With this being World Series time I always look back to 1987 & 1991 with fond memories. Those are the years my beloved Minnesota Twins won the Fall Classic.
In fact, it was
twenty five years ago today on a Saturday afternoon that the Twins were
hosting the St Louis Cardinals in Game 6 at the Metrodome.
winning the first two games at home, the Twins found themselves down 3
games to 2 after getting swept in the middle three games in St. Louis.
This was typical of a club who went a stellar 56-25 at home during the
regular year but a pathetic 29-52 on the road.
didn’t look good early in Game 6. The Cards knocked around Twins
starting pitcher Les Straker and led 5-2 in the fifth inning. For a
split second, I tried rationalizing with myself that it was an honor
just to get to the Series. Of course, I was kidding myself. After
witnessing some wretched baseball over the previous few years I
desperately wanted my club to be #1.
Before I knew it, the Twins were mounting a comeback.
Puckett reached base in the fifth inning. Gary Gaetti doubled to left,
scoring Puck to make it 5-3. Then late-season acquisition Don Baylor
came to the plate as the tying run. BOOM!!! A two-run homer off Cards
starter John Tudor and the Twins had tied it up. I was at my buddy
Todd’s place in Vadnais Heights. There were four of us in the basement
that day hanging on every pitch. We were going crazy when the Twins tied
it. They would eventually take the lead later in the fifth when Steve
Lombardozzi knocked in Tom Brunansky with a run-scoring single. It was
6-5 Twins after five innings.
But it was the next
inning which many fans remember most. The Twins had loaded the bases
with one out. Twins slugger Brunansky had a chance to put the game out
of reach facing reliever Bob Forsch. Bruno popped out to shortstop. Now
there was two outs, bases still loaded and Kent Hrbek coming up. Cards
manager Whitey Herzog came out to summon lefty Ken Dayley to face the
left-handed hitting Hrbek. Since there was a commercial break during the
pitching change, we decided to watch some excerpts of comedian Louie
Anderson on VHS. We figured we’d kill a couple of minutes until the game
came back on. All of a sudden we heard the words “GRAND SLAM” come from
Todd’s brother upstairs. We quickly flicked off the video and saw Kent
Hrbek rounding the bases with his arms raised in elation. The hometown
kid made good with a grand slam homer, giving the Twins a 10-5 lead. The
four of us were literally huddled together jumping up and down in
unison, all the while yelling in elation!!
would go on to tie the Series with an 11-5 win. I remember that evening
driving around my neighborhood. On many a street corner, there were
vendors selling Twins merchandise. Whether it was caps, pennant flags,
homer hankies, etc., every corner was packed with people getting in on
the fun. My brother and I drove home with both of us waving our homer
hankies out the window. Not one single car had passed us by without
honking in acknowledgement.
Ah, but there was work to
be done. Game 7 would take place the next evening. My stomach was all
tied up in knots anticipating the winner-take-all contest. Yes, I had
definitely come down with a state-wide epidemic.
It was called “Twins fever”.