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When the American League expanded in 1961, Calvin Griffith seized the opportunity to move his Washington Senators to what he hoped would be a better region. An expansion Senators franchise filled the gap left by his move, placating the congressmen who insisted on a franchise in Washington. Griffith was unhappy with Washington as a baseball town and felt that the neighborhoods away from the Capitol were declining. In Minnesota the team was renamed the Twins for Minneapolis-St. Paul, the Twin Cities.
Griffith may have been tighter with his money than many other owners, but he was always a good judge of talent. With Tony Oliva and, later, Rod Carew joining the likes of Harmon Killebrew and Bob Allison, the Twins won their first AL pennant in 1965 and won consecutive division titles in 1969-70. But Griffith's fiscal policies could not work in the free agency era. When other owners started to bid competitively for free agents, Minnesota was doomed to lose most of its good players, sooner or later. Griffith certainly wasn't going to replace them by signing free agents himself. After nearly a decade of losing teams and declining attendace, he sold the franchise in 1984 to local banker Carl Pohlad. Subsequently the Twins revived, due largely to the talent Griffith had signed, such as Kent Hrbek, Gary Gaetti, Tom Brunansky, Kirby Puckett, and Frank Viola. Minnesota surprised the baseball world in 1987 with its first World Championship. (SH)