Someone You Should Know: Brookings to the Big Leagues

Brookings native Kelli Quist is Twins' first full-time massage therapist

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – It’s 162 games in 181 days. That’s how a regular season stacks up for the Minnesota Twins.

And now, it’s the same for Brookings native Kelli Quist.

“It’s crazy. It’s the first real full-time job I’ve had in a long time,” said Quist, the organization’s first full-time massage therapist. “This has been a lot of years in the making, as a matter of fact.”

The road to the big leagues started thanks to work on a big leaguer – former Twins third baseman Corey Koskie.

“He wanted someone to actually come to his house,” recalled Quist. “He asked me where I was from, and I said South Dakota. He goes, ‘Okay great, you’re in.’ Apparently being from South Dakota was a good in.”

Quist’s work with Koskie left an impression. That then led to her teaming up with a six-time All-Star – 2009 American League MVP Joe Mauer – and her career took off from there.

“When they built (Target Field), Joe gave me a call one day and said, ‘You need to get a resume in. We’re going to actually bring in a massage therapist,’” said Quist. “I said, ‘I don’t have a resume,’ so I called a bunch of girlfriends from high school and had them come up with a resume for me. Next thing I know, I’m up here working.”

Quist started out as a part-time, home game-only therapist. Now she travels around the country with the team.

“You get home, unpack a suitcase, turn around and do laundry,” Quist said. “You throw it back in and you’re on the road again. It goes pretty quick.”

Quist’s presence with the team is becoming a mainstay for Twins players. And her help takes weight off their shoulders quicker.

“When you have her 24-7, on the road especially,” said Twins All-Star second baseman Brian Dozier. “When it can become very tiring and things start to ache a little more, plane rides that kind of stuff. It’s night and day. That’s the least I can say, it really is.”

But her duty isn’t to provide comfort.

“People think massage, you’re going to sit there, you’re going to light the candles and the hot stones and a relaxing massage. ‘She’s about to torture me for the next ten minutes on some of the stuff that needs worked on,’” Dozier joked.

Players see Quist no differently than any Twin in the clubhouse.

“She’s part of the team. Even going back to spring training, you see her almost every single day,” said Twins outfielder Robbie Grossman. “I’ve gotten to know her pretty well and she’s gotten to know me and I’m sure everyone in this room could say that. I’m just thankful she’s around.”

“They really pushed to have me here and that actually meant a lot,” said Quist. “They kind of collectively went to the team and said, ‘We really, really want to have Kelli here.’”

Quist’s job description brings her to Target field and other stadiums around the country, but one moment sticks with her the most.

“The coolest thing I had happen in this whole thing is the day, my first day here, and Joe Mauer actually came and gave me a little tour of the stadium,” said Quist. “Walking up that dugout and walking out was the most incredible thing I think I’ve ever seen.”

Her job puts her where any Twins fan would want to go. But on some days, even Target Field can’t beat the viewing experience a couch can provide.

“Sometimes I just go home and put my feet up,” Quist laughed, “and put it on the radio instead.”