The Minnesota Twins have removed a statue to one-time Owner Calvin Griffith because he made a “racist” comment in 1978.
The statue, which has stood outside Target Field since March of 2010, was raised to commemorate Griffith for moving the Twins from Washington D.C. to Minneapolis in 1961.
However, Griffith has come under criticism this month for comments made in 1978, according to USA Today.
“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,” the Twins said in a statement posted to Twitter on Friday. “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,” the statement continued. “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,” the statement concluded.
— Minnesota Twins (@Twins) June 19, 2020
The offensive comments were art of Griffith’s stated reason for moving the Washington Senators to Minnesota and his contention that black people do not follow professional baseball. The comment was reportedly made at a Rotary Club speech in Waseca, Minnesota, in 1978.
“I’ll tell you why we came to Minnesota,” Griffith said, according to Frederic J. Frommer’s book, You Gotta Have Heart, A History of Washington Baseball. “It was when I found out you only had 15,000 Blacks here. 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.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Facebook at: facebook.com/Warner.Todd.Huston.