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A Hot Stove session with Frank Quilici

Here’s a little tale that would have been suitable for James Filmore’s Twins memorabilia series. But I think it fits better in the Hot Stove season, although as you can see it is a fireplace not a stove.

Dodgers v Twins Photo by Focus On Sport/Getty Images

Frank Quilici made his major league debut in July 1965. He had a very good rookie season and ended up playing every inning of the ‘65 World Series. That was the high water mark of his playing days, he spent 1966 in Triple A ball and when he got back to the Bigs he had to make room for a fellow named Rod Carew. Quilici retired at the end of the 1970 season.

But tragedy opened a door for him. A spot on the Twins coaching staff became available when Sherry Robertson — Calvin Griffith’s brother — died in a car crash. Quilici went on to coach for a year and a half, advance to manager for three and a half more, then served as a broadcaster for six additional years.

So what was Frank Quilici doing sitting on our fireplace with three kids and a dog?

That’s me and two of my brothers sitting next to Frank Quilici. The date is unclear, but given the strata of family pictures it was found it 1965 or ‘66 seems likely.

It had something to do with a fundraiser for the Jerry Gamble Boys Club. I’m not sure if this was at our house or if he came there later as my parents were somehow involved in this effort. I remember he gave a talk about how much the Boys Club had helped him, and that he grew up in a tough Chicago neighborhood called “The Bucket of Blood”. Hey, that’s the kind of detail a young brain hangs onto!

I suspect this photo was taken in the 65-66 off season. Quilici’s reputation would have been at its peak and the club would have had him out doing appearances.

Much has changed since the picture was taken with a primitive Kodak Instamatic. The Jerry Gamble Boys Club was built - in a very unlovely “landed UFO” style - and continues to serve the Boys and Girls of my old neighborhood. It was recently enlarged and refurbished with the support of the Minnesota Twins.

The tubby dog in the photo is of course long gone. My brothers and I are still around albeit with radically different hairstyles. Frank Quilici had ahead of him a stint as the youngest manager in Major League baseball. He passed away in 2018. Here’s his obituary. I’ll be proud if mine eventually documents a life half this well-lived.