By Heather Brown

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — For nine postseasons, Homer Hankies have been flying strong.

The hanky itself recently went from white to red, back to white. It’s even changed from a handkerchief to a towel — but it’s always been a staple for Twins fans.

Just because we won’t see them on TV doesn’t mean they won’t be swirling around.

Terrie Robbins came up with the idea in 1987. She was the innovation director at the Star Tribune, just as the Twins were getting hot.

“The Twins hadn’t gone to playoffs in a long time, and they were getting really hot towards the end of the season in 1987, and the paper wanted to take advantage of it and sell their sports coverage,” Robbins said.

She knew Pittsburgh debuted its Terrible Towels in the 70s, so she pitched the idea.

“But they were too thick and heavy, so I just thought let’s have a ‘Homer Hanky,’ and that was just a name that we just picked out of the air, you know, and it stuck,” Robbins said.

And the deal was sealed with a radio jingle, which was a parody of Tommy James and the Shondells’ 1966 hit “Hanky Panky.”

“The first game of the playoffs, I have 30-some friends and co-workers from the paper handing out 60,000 free ones on the corner, and nobody wanted any part of it until we started shouting, ‘Free! Free! Free!’” she said.

Everyone went inside. It was the bottom of the second inning.

“My girlfriend, Jean Peterson, grabbed me by the arm, she said, ‘Stop! Look!’ And the place was just, everybody knew what to do with them,” she said. “I looked at her and I said, ‘It worked!’”

And now fans are hoping it will work again.

It started as a collaboration between the team and the Star Tribune. Cub Foods later joined in. The 2020 Homer Hanky can be found at Target Field or Cub Foods stores. They are $3 each, and a portion of the profits does go to charity.

Heather Brown

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