It would be hard to find a more avid Minnesota Twins fan than Audrey Hanson Harris of Darwin, Minn. She’s already been to a game at the new Target Field and when she’s not there in person she watches the Twins play on television or listens to the game on the radio. She’s got Twins blankets, hats, banners, bobble heads, bats, balls and pictures displayed all around her house. Her real passion is keeping score of every Twins game and she has a unique way of keeping score. Where did all this enthusiasm come from? Well, since she was 17 years old she has been a big fan of softball and baseball. It was in 1939 she joined the Litchfield ladies softball team and played for 10 years. The team didn’t have a nickname or a mascot. They played teams from Darwin, Hutchinson, Cosmos, Eden Valley, Kingston, Knapp and Rosendale. In 1985 they held a 50-year reunion with 12 members of the original team to talk about old times. Now, Audrey and her sister Lillias (Jo) Hanson Gilhousen are the only two remaining players from the 1939 team. Her sister, age 90, is one year older than Audrey. Audrey said her favorite memory of playing softball was when she was playing third base and was run over and knocked down by an opposing player. She said her hip still hurts to this day. To show her toughness, in one game the ball hit her finger just right and dislocated her finger. She went to her manager and he put it back in place and she went back to third base to play ball. But Audrey is more famous for hitting home runs rather than taking hits. In 1940 against Cosmos she hit a 2-run homerun in the seventh inning to beat them 3-1. Litchfield had 2 hits and Cosmos was held to only 1 hit. “I was pretty good at hitting home runs,” she said. Inside her home, besides Twins memorabilia she has items from her softball playing days including bats, balls, gloves, photos and newspaper articles of her Litchfield team. At the Twine Ball museum, which Darwin is famous for, there are pictures of Audrey on display. The pictures are of her softball days dating back to 1939. Her favorite current Twins player is Jason Kubel but Kirby Pucket is her most favorite player ever. “Kent Hrbek was also very, very good,” she said. In her homemade Twins scorebook, at the top of the page, she puts the date, the Twins won/loss record, and the game number. The latest game was against Cleveland on Sept. 10. The Twins record was 83 wins and 57 losses. It was game number 140. Twins lost 2-0. With the name of each player in the scorebook she notes if they are left or right-handed, their jersey number, the position they play and the lineup order number. It is also noted what their batting average is, home runs hit, and runs batted in (RBIs). Now with normal baseball scorekeeping, a swinging strikeout is the letter “K” and a called strikeout is a backward “ ” Audrey simplifies it and puts “SO” which means strikeout. On a pop fly or groundout she notes it as an “O.” Audrey’s children and grandchildren inherited her enthusiasm for softball and baseball. Her children were involved with coaching and her granddaughters played softball in their hometowns. When you see Audrey a day after a Twins game the first thing she will say to you is: “How about those Twins!” And then she will go on to tell you about all the great things each Twin did in yesterday’s game.
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