Longtime Twins organization equipment manager, trainer, and clubhouse attendant Wayne “Big Fella” Hattaway was born on February 24, 1940 in Mobile, Alabama. He got his first job in baseball in 1952 at age 12, serving as bat boy for his hometown Mobile Bears. He worked as the Bears’ equipment manager from 1956 to 1961. He became part of the Twins organization in 1963, when the Dallas Rangers became a Twins Triple-A affiliate (for one season only). Below is my best attempt at piecing together his long Twins career:
1962-1963: Dallas Rangers (Triple-A) equipment manager
1964-1971: Charlotte Hornets (Double-A)
1972-1973: Lynchburg Hillcats (Class A) equipment manager
1974: Reno Silver Sox (Class A) equipment manager
1975-1985: Orlando Twins (Double-A) trainer
1986-?: Orlando Twins/Sun Rays equipment manager
2002-2018: Minnesota Twins clubhouse attendant/assistant
Remarkably, the 1985 All-Star Game at the Metrodome was the first major league game he attended in his life! He was 45 years old and had been working in the Twins organization for 23 years. He came close in 1969, Hattaway told the Orlando Sentinel in 1985 (click here). Farm director George Brophy told Hattaway that if the Twins beat the Orioles in the ALCS, they would fly him to Minnesota for the World Series. Unfortunately Baltimore swept Minnesota in three games that year and again in 1970.
Ron Gardenhire brought Hattaway up to the big league club when he became manager in 2002. Hattaway was known for maintaining a loose atmosphere in the clubhouse. One of his favorite techniques, apparently, was making fun of players. In the midst of a bad slump, he told Torii Hunter “you couldn’t hit water if you fell out of a boat.”
Stew Thornley shared another good line that Hattaway used on a Twins player after a bad game: “hey, don’t worry about it. We don’t blame you. We blame the scout who signed you.” Patrick Reusse likes what Hattaway would say while administering the pregame arm massage to a starting pitcher: “see you in the second inning, big fella.”
A source shared a locker room observation of the Big Fella, but this is a family-friendly website.
Check out this great article, including literally hours of audio interviews with the Big Fella, on John Swol‘s great site TwinsTrivia.com (click here).