The Minneapolis Millers were a Class AAA farm club for the New York Giants from 1946 to 1957. This only added more fervor to the baseball rivalry with St. Paul, since the original Saints were a Class AAA farm club for the Brooklyn Dodgers starting in 1944.
Archrivals in New York City providing players to archrivals in the Twin Cities.
Back copies of Minneapolis newspapers reveal bitter complaints from columnists and baseball writers about the Giants "raiding" the Millers of key players.
Despondent though they were, most of the Minneapolis scribes accepted the Giants' logic in late May 1951 when they called up Willie Mays after the 20-year-old outfielder batted .477 in 35 games for the Millers.
OK, but how about Foster Castleman, the young infielder batting .317 for the Millers as they fought for playoff position in 1954?
He gets called up on Aug. 4 and only bats 14 times for the rest of the regular season with the World Series-winning Giants.
Dang those New York big shots … raiding our Millers again.
Toby Gardenhire, in his third season as the manager of the Twins' Class AAA Saints, was in his office at CHS Field, the baseball gem in St. Paul's Lowertown, at 2 p.m. Thursday.
The Saints would start a doubleheader in 3 ½ hours. Gardenhire had written out a lineup for Game 1 before arriving at the park.
Then he watched the Twins afternoon game from Tampa Bay. In the top of the first, Jorge Polanco hit a rocket up the middle. It deflected slightly off the pitcher's glove, then off umpire Jeff Nelson, leading to a forceout at second and Polanco hobbling the last couple of strides as he raced toward first.
He was safe and then departed the game with an reaggravation of a left hamstring that had him on the injured list in May.
"That didn't look good for Jorge," Gardenhire said.
The original lineup had rookie Edouard Julien batting fourth. That card was now pushed off to the side on Gardenhire's desk.
The manager produced a new one, in anticipation of getting a call after the Twins game informing him that Julien would be catching a flight to Toronto to join the Twins on Friday.
Julien had been with the Twins twice earlier — 10 days in mid-April when Polanco still was rehabbing from offseason surgery, then as the primary second baseman during Jorge's IL stretch in May.
The level of Gardenhire's angst over losing his cleanup hitter for a doubleheader was perhaps 0.2 on a scale of 10. When you're managing Triple-A baseball in the 2020s, you know that the call for reinforcements can come at any moment, whether it's for an 11-mile commute to Target Field or from different time zones.
In 2022, Gardenhire managed 87 players, including 47 pitchers. Those players were involved in 257 transactions — admittedly counting for two when a Saints pitcher and a Twins pitcher changed places, as happened often.
I pointed at Gardenhire's cellphone and said: "Who will make the call when and if Julien is shelved for a trip to Toronto?"
Gardenhire said: "Usually Drew MacPhail, our minor league director. We talk a lot."
Pause. "We like to win ballgames; we've been doing that, we have some guys who go after it every night," he said. "We've been playing very well, most nights.
"Our main job, though, is to have players ready as possible to help the Twins, when needed."
A Thursday call from MacPhail to hold back Julien never came. He batted fourth in both games of the doubleheader. The two starters, Randy Dobnak and Simeon Woods-Richardson, got hammered, but the Saints managed a split.
Julien continued to show a line-drive bat, a great batting eye and a subpar glove.
It was determined Polanco would not play Friday night; Julien was not in the Saints lineup and is traveling to Toronto to be available Saturday if Polanco winds up on the injured list for the third time this season.
"We'll adjust to anything," Gardenhire said. "When it was complicated was when we were in the Eastern time zone, in Columbus, and the Twins were in Los Angeles.
"I got the call at the hotel at 2:30 in the morning that we needed to get [pitcher] José De León on a flight at 7 a.m. to Los Angeles. He was sleeping and didn't answer his cell. I started pounding on hotel doors and found him.
"Then Matt Tramp, our do-everything equipment guy, went to the ballpark, packed up José's baseball stuff, and we got him on that flight."
Gardenhire looked at the TV screen.
"There he is, pitching right now," the manager said. "He's been throwing real well for the Twins. We kind of told 'em that he would do that.
"When we see this, a player going back to the big leagues and having success … it's a great feeling."