‘Bring Martin Back!’ Chant Furious Twins’ Fans

Filed under Minnesota Twins
October 17, 1969

“Bring Billy Back” is the war cry of Minnesota baseball fans since Billy Martin was fired as manager of the Twins. And university students were far more blunt. “(Obscenity) Griffith”, read the buttons they wore in an October 15 anti-Vietnam War demonstration. And they used a four-letter word instead of “Obscenity”. Telephones started ringing incessantly at Minnesota’s Metropolitan Stadium the minute it was announced that Billy was fired. And it kept up for days – with pauses only during television broadcasts of World Series games. “The phone never stopped ringing the first two days,” said one operator. “And only two person in all that time were for Griffith. Some used such filthy language I had to cut them off.”

Among the writers and broadcasters to the Twins, it was generally agreed that Griffith this time had made a major mistake, that he had misjudged Martin’s popularity and just how strongly the fans fell about him. But it wasn’t just the fans that spoke out against Martin’s firing. “It’s a bunch of baloney,” said second baseman Rod Carew. “It’s way out of line. Billy helped me a lot. What else can I say? He went as far as he could.” It has been reported that several players went to Griffith at the end of the season to complain about Martin. None, however, came forth to say they had done so. And Martin said he did not know who the players were. Harmon Killebrew, the silent leader of the Twins, denied he was among those players. Ted Uhlaender was known to be dissatisfied with being platooned. But Uhlaender said he had told this to Billy himself and that he was not among the complaining ball players. “We were winning, and I like to win, too,” said Uhlaender.

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