Remembering the Twins’ 1987 World Series

by on August 19, 2007

in Baseball,Twins,Video

With the celebrating the 20th anniversary of the team’s , I have, of course, been reminiscing.

In 1987, I was living in , Iowa, where I attended .

I was a Twins fan as a  kid and I played baseball daily in both Little League and during summer pickup games. I watched , , , , , , , , , , and . But my favorite player was, of course, .

In 1977 I watched him flirt with a .400 batting average. To this day, he was the best hitter I’ve ever seen. I go crazy watching the current Twins–or most current Major Leaguers, for that matter–bunt because Carew was such a master at it. He was also a master at stealing home.

While I got to watch many talented baseball players, I never got to see the Twins in post-season play. In ’69 and ’70, they made it to the American League Championship Series, but I was five. The only World Series appearance the team had made was in 1965, when the team was five years old.

The , however, were perennial winners during my childhood. I started watching them when I was nine years old, 1973, the year they drafted running back . The year before, the Vikes traded several players and two draft pick to reacquire quarterback . Those two additions helped the Vikings win their first nine games of 1973, finish the season 12-2, and advance to , where they lost to the .

The Vikings returned to the Super Bowl twice more after the and seasons, but lost both of those as well. They would have played in the Super Bowl after the 1975 season, were it not for the .

During the early eighties, the Vikings had some average seasons but in 1987 came within an inch of the Super Bowl when Redskins corner to deny the Vikes a last second touchdown.

So during my childhood, my professional sports memories are filled with losing and not quite winning enough.

From 1980 to 1986, the Twins never finished better than third place; in 1986, they finished sixth in a seven team division. It was tough, therefore, to be a Twins fan during my college year; particularly because my annoying Chicago classmates were merciless in their teasing me over the Twinkies.

Then came 1987.

At that time, while at college, I also managed a restaurant and did some freelance copywriting. During the World Series, I visited with a copywriter for one of the top advertising agencies in Cedar Rapids, trying to make a name for myself and winnow my way into the advertising business.

"How ’bout them boys from St. Louie?!?" he said to one of his coworkers, as I followed him to his office. I bit my lip.

It was interesting being in Cedar Rapids at that time because half of the town was rooting for the Cardinals and half was rooting for the Twins.

I tried, but couldn’t take off work from the restaurant for many of the games of the series, so I was reduced to asking customers the score, then dashing home to watch the highlights on CNN and devouring a copy of the in the morning.

Minnesota Twins 1987 World Series Championship Parade
  Twins 1987 parade 
  Originally uploaded by y entonces

I did, however, take work off for Game Seven. My girlfriend, who was also from Minnesota, and I watched the game at our apartment. We watched a nail-biting game featuring a remarkable eight inning pitching performance by and a ninth save by closer for the win and the championship.

The elation over my Twins world championship was due as much to the relief that we’d finally won as it was to the joy of winning itself.

You have to understand the context. No modern Minnesota sports team had ever won a championship. We were always getting a sniff of the ultimate victory, but never the taste.

In baseball, the Twins lost to the in 1965. Four times the Vikings played in a Super Bowl game and four times they lost. In 1961, the football team .

Losing the big one was not merely confined to sports, though. My state was a two-time loser in presidential politics as well. In 1968, former Minnesota Senator and then-Vice President lost the presidential race to . Again in 1984, former Minnesota Senator and former Vice President lost to .

Add to that the economic uncertainty of the time ( occurred on the first off-day of the series), and you have not just the winning of a championship but the relief and redemption of an entire state.

I didn’t get to enjoy the subsequent parade but I did watch it from afar. This is someone’s home movie of the parade. There there is no sound and if it doesn’t play, mess around with the slider:

This is a tribute that was shown yesterday:

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