Author is Passionate about Twins, Metropolitan Stadium
Sports author Bob Showers grew up in Iowa but fell in love with the Minnesota Twins during their time at Met Stadium. He was in Owatonna on Thursday to share stories from his book.
"My passion runs deep for this subject matter."
-sports book author Bob Showers
About 50 Twins fans filled the Wenger Room at the Steele County History Center, many wearing Twins apparel. Showers spent about 90 minutes telling stories from his new book, The Twins at the Met. He worked with the Twins organization to gain access to pictures from their 21 seasons at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington. He said, "it was such a joy for me to get dust under my fingernails" while viewing the photos. More than 500 of them appear in his book. Showers used the pictures during interviews to draw stories and memories from the players and team personnel who were part of the Twins from 1961-81, before they moved into the Metrodome.
Roy Smalley told Showers of late season call-up Sam Perlozzo, who was ordered by manager Gene Mauch to triple during the final game of the 1977 season so that Rod Carew could drive him in and reach 100 RBI. Perlozzo did just that and was knocked home by Carew.
Carew said how much he and the other players appreciated the fans who came early and stayed late in the mammoth parking lot tailgating. Harmon Killebrew spoke about the joy he got from signing autographs for those who came to the games.
The book includes the story of a bomb scare in 1970. Bloomington police received a phone threat and informed the Twins they should evacuate the stands. Stadium announcer Bob Casey practically screamed "Bomb!" as he instructed fans on the evacuation plan. Fans fled to the parking lot and onto the field while police brought in two dogs to sweep the stadium. The entire delay lasted just 45 minutes. During his research for the book Showers found out the dogs that were used were not bomb sniffing dogs. Police had determined the threat was a hoax but felt they should give the impression of a stadium search.
Showers also shares the story of The Beatles' 1965 appearance at the Met. The group was brought straight to the stadium from the airport since their hotel was overrun with fans. The band spent eight hours in the Twins clubhouse passing the time with the Twins' equipment manager. After the show, they were driven away from the stadium in a dry cleaner truck to avoid the crowds around their limos.
Bert Blyleven told about coming to Metropolitan Stadium after being traded from the Twins to Texas. During a rain delay, Blyleven made a prank phone call to the home bullpen since he knew the phone number and claimed to be the head umpire. He informed the players that the game had been postponed.
Carew revealed a little-known story of a clubhouse fight between himself and lefty Dave LaRoche. During a players-only meeting, the pitcher wasn't allowing others to share their concerns and Carew got fed up and challenged him to a fight.
Pictures of all 252 Twins players who appeared at Met Stadium are in the book. Comments from Minnesota natives Kent Hrbek, Jack Morris, Dave Winfield, Paul Molitor and others are also included.
Showers has started working on a book highlighting the Twins' time in the Metrodome. His previous publication is Minnesota North Stars: History and Memories with Lou Nanne. Showers is a graduate of the University of Iowa and spent time working in the front office of the North Stars.
The Steele County Historical Society hosted the book presentation. Director Laura Resler invited everyone to come back on Thursday, June 18, when the SCHS will host a members open house from 4-7PM. She said it is for current and prospective members.