1st Twins employee Mee passes away at 88

1st Twins employee Mee passes away at 88

MINNEAPOLIS -- Longtime Twins media relations director Tom Mee, widely regarded as the organization's first employee as it made the move from Washington, D.C., to Minnesota in 1961, died Friday at the age of 88.

Mee, who was the club's media relations director until retiring in 1991, was inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame in 2013. Mee also received the Robert O. Fishel Award for Public Relations excellence in 1988, and he was the club's second recipient of the Herb Carneal Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007. At Target Field, the Tom Mee Library in the Twins' communications office is named in his honor.

• Twins mourn loss of longtime employee Mee

"The Minnesota Twins lost a legend today," Twins president Dave St. Peter said. "Tom Mee was the consummate professional and ultimate ambassador for this franchise. Not only was Tom the ballclub's first employee, but his contributions as our head of public relations, in the broadcast booth and as an official scorer helped define Twins baseball for multiple generations. We send thoughts and prayers to the Mee family."

Mee, a St. Paul native who played baseball at the University of Minnesota, began working in baseball with the St. Paul Saints in 1957, when the Saints were part of the Dodgers' organization. He joined the Twins in their inaugural season in 1961, and he was present at Minnesota's first game.

Even after retiring as media relations director, Mee remained around the organization as the official scorer at Twins home games until 2007. Known as one of the friendliest people in the pressbox, Mee served as a mentor to many in the Twins' organization.

"Tom Mee was a pioneer in the field of sports PR," said Twins senior director of communications Dustin Morse. "He was an invaluable resource to not only the Minnesota Twins but me personally, as I grew and advanced in the world of sports. He always made time, cared about others and shared his love for the game of baseball. I am proud to lead in the same department he built; I am a better person for having Tom in my life."

Mee was inducted alongside current Twins bullpen coach Eddie Guardado into the club's Hall of Fame in a pregame ceremony at Target Field on June 14, 2013. Mee spoke with reporters before the induction and explained he saw baseball as his hobby and not work.

"I just had a job," Mee said that day. "I didn't go to work every day, I went to my hobby. That's what was great."

The Twins' organization released a statement on Friday after Mee's death.

"The Minnesota Twins are deeply saddened by the loss of Tom Mee, who was widely regarded as the organization's first employee," the statement read. "A respected colleague, Mee had many roles within the organization, including serving as the Director of Media Relations, a position he held for 30 years. He was a professional who dedicated his life to Twins Baseball. The club, like many of his friends throughout the game, are thinking of his wife, Noreene, and the entire Mee family during this difficult time."

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.