St. Paul Saints
Founded in 1993
St. Paul, Minnesota
Team logo Cap insignia
Minor league affiliations
ClassTriple-A (2021–present)
Previous classesIndependent (1993–2020)
LeagueTriple-A East (2021–present)
DivisionMidwest Division
Previous leagues
American Association (2006–2020)
Northern League (1993–2005)
Major league affiliations
TeamMinnesota Twins (2021–present)
Minor league titles
League titles (5)
  • 1993
  • 1995
  • 1996
  • 2004
  • 2019
Division titles (9)
  • 1996
  • 1998
  • 2004
  • 2006
  • 2007
  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2018
  • 2019
First half titles (6)
  • 1995
  • 1996
  • 1997
  • 2000
  • 2003
  • 2005
Second half titles (6)
  • 1993
  • 1995
  • 1996
  • 1998
  • 2004
  • 2007
Team data
NameSt. Paul Saints (1993–present)
ColorsBlue, white, red, yellow
       
BallparkCHS Field (2015–present)
Previous parks
Midway Stadium (1993–2014)
Owner(s)/
Operator(s)
Goldklang Group
PresidentMike Veeck
General ManagerDerek Sharrer
ManagerToby Gardenhire

The St. Paul Saints are a Minor League Baseball team of the Triple-A East and the Triple-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. They are located in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and have played their home games at CHS Field since 2015.[1] They previously played at Midway Stadium from 1993 to 2014.

From their founding in 1993 through 2020, the Saints were an independent baseball team with no affiliation with Major League Baseball (MLB). They played in the Northern League from 1993 to 2005 and the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball from 2006 to 2020. The Saints became an MLB-affiliated team in conjunction with the reorganization of the minor leagues beginning with the 2021 season.

Before the arrival of the Minnesota Twins in 1961, there was a long history of minor league baseball teams called the St. Paul Saints, as well as their crosstown rivals the Minneapolis Millers. One incarnation of the Saints participated in the Union Association, a short-lived major league, in 1884. A second incarnation was active in the Western League from 1894 to 1899, and became a forerunner of the modern Chicago White Sox. The third and most long-lived incarnation of the Saints was active in the American Association from 1915 to 1960.

History

St. Paul Saints (1894–1899)

Main article: Chicago White Sox

As described in Lee Allen's book, The American League Story (Putnam, 1962), the team began as the Sioux City Cornhuskers franchise in a minor league called the Western League. This circuit had reorganized itself in November 1893, with Ban Johnson as president. Johnson, a Cincinnati-based reporter, had been recommended by his friend Charles Comiskey, former major league star with the St. Louis Browns in the 1880s, who was then managing the Cincinnati Reds. After the 1894 season, when Comiskey's contract with the Reds was up, he decided to take his chances at ownership. He bought the Sioux City team and transferred it to St. Paul, where it enjoyed some success over the next five seasons.

In 1900, the Western League changed its name to the American League. It was still officially a minor league, a part of the National Agreement and an underling of the National League. The National League gave permission to the American League to put a team in Chicago, and on March 21, 1900, Comiskey moved his St. Paul club to the South Side, where they became the Chicago White Sox.

St. Paul Saints (1901–1960)

Main article: St. Paul Saints (1901–60)

Joe Riggert accumulated 1,639 hits over 12 seasons with the American Association Saints from 1912 to 1924.
Joe Riggert accumulated 1,639 hits over 12 seasons with the American Association Saints from 1912 to 1924.

Another team called the Saints played Minor League Baseball in the American Association from 1901 to 1960. The Saints finished first in the American Association nine times, and won the Little World Series in 1924. During this period, the Saints were a farm club of the Chicago White Sox (1936–1942), the Brooklyn Dodgers (1944–1957), and the Los Angeles Dodgers (1958–1960). The Saints played streetcar home and away double headers with their local rivals, the Minneapolis Millers. When the Minnesota Twins came to town in 1961, the Saints became the Omaha Dodgers while the Millers ceased operations and their role as affiliate to the Boston Red Sox was filled by the Seattle Rainiers. Lexington Park served as the Saints' home stadium for most of those years.

During the six decades of the original American Association minor league, the Minneapolis Millers and St. Paul Saints engaged in vigorous rivalry known as the Streetcar Series. This series has been documented in a book by Rex Hamann entitled The Millers and the Saints, Baseball Championships of the Twin Cities Rivals (2014).

Current franchise

Independent baseball (1993–2020)

In a tradition started in the team's first year, the Saints' pig brings out game balls and receives a snack between innings.
In a tradition started in the team's first year, the Saints' pig brings out game balls and receives a snack between innings.

The current inception of the St. Paul Saints was formed in 1993 in the Northern League, one of several independent leagues not affiliated with Major League Baseball. The Saints are known for promotions that are sometimes over-the-top even by the standards of Minor League Baseball. In this regard, Mike Veeck, formerly the team's principal owner and still owner of a large interest in the team, is seen as following in the footsteps of his father Bill Veeck, who was famous for conceiving outlandish promotions as an owner of the major league St. Louis Browns, Cleveland Indians, and Chicago White Sox. The current majority owner, Marvin Goldklang, also owns a stake in four other Minor League Baseball teams: the Fort Myers Miracle, Sioux Falls Pheasants, Hudson Valley Renegades, and Charleston RiverDogs. Comedian and actor Bill Murray is also a part owner.

Despite the considerable naysaying at their inception, the Saints became one of the most successful teams in the Northern League and all of independent baseball. From 2002 to 2004, the Saints saw severely reduced attendance, owing partially to renewed interest in the Minnesota Twins of Major League Baseball, who won the 2002, 2003, and 2004 American League Central Division championships. In spite of an initially cool, if not outright hostile reception, the Saints and their major league neighbor (less than 10 miles (16 km) away) have worked together for several years to promote the sport of baseball.

The Saints have figured prominently in the creation of modern independent baseball. The team has been featured in books (Rebel Baseball by Steve Perlstein, 1993; Slouching Toward Fargo by Neal Karlen, 1998) and a cable network series (Baseball, Minnesota, FX Network, 1996–97). Mike Veeck wrote a book that covered the mantra "Fun is Good" (2005) and describes the business approach he has used for many years. The team's history is also featured in the documentary film For The Fun Of The Game, which was released in 2018.

On May 31, 1997, the Saints became the first professional men's baseball team since integration to have a female on their roster. Ila Borders, a pitcher, played with the team out of the bullpen for a month before being traded.

On September 29, 2005, the Saints left the Northern League, along with the Lincoln Saltdogs, Sioux City Explorers, and the Sioux Falls Pheasants to start the American Association for the 2006 season.

Saints pitcher Mitch Wylie during a 2009 game wearing the uniform of the Homestead Grays in honor of Minnesota's contribution to African-Americans in baseball.
Saints pitcher Mitch Wylie during a 2009 game wearing the uniform of the Homestead Grays in honor of Minnesota's contribution to African-Americans in baseball.

In June 2009, the Saints began a push to build a new stadium in Downtown Saint Paul. The proposed 7,500-seat stadium would be located in the Lowertown neighborhood near a planned maintenance facility for the METRO Green Line light rail. The city of Saint Paul requested $25 million in its 2010 bonding wish list to the Minnesota Legislature.[2][3][4][5]

During their final 5 years in the American Association and their first 5 years in CHS Field, the Saints consistently led the league in attendance averaging more than 8,000 fans in the regular season from 2015-19.[6][7][8][9][10]

In 2020, the Saints competed as one of six teams in a condensed 60-game season as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.[11] They played much of their season away from their home stadium, CHS Field, instead being based at Sioux Falls Stadium, sharing a home field with the Sioux Falls Canaries. On August 4, 2020, however, the Saints returned to play at CHS Field.[12]

The beginnings of a closer relationship with the local Major League Baseball franchise, the Minnesota Twins, came in the summer of 2020. Due to the pandemic, the 2020 MLB season was modified in several ways, including the cancellation of the 2020 Minor League Baseball season. Because of this, teams were allowed to use taxi squads located at nearby facilities where non-active minor league players were allowed to train. The Twins made use of the Saints' CHS Field facilities as home for their taxi squad. [13]

Notable players to have played for the Saints during their independent baseball years include Shane Costa, Glenn Davis, J. D. Drew, Leon "Bull" Durham, Gavin Fingleson, Dan Johnson, Brandon Kintzler, Kevin Millar, Minnie Miñoso, Jack Morris, Darryl Motley, Matt Nokes, Rey Ordóñez, Tanner Scheppers, Dave Stevens, Darryl Strawberry and Caleb Thielbar.

Affiliated baseball (2021–present)

The Saints' 2021 uniforms
The Saints' 2021 uniforms

Due to the 2021 full-scale reorganization of Minor League Baseball, there was much speculation as to what would happen to independent leagues such as the American Association and specifically the Saints.[14][15] On November 11, 2020, it was reported that the Minnesota Twins ended their 18-year affiliation with their Triple-A affiliate, the Rochester Red Wings. At this time it was also reported that the Saints were a front-runner to be the Twins' new Triple-A affiliate. The main barrier to a deal was said to be the $20 million fee required for affiliation.[16] The Twins aided in this by becoming minority shareholders in the Saints and placing their Triple-A affiliation in St. Paul beginning with the 2021 season.[17] The Saints were organized into the 20-team Triple-A East.[18] At a distance of 12.9 miles (along Interstate 94, including surface streets), CHS Field is the closest Triple-A ballpark to its MLB parent team.

The Saints began competition as a Twins affiliate on May 4, 2021, with an 8–2 loss to the Omaha Storm Chasers at Werner Park in Papillion, Nebraska.[19]

Roster

Players Coaches/Other

Pitchers

Catchers

Infielders

Outfielders


Manager

Coaches

  • 24 Cibney Bello (pitching)
  • 30 Matt Borgschulte (hitting)
  • 35 Mike McCarthy (bullpen)
  • 51 Tyler Smarslok (coach)

60-day injured list

7-day injured list
* On Minnesota Twins 40-man roster
~ Development list
# Rehab assignment
∞ Reserve list
‡ Restricted list
§ Suspended list
± Taxi squad
† Temporarily inactive list
Roster updated July 19, 2021
Transactions
→ More rosters: MiLB • Triple-A East
Minnesota Twins minor league players

Notable promotions

In an attempt to gain publicity in a metropolitan area that hosts five major pro sports teams and a major college program, the Saints create unique promotions that have received media attention numerous times.[20]

Season-by-season records

Table key
League The team's final position in the league standings
Division The team's final position in the divisional standings
GB Games behind the team that finished in first place in the division that season
Class champions Class champions (from 2021)
League champions League champions (1993–present)
* Division champions (1993–present)
^ Postseason berth (1993–2020)
Season-by-season records
Season League Regular season Postseason MLB affiliate Ref.
Record Win % League Division GB Record Win % Result
1993
^ League champions
NL 42–29 .592 1st 3–1 .750 Won Second Half title
Won NL championship vs. Rochester Aces, 3–1[35]
Independent [36]
1994 NL 43–36 .544 3rd 8+12 Independent [37]
1995
^ League champions
NL 53–31 .631 1st 3–1 .750 Won First and Second Half titles
Won NL championship vs. Winnipeg Goldeyes, 3–1
Independent [38]
1996
^ * League champions
NL 45–40 .529 3rd 1st 6–0 1.000 Won First Half East Division title vs. Madison Black Wolf, 1–0
Won Second Half East Division title
Won East Division title vs. Madison Black Wolf, 2–0
Won NL championship vs. Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, 3–0
Independent [39]
1997
^
NL 45–39 .536 4th 1st 2–3 .400 Won First Half East Division title
Lost East Division title vs. Duluth-Superior Dukes, 3–2
Independent [40]
1998
^ *
NL 40–46 .465 4th (tie) 2nd 12 3–5 .375 Won Second Half East Division title
Won East Division title vs. Thunder Bay Whiskey Jacks, 3–2
Lost NL championship vs. Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, 3–0
Independent [41]
1999 NL 38–47 .447 5th 2nd 5+12 Independent [42]
2000
^
NL 43–43 .500 4th (tie) 1st (tie) 1–3 .250 Won First Half East Division title
Lost East Division title vs. Duluth-Superior Dukes, 3–1[43]
Independent [44]
2001 NL 37–53 .411 6th (tie) 2nd (tie) 15 Independent [45]
2002 NL 39–50 .438 7th 4th 17 Independent [46]
2003
^
NL 52–38 .578 3rd 2nd 3+12 2–3 .400 Won First Half North Division title
Lost North Division title vs. Winnipeg Goldeyes, 3–2[47]
Independent [48]
2004
^ * League champions
NL 61–34 .642 1st 1st 6–3 .667 Won Second Half North Division title
Won North Division title vs. Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, 3–1
Won NL championship vs. Schaumburg Flyers, 3–2[49]
Independent [50]
2005
^
NL 55–40 .579 2nd 1st 2–3 .400 Won First Half South Division title
Lost South Division title vs. Gary SouthShore RailCats, 3–2[51]
Independent [52]
2006
^ *
AA 54–42 .563 4th) 2nd 11 5–4 .556 Won North Division title vs. Lincoln Saltdogs, 3–1
Lost AA championship vs. Fort Worth Cats, 3–2[53]
Independent [54]
2007
^ *
AA 57–39 .594 2nd 2nd 1+12 5–3 .625 Won Second Half North Division title[55]
Won North Division title vs. Lincoln Saltdogs, 3–0
Lost AA championship vs. Fort Worth Cats, 3–2[56]
Independent [57]
2008 AA 42–54 .438 9th 5th 18 Independent [58]
2009 AA 49–47 .510 4th (tie) 2nd (tie) 9 Independent [59]
2010 AA 45–51 .469 7th 5th 18 Independent [60]
2011
^
AA 56–44 .560 3rd 2nd 4 5–5 .500 Won semifinals vs. Winnipeg Goldeyes, 3–2
Lost AA championship vs. Grand Prairie AirHogs, 3–2[61]
Independent [62]
2012 AA 52–48 .520 6th 3rd 13 Independent [63]
2013 AA 47–53 .470 9th 3rd 15 Independent [64]
2014 AA 48–52 .480 6th (tie) 2nd 15 Independent [65]
2015
*
AA 74–26 .740 2nd 1st 1–3 .250 Won North Division title
Lost semifinals vs. Sioux City Explorers, 3–1[66]
Independent [67]
2016
*
AA 61–39 .610 1st (tie) 1st 2–3 .400 Won North Division title
Lost semifinals vs. Winnipeg Goldeyes, 3–2[68]
Independent [69]
2017 AA 48–52 .480 7th 3rd 14 Independent [70]
2018
^ *
AA 59–41 .590 4th (tie) 1st (tie) 4–4 .500 Won North Division title vs. Gary SouthShore RailCats, 3–1
Lost AA championship vs. Kansas City T-Bones, 3–1[71]
Independent [72]
2019
* League champions
AA 64–36 .640 1st 1st 6–2 .750 Won North Division title
Won semifinals vs. Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks, 3–2
Won AA championship vs. Sioux City Explorers, 3–0[73]
Independent [74]
2020 AA 30–30 .500 3rd 4 Independent [75]
Totals 1,379–1,180 .539 56–46 .549

References

Specific
  1. ^ "Lowertown ballpark FAQs". Archived from the original on August 8, 2014. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
  2. ^ Havens, Chris (June 26, 2009) "Wish list: New home for Saints" Star Tribune. Retrieved on June 27, 2009
  3. ^ Orrick, Dave (June 25, 2009) "Now batting for the Saints: Bill Murray" Saint Paul Pioneer Press. Retrieved on June 27, 2009
  4. ^ Kimball, Joe (June 25, 2009) "Bill Murray shows his stripes; pushes stadium, skips mayor" MinnPost.com Retrieved on June 27, 2009
  5. ^ McClure, Jane (July 1, 2009) "City Unveils 2010 bonding requests" Villager
  6. ^ http://baseball.pointstreak.com/attendance.html?leagueid=193&seasonid=29050
  7. ^ http://baseball.pointstreak.com/attendance.html?leagueid=193&seasonid=30016
  8. ^ http://baseball.pointstreak.com/attendance.html?leagueid=193&seasonid=30694
  9. ^ http://baseball.pointstreak.com/attendance.html?leagueid=193&seasonid=31274
  10. ^ http://baseball.pointstreak.com/attendance.html?leagueid=193&seasonid=31972
  11. ^ "American Association unveils plans for 2020 season". americanassociationbaseball.com. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  12. ^ "Saints Wrap up 2020 Season With 7-4 Loss to Redhawks". St. Paul Saints. September 10, 2020. Retrieved December 2, 2020.
  13. ^ Helfand, Betsy (June 29, 2020). "Twins plan to use empty CHS Field in St. Paul as training site". Twin Cities. Pioneer Press. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  14. ^ Cooper, J. J. "Sources: Minor League Baseball Ready To Agree To Significant Reduction In Teams". www.baseballamerica.com. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  15. ^ Neal III, La Velle E. "Twins-Saints affiliation could be a possibility, but there are hurdles to overcome". Star Tribune. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  16. ^ Neal III, La Velle E. "Twins drop Rochester as AAA affiliate, eye St. Paul as replacement". Star Tribune. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  17. ^ Reichard, Kevin (December 9, 2020). "Twins revamp farm system with new St. Paul, Wichita affiliates". Ballpark Digest. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
  18. ^ Mayo, Jonathan (February 12, 2021). "MLB Announces New Minors Teams, Leagues". Major League Baseball. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
  19. ^ "Saints vs. Storm Chasers Box Score 05/04/21". Minor League Baseball. May 4, 2021. Retrieved May 5, 2021.
  20. ^ a b c d e Rovell, Darren (April 17, 2006). "Another last laugh for the St. Paul Saints". ESPN.com. Retrieved April 18, 2006.
  21. ^ BringMeTheNews. "Saints throw massive food fight in spirit of 'Animal House'". Bring Me The News. Retrieved April 27, 2021.
  22. ^ "The St. Paul Saints painted 56,000 dots on the field for a massive game of Twister". MLB.com. Retrieved April 27, 2021.
  23. ^ "Saint Paul Saints hold world's largest pillow fight". Burlington Free Press. Retrieved December 26, 2016.
  24. ^ "St. Paul Saints Baseball, Fun, & Pillows". Twins Daily. Retrieved December 26, 2016.
  25. ^ Townsend, Mark (April 27, 2013). "St. Paul Saints to replace umpires with judge and jury during May 11 exhibition game". Big League Stew. Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved July 17, 2014.
  26. ^ Gryboski, Michael. "Minn. Baseball Team Changes Name From Saints to 'Aints' for Atheist Event". Christian Post. Retrieved June 15, 2013.
  27. ^ Jayne, Eric (July 29, 2013). "Atheists and the 'Aints' — seeking to dispel preconceived notions about our (non)beliefs". MinnPost. Retrieved August 3, 2013.
  28. ^ Block, Melissa (August 8, 2013). "Minn. Minor League Baseball Team Goes Atheist For One Night". NPR. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  29. ^ Shaw, Bob (August 4, 2014). "St. Paul's atheists are coming out of the closet". Pioneer Press. Retrieved August 31, 2014.
  30. ^ Chin, Richard (June 17, 2011). "St. Paul Saints go ahead with 'Tweeting Wiener Boxer Shorts' giveaway despite congressman's resignation". St. Paul Pioneer Press. Retrieved July 17, 2014.
  31. ^ "Saints' gimmick jabs at Senate race". ESPN.com. Associated Press. May 23, 2009. Retrieved May 23, 2009.
  32. ^ "Minn. team's promotional giveaway features 'bobble foot' in toilet stall". USA Today. May 22, 2008. Retrieved May 26, 2008.
  33. ^ "Saints Continue to Slide at Home Lose 7-3". August 20, 2007. Retrieved January 10, 2008.
  34. ^ http://www.bobble--heads.com/bobbleheads/bobbleheads-election.html
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  38. ^ "1995 Northern League Standings". Stats Crew. Retrieved November 17, 2020.
  39. ^ "1996 Northern League Standings". Stats Crew. Retrieved November 17, 2020.
  40. ^ "1997 Northern League Standings". Stats Crew. Retrieved November 17, 2020.
  41. ^ "1998 Northern League Standings". Stats Crew. Retrieved November 17, 2020.
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  53. ^ "2006 American Association Standings". Stats Crew. Retrieved November 17, 2020.
  54. ^ "2006 American Association". Baseball-Reference. Sports Reference. Retrieved November 17, 2020.
  55. ^ "Miller Sparks Eden Prairie". Star Tribune. Minneapolis. August 25, 2007. p. C9 – via Newspapers.com.
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  57. ^ "2007 American Association". Baseball-Reference. Sports Reference. Retrieved November 17, 2020.
  58. ^ "2008 American Association Standings". Stats Crew. Retrieved November 17, 2020.
  59. ^ "2009 American Association Standings". Stats Crew. Retrieved November 17, 2020.
  60. ^ "2010 American Association". Baseball-Reference. Sports Reference. Retrieved November 17, 2020.
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  64. ^ "2013 American Association". Baseball-Reference. Sports Reference. Retrieved November 17, 2020.
  65. ^ "2014 American Association". Baseball-Reference. Sports Reference. Retrieved November 17, 2020.
  66. ^ "2015 American Association Standings". Stats Crew. Retrieved November 17, 2020.
  67. ^ "2015 American Association". Baseball-Reference. Sports Reference. Retrieved November 17, 2020.
  68. ^ "2016 American Association Standings". Stats Crew. Retrieved November 17, 2020.
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  75. ^ "2020 American Association". Baseball-Reference. Sports Reference. Retrieved November 17, 2020.
General
Achievements
Preceded by
First
Northern League champions
St. Paul Saints

1993
Succeeded by
Winnipeg Goldeyes
1994
Preceded by
Winnipeg Goldeyes
1994
Northern League champions
St. Paul Saints

1995 – 1996
Succeeded by
Duluth–Superior Dukes
1997
Preceded by
Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks
2003
Northern League champions
St. Paul Saints

2004
Succeeded by
Gary SouthShore RailCats
2005