In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com
Calvin Griffith, The Washington Senators, get permission to move the Washington Senators to the Twin Cities. This sets off a chain reaction that leads the American League to speed up its expansion plans, adding two new teams in 1961, a year ahead of schedule. The expansion teams are the Los Angeles Angels and a new Washington Senators team. The Minnesota Twins would take the Senators' history as the new Senators are considered an expansion team.
First in war, first in peace, and last in American League, the Washington franchise was known for its consistent losing over the first 60 years in the American League. Manager Clarke Griffith took ownership of the Washington franchise in 1920. The team had a hazy history as the official nickname was the Nationals though fans often called them Senators, which was the team's more common nickname. With the exception of a World Championship in 1924 and pennants in 1925 and 1933, the Senators spent most of their history in the second division, far away from contention.
Clark Griffith died in 1955, leaving the team to his nephew Calvin. Calvin would clarify the team's name as Senators while selling Griffith Stadium back to the city. This led to speculation that the team would soon be moving as the Braves, Browns, and Athletics had all recently relocated westward. It was an era of western movement as the Dodgers and Giants went from New York to California in 1958.
As New York sought a new team, talks of a new major league forced the American and National Leagues into considering expansion. Calvin Griffith did not want to stay in Washington and was looking to move the Senators. After initially rejected an offer from the Twin Cities, Griffith stepped in and claimed the market when the American League was ready to give Minnesota an expansion team. At first, the move was rejected, but with the Continental League getting ready to start, the owners relented and allowed the Original Senators to move to Minneapolis-St. Paul.
With the Washington market now open, the American League rushed the expansion process, adding two new teams for the 1961 season, a year ahead of schedule. Both teams scrambled for stadiums; the Senators played one season at Griffith Stadium before their new DC Stadium was ready. The Angels played at the Wrigley Field in Los Angeles before sharing Dodger Stadium with the Dodgers. The Angels would eventually get their own stadium in Anaheim, which opened in 1966.
The Twins would be a success; the same could not be said about the new Washington Senators. The team was owned by Bob Short, a native of Minnesota, who had an unsuccessful run for congress. The new Senators may have been worse than the original team. Over the next decade, the Senators were in a constant state of flux, with several management changes. In 1971 Short, decided to move the team to the Dallas Metroplex, becoming the Texas Rangers in 1972. Washington would not get another team until the Montreal Expos relocated in 2005.