As the 2012 Minnesota Twins sit out the postseason with a second consecutive last-place finish in the AL Central, one should not forget that six of the past 10 years saw these very same Twins win their division. Though World Series appearances have been naught during this span, the franchise has seen a fair share of success on Major League Baseball's greatest stage.
Submitted below are brief chronicles into those magical autumn appearances:
1965 WS (4-3): Los Angeles Dodgers (97-65) defeat Minnesota Twins (102-60)
This Dodgers pitching staff spearheaded by Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, and Claude Osteen was arguably one of the best seven-game rotations in World Series history. Sam Mele's Minnesota Twins, however, were a much more rounded team, boasting five batters with 20 or more HRs, 1965 AL batting champ Tony Oliva, and a formidable trio of pitchers of their own in Jim "Mudcat" Grant, Jim "Kitty" Kaat, and Camilo Pasqual.
Despite taking Game 1 and Game 2 at Metropolitan Stadium behind complete games by Grant and Kaat, the Twins would only manage one more win in the series (5-1, also at the Met in Minneapolis). In the end, the Far-West bested the Midwest behind series MVP Sandy Koufax.
1987 WS (4-3) Minnesota Twins (85-77) defeat St. Louis Cardinals (95-67)
The 1987 World Series was famed for several notable firsts. This was the first Series where games were played in an indoor venue (the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneaopolis), the first to see the home team win every game played, and the first Series win for the franchise since its relocation to Minneapolis (though it had won as the Washington Senators in 1924).
Tom Kelly's Twins came into this one outclassed and out-manned -- as Al Michaels would call it, "they were out everything." Despite playing David to the Cardinals' Goliath, the Twins got inspired play from fan-favorite Kirby Puckett (who hit .357), eventual HOFer Bert Blyleven (HOF 2011), and World Series MVP Frank Viola (who would pitch three Series games, winning two). Incidentally, this Series would also see the final WS game with a start time earlier than primetime.
Several audio calls from the series can be reviewed here.
1991 WS (4-3) Minnesota Twins (95-67) defeat Atlanta Braves (94-68)
Unlike 1987, the Twins came into this one fairly evenly matched with the opponent. Both the Braves and Twins had finished 1990 in last place -- heretofore no team had secured a league championship when finishing last the previous year. Much like 1987 (and most of 1965), the home team won each game of this series. This one proved to be one of the most exciting World Series of all time, with five games being one-run affairs, four of those being decided in walkoff fashion, including Game 7.
The 1991 World Series culminated with a brilliant complete-game shutout by Series MVP Jack Morris and a 10th-inning Dan Glavine run scored on a Gene Larkin pinch-hit to deep center field.
Interestingly, the Minnesota Twins have only lost one World Series game at home (Game 7 in 1965). Similarly, the Twins have never won a World Series game on the road, making the home-field advantage all the more important to this storied and memorable franchise.
All stats courtesy of www.baseball-reference.com. All video courtesy of youtube.com. Al Michaels pre-game commentary courtesy of American Broadcasting Company (ABC).
The author is a lifelong baseball fan living in the heart of Detroit Tigers country -- his allegiance to the Minnesota Twins has been at thorn-in-his-side for the better part of fifteen years.