DICK WADE, Outfielder, 1920-22, 1927
Wades outstanding hitting in his first tour of duty with the Millerstwice topping 100 runs batted in and hitting 31 home runs in 1921earned him a brief shot in the majors with Washington in 1923.
BROADWAY CHARLEY WAGNER, Pitcher, 1937-38
Nicknamed Broadway because of his good looks and extravagant wardrobe, Wagner was a 20-game winner for the Millers in 1937.
PERRY MOOSE WERDEN, First baseman, 1894-96, 1899-1900, 1902
Werdens career began as a pitcher with St. Louis of the Union Association in l884, but he turned his attention to hitting, playing with the famous Baltimore Orioles teams that included John McGraw, Wee Willie Keeler, Hughie Jennings, and Wilbert Robinson. Moose had already established his slugging reputation when he came to Minneapolis in 1894, and he stayed on friendly terms with the fences at cozy Athletic Park, posting home run totals of 42 and 45 in his first two seasons, the latter figure remaining an organized baseball record until Babe Ruth took up the practice. Even after his days with the Millers, Werden spent the off-season in Minneapolis and continued to live in the city following his retirement from baseball. For many years he owned and managed a local independent team known as Werdens All Stars. Werden died in 1935.
WES WESTRUM, Catcher, 1941-42, 1947
Westrum appeared in only one game for the Millers in 1941 and three games in 1942 but returned in 1947 to hit .294 with 22 home runs and 87 RBIs.
A native of Clearbrook, Minnesota, Westrum hit only .217 lifetime in the majors, but his defensive skills kept him in the big leagues for eleven seasons. In 1950 he led National League catchers in assists and double plays.
Westrum replaced Casey Stengel as manager of the Mets in 1965 and later managed the Giants.
ZACK WHEAT, Outfielder, 1928
Zack Wheat finished his playing career in Minneapolis in 1928. Wheat had collected over 2,800 hits during 18 seasons with the Brooklyn Dodgers. He still had enough hits left to record a .309 average in 82 games for the Millers. Wheat was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1959.
HOYT WILHELM, Pitcher, 1950-51
Wilhelm, working primarily as a starting pitcher, posted a 15-11 win-loss record for the Millers in 1950. Wilhelm won 11 more games for the Millers the following year, and manager Tommy Heath said, Id like to see Wilhelm get something to go along with his knuckleball.
But with little more than a knuckler, Wilhelm embarked on a major-league career that would last 21 seasons and include more than 1,000 appearances on the mound. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1985.
D. C. MUTT WILLIAMS, Pitcher, 1915-19, 1921
Williams pitched in six different seasons with the Millers and had his best year in his first season in Minneapolis when he led the American Association with 29 wins.
JIMMY WILLIAMS, Second baseman, 1910-15
Williams hit .275 in a major-league career that lasted from 1899 to 1909. Three times he was the league leader in triples. He then joined the Millers for their championship years under the Cantillons. Twice Williams hit over .300 and in 1913 appeared in 172 games.
TED WILLIAMS, Outfielder, 1938
In 1938 Ted Williams made Minneapolis his final pit stop en route to Fenway Park and a Hall of Fame career with the Red Sox. As a nineteen-year-old in his second season of pro ball, Williams became the first player to min the American Association Triple Crown, hitting.366 with 43 home runs and 142 RBIs, leading the league in runs, total bases, and walks, as well. He was a unanimous selection as the starting right fielder in the Association All-Star Game in July.
With a temper as hot as his bat, Teddy Ballgame was nearly as famous for some of his outbursts as he was for his hitting. In a game against the Saints on August 9, after popping out on a pitch he thought he should have sent on a long journey across Nicollet Avenue, Williams returned to the dugout and smashed a water cooler with his fist, giving his teammates an early shower and nearly ending his career as a piece of glass barely missed a nerve in his hand. Legend has it that Teds behavior reached the point where Donie Bush told Mike Kelley, Either that kid goes or I go. Came the reply, Were going to miss you, Donie.
After the Millers, Williams survived two wars to hit 521 home runs with the Red Sox, twice winning the American League Triple Crown and compiling a lifetime batting average of .344. His election to the Hall of Fame came in 1966.
WALTER WILMOT, Outfielder-Manager, 1896-1900, 1902-03
A Wisconsin native, Wilmot came to Minneapolis in 1896 after a fine career in the National League. With Chicago in 1890, Wilmot led the league with 14 home runs. He led the Millers to the first pennant in 1896 and continued as a player-manager in the ensuing years while still fitting in a brief stint back in the majors with the New York Giants in 1897 and 1898. Wilmot was the first manager of the American Association Millers, in 1902, and later coached the Minnesota Gophers baseball team.
EARL WILSON, Pitcher, 1959-60
Wilson struck out 246 batters in 225 innings in his two years with the Millers. He was called up by the Red Sox in July both years, but had enough time in 1959 to win nine straight games and be named to the Association All-Star team.
Wilson pitched a no-hitter for the Red Sox in 1962 and led the American League, while pitching for Detroit, with 22 wins in 1967.
AL WORTHINGTON, Pitcher, 1953-55, 1960
Worthington started the season the 1953 and 1954 seasons with the Millers but was called up in mid-season by the New York Giants each year. (In 1953 he pitched a shutout in his first two major-league outings.) Worthington spent the entire 1955 season with Minneapolis and was the staffs ace, leading the American Association with 19 wins and then providing even greater heroics in the post-season. Worthington won three games in the 1955 Junior World Series against the International Leagues Rochester Red Wings, and also came out of the bullpen to save the seventh and deciding game of the series (which was also the final game ever played at Nicollet Park). In the 1960s, Worthington became a solid reliever for the Minnesota Twins.
AB WRIGHT, Outfielder, 1931-34, 1939-44
A right handed hitter who thus did not enjoy the advantage of Nicollet Parks short right field fence, Ab Wright nonetheless compiled impressive offensive figures during his years with the Millers, which included all or part of 10 different seasons. In 892 games with the team, Wright hit .323 with 159 home runs.
In 1940 Wright exploded to win the Association Triple Crown with 39 home runs, 159 RBIs and a .369 average. His greatest fireworks came on the Fourth of July in the morning game against the Saints at Nicollet Park when he slugged four home runs and a triple for 19 total bases, still a league record.
Wright led the league in homers the following year, but was cost a shot at his third consecutive crown late in 1942 when he was skulled by a bottle thrown from the stands in Kansas City. The beaming ..also caused Wright to announce his retirement during the winter. The headaches and double vision cleared by the following May, however, and Wright rejoined the Millers, staying with them until he was sold to the Boston Braves in 1944.
CARL YASTRZEMSKI, Second baseman-Outfielder, 1959-60
After signing a professional contract following his freshman year at Notre Dame University, Carl Yastrzemski had won the batting crown in the Carolina League in 1959 before joining the Millers during the American Association playoffs in the fall. Yaz helped the Millers reach the Junior World Series against the Havana Sugar Kings. He hit.277 with one home run in the seven-game series loss to Havana.
The Millers finished fifth in 1960, missing the playoffs, but for Yastrzemski, the season was a success. He had a 30-game hitting streak during the year, hitting .432 during that stretch and hoisting his season average 23 percentage points to take over the league lead in that department. Yaz was eventually edged out by Denvers Larry Osborne for the batting title, but still wound up with a .339 average.
Yastrzemski went on to play 23 years for the Boston Red Sox, winning the Triple Crown in 1967, and retiring with more than 400 home runs and over 3,000 hits. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1989.
EARL YINGLING, Pitcher, 1915-16, 1921-23
In his first season with the Millers, 1915, Yingling won 19 games and led the American Association with a 2.17 earned-run average, the only Minneapolis pitcher to lead the league in ERA. Yingling won 24 games in 1916 for the Millers.
Minneapolis Millers Yearly Standings
Twin Cities Ballparks
Minnesotas First Major League Baseball Team
Minnesotas First Major League Baseball Game
The Beginning and End of Nicollet Park
Night Baseball in the Twin Cities
Millers Rivalry with St. Paul Saints
Protested Games Involving the Millers
Millers vs. Havana in 1959 Junior World Series
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