Being a baseball fan, there’s not a more magical phrase than “Game 7 of the World Series.” And that is where I found my Minnesota Twins on this date twenty five years ago.
I was confined to watching the game in the
basement at home on this Sunday evening. Twins ace Frank Viola was
making his third start in the series against the St Louis Cardinals. He
was the winning pitcher in Game 1 but got shelled in Game 4.
Game 7, Viola was touched for two runs and four hits in the second
inning. However, he hunkered down and gave up only two more hits (and 0
runs) over his last six innings.
Unlike their previous three
games at home, the Twins offense was scuffling in this one. While they
were able to answer with one run in their half of the second inning they
were hosed out of another. Replays showed that Don Baylor scored from
second base on a Tim Laudner base hit. However, Baylor was called out,
denying the Twins a run. I’m sure the neighbors heard me express my
Later in the game, the Twins received that run back
courtesy of a blown call in their half of the fifth inning. With one
out, Greg Gagne hit a chopper to first base. With Cards pitcher Joe
Magrane covering, the umpire called Gagne safe saying Magrane never
touched the base. However, replays showed that Magrane did indeed swipe
his foot across the base ahead of Gagne. The next batter, Kirby Puckett,
greeted new pitcher Danny Cox with a double to center, scoring Gagne
and tying the game. From there, wackiness ensued. After Gary Gaetti
walked, Cox threw a pitch in the dirt with Baylor at the plate. Both
Puckett and Gaetti attempted to move up a base but Puck was thrown out
at third. With Gaetti now at second and two outs, Baylor looped a single
to left. Gaetti charged towards home plate in an attempt to give the
Twins the lead. But the throw beat him there. Gaetti then rammed full
bore into catcher Steve Lake in an effort to jar the ball loose. While
Lake got the worst of that hellacious collision, he somehow hung on to
the ball. Three outs, game still tied, and I’m practically bouncing off
the walls due to the intensity of the game.
The Twins finally
took their first lead of the evening in the sixth inning. With the bases
loaded and two outs, Gagne hit a ground ball behind third base off
cards pitcher Todd Worrell. Third baseman Tom Lawless made a diving
stop, threw a one hopper to first but not in time to get the speedy
Gagne. Tom Brunansky scored giving the Twins the 3-2 lead!! They would
tack on another run in the eighth and closer extraordinaire Jeff Reardon
faced the Cards in the ninth, leading 4-2.
With two outs and
nobody on, my brother had a bottle of champagne ready to open upon the
third out. We made a promise to our Mom that we would merely have a
nice, celebratory drink when the Twins won it all. Nothing too raucous,
we assured her. But once Willie McGee bounced out to Gaetti at third and
Kent Hrbek squeezed the throw for the final out, bedlam ensued!! My
brother immediately popped the cork on the champagne but it wound up on
my head instead of in my glass. I hardly noticed as I was jumping up and
down in pure delirium at what my Twins just accomplished. Of course, my
mother was perturbed that we trashed her basement in celebration. But
the laborious clean up we endured afterwards was well worth it. For the
first time in over thirty years, a professional sports team in Minnesota
won a championship!!
How sweet it was!!