Another Twins season bites the dust. Minnesota underperformed to the max and had Twins fans frustrated for much of the 160+ games. While many probably stopped watching and gave up on the team, one fan didn’t miss a beat, that would be Sue Nelson, the Twins organist.
If you make it to Twins games often, you’ve probably made a stop at the Twins Pub, right behind home plate in the upper deck (formerly 2 Ginger’s Pub.) Sue likely greeted you with a smile and good conversation, after all, it is her favorite part of the job.
Kamie: How long have you been the organist at Target Field?
Sue: Well since 2010 at Target Field, but I started with the Twins in 1999.
Kamie: What were you doing before?
Sue: I played for the Minnesota North Stars, hockey, started in 1981 and played there for most of those years. They left in ‘93, but I did many, many high school teams, so many high school games. I would bring my keyboard.
Kamie: When did you decide music was really for you?
Sue: I play piano. I had piano lessons like all the rest of the kids. I was good, then I was a pianist, but I had to play for church, so I had to learn the organ, and I didn’t like it. Then I didn’t like school, so I had to get a job out of high school. I went into a music store in Mankato and thought I was just going to play piano. I was going to be a classical pianist. Well, I had to learn to play these dumb organs. In those days, this was in 1960, they didn’t have any automatic rhythm or anything, so I had to learn to play it. Then I found out it was kind of fun to play for people, like in piano bars. Then they had organ bars after that, so I had lots of jobs.
Kamie: Where did you grow up?
Sue: Mankato, Minnesota... Nicollett. I played a lot of the Mankato Moondogs when they started.
Kamie: What’s your experience been like at Target Field?
Sue: This is fantastic. I remember when they told me... they said, ‘do you know where you are going to be in the new stadium?’ I would never have thought they would bring me from the football press box in the Dome to here. They said you are going to be at the piano bar above home plate, and that’s what it is. It’s just fantastic because there are so many people.
Kamie: There are some long games, some doubleheaders, do you stick it out? Do you make it to every game?
Some random guy standing by us: Even when she broke her wrist she showed up everyday!
(Sue confirmed this to be true.)
Kamie: So you probably like the 7 inning rule for doubleheaders.
Sue: Yes I do (laughs)
Kamie: What is your favorite part?
Sue: Visiting. I see people that I see for years and years and years, new friends all the time. I can’t remember anybody’s name, but it doesn’t really matter. I just love it.
So what does Sue do with her time during the off-season? Well, she works for the Minnesota Wild of course. She doesn’t play piano or organ, but she is part of the game day staff. The 77-year-young Twins musician says she is already excited for next season.
So, if you ever make it to a Twins game, take the escalator to the the upper deck and visit Sue. She would love to see you. Or, if you are ever in the small southern Minnesota town of Nicollet, home of the legendary Schmidt’s Meat Market, know another legend was born there... and she goes by the name of Sue Nelson.
As my friend, KTTC Sports Director Mark Poulose, says, in 2021 she lead the Twins in hits. WATCH: https://kttc.com/2021/09/30/twins-organist-doesnt-miss-a-game/
Also she LOVES playing at other places. If you want Sue to come play at your team’s ballpark let me know, and I will put you in touch with her.