Washington Loyal To Their New Senators

Topeka Daily Capital
June 25, 1961

Washington – this city is made up of so many itinerants it has few basic loyalties. But it has at least one – the new Washington baseball club. The Senators became the New Senators when Calvin Griffith, owner of the Old Senators, moved out to start the Minnesota Twins.

The New Senators are almost a religion among baseball fans here, and they have one goal – to finish ahead of the Twins. Fans here starved for a winner for so many years they worked up an active dislike for Griffith.

When he moved out it was made clear to him nobody was sorry to see him go. Fans hated to see some of his good ballplayers go, but on the whole they liked the move.

They expected nothing of the New Senators, mostly castoffs and rookies. But right now, they’re running ahead of the Griffith’s Twins, and this is a baseball-happy town.

Attendance has been good when the team is at home. When it is on the road, you can’t pass an open door or a car without hearing the game on the radio.

Fortunately, perhaps, the team has been doing everything the hard way. It has broken about even in the 20-plus, one-run games it has played, and it has done the unbelievable on occasion.

In Boston the other day, the New Senators lost after being seven runs ahead with two out in the ninth inning. But they have won a couple when they have been behind by almost as much.

You don’t need to buy a paper or listen to the radio to keep up with the team. In a normal day, at least a dozen people, from waiters to cab drivers to elevator operators, will offer you a play-by-play account of what happened.

After blowing that seven-run lead in Boston the Senators flew home and we’re supposed to be served a full, hot meal on their plane. Instead, they got a sandwich, apple and coffee. This was reported in the papers.

Indignant fans phoned the ball club and protested that this was no way to treat “our boys.’ Fans insisted the airline be properly chastised. The club did better than that. It announced it would do no more business with that airline.

So, all over town you heard people saying they were glad that lousy airline got what was coming to it.

Fans have even taken to heart the personal problems of Willie Tasby, a Senator outfielder who leads the club in homeruns and runs batted in. Willie doesn’t like lightning and I find myself sympathizing with him, too.

He used to play for Boston and one day and electrical storm came up and lightning struck the field somewhere behind second base. That was all for Willie. He went to the dugout.

Ordered back to the field, he went, but without his shoes and their steel plates and spikes. He was playing it as safe as he could.

In Washington, he has requested that he be relieved when lightning starts cracking. Manager Mickey Vernon has approved the request so far, and the fans have approved, too.

“Willie just doesn’t like lightning,” Vernon says. “I can understand that.”  I can, too…

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