1987 World Series
The 1987 World Series was the 84th edition of Major League Baseball's championship series, and the conclusion of the 1987 Major League Baseball season. It was a best-of-seven playoff played between the American League (AL) champion Minnesota Twins and the National League (NL) champion St. Louis Cardinals. The Twins defeated the Cardinals four games to three to win the Series. Twins pitcher Frank Viola was named as the 1987 World Series MVP.
|1987 World Series|
|MVP||Frank Viola (Minnesota)|
|Umpires||Dave Phillips (AL), Lee Weyer (NL), Greg Kosc (AL), John McSherry (NL), Ken Kaiser (AL), Terry Tata (NL)|
|Hall of Famers||Twins: Bert Blyleven, Steve Carlton (DNP), Kirby Puckett|
Cardinals: Whitey Herzog (manager), Ozzie Smith
|ALCS||Minnesota Twins defeated Detroit Tigers, 4–1|
|NLCS||St. Louis Cardinals defeated San Francisco Giants, 4–3|
|TV announcers||Al Michaels, Jim Palmer and Tim McCarver|
|Radio announcers||Jack Buck and Bill White|
|World Series Program|
Minnesota was victorious in a World Series that was the first to feature games played indoors. It was also the first World Series in which the home team won every game; this happened again in 1991 (also a Twins championship, this time over the Atlanta Braves) and in 2001 with the Arizona Diamondbacks defeating the New York Yankees.
The World Series win was the first for the Twins franchise since 1924, when the team was located in Washington, D.C., and was known as the Washington Senators.
This is the first World Series in which the series logo appeared on the jerseys; only the Cardinals wore it, however, while the Twins did not; both teams had the patch for next year's series.
The 1987 World Series was notable in several regards: It featured the first World Series games played in an indoor stadium (the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome) and, to date, the last World Series game to start earlier than prime time in the eastern United States (Game 6 would start at 4:00 p.m. ET/3:00 p.m. CT), and it was the first World Series in which all games were won by the home team. (Four previous series had the home team winning the first six games, including the 1965 World Series, when the Twins dropped Game 7 to the Dodgers.) The bottom half of the ninth inning was never played in any game of this Series, and this was the first and only time this has ever happened. In 1987, the Twins set the record for the worst (full 162 game) regular season win-loss record of any World Series championship team (85–77, .525). This record stood until it was broken when the Cardinals won the 2006 Series after going 83–78 (.516). However, the latter was due to the incorporation of a third division in each league, which did not exist in 1987.
Besides setting a record for the worst ever regular season winning percentage for a World Series winner and hosting the first ever World Series game indoors, the Twins were the first team to ever enter the World Series having been outscored in the regular season. The Twins, as a team, were pretty much outnumbered in virtually every major statistical category in 1987. As ABC play-by-play commentator Al Michaels put it in the pre-game show for Game 1 "They were out everything!"
The Cardinals posted a 95–67 record during the regular season, but were affected by injuries throughout the postseason, most notably with the loss of their lone home run threat, first baseman Jack Clark, due to a sprained right ankle suffered in a game in Montreal on September 9. During the regular season, Clark led the National League in both on-base percentage and slugging percentage despite playing in Busch Memorial Stadium, which was reputed to be the league's most extreme "pitcher's park." He hit 35 home runs in 131 games, and was the only person on the team to hit more than 12. The player on the team who hit 12, starting third baseman Terry Pendleton (though named to the World Series roster) was hampered with a ribcage injury. Normally a switch-hitter, Pendleton was only able to swing lefthanded during the World Series and was also unable to play the field.
The Cardinals replaced Clark on their World Series roster with 36-year-old Dan Driessen, who was a starting major league first baseman from 1977 through 1985, but was released by two organizations in 1986. The Cardinals had signed Driessen to a minor league contract on June 9 and called him up to the majors on September 1.
The 1987 World Series should go down in history as one of the least suspenseful World Series of all time even though it ran seven games. There were no extra-inning games. No runs were scored in the 9th inning of any game. No runs scored in the 8th inning of any game caused a lead change; therefore this series might as well have been played in seven-inning games. Only one game—number three, in St. Louis—featured a lead change in the 7th inning, and only two other games, Game 5 in St. Louis and Game 7 in Minneapolis- featured a lead change in the 6th inning. Game 7 was the only game in which the teams were tied at the end of the 5th inning. Four of the games were essentially over by the 4th or 5th inning, as no scoring after that affected the outcome of those games.
Yet there was controversy during the series concerning whether the Metrodome's technicians had been instructed by administration to turn the stadium's air conditioning system on or off during gameplay to aid the Twins. It was revealed in 2003 that this had, in fact, occurred.
Game 7 was won by Minnesota on the 35th birthday of the Twins' Roy Smalley – and was also the last game of his career. Smalley appeared in four games as a pinch-hitter and reached base all four times on a double, an error, and two walks.
|1||October 17||St. Louis Cardinals – 1, Minnesota Twins – 10||Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome||2:39||55,171|
|2||October 18||St. Louis Cardinals – 4, Minnesota Twins – 8||Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome||2:42||55,257|
|3||October 20||Minnesota Twins – 1, St. Louis Cardinals – 3||Busch Stadium||2:45||55,347|
|4||October 21||Minnesota Twins – 2, St. Louis Cardinals – 7||Busch Stadium||3:11||55,347|
|5||October 22||Minnesota Twins – 2, St. Louis Cardinals – 4||Busch Stadium||3:21||55,347|
|6||October 24||St. Louis Cardinals – 5, Minnesota Twins – 11||Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome||3:04||55,293|
|7||October 25||St. Louis Cardinals – 2, Minnesota Twins – 4||Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome||3:04||55,376|
|WP: Frank Viola (1–0) LP: Joe Magrane (0–1)|
MIN: Dan Gladden (1), Steve Lombardozzi (1)
A raucous, sold-out Metrodome met the Cardinals on October 17, stunning them at times with the degree of noise. The crowd noise in the Metrodome could exceed 110 decibels SPL. The usually strong defense of the Cardinals was absent with numerous fielding mistakes influenced by the Metrodome's fast AstroTurf and white ceiling. The Twins' aggressive play further compounded the problems of the Cards, and the game ended as a 10–1 blowout. Starting pitcher Frankie "Sweet Music" Viola had little trouble with the Cardinals' potent lineup. For the Twins, Dan Gladden hit a grand slam and totaled five RBIs, capping off a seven-run fourth inning, with Steve Lombardozzi adding a two-run homer, while Kent Hrbek had two RBIs.
Frank Viola was scheduled to be best man at his brother's wedding, but had to cancel when the Twins reached the World Series as it fell on the same night as Game 1, in which he was scheduled as starter. ABC showed clips of the wedding throughout the game's broadcast.
|WP: Bert Blyleven (1–0) LP: Danny Cox (0–1)|
MIN: Gary Gaetti (1), Tim Laudner (1)
While improving on their game one performance, the Cards were unable to hold the Twins offense again and fell behind 7–0 before beginning to rally. The Cards' total of nine hits was just one short of the Twins but their bats lacked power as they managed only one double against three doubles and two home runs hit by Minnesota. Gary Gaetti hit a homer in the second. The Twins broke the game open in the fourth, scoring six runs resulting in starter Danny Cox being pulled from the game. The final score was 8–4. Randy Bush and Tim Laudner each came through with a pair of two-run-scoring hits in the fourth, with Laudner's being a home run and Bush's being a double. Bert Blyleven pitched seven innings of two-run baseball for the win.
|WP: John Tudor (1–0) LP: Juan Berenguer (0–1) Sv: Todd Worrell (1)|
Traveling down the Mississippi, to the open air of Busch Stadium, Game 3 saw a tense pitching duel between Twins starter Les Straker and John Tudor of the Cardinals. This match-up was also notable for Straker being the first Venezuelan to pitch in a World Series game.
After five scoreless innings by both teams, the Twins broke through in the top of the sixth inning. Greg Gagne walked and Kirby Puckett got on base to move Gagne into scoring position. Tom Brunansky's RBI single looked like all the offense the game would see. But, in the bottom of the seventh, Juan Berenguer, in relief of Straker, surrendered leadoff back-to-back singles to Jose Oquendo and Tony Peña. Terry Pendleton sacrificed the runners to second and third, and Vince Coleman slammed a two-run double to give the Cards a 2–1 lead. Ozzie Smith followed by singling in Coleman for the final run, and Todd Worrell closed out saving the win for Tudor.
|WP: Bob Forsch (1–0) LP: Frank Viola (1–1) Sv: Ken Dayley (1)|
MIN: Greg Gagne (1)
STL: Tom Lawless (1)
In Game 4, Tom Lawless hit a three-run homer off Viola (only his second Major League homer after going 2 for 25 during the regular season) in the fourth inning, one of Viola's five earned runs in the game and six runs in the fourth.
|WP: Danny Cox (1–1) LP: Bert Blyleven (1–1) Sv: Todd Worrell (2)|
Game 5 was a much closer contest, with the Cardinals coming out victorious by a score of 4–2. Curt Ford hit a two-run single in the sixth, breaking a scoreless pitcher's duel between Danny Cox and Bert Blyleven. By the end of the seventh, the Cards were up 4–0. The Twins scored two in the eighth on a triple by Gary Gaetti off reliever Todd Worrell and made a game of it but eventually relinquished the save to him and Gaetti would not score. The Cardinals stole five bases in Game 5, the most for team since the 1907 Chicago Cubs.
|WP: Dan Schatzeder (1–0) LP: John Tudor (1–1)|
STL: Tom Herr (1)
MIN: Don Baylor (1), Kent Hrbek (1)
The Series returned to the Metrodome with the Twins facing elimination (a position they would find themselves in four years later against the Atlanta Braves). ABC allowed the game to be played at 3 p.m. CT (4 p.m. ET) on Saturday afternoon – the only day game of the series, and the last World Series game to date to be played in the daytime (although as the game was played in the Metrodome, the game took place under artificial lighting).
The Cardinals drew first blood off Les Straker on a Tommy Herr home run in the first, and the Twins countered with two in their half of the first on RBI singles by Kirby Puckett and Don Baylor. The Cardinals soon tied it in the second on a Jose Oquendo RBI single.
In the fourth, the Cards chased Straker when Dan Driessen led off with a double to right and went to third on a Willie McGee single. McGee took second on the attempted throw home by center fielder Kirby Puckett. Terry Pendleton followed by singling home Driessen and Oquendo hit a sacrifice fly to make it 4–2. Another run scored for the Cards in the fifth when lefty Dan Schatzeder walked Ozzie Smith. Smith went to second on a groundout, to third on a flyout, and scored on another McGee single.
But, in the bottom of the fifth, the Twins began to claw back against John Tudor. Puckett led off with a single and was doubled in by Gary Gaetti. Benefitting from use of the designated hitter in their home ballpark, the Twins then tied it on a mammoth home run by their DH, Don Baylor. After Tom Brunansky followed with a single, the Twins took the lead for good when Steve Lombardozzi singled him with two out on a close play at the plate.
The Twins then blew the game open in the sixth. Greg Gagne led off with an infield single and Puckett walked. A passed ball by Tony Peña advanced the runners. With first base open and one out, Cards veteran Bob Forsch intentionally walked Baylor to load the bases. After Brunansky popped out, left-hander Ken Dayley was brought in to face the lefty-hitting Kent Hrbek. Hrbek finally broke out of his slump and hit a grand slam.
Brunansky drove in the final run in the eighth and the Twins had staved off defeat.
|WP: Frank Viola (2–1) LP: Danny Cox (1–2) Sv: Jeff Reardon (1)|
The 500th World Series game ever played, Game 7 forced a National Football League game between the Denver Broncos and the Minnesota Vikings, originally scheduled for that afternoon at the Metrodome, to be played the following night (also on ABC).
Joe Magrane of the St. Louis Cardinals became only the sixth rookie pitcher to start the seventh game of a World Series. He also is the only pitcher in World Series history to start Games 1 and 7 of a World Series without any starts in between. Magrane had actually started the 1987 season pitching for the Cardinals Triple-A team, the Louisville Redbirds.
In the second, the Cardinals looked poised to send Frank Viola to an early shower. Three straight no-out singles by Jim Lindeman, Willie McGee, and Tony Peña plated the first run. Viola settled down to retire the next two hitters, but then Steve Lake singled in McGee for a 2–0 lead. Viola would settle into a groove, however, and allow only two more hits and no runs in eight strong innings.
The Twins came back in their half of the second on a Steve Lombardozzi RBI single, but not before a missed call at home plate by umpire Dave Phillips had already cost the Twins a run. Twins DH Don Baylor reached base on a hit-by-pitch by Magrane to lead off the inning and Tom Brunansky singled him to second. With one out, Tim Laudner singled to left and Baylor was called out at home on a throw from Vince Coleman in left, while replays clearly showed Baylor was safe. Lombardozzi then singled in Brunansky.
In the fifth, the Twins tied the score when Greg Gagne reached on an infield hit and Kirby Puckett drove him in with a double. Incidentally, Cardinals fans believed replays showed Gagne to be out on his infield hit, thus this run served to counteract the run the Twins lost in the second on the missed call on Baylor at the plate. The Twins seemed on the verge of taking the lead when Gary Gaetti followed Puckett with a walk and went to second when Puckett was thrown out by Lake trying to advance to third on a wild pitch that was deflected when it hit the home plate umpire in the face-mask. Baylor followed with a single to left, but Coleman threw out Gaetti at the plate in a violent collision with Lake. Coleman became the first outfielder to throw two runners out at the plate in one World Series game.
The sixth inning proved to be controversial. In the top of the sixth, Tom Herr was picked-off of first base, and tagged out in a rundown. In what Cardinals fans believe was the third missed call of the game, Herr got in the rundown and Lombardozzi ran him back to first where Kent Hrbek was standing off the bag near the basepath. Lombardozzi tossed the ball towards Hrbek and the ball sailed past him but into the glove of Viola behind the bag. Viola had come over to take part in the rundown. Herr was hindered by Hrbek returning to the bag, but clearly reached the bag safely before Viola tagged him. However, first base umpire Lee Weyer called Herr out. Weyer's view was blocked by Kent Hrbek and, according to the broadcast crew, Viola made the tag late and Hrbek should have been called for interference. Had this been called, Herr would have been safe, awarded second base, and the Cardinals would have had a runner at second with one out. As it was, the Cardinals would score nothing. The Twins then took the lead in the bottom of the sixth, off Danny Cox, who had relieved Magrane the previous inning. Cox walked Brunansky and Hrbek to lead off, and was replaced by Todd Worrell. As Cox was leaving, he got into an argument with home plate umpire Dave Phillips and was ejected as he was leaving the field. After retiring the first batter he faced, Worrell walked pinch-hitter Roy Smalley and struck out Dan Gladden for the second out. The next batter, Gagne, reached first on an infield hit as Brunansky scored the go-ahead run.
The Twins' final run came in the eighth on an RBI double by Dan Gladden off Worrell, who stayed in the rest of the game for the Cardinals. Jeff Reardon retired the side in the ninth to give Minnesota their first World Series victory.
By winning in the regulation nine innings, the Twins ensured the 1987 World Series was the first in which no games needed the bottom of the ninth inning. No other World Series since then has had that happen.
|St. Louis Cardinals||1||4||1||8||2||3||5||2||0||26||60||6|
|Total attendance: 387,138 Average attendance: 55,305|
Winning player's share: $85,581 Losing player's share: $56,053
Although Steve Carlton was not on the Twins' playoff roster, he still attended the White House to be congratulated by President Reagan. While making a photo op with the president, local newspapers listed the names of all of the Minnesota Twins. The only man who wasn't listed (and simply identified as a Secret Service agent) was a tall man wearing dark sunglasses in the back. The man in question was Carlton.
After their defeat in the '87 Series, the Cardinals' reign of dominance in the '80s ended. They would not win their division again until 1996, they would not return to the World Series until 2004 and would not win until 2006 in a season where they won two less regular season games than the 1987 Twins.
In 1988, the Twins actually won more games than in their championship season, finishing with a 91–71 record. They finished 13 games behind the AL West champion Oakland A's, who won 104 games. The Twins eventually sank towards the bottom of the standings, finishing last in 1990. In 1991, the Twins returned to the playoffs by beating the Blue Jays in the ALCS and winning what many call the greatest World Series ever played over the Atlanta Braves.
The 1987 World Series featured at least two players who would go on to win Manager of the Year awards. The Twins' Don Baylor won it in 1995 for his work with the Colorado Rockies while the Cardinals' Tony Peña won it in 2003 for his work with the Kansas City Royals.
The success of the 1987 Twins inspired Brandon Walsh (Jason Priestley) in Beverly Hills 90210 to explain why the Twins were the ultimate definition of a team, thus enabling him to win the Dreyer Scholarship. However, his interview included a factual inaccuracy; he said Gladden hit a grand slam in the pivotal Game 4, when in fact Gladden hit one in Game 1, and Hrbek hit one in the pivotal Game 6.
In a February 2015 interview, sportscaster and author Al Michaels (who, as previously mentioned, did play-by-play for ABC's television coverage of the 1987 World Series) alleged the Twins pumped artificial crowd noise into the Metrodome during the 1987 World Series.
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- A set of 10 play-by-play audio clips from ABC's coverage of the series
- Pictorial 1987 Minnesota Twins Roster