On This Day In 1987, Minnesota Won Its First Major Sports Championship
The Minnesota Twins were not a great team in 1986. Playing their fifth season in the already maligned Metrodome, the team averaged just 15,499 fans per game (second to last in the American League) and finished with a 71-91 record (also second worst in the AL).
Halfway through the 1986 season the Twins fired manager Ray Miller and named a young Minnesota native named Tom Kelly manager at just 36 years old.
Despite their struggles, the Twins did have a strong nucleus featuring outfielder Kirby Puckett, third baseman Gary Gaetti, first basemen Kent Hrbek and starting pitcher Frank Viola.
The Twins won just enough games in 1987 to win the West Division with an 85-77 record. For their efforts they were rewarded with a series against a 98-win Detroit Tigers powerhouse that had won the World Series three seasons earlier.
Thanks to a scheduling quirk which simply alternated which division winner was awarded home field advantage every other year, Minnesota would potentially host four games in the best-of-seven series.
The Twins would need only five games to win the series and actually clinched the win at Detroit on October 12th, 1987. The win set the scene for one of the most famous moments in Twins history when over 50,000 fans showed up at the Metrodome late at night to welcome them home from Detroit.
Thanks to the same scheduling quirk that granted them home field advantage in the American League Championship Series, the Twins were given Dome field advantage for the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals as well.
The Twins beat a 95-win Cardinals team in seven games, with the series-clinching win coming in front of 55,376 fans at exactly 10:30 p.m. on October 25th, 1987.
The team celebrated with a parade in front of (some people say... don't hold me to this) over one million people in attendance.