Rand's Minnesota Sweet 16: And then there were two — '87 and '91 Twins

  • Updated: April 17, 2014 - 6:34 AM
hide

Gene Larkin made the final swing in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series, driving in Dan Gladden with a single to beat Atlanta in a 1-0, 10-inning thriller.

Photo: Jim Mone • Associated Press,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Brief recap: This is the “Sweet 16” of what I determined to be the 16 greatest single-season teams in Minnesota sports history. I limited my prospective candidates to teams that play at the highest possible level of college or professional sports. There were 16 numbers chosen at random for the 16 teams. The team assigned No. 1 “played” the team assigned No. 16, and so on. I set these up at random instead of truly “seeding” the teams because this would be pretty boring and predictable if I seeded them. We’re now down to the Final Four:

• 1976 Vikings vs. 1987 Twins: Winner — 1987 Twins. All you need to know about the 1987 Twins and how much they meant to the state of Minnesota could be witnessed on Oct. 12, 1987. The Twins had won the American League Championship Series in Detroit earlier in the day on a Monday. Their charter flight arrived around 10 p.m., and players then headed to the Metrodome for a welcome-home celebration with fans. Twins officials expected about 5,000 people to show up, according to a Star Tribune story from the time.

Instead, more than 50,000 people were on hand, cheering loudly and waving Homer Hankies. Twins players took turns thanking fans in a genuine display of two-sided admiration. All of this was before the team even won the World Series, which it would do by winning all four home games against the Cardinals. This was bigger than any Vikings Super Bowl appearance, and it earned the 1987 Twins a spot in our title game.

• 1991 Twins vs. 2003-04 Gophers women’s basketball: Winner — 1991 Twins. The Gophers’ Final Four appearance in 2004 made a lifetime star out of Lindsay Whalen and galvanized the sports fans in this state like few events have done. But just like that dream season, the team’s run ends here in the Final Four, two games shy of a championship. It’s not just that the 1991 Twins went from last in the AL West in 1990 — 29 games behind Oakland — to winning their second World Series title in five years.

What truly puts the 1991 Twins over the top is just how amazing the seven-game series with Atlanta was. Several games in the series, including, of course, Games 6 and 7, were edge-of-your-seat theater. Capping things with a 1-0, 10-inning home victory and Jack Morris’ masterpiece in the finale? There’s no doubt this is one of Minnesota’s greatest teams of all time.

• Coming Friday: The championship game, a showdown between two World Series winners … plus reader comments on the teams that didn’t make the cut for the Sweet 16.

michael rand

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Texas - WP: N. Martinez 7 FINAL
Oakland - LP: S. Gray 2
Boston 1 Bottom 5th Inning
Pittsburgh 2
Toronto 0 Bottom 6th Inning
NY Yankees 1
Washington 6 Top 6th Inning
Miami 1
Los Angeles 0 Bottom 2nd Inning
Chicago Cubs 2
Cleveland 0 Bottom 2nd Inning
Houston 0
Milwaukee 0 Top 3rd Inning
St. Louis 0
Arizona - V. Nuno 7:40 PM
Colorado - Y. Flande
Philadelphia - K. Kendrick 8:10 PM
San Diego - R. Erlin
Seattle - F. Hernandez 9:05 PM
LA Angels - W. LeBlanc
Tampa Bay 0 1st Qtr 10:07
Atlanta 7
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 3 2nd Qtr 5:25
(20) Kansas State 0
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Toronto 9/19/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary

ADVERTISEMENT

Advertisement
Golden Gavel by Star Tribune

Countdown to great deals

Bid Sept. 21-29

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Will Adrian Peterson ever play for the Vikings again?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close