MINNEAPOLIS — As the current Minnesota Twins' season moves along, there's always hope this team can find lightning in a bottle and make a run at the World Series.
That's what happened in 1987 when a young Twins team, with a rookie manager, did the impossible.
It's the stuff of legend now even for those players and fans, who lived it.
“Thirty-five years. Since the 1987 team won the World Series,” Randy Shaver said to Tom Kelly. “Does it feel like 35 years?”
“No -- some days I get out of bed, yes -- but, no it doesn't,” said Kelly, the former Twins manager.
Kelly was the rookie manager, who when the Twins won the World Series in 1987 against the St. Louis Cardinals, stayed in the Metrodome dugout and let his players celebrate the final out to clinch the title.
One final, visual example of advice Detroit Hall of Fame manager Sparky Anderson gave Kelly early on in 1987.
“When you figure out you have a good team. Keep your feet out of the way so you don't trip anybody. I gotcha,” said Kelly about Anderson's advice.
“But I never forgot what the man said and I thought we played really good.”
Of course it didn't hurt the talented Twins had a 10th man, the fans.
From August through October in 1987, they packed the Metrodome sensing something special was about to happen. On Oct. 12, the day the Twins clinched their World Series berth in Detroit by beating the Tigers in the ALCS, the flood gates opened.
Twins fans were encouraged through radio and TV reports to attend an impromptu welcome home party that night at the Metrodome.
“We're taking this bus and we're going on (Interstate) 35W, and the fans are on the bridge and they're yelling at us and oh, my God,” said John Gordon, former Twins radio broadcaster.
“And then you just see the people outside and we're like, wow -- maybe they just didn't want to go inside, not even thinking that the dome was packed and they couldn't let them in,” said Tom Brunansky, Twins 1987 outfielder.
“I think if you ask everybody on that '87 ballclub, their most memorable moment, it would be the night that we clinched to go to the World Series in Detroit when 55,000 people were there to wish us good luck,” said Bert Blyleven, A Hall of Fame pitcher for the '87 Twins.
Honestly, you had to live it, to believe it -- 55,000 fans showed up, cheering their heroes, even before the World Series began.
“It made the hairs stand up on your neck,” said Kent Hrbek, Twins 1987 first baseman.
Hrbek's grand slam in Game 6 of the Series blew the roof off the Dome.
The Metrodome crowd was so loud, it nearly pinned the needle on a sound meter.
The noise louder than standing next to a jet engine.
“You could feel the noise. It was one of those things where you just didn't hear it. You felt it,” said Hrbek.
“But it would be constant. It wasn't like there was ups and downs. I mean, when you do something well, the fans would react, but it never got down below. Like your head was right next to a stereo speaker just blasting out a concert,” said Brunansky.
One of many memorable moments that led the Twins to an improbable World Series championship. A first for Minnesota. And the impact of that October in 1987, still resonates some 35 years later.
“I think it's the most beloved team in Minnesota sports history,” said Dave St. Peter, Twins President.
“I mean, it was a good ballclub, but certainly nobody, nobody expected them to win a World Series,” said Gordon.
“And I remember getting the monkey off the back of the state,” says Kelly.
“Where would we be without it? Would be with the question I'd ask from a twins perspective and maybe even from a Minnesota sports perspective,” says St. Peter.
“You know, it's very heartwarming, it's humbling, but the years have passed and you find out how hard it is to do what we did, “says Hrbek. “Yeah, it’s hard to imagine it's been 35 years already.”
The Twins won the 1987 World Series in seven games, winning all four game played at the Metrodome.
Seven of the players on the 1987 team were also on the 1991 Twins squad that won the World Series against Atlanta.
Tom Kelly managed that team as well.
PHOTOS: Twins vs. Cardinals at the 1987 World Series
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