Ray Barton's Twins logo (AP Photo)
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The St. Paul illustrator who created the enduring Minnesota Twins logo of two players shaking hands across a river has died of cancer at age 80.
Ray Barton was paid $15 in 1961 to create the image, never thinking it would become the team's official logo. Barton assumed it would be used on cups at Metropolitan Stadium.
Barton created art for advertising agencies and other companies in the Twin Cities, including Target, but it was his image of Minnie and Paul that became best known. It's displayed on the Twins' uniforms and pennants and was turned into a giant sign that looms over the outfield at the team's new ballpark.
Barton's widow, Joyce Barton, says he died Saturday in home hospice care.
Barton's son, Tony Barton, said his dad never really liked the logo.
"It wasn't one of his crowning achievements," Barton said. "He was a cartoonist, a writer, a creative director, but he never really thought it was that great. And if you look at it close, it really isn't. Anyone out of art school could have done it. He just happened to be the one who did it.
But Clyde Doepner, the Twins' historian, said the logo represents Twins tradition.
"It goes back to '61," Doepner said. "When you think of Killebrew, Carew, even when you think of Puckett, you think of that (logo)."
The logo originally had both players sporting "MT" on their uniforms, for Minnesota Twins, but it was changed at some point to "M'' and "StP" for Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Tony Barton says his dad never made it to Target Field, which just opened this season.
"He was happy about (the sign), though," Barton said. He said his father was pleased the Twins "haven't forgotten their history."
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