by Randy Ooney
My Nickel’s Worth by Randy Ooney
Fall season is time for football, but we still keep an eye on the Major League Baseball post season. Each October, I can’t help but think back to 1987, only the second time the World Series was played in Minnesota. Everyone has their own memories, but for me it was the first appearance of the Homer Hanky. The Hanky started in the marketing department of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the brainchild of one Ms. Terrie Robbins. She took her idea to a big potato who controlled the purse strings and asked for $100,000 to purchase 200,000 hankies. The plan was to give away 60,000 of them at the first two home playoff games against Detroit, and then run a coupon in the newspaper as the only way to obtain more, and thus sell thousands of newspapers to new customers. Terrie assembled an army of workers outside the Metrodome that first playoff night to give away the hankies to fans walking into the stadium. The Twins, in typical fashion, demanded that they stop, since they didn’t think of it first, and did not approve. But when Gary Gaetti hit that first home run of the game, and the TV cameras showed 50,000 crazed fans waving those white hankies, there was no turning back. My friend Ronnie Neumann quickly learned a few bars of “Hanky Panky” on his keyboard. It was a long story, and one that had an impact on Boomer’s Ballcards. Many hankies were sold for 50 cents or a dollar, and when the dust had settled and orders were still being filled in December, over 2.3 million hankies were in the hands of Twins fans and collectors nationwide.
Terrie Robbins really deserves a place in Cooperstown, because over the past 25 years, it seems that nearly every playoff team in every major sport has developed some type of ripoff of the Homer Hanky. This year is no exception as we see orange towels from Baltimore to San Francisco. Golden towels in Oakland, and familiar red and white in St. Louis and Cincinnati. Yankee Hankies are only used for crying when they are eliminated. I have seen Rally Rags, Touchdown Towels, Howl Towels, and I am waiting for our women’s champions to produce Lynx’ Minks.
So what does the future hold? Well, the Ryder Cup will be here at Hazeltine in 2016. I’m thinking of a golf towel with orange and black Bengal stripes – The Tiger Shanky. The Wolves unleashed the Howl Towel in 2006. Maybe they have a few left if they ever make the playoffs again. With any luck you could wave it using a Hat Trick Stick
If those Wild guys ever get back on the ice.
I am still waiting for the PBA to expand my idea. In baseball, a homer is sometimes called a four bagger. In bowling, a four bagger has been called a hambone. So let me take my place alongside Terrie Robbins with the creation of the Hambone Hanky. But if I am unable to find anyone to finance this venture, I am going to start small. Hankies and towels are all over the place. We need a fresh new idea for our local bowling enthusiasts. Next CBA tournament – come early and wave your drock sock.