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50 years ago, the Senators left and arrived

Fifty years ago this week, one group of Washington Senators left, and another group arrived. The move happened on Oct. 26, 1960, and filled the papers on Oct. 27. In honor of the 50-year anniversary, and in honor of me trying to make my job entirely about archives searches, I present some highlights.

Griffith Moves Nats to Minneapolis; D.C. Gets New Club in 1961 Season

Calvin Griffith moved the Senators baseball team to Minneapolis today. In a companion action that was just as sudden, the American League voted to operate a new team in Washington in 1961.

The club owners voted also to expand to a ten-club league by awarding a new franchise to Los Angeles.

Griffith's transfer-to-Minneapolis bomb was dropped among his fellow owners with little warning. His three previous attempts in recent years had been rejected by the league. He won approval today following agreement to the stipulation that Washington would not be abandoned as a league city. The vote was 6 to 2, the necessary three-fourths margin.....

The new Washington and Los Angeles owners would be expected to put up approximately $2,000,000 initially to gain a franchise; this sum would be to cover a share in the league's treasury and to meet Player Fund pension payments retroactively. the new owners would need also an outlay of approximately $600,000 for the 24 players to be made available to each new club.

Fans Regret Move, Rap Calvin; Want Stengel, Veeck Here

The Man on the street and the men, women, and kids on the telephone registered varied reactions yesterday after learning the Senators will transfer to Minneapolis and a new baseball franchise will come to Washington. But mostly these sentiments were prevalent:

1. they were sorry to lose the team, particularly manager Cookie Lavagetto.

2. They were glad to be rid of president Calvin Griffith.

3. They were hopeful that Bill Veeck, now president of the Chicago White Soc, might head up the new organization.

4. Those who mentioned the subject were unanimous in voicing the wish that Casey Stengel, recently fired as manager of the New York Yankees, would be field manager of the new team here.

Quesada Bids for New Nats

The first important bidder for the new Washington American League franchise tonight was identified as Gen. Elwood Quesada, administrator of the Federal Aviation Agency. General Quesada flew to New York and was in long session with league president Joe Cronin, after first word that the Washington franchise was "available."

"I told Cronin, a long-time friend of mine, that I would retire from Government immediately and dedicate my future to producing a winning team for Washington," Gen. Quesada said...."All applicants will be carefully screened," said Del Webb, co-owner of the Yankees. "We wil insist on a man of repute, sufficient wealth, and a dedication to baseball."

Another prospective bidder whose name was mentioned in New York tonight is Rear Adm. John J. Bergen (retired), president of the Madison Square Garden Crop. He is also chairman of the board of the Graham-Paige Corp., which operates the Garden.

Hank Greenberg's name has cropped up often as one interested in buying the Washington franchise, along with Bill Veeck, his associate in the White Sox. However, Cronin's announcement of the franchise shift today contained the statement that "no person presently in baseball is being considered for Washington."

Cookie Happy Over Move

Cookie Lavagetto, manager of the Washington Senators in 1960, said today he is going to "like it fine" piloting the same club at Minneapolis-St. Paul in 1961. "I enjoyed Washington," said Lavagetto," but I think I'm going to love playing in Minneapolis-St. Paul....And it will be wonderful playing before the big crowds we'll draw there."

Minneapolis Busts Its Buttons Over Good News

Minneapolis-St. Paul went major league today with a bursting of civic buttons and a sigh of relief from a long-tantalized baseball public. They were not exactly dancing in the streets of Hennepin Avenue, the Minneapolis main stem, and on Wabash in St. Paul. But the baseball fans were glowing. In Metropolitan Stadium, where the Washington Senators and the American League will be playing in 1961, the staff whooped and hollered.

That was it for the 27th. On the 28th, there was a gut-busting editorial, headlined "Farewell, Farewell!", that led with something or other by the Damoclesian sword having fallen and moved on to Jubal Early and the British invasion of 1814.. But I'll save that for later in the week.

And, as should be obvious, the new Senators later became the Rangers, who are now in the World Series.

By Dan Steinberg  | October 27, 2010; 12:43 PM ET
Categories:  Nats  
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Posted by: wu-wei1976 | October 27, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for posting this Dan. What did Shirley Povich have to say about it?

Posted by: doubleuefwhy | October 27, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

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