From SABR member Daniel Levitt at In Pursuit of Pennants on February 18, 2015:
When Calvin Griffith formally took over the Washington Senators in late 1955 after the death of his uncle Clark, he became the last of the family owners to act as his own general manager. After more than half a century, many writers have a tendency to wax nostalgic on these owner-operators. In fact, these men, who had no outside source of income, often ran their clubs on a shoestring budget and spent much less on scouting and minor league operations than the wealthier franchises. By the early 1950s some of these teams were spectacularly unsuccessful. Somewhat astonishingly, Griffith proved an exception—at least for a while. During the 1960s the Twins were one of the American League’s best clubs and led the league in attendance over the decade.
The organization that Calvin inherited evolved into an extended family operation. Brothers Sherry, Jimmy and Billy Robertson and brother-in-law Joe Haynes all held down key executive positions within the system. And all had grown up around baseball and were competent at their jobs.
But Griffith was very much in charge and immersed himself in all aspects of the team. Until the travel got to be too much, he personally saw in action nearly all the players receiving large amateur bonuses or acquired by trade. When he felt his managers were not being aggressive enough getting his young phenoms into the lineup, he forced the issue with future stars such as Harmon Killebrew, Tony Oliva, and Rod Carew. Another time, when he thought the coaching was subpar, he kept his manager but revamped his on-field staff with expensive, big-name coaches. Because Griffith spent most of his energy concentrating on the baseball side of the operation, he neglected expanding or pursuing additional revenue sources, a shortcoming that exacerbated his lack of non-baseball resources.
Read the full article here: https://pursuitofpennants.wordpress.com/2015/02/18/calvin-griffith/
Originally published: February 18, 2015. Last Updated: February 18, 2015.