Calvin Griffith (’35), a member of the GW Athletic Hall of Fame for basketball and baseball, died Wednesday in Melbourne, Fla., after developing pneumonia and a kidney infection.
Griffith was born in Montreal. At the age of 11, he was sent to D.C. to live with his aunt and uncle, Addie and Clark Griffith, who adopted him. Calvin took the Griffith name and attended GW in the mid-1930s.
Clark Griffith was a co-founder of the American League and owned baseball’s Washington Senators/Nationals and Griffith Stadium. He died in 1955, and Calvin took control of the team. In 1959, Calvin Griffith was inducted into the GW Hall of Fame with the inaugural class that included Red Auerbach and Tuffy Leemans. After the 1960 baseball season Griffith moved the team to Minnesota, where it became the Twins. He sold it in 1984.
Griffith’s memorial service will be held in Minneapolis, Minn., but he will be buried at Fort Lincoln Cemetery in Washington, D.C., with his adopted parents.
Longtime Washington Post columnist Shirley Povich wrote of Griffith in 1989: For 30 years Calvin Griffith offered major league baseball and its fans the picture of a clubowner most singular – born to the game, homely of speech, contemptuous of his peers and persevering with his mom-and-pop operation in the new era of baseball supermarkets.