Blog Entry

Carl Pohlad: 1915-2009

Posted on: January 5, 2009 9:14 pm

The natural tendency when a person passes away is to forget the faults and remember the good things.

Regarding the late Minnesota Twins owner Carl Pohlad, this is not one of those tributes.

Pohlad is given credit for saving baseball in Minnesota when he purchased the Twins in 1984, and maybe that's true. But during his time in the owner's chair, the remarkable thing is that he didn't kill baseball in Minnesota.

Lord knows, he tried.

His volunteering the Twins for contraction during baseball's despicable 2001 scheme remains one of the most reprehensible actions of any owner in recent memory.

His misrepresentation of his financial "contributions" while attempting to get public subsidy for a new stadium in 1997 for a time killed the whole idea of a new ballpark in Minnesota -- and at the very least delayed the entire project by several years.

Oh yes, this guy was a beauty. He got his start in the banking business foreclosing family farms during the Depression. Nice, huh? He remained a cold-hearted businessman the rest of the way, too.

He was worth more financially than Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, yet he kept the Twins' payroll low, Scrooge-like, in line with all of the other small-market owners. He was one of Commissioner Bud Selig's chief lieutenants in the war to keep club payrolls down.

The two had an odd alliance, Selig and Pohlad, to the point where Pohlad even sent the commissioner suits and sports jackets at times when he thought Selig needed an upgrade.

As such, and because it's what Commissioners do, Selig offered condolences in a statement issued by major league baseball on Monday: "His devotion to the Minnesota Twins, the Twin Cities and major league baseball was remarkable. In my long career, I have never met a more loyal and caring human being."


He wasn't a caring human being when foreclosing on those families all those years ago. And he was ready and willing to kill the Twins -- baseball fans of Minnesota be damned -- when the citizens wouldn't give him a sweetheart deal on a new ballpark.

He threatened to move the team to North Carolina. It was one of the most transparent scams ever concocted. The prospective "buyer" in North Carolina essentially was a hillbilly propped up like a scarecrow to instill fear in baseball fans throughout Minnesota.

He told the public during that ill-fated news conference in '97 that he would kick in $80 million toward the new ballpark. It was only later that it was discovered that, surprise, what was advertised as his contribution really was a loan that the state would repay to him -- with interest.

And that wasn't even the most vile thing that happened. No, within the myriad scare tactics was a beauty of a television ad produced by one of his sons featuring footage of former outfielder Marty Cordova visiting a children's hospital and autographing a baseball for an ill boy.

The voiceover intoned something like, "If the Twins move away, boys like this one will never have the chance to get Marty Cordova's autograph."

Too bad the sick boy had died even before the advertisement ran on television. Nobody had gotten consent to use the boy's image, so nobody associated with the advertisement knew he had passed away until it was too late. It was another disgusting moment, and another embarrassment for Pohlad.

Yet instead of any remorse or apology after all of this, Pohlad took it to the next level when he failed to extort a stadium from the taxpayers. He joined Selig in baseball's dirty scheme, volunteering to serve the Twins up for contraction.

The irony of it all is that Pohlad's Twins remained one of the most respected organizations in the game. The one thing he did right was to put baseball people in charge and leave them there. And I will say this: The baseball people running the show, from Andy MacPhail to Terry Ryan to Bill Smith, have always said that they were treated fairly by Pohlad. I've never heard any of them utter a bad word about the man, and I suppose that says something as well.

In the long run, Pohlad did get his stadium. The new ballpark will open in 2010, and from what I've seen of the blueprints, the good people of Minnesota will be getting a ballpark that they deserve.

I can't say the same for Pohlad.

Category: MLB

Since: Nov 16, 2006
Posted on: January 6, 2009 12:20 pm

Carl Pohlad: 1915-2009


How is it that Mr. Pohlad was a terrible owner???? What are you basing this on?? In twenty four years he had 2 world champions. He for the most part put a competitive team on the field and made some money while doing so. How is this being a terrible owner???

As for applauding his decency for writing this article, both of you should be taken out back to the wood shed and taught what decency is.

If Mr. Pohlad had the smarts to hire good people to run his organization, how does that make him a bad owner???

Please take the advice that I give my children and say no to crack, because based on your rebuttal to my post you obviously are not able to see how far off base Miller's blog was and for your sake I am hoping that it was induced by being on a chemical as opposed to you actually believeing the crap that he wrote.


Since: Nov 16, 2006
Posted on: January 6, 2009 12:10 pm

Carl Pohlad: 1915-2009

Good response to the boneheaded Miller Blog, but you are wrong in that he is better than this.

If he had any class what so ever he would have done research into who the man was and done a fair job of reporting.

This was classic yellow bush league journalism.

Since: Jan 6, 2009
Posted on: January 6, 2009 11:48 am

Carl Pohlad: 1915-2009

Oh come on Scott. Are you really that shallow? Carl Pohlad won a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star for his service to our country in WWII, but apparently ALL that matters to you is how he ran HIS ballclub. I'm fine with questioning his ownership decisions and past manipulations of those of us living in the great state of Minnesota, but to blast the man and throw him under the bus purely for those things doesn't tell your readers his whole legacy and to be honest it's just BAD journalism. You should be better than that.

Since: Aug 11, 2006
Posted on: January 6, 2009 11:42 am

Carl Pohlad: 1915-2009


What exactly do you mean when you state that the "dead cannot defend their actions?"

That's complete and utter nonsense.  In one's life they alone make many decisions.  At the end of the proverbial day, they are held accountable for those decisions.  The fact is that Carl Pohlad was willing to take a $200 million buyout from MLB in return for the contraction of the Minnesota Twins.  If that isn't bad enough, he was willing to dupe the Minnesota legislature (and Twins fans) by feigning a threat of relocation in an effort to extort, yes EXTORT, a new publicly funded stadium out of the Minnesota tax base.

If you want to apologize for that, or to eulogize the greatness of Carl Pohlad, then that is your prerogative.   But in my opinion, Pohlad's actions were his and he alone should be held accountable for them.  The bottom line is that even if he was a sweet and loving old man, he was still a ruthless business man who could not care less about Twins fans.

Pretty soon people will be apologizing for Hitler, too.

Since: Nov 21, 2006
Posted on: January 6, 2009 10:14 am

Carl Pohlad: 1915-2009

Amen...woners like Pohlad who pocket their revenue sharing money instead of actually spending it on his team are just plain old bad for baseball.

My condolences to his family, but baseball is better off without him.

Since: Dec 28, 2008
Posted on: January 6, 2009 10:06 am

Carl Pohlad: 1915-2009

And I will say this: The baseball people running the show, from Andy MacPhail to Terry Ryan to Bill Smith, have always said that they were treated fairly by Pohlad

Then again, would you publicly demean your boss? True, Andy MacPhail has been gone since the 90s, but he's savvy enough to know not to piss off a man worth over a billion dollars.

It's funny, in 2001 I moved to the Greensboro area and saw the "stadium" the twins were supposed to move to in 1997, while Don the Beaver was getting investors together to build a stadium down there. I wouldn't have played a pickup softball game on that field. I had a better chance of converting my garage into a baseball stadium then the twins moving to NC.

Since: May 1, 2008
Posted on: January 6, 2009 10:03 am

Carl Pohlad: 1915-2009

Hi pot, meet kettle, I'm black too.

Positive Hype
Since: Aug 29, 2006
Posted on: January 6, 2009 9:27 am
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Jan 21, 2008
Posted on: January 6, 2009 9:19 am

Carl Pohlad: 1915-2009


You obviously weren't brought up with the same values as me.  I was told by my parents that you never say anything bad about the dead because they can' defend themselves for their actions.  I'm not saying that my parents were correct, I'm just stating that we obviousely were brought up by parents with different values.  Maybe what Carl did was wrong.  But shouldn't you wait until after his funeral to blast him? 

What are you going to say when George Steinbrenner passes away and how he is currenlty treating the fans of New York.  People who have been supporters and season tickets to the Yankees for up to 50 years and now the can't buy a ticket to a Yankee home game because of the injustice that the Steinbrenners did in getting a new stadium.  I can't wait until the day you put him on a stick and roast him. 



Since: Sep 13, 2006
Posted on: January 6, 2009 2:16 am

Carl Pohlad: 1915-2009

This is a difficult blog post to get my head around. On one hand, a lot of stuff that Miller writes is true. Pohlad did pursue a lot of underhanded actions while in control of the Twins in the 90's. However, I think this is a little too soon and a little too cheap. The fact that this was written only a couple of hours after the news broke tells me that this was a total knee-jerk post. As a Twins fan, I too was angry at a lot of the things that Carl did during the Twins' down years. I would've had to become a - shudder - Brewers fan if the Twins had moved or been cut out of MLB (which was a ridiculous action to begin with, you do NOT contract a team with that kind of history. Several Hall of Famers and two World Series championships are better than that). But the closeness of the event combined with some of the chosen words here makes me just a bit nauseous. That kind of disrepect is reserved for the worst of human beings; those that have done dispicable acts in history deserve a negative eulogy such as this one. Pohlad? Yeah, he may have been a bit on the shady side in some of his business moves as the Twins owner, but I can't condone Miller's article. You are better than this.

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