Is it time for a Minnie or Paul of color?
Minnesota doctor thinks the time is right for either Minnie or Paul, the baseball players shaking hands over the Mississippi River on the Twins logo, to become a person of color
Should one of the guys on the Minnesota Twins’ iconic logo have more color in his skin? Dr. Charles Crutchfield III thinks so, and maybe the Twins do, too. We just won’t know until the 2021 season is in the books.
Crutchfield, an Eagan, Minn., dermatologist and Twins consulting physician for 25 years, believes the time is right for either Minnie or Paul, the baseball players shaking hands over the Mississippi River on the Twins logo, to become a person of color.
The timing seems right.
For one thing, when St. Paul cartoonist Ray Barton created the logo for the team arriving from Washington, D.C., there were few players of color on the Twins’ roster, such as Earl Battey and Zoilo Versalles. That’s no longer the case.
Further, the Twins are reviewing their branding with the aim of introducing “a complete suite of updated marks and uniforms for the 2022 season,” team president Dave St. Peter said.
The Minnie and Paul tower over Target Field, part of a 46-foot-tall sign behind center field.
“When someone hits a home run at Target Field, that big logo lights up and people see it and say, ‘Hey, those two guys look alike,’ ” said Crutchfield, who grew up in St. Paul's Highland Park neighborhood and has been a Twins season ticket holder for more than 20 years. “They don’t see Miguel Sano, they don’t see Byron Buxton.”
Shortly after the death George Floyd — an African-American who died under the knee of white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on May 28 — the Twins removed the state of owner Calvin Griffith from the pavilion in front of Target Field on June 19. The move had been in the works for some time because of an infamously racist speech Griffith made at a Rochester Elk’s Club dinner in 1978.
It was about that time Crutchfield revisited the Twins to push the idea of making Minnie or Paul a person of color, something he first brought the club two years previous.
“It’s an easy, subtle change,” he said.
St. Peter said the Twins “admire and appreciate” Crutchfield and are aware of his thoughts regarding the lack of color in the team’s Minneapolis and St. Paul stand-ins.
“The Twins are in the midst of conducting a brand identity study which will inform the team’s decision-making process for all future marks and uniforms,” St. Peter said. “That study will include a review of the use and design of the Minnie and Paul mark.”
Crutchfield said he conducted a poll on his clinic’s Facebook page, asking if fans preferred a) original logo, b) his updated logo or c) a completely new logo. He said 97 percent of about 150 respondents chose either b (85 percent) or c (12 percent).
“I love the image of them clasping hands, of Minnie putting his arm around Paul, two guys who just get along,” Crutchfield said. “In these crazy times, we could use a little more getting along.”