Getty Images / Ed Zurga / Stringer

What was up with the Twins throwback uniforms Sunday?

Twins will be back to standard unis Tuesday in series opener against Rays

June 24, 2019 - 10:52 am

Sunday afternoon, you may have turned on your television to see the Twins and Royals in throwback uniforms.  The Royals in the classic Kansas City Monarchs uniforms from the Negro League.  And the Twins in the uniforms of the little-known St. Paul Gophers.  

The St. Paul "Colored" Gophers was a small club of black baseball players formed in 1907.  They were not a formal Negro League team (like the Monarchs) because that league was not formally created until 1920.  But, like other black teams of that era, they tried to put pressure on the desegregation of baseball with barnstorming clubs playing all over the country showing off the great black players who were not allowed to play in Major League Baseball.

Getty Images / Ed Zurga / Stringer

The St. Paul Gophers are rarely mentioned because it's very difficult to find statistics from that time. The club lasted several season, playing under the name St. Paul Gophers and Twin City Gophers at the old Lexington Park.  

The most famous of those Gopher teams was the 1909 club lead by a star University of Minnesota athlete, Bobby Marshall who competed in baseball, track and football, and was elected tothe College Football Hall of Fame in 1971. 

Those 1909 Gophers knocked off the star team of that era, the CHicago Leland Giants, for the unofficial championship of Negro baseball.  The Giants' star was pitcher "Rube" Foster, who eventually ended up in the MLB Hall of Fame, and is widely thought to be the finest African-American pitcher of the first part of the century.  Foster did pitch against those Gopher teams.  He also pitched for those Gopher teams from time-to-time.  Many star players were brought in to be ringers in those black ballclubs.  

This is not the first time the Twins have worn this version of a throwback uniform.  On July 13th, 1997, July 10th, 2005, August 7th, 2010 and July 21st 2012, similar throwbacks were worn by the team.  

Getty Images / Ed Zurga / Stringer

The Twins open a three-game series at Target Field against the Rays on Tuesday night. They also play Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon.

Going into the series, the Twins are 7 1/2 games ahead of Cleveland in the AL Central, with the Indians hosting Kansas City.

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