Remembering 1965 – Part 4

Sid Hartman

Sid Hartman

The below material came from a column that Sid Hartman wrote in the Star Tribune on August 19, 1990.

The payroll for the Twins, the American League West’s last-place team, is about $16 million, an average of more than $400,000 a player. In 1965, when the Twins won the pennant in a 10-team league with no playoffs, the payroll for 25 players was about $1.5 million, less than half what Kirby Puckett is paid per season. There wasn’t any free agency then and the reserve clause was in effect. There wasn’t any arbitration, either, and it was either take it or leave it.

How things have changed in favor of the player. Harmon Killebrew, a big star on the team, didn’t make $100,000 until 1967. And Bob Allison, another big star, earned about $35,000. The team drew 1,463,288 fans and sold only 3,318 season tickets. Owner Calvin Griffith made a lot of money.

And when members of the 1965 Twins World Series team, here to play in an old-timers game Saturday night, reminisced about winning the pennant and losing the World Series to the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games, they had to recall that it wasn’t all peaches and cream in the clubhouse. Pitching coach Johnny Sain didn’t get along with third-base coach Billy Martin, and manager Sam Mele sided with Martin. Many times Martin and Sain almost came to blows.

The pitchers were on the side of Sain, who believed a pitcher never threw a bad pitch or lost a game. But they never would have won without Martin’s inspiration. Still, they won the pennant and might have won the World Series had Jim Gilliam not made a sensational fielding play on a hard ground ball hit to third in the fifth inning of Game 7. Gilliam handled shortstop Zoilo Versalles‘ shot toward third with Rich Rollins on first and Frank Quilici on second. The score was 2-0 at the time and that is how it ended, with Sandy Koufax winning for the Dodgers.

Yes, baseball has sure changed in the last 25 years.

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