Chattanooga Lookouts baseball team to partner with Minnesota Twins

TWINS TIMELINESome notable dates in Minnesota Twins history, including their past ties with the Chattanooga Lookouts:• 1960: Washington Senators president Calvin Griffith announces in October that the club would be moving to the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, which led to the birthing of the "Twins" nickname.• 1967: Cal Ermer, who managed the Chattanooga Lookouts from 1952 to '57, takes over a 25-25 Twins team and leads Minnesota to a 91-71 record. Harmon Killebrew was injured the next season and the Twins slid to 79-83, which resulted in Ermer being replaced by Billy Martin.• 1974: Killebrew plays his 21st and final season with the organization. He wound up with 573 career home runs, had his No. 3 jersey retired by the franchise and in 1984 was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.• 1977: Rod Carew is voted American League MVP after hitting .388 with 100 RBIs and 125 runs scored.• 1987: After Kent Hrbek's grand slam squares the World Series, the Twins top St. Louis 4-2 in Game 7 to deliver the state of Minnesota its first pro sports championship.• 1991: The Twins begin the season 2-9, and they end it with a thrilling seven-game World Series title over the Atlanta Braves behind the dominant arm of MVP Jack Morris.• 2002: After playing an exhibition game against the Cincinnati Reds at AT&T Field, the Twins reach the playoffs for the first time since their 1991 World Series crown.• 2010: Minnesota wins its sixth AL Central title in nine years before being bounced in the playoffs by the New York Yankees.• 2014: Twins officials fly to Chattanooga to discuss a player development partnership, which could result in the Lookouts having an American League parent team for the first time since being affiliated with Seattle in 1987.

photo Cincinnati third baseman Aaron Boone safely steals home during a double steal against the Minnesota Twins and catcher A.J. Pierzynski during a 2002 exhibition game at what was then BellSouth Park in Chattanooga. The Twins now will be sending their Class AA players there.

So long, Dodgertown.

Hello, Twin City.

The Times Free Press learned Tuesday night that Minnesota Twins officials have flown to Chattanooga and were immediately scheduled to tour AT&T Field. Barring any hitches regarding the 6,340-seat downtown facility built in 2000, the Twins and Lookouts could announce a player development partnership in a news conference as early as this afternoon.

Lookouts officials this morning have set that conference at 2:30. The agreement will be for four seasons.

Chattanooga has been the Class AA affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers since September 2008, but the Dodgers did not renew their player development contract in order to hook up with Tulsa of the Texas League.

"I appreciate all the Dodgers did for us over six years," Lookouts owner Frank Burke said Tuesday afternoon. "They brought us some great memories with Yasiel Puig and Clayton Kershaw and Scott Van Slyke, but now I'm looking forward to starting a relationship with another major league team.

"This is the start of a new chapter for us."

A co-owner of the Dodgers recently purchased Triple-A Oklahoma City, and Los Angeles wanted to have its two highest-level farm teams near one another.

Burke declined to discuss the Twins, who had a Double-A home this past season in New Britain, Conn., of the Eastern League. Arizona and Colorado entered this week as the other major league teams seeking new Double-A affiliates in addition to Los Angeles and Minnesota.

A partnership between the Twins and Lookouts could best be described as "historic," considering former Lookouts manager Cal Ermer went on to manage Minnesota and former Lookouts slugger Harmon Killebrew is among the most decorated players in Twins history.

More recently, the Twins agreed to play Cincinnati in a 2002 exhibition game at AT&T field when the Lookouts were in a 21-year partnership with the Reds.

Minnesota will become the first American League parent club of the Lookouts since their five-year affiliation with the Seattle Mariners ended in 1987. Chattanooga was partnered with Cleveland from 1978 to 1982 and with Oakland in 1976-77, which were the first two seasons in which professional baseball returned to the city.

The Lookouts were partnered with the Reds from 1988 to 2008 before opting for the Dodgers.

Minnesota's Triple-A affiliate is in Rochester, N.Y., with that agreement running through the 2016 season. The Twins have a high Single-A partnership with Fort Myers of the Florida State League that runs through 2018 and a Single-A partnership with Cedar Rapids, Iowa, of the Midwest League that runs through 2020.

Contact David Paschall at or 423-757-6524.