The Twins’ Wives Group Lives On, To Give On
Photos and Stories by Gordy Jones
The Twins’ wives have an organization that meets every few weeks to plan and perform acts of kindness or to fund-raise for their favorite charities. Several years ago, I tried to trace the inception of the club, but soon found that no one really knows who started it or when. I remember the ladies meeting as far back as the 1980s and ‘90s with Tonya Puckett and later Tonya Winfield both being involved with some fund-raising projects.
Last week I was leaving the Target Field photo well and cutting through the tunnel to the elevator so that I could watch the remainder of the game with some friends. As I passed a meeting room, I could hear women laughing and talking. I poked my head in and saw a few familiar faces stuffing bags and folding blankets. I saw Joe’s wife, who is my friend, Maddie Mauer. And then there were Carol Gardenhire, Dejie Guerrier, and Twins HR/Diversity vice president, Raenell Dorn, who coordinates the meetings and events for the club. There were others in the room who looked familiar, but they were newer, and I didn’t really know them; I haven’t been around their group much since the big player changeover on the team. I decided to crash their party.
There they were, having fun as they worked on a couple of constructive projects for kids, just like the wives from the past. This night they were stuffing bags with goodies for Cheerful Givers, which is a really neat organization that delivers gift bags to kids who don’t have much, usually on their birthdays or other special days. They were also folding some fun, decorative blankets which they made especially for the kids at Gillette Children’s Hospital. Gillette is near and dear to the hearts of the Mauer family; Maddie was employed there as a nurse before she became a full-time mother. Thanks to Maddie, the hospital is now a friend to almost everyone in the Twins family. She has made them aware of the great things that the hospital does for ill children and their families.
Throughout the year, you might see the wives at Twins Fest, spring training, Target Field, or other events hosted by the Twins — selling shirts, grab bags, cookbooks, or any other ideas they can muster up as they use their status for good causes. As baseball players come and go through trades, free agency, promotions and demotions, so do their wives. As I looked around the room, I knew that through the years the faces may have changed, but I thought how great it is that the union of the wives and their good deeds lives on. Some things that haven’t changed are the smiles, good times, and generosity.
Working for Peanuts
May 28 at Rice Park in St. Paul, the Twins unveiled a life-size statue of Charlie Brown, dressed in a Twins baseball uniform, as part of a new collaboration between the Twins and Peanuts Worldwide. I was excited about this as soon as I saw the media notification. I am a St. Paul boy, born and raised. I also put in 28 years as an employee of the Pioneer Press, which gave me an additional dose of St. Paul pride and loyalty. With all of the action going on in Minneapolis — Twins, Vikings, Gophers, and now the All-Star Game and Super Bowl — St. Paul sometimes goes unnoticed…which is fine. St. Paul has the Wild, and now 10 life-size statues of the Peanuts Gang, created by Charles Schulz, who was also a St. Paulite. St. Paul will have the statues on display until June 16, when they go to Minneapolis for the All-Star festivities.
I made Twins president Dave St. Peter aware of my appreciation that the “Saintly City” is being included in some of the All-Star activity. He responded, “We’ve worked really hard to spread events for the All-Star Game throughout the Twin Cities metropolitan area. There are a lot of different touch-points, and people can expect to see us back in St. Paul for the Legacy Giving Program, the Color Run, which is a huge endeavor, and other activitities around the city that celebrates the game.” Then he finished our conversation with a tease: “Stay tuned: more to come!”
The coolest part of this event was having St. Paul superstars Paul Molitor and Joe Mauer doing the unveiling. Jack Morris and Dave Winfield were also invited, but sent their regrets because of previous commitments. Those four guys are St. Paul’s biggest contributions to baseball. It’s hard to believe: within a two mile radius, Paul Molitor, Dave Winfield, Jack Morris, and Joe Mauer grew up, and ran around the same base paths, and even shared some of the same coaches, over a course of about 40 years. They all got to play for the team they rooted for as kids, too: the Twins, which has been Joe Mauer’s only team, and where Paul Molitor has returned as a coach. All four of these guys have not only showed stardom on the field, but are great men of character off it. Forget Ponce de Leon’s
Fountain of Youth. I’ve drunk from it, and apparently it doesn’t work. But come to St. Paul; we have baseball water running out of the tap.