OTD in Minnesota Twins History: Chuck Knoblauch gets Pelted
By Otto Johnson
On this date in Minnesota Twins history, the generally kind Minnesota fans welcomed Chuck Knoblauch with bottles, quarters, and more.
In 2001, Chuck Knoblauch returned to the Metrodome during his fourth season since being traded to the New York Yankees. Knoblauch often had dealt with a lot of hate from Minnesota Twins fans ever since he requested to be traded in 1998.
Minnesota Fans are a very loyal bunch, and if a player shows that same loyalty, Twins fans will
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hold them in high esteem forever (Harmon Killebrew, Kirby Puckett, Kent Hrbek, and Joe Mauer are great examples). Chuck Knoblauch was supposed to be next in the line of those players.
Ever since Knoblauch was drafted with the Twins’ first round pick in 1989, he was the Rookie of the Year in 1991, a World Series Champion that same year, and was named a four-time All-Star, so when Puckett and Hrbek retired he became the face of the franchise.
When Knoblauch requested a trade away from the Twins, it hurt a lot of Twins fans deeply. Every time he returned to Minnesota, he was greeted with boos and maybe a few things hurled at him. On May 3rd, 2001 however, the crowd at the Metrodome was exceptionally offended, and when Chuck Knoblauch trotted out to left field, Twins fans let him have it.
The game was paused for 12 minute delay in the sixth inning when Twins Manager Tom Kelly had to plead with the Twins fans to stop harassing the former Twin. Despite having a poor relationship with Knoblauch, Kelly escorted Knoblauch out to left field to make sure that things wouldn’t be thrown at him.
Kelly’s pleas worked, and the harassment slowed, allowing the game to continue, but the impact was made. The Twins came dangerously close to a forfeit during a game they would eventually win, and this stood out as the first time that Minnesota Twins fans weren’t the respectful group that normally shows up for games.
Forty fans were ejected, as security couldn’t find the main culprits. Knoblauch was surprised by the incident, as he thought it was just some kids who didn’t really know much about him, and hoped most Twins fans had turned the page.
Twenty years ago, things got ugly quickly for the Twins, but luckily, like so much else in the franchise, Tom Kelly was there to sort it out.