MINNEAPOLIS -- The Griffith family officially tried to get back into
major league baseball Monday with an offer to buy the Minnesota Twins.
Minneapolis lawyer Clark Griffith led a group of investors that submitted
a bid by Monday's deadline for local buyers, imposed last month when the
Twins renegotiated their Metrodome lease.
Owner Carl Pohlad, who bought the team in 1984 from Calvin Griffith,
Clark's father, promised to give local investors 30 days to make bids for
all or part of the team. Calvin Griffith, who moved the Twins to Minnesota
from Washington in 1961, was among the six or seven investors in Monday's
However, it remained uncertain whether Pohlad was interested in selling
all or part of the team, for which he paid $38 million.
``I think he's serious,'' Clark Griffith said. ``I think alternately
he would like to be out of the business, and other times he would like
to stay in the business. ... He doesn't know what he wants to do. He wants
to get a deal _ maybe.''
Griffith would not say how much he offered for the team. He said he
wanted to buy the Twins outright, ``or whatever plan Carl wants to develop.''
Griffith would not disclose co-investors other than his father. However,
he said neither Mike Veeck, the son of former major league owner Bill Veeck,
nor Twin Cities millionaire Vance Opperman were involved.
Veeck is investing in the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
``I was hoping he'd be part of my deal, because I like the guy enormously,''
Griffith said. ``He has a lot to contribute. He's a baseball guy like I
Twins president Jerry Bell did not return a telephone call Monday. Neither
did Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor, a potential local suitor.
The Twins received interest from parties other than Griffith and Taylor
during the past month, said team spokesman Dave St. Peter. He would not
say who they were, but said it would be surprising if there were more than
two offers. The team will have more to say Tuesday, St. Peter said.
Monday's deadline was negotiated last month as part of a two-year lease
agreement with the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, which runs
the Metrodome. The deal took away the possibility of the Twins leaving
Minnesota for North Carolina after this season, giving the team and political
leaders time to try to find a way to build a new stadium.
Clark Griffith refused to join the stadium debate Monday.
``It's something I'm not going to be concerned about for a long time,''
After his father sold the team to Pohlad, Clark Griffith stayed on as
executive vice president. However, Pohlad let the younger Griffith go after
the '84 season, a move that caused bitterness between the families.
``That's a long time ago,'' Clark Griffith said.
So is the day in 1920 when his grandfather, Clark Calvin Griffith, bought
into a controlling interest of the Washington Senators. Griffith, a former
player who had managed the Senators since 1911, appointed himself president.
He died in 1955, and his adopted son, Calvin, assumed presidency of
the team. He moved the Senators to Minnesota for the 1961 season, and 23
years later sold them to Pohlad.
The banker was credited with saving the team from moving then, and later
brought World Series championships in 1987 and '91. But his popularity
has eroded amid a team-record six consecutive losing seasons, his tightfisted
style and the contentious stadium debate.