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The Gatekeeper

Posted at 8:18 AM on July 27, 2005 by David Zingler

Keeping watch over the Twins’ clubhouse is hardly comparable to guarding the White House, but the team does trust the gateway of their sanctuary to a man with nearly four decades of law enforcement service. Although he is more Mayberry than NYPD Blue, Ray Cook has proven to be the right man for the job.

Cook spends his summer nights on a padded chair in the cramped hallway just outside of the entrance of the home team’s clubhouse. Despite his close proximity to the game – only a few feet of narrow hallway and a few flights of stairs stand between him and the action – the playing field is foreign territory.

“In 16 years, I’ve never seen a live ballgame you know, only on TV,” the grandfatherly guard said with a laugh. “Tell people that.”

The 80-year-old occupies his time by chatting with many of the Dome’s various service workers and anyone else who happens to walk by. “If I wasn’t doing this, I’d probably be staring out the window somewhere,” he joked.

Cook retired from the St. Paul Police Department after 38 years in 1980. After a decade of the retired life, he re-joined the workforce with the Twins just in time to see them win their second World Series. He didn’t get a championship ring in 1991, but he did get sprayed with champagne in the ensuing celebration.

The husband of 43 years and grandfather of two named Kirby Puckett, who he called “everybody’s favorite” and Torii Hunter, as the two most memorable players of his tenure; but declined to discuss any of the juicy behind-the-scenes tidbits he’s assuredly witnessed over the years. Then again, I should have known better than to ask an old policeman.

July 2005
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