SABR

Thornley: Millers, Saints were gateway to majors for Minnesota baseball stars

From SABR member Stew Thornley at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune on July 9, 2014:

How would you like a starting outfield of Willie Mays, Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski?

You could have that trio if you were selecting an all-star team of the one-time Minneapolis Millers — the city’s Class AAA minor league franchise before the Twins arrived in 1961. St. Paul had its own AAA franchise, and the two teams were bitter rivals in the American Association for 59 years. For more than a decade in the 1940s and ’50s, the Saints were the top farm club of the Dodgers and the Millers of the Giants, and it’s been said that much of the animosity between the major league organizations started in the Twins Cities.

The Saints and Millers had the best winning percentages in the AAA league and shared the league record by each winning nine pennants. The Millers played at Nicollet Park and the Saints at Lexington Park, only seven miles part. The highlights of every season were the holiday doubleheaders, with a morning game at one ballpark and the afternoon game at the other.

In a league only a step below the majors, more than 20 former Millers and Saints are enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Picking all-time teams for the Millers and Saints is a delicate balance of those who achieved greater prominence in the majors, and players who were outstanding locally even if they aren’t widely remember for achievements in the big leagues.

Read the full article here: http://www.startribune.com/sports/twins/266355821.html

This page was last updated July 9, 2014 at 2:56 pm MST.

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