Minnesota sports miracles do happen

  • Updated: March 29, 2013 - 6:45 PM

Some Minnesota sports teams in the past have come out of nowhere to find success.

-- New Orleans Superdome-1990 Sweet Sixteen game-Minnesota VS. Georgia Tech.

Twins, 1987 and 1991

Hey, no one is predicting a World Series title for the 2013 Twins, but each of the franchise’s previous championships did come as a surprise. The Twins entered the 1987 season without a winning year since 1979, including a franchise-record 102 losses in 1982. The ’87 edition benefited from the offseason addition of a legitimate closer, Jeff Reardon, and the spring trade for left fielder/leadoff hitter Dan Gladden, filling two glaring holes. The ’91 Twins finished last the previous season with a 74-88 record, then added free agents Jack Morris and Chili Davis and rode a wave of momentum to a world championship. If Mike Pelfrey becomes the second coming of Jack Morris, well, just maybe ...

 

Gophers football, 1960

The Gophers were 3-15 in the two years previous, and after a last-place Big Ten finish in 1959 veteran coach Murray Warmath was hung in effigy and had garbage tossed on his lawn. It was hardly coincidence that in 1959 Warmath started a black quarterback, Sandy Stephens. Warmath stood by Stephens, and that faith proved justified when the Gophers tied Iowa for the Big Ten title and claimed their sixth — and to date the last —national championship in 1960. The 1960 team was anchored by All-America lineman Tom Brown and future All-America lineman Bobby Bell. Stephens became the nation’s first black All-America quarterback and maintained a close relationship with Warmath his entire life.

 

North Stars, 1991

The franchise that had not had a winning record since the1985-86 season was having such problems attracting fans that owners George and Gordon Gund looked into moving the team to San Jose. The NHL balked and came up with a plan by which the Gunds were awarded a franchise and sold the North Stars to a group headed by Norm Green. The Stars started the 1990-91 season 3-9-3, improved marginally to finish 27-39-14 and sneaked into the playoffs. They caught fire in the postseason, knocking off Chicago and St. Louis — with the top two regular-season records — in the first two rounds and defending Stanley Cup champ Edmonton in the conference finals. Minnesota’s Cinderella run ended with a loss to Pittsburgh in the Stanley Cup Finals.

 

Gophers basketball, 1989-90

Clem Haskins was hired to rebuild the Minnesota men’s basketball program after three players were arrested in 1986 for sexual assault in a Madison, Wis., hotel room. The three were acquitted, but by the time of the trial all had been kicked off the team and coach Jim Dutcher had tendered his resignation. Haskins’ first two years were disastrous, including a Big Ten record of 6-30. The turnaround started in 1988-89 with a trip to the Sweet 16. The Gophers, led by seniors Willie Burton, Richard Coffey, Melvin Newbern and Jim Shikenjanski, went a step further in the 1990 tournament, marching within one game of the Final Four before losing a thriller to Georgia Tech 93-91 when junior Kevin Lynch’s long corner jumper bounced off the rim.

 

Vikings, 1987

In four previous seasons the Vikings were 27-37 without a single playoff appearance. Minnesota started the 1987 season with a pair of victories, but the NFL players’ strike and three consecutive losses with replacement players appeared to doom the team to a fifth season in a row out of the playoffs. The Vikings weren’t world beaters, losing three of their final four games, but they got into the playoffs with an 8-7 record. The team surged in the postseason, beating New Orleans 44-10 in the wild-card game and stuffing the 49ers 36-26 in the divisional round. Minnesota lost to Washington in the NFC title game when Darrin Nelson dropped Wade Wilson’s fourth-down pass at the goal line with under a minute to play.

DENNIS BRACKIN





 

  • related content

  • Vikings vs. Washington - 1987 - Dave Huffman left

  • October 27, 1991. Dan Gladden was mobbed by teammates as he touched home plate in the 10th inning at the Metrodome Sunday night, scoring the only run of a 1-0 Minnesota victory over Atlanta in Game 7 of the World Series. Jack Morris, at left, pitched all 10 innings and was named the Series' most valuable player.

  • Bobby Smith jockey's for position with Pittsburgh's Paul Stanton in game 6 of the 1991 Stanley Cup finals.

  • Gopher football defeats No. 1 Iowa 27-10 on 11/5/60, propelling the Gophers on to the Rose Bowl.

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@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:W.Davis(8-2) L:P.Hughes(14-9)
HR: MIN- None KAN- None

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St. Louis - LP: A. Wainwright 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: J. Locke 3
Texas - WP: C. Lewis 12 FINAL
Seattle - LP: E. Ramirez 4
Washington - LP: D. Fister 4 FINAL
Philadelphia - WP: K. Kendrick 8
Tampa Bay - WP: D. Smyly 3 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman 1
Boston - LP: T. Layne 2 FINAL
Toronto - WP: M. Stroman 5
NY Yankees - WP: S. Greene 8 FINAL
Detroit - LP: D. Price 4
Atlanta - WP: J. Teheran 3 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: Z. Wheeler 2
Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Turner 5 FINAL
Cincinnati - WP: M. Latos 7
Cleveland - LP: C. Kluber 2 FINAL
Chicago WSox - WP: H. Noesi 3
Minnesota - LP: P. Hughes 1 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: W. Davis 6
Oakland - WP: D. Otero 5 FINAL
Houston - LP: C. Qualls 4
Milwaukee - LP: Z. Duke 2 FINAL
San Diego - WP: D. Thayer 3
Los Angeles - WP: C. Kershaw 3 FINAL
Arizona - LP: W. Miley 1
Miami - LP: H. Alvarez 1 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: H. Santiago 6
Colorado - LP: J. Nicasio 2 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: S. Casilla 4
Atlanta 5:00 PM
Jacksonville
Detroit 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Indianapolis 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Kansas City 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
St. Louis 6:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Denver 7:00 PM
Dallas
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Tennessee
San Francisco 7:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 9:00 PM
Oakland
(21) Texas A&M 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 6:02 PM
ULM
Boise State 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Temple 8:15 PM
Vanderbilt
Rutgers 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Arizona
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
UCF
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
UAB
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Virginia
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Navy
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Michigan
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
D.C. 1 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
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