An Envelope Salesman Bought 44,000 Tickets to a Minnesota Twins Game: This Day in Sports History

Stephen Douglas
Kirby Puckett
Kirby Puckett / Focus On Sport/Getty Images

In 1984, the Minnesota Twins were in danger of being moved, possibly to Tampa Bay. Coming off four consecutive losing seasons, they had a clause in their Metrodome contract that allowed them to get out of their lease if they didn't sell 2.4 million tickets. So a group of local businessmen, led by envelope manufacturer Harvey Mackay, staged a ticket buyout.

On May 16, 1984, the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Twins, 8-7. Rookie centerfielder Kirby Puckett went 2-for-4 with a walk. Kent Hrbek, who would finish second in MVP voting that season, went 0-for-4. The announced attendance was 51,863, but only 6,346 fans actually purchased tickets.

Compared to our current situation, where MLB is negotiating so they can play a season in front of zero fans, a few thousand people at the old ballgame sounds pretty nice. The '84 Twins ended up with an attendance figure of just under 1.6 million. They never hit the magical 2.4 million number because the team was sold to Minnesota banker Carl Pohlad. Incredibly, after saving the Twins in 1984, Pohlad offered up the team for contraction in 2001.

Under Pohlad, the Twins went on to win the 1987 World Series. It was the franchise's first title since 1924 when they were the Washington Senators. And then they won the 1991 World Series. And then in 1997 he almost sold them to another guy who wanted to move them.

The team has been owned by Jim Pohlad since Carl passed away in 2009. They are coming off a 101-win season, the second-best regular season in team history. If baseball returns, the Twins will play in front of fewer fans than the '84 team, which is really saying something.