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Twins' Homer Hanky a hit as fans root for pennant

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The homer hanky of '87 has been reborn, and this year's version is a hot seller. Post-Bulletin Photo Although Twins baseball fans don't yet know whether they'll use them to wipe away tears of defeat or wave them in triumph, ``Homer Hankies'' are hot items once again.

The 1991 version of the hanky, which was made famous in the Twins' 1987 World Series victory over the St. Louis Cardinals, has reappeared for this year's run to the playoffs. The two hanky outlets in Rochester, KROC Radio and Kinney Shoes, were sold out after a frenzy of requests that began Monday.

``In our first eight business hours, we sold out of all 1,500 of them,'' said Joe O'Brien, operations manager at KROC Radio. ``The demand has been incredible.''

He said lines as long as 15 people began forming to buy the $1 white hankies with the slogan ``The Magic is Back.'' Another 2,500 have been ordered and the next shipment could come as early as todayThursday.

``It's been as popular thing as I've ever seen here,'' O'Brien said. ``People were coming in and buying 10 or 15 of them, sending them across the country.''

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The hankies cost a dollar, with 10 cents of each sale going to the United Way of the Twin Cities. O'Brien said he tried to divert some of the charity funds to the Rochester area United Way without success.

The hankies, manufactured by Win Craft Inc. of Winona, were created in 1987 by the Star Tribune of Minneapolis and resurrected last week after a legal battle between the Twins and the Star Tribute ended.

Win Craft President Dick Pope said he couldn't divulge the number of hankies made or distributed under an agreement with the Twins. But he said sales have been good across the state.

``It could be comparable to '87 if they go that far,'' Pope said. ``Judging from early demand, it could be that big.''

At Kinney Shoes in Apache Mall, manager Michael Laitinen said a crowd gathered in front of the store Monday morning four hours before the first batch arrived and the demand is continuing. He said another shipment should arrive todayThursday.

``They're just screaming right out the door,'' he said. ``Every box I've gotten in is gone.''

Kinney Shoes and Rainbow Foods are the two corporate sponsors who are selling the hankies in Minnesota and surrounding states and Laitinen said demand has been very strong in Wisconsin and the Dakotas.

``It's just the anticipation of it and confidence in the team,'' he said. ``I think they're going to go all the way.''p

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