My Dad worked as an engineer for the Burlington Northern railroad, running trains between the Twin Cities and Fargo, North Dakota. Because of this, he often worked odd hours – a few days on and a few days off. While I was growing up, on the days he was scheduled to make a trip north, he would set the VCR to tape (yes, tape) the local sporting events. We had numerous tapes of miscellaneous Twins, Vikings and even North Star games.
Over the years, most of those copies were recorded over because of Cheers and Seinfeld finales. However, I was able to rescue one for the clutches of oblivion: The Game Seven of the 1987 World Series.
The ’87 World Series was special. Even as a first grader, we had the sense that it was an important moment. Having attended a catholic school, we were forced to wear uncomfortable uniforms that seemed like they were made entirely out of corduroy. When October rolled around, we were told we were free to wear whatever we wanted, provided it was Twins gear (nuns love baseball). For that stretch of time, our parents allowed to stay up late, watching the ends of the games that stretch past our bedtimes. When they scheduled the parade downtown, we were exempt from school, joining the rest of what felt like the world in the downtown canyon cheering on the players as they drove by in their convertibles. We high-fived random strangers in the street.
Still, being just shy of seven years old, I never fully had a gauge on how the game actually went. You can see by the box score that it was fairly close but you don’t get the ebb-and-flow of how the game progressed like watching it unfold. That’s why I There were several missed calls that went in the Twins favor. There was hard-nosed plays at the plate – like Gary Gaetti pancaking Cards backup catcher Steve Lake who somehow held on to the ball. There was Frankie Viola cutting down the St. Louis offense with the aid of his changeup. This is why it has been one of my most cherished possessions – it has given me context to what I could not remember as a child.
The Game Seven ’87 tape has traveled with me to college and has made the move to every subsequent dwelling (and I moved a lot), receiving almost the same treatment as the Stanley Cup has. But, even with the delicate handling, the tape still wore down from use and age. So I had it converted to DVD this past spring. Prior to the season, I fired up the game once again to relive one of the most memorable games in Twins history.
While the ’87 series was special, it cannot compete with how the 1991 World Series influenced my views on baseball and life.
For me, a 30-year-old, and others near my age group, the 1991 series could not have happened at a more impressionable time in life. At 10 years old, you start to absorb everything around you. It is the age right before puberty – the stage when a human’s brain goes coo-coo haywire until their late 20s. The memories you form at 10 seem to be less jaded than everything else that comes right after it. For Upper Midwestern children around my age, we were taught valuable life lessons. Game Seven starter, Jack Morris, taught us how to be men. You simply take the ball inning after inning and not let go unless manager Tom Kelly is forced to remove it from your cold, dead hand. Kent Hrbek taught us that – in some respects – cheating is okay, so long as you do it with flair. Kirby Puckett reaffirmed our childlike belief that heroes can indeed come through and save the day at the last minute.
It is hard to believe those memories were formed 20 years ago.
With this in mind, A&E is releasing a pair of DVD sets to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Minnesota’s second championship. In efforts to market virally, they have contacted various Twins bloggers and have extended giveaways of these DVDs. This is one more location in which you can possibly win Magic in Minnesota: Remembering the 1991 World Series Championship and The Minnesota Twins 1991 World Series Collector’s Edition. In addition to the DVDs, winners will also receive a Game Six shirt from DiamondCentric.
In order to qualify, head to the DiamondCentric Facebook page and “like” this link and we will select three winners at random.