Golden Baseball Magazine

The Ultimate Game

This series presents the final game of each post-season series that went all the way.
Until 1946, that means World Series Game Sevens (none of the best-of-nine World Series went the full length).
1987 - Game 7: St. Louis Cardinals @ Minnesota Twins

Bert Blyleven

John Tudor

Teams lined up before Game 1

Tom Lawless watches his HR off Frank Viola in Game 4.

Les Straker

Kent Hrbek after clouting grand slam in Game 6.

Joe Magrane

The Minnesota Twins won only 85 games in 1987.
  • Their .525 percentage would have put them in fifth place in the AL East. But in the West, 85 wins was good enough to edge the Royals by two games.
  • The Twins won their division because of their sterling 56-25 record in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. That offset their abysmal 29-52 road record, third worse in the AL. Their opponents outhit and outscored them.
  • The AL East champion Detroit Tigers finished 13 games better than the Twins and were heavily favored in the ALCS.
  • But as luck would have it, the AL West winner got to play the first two games at home along with the 5th if needed. The Twins not only won Games 1 and 2, they also took #4 on the road to take the series in five games and go to the franchise's first World Series since 1965.

Twins manager Tom Kelly, with no major league experience, took over a team that finished 6th in '86. At age 37, Kelly was the youngest skipper in the big leagues. In his first year, Minnesota vaulted to the top of the AL.

  • Four strong hitters, one outstanding starting pitcher, and a reliable closer led the Twins to the pennant.
    CF Kirby Puckett: .332, 28 HR, 99 RBI
    1B Kent Hrbek: .285, 34 HR, 90 RBI
    3B Gary Gaetti: .257, 31 HR, 109 RBI
    P Frank Viola: 17-10, 2.90 ERA
    P Jeff Reardon: 31 saves
  • No team wins a pennant without contributions from second-line players.
    36-year-old P Bert Blyleven won 15 games.
    RF Tom Brunansky cracked 32 HR and drove in 85 runs.
    Puckett recalled the impact of "TK" (as the Twins called their manager). I clearly remember his little speech at the start of (1987) spring training. He said we were going to work hard and play hard and do the little things the way they were supposed to be done, and if anyone didn't like that, please let him and know and a change of teams would be arranged ... Managers always talk tough in spring training, but the difference with TK was that he really meant it, and we knew it, and he would enforce it.
Minnesota's NL opponent was an entirely different type of team.
  • After winning the '85 pennant, St. Louis dropped to 79-82 in '86.
  • With only one significant off-season addition for '87, the Cardinals regained the NL East title from the defending World Series champion Mets.
    The Mets' 1987 season got off to a bad start April 1 with the announcement that star P Dwight Gooden would go into rehab for two months for cocaine addiction. They also lost two key contributors to the '86 championship. Ray Knight was granted free agency, and Kevin Mitchell was traded to San Diego.
  • The addition was C Tony Pena, who was obtained from Pittsburgh April 1 for OF Andy Van Slyke and two journeymen. Pena filled the hole left by Darrell Por­ter, whose absence after becoming a free agency following the '85 season contri­buted to the Cards' subpar performance in '86.
  • The Redbirds started strong and took over 1st place for good May 22. They led by 9 at the All-Star break and held off the hard-charging Mets by taking two of three in Shea Stadium September 11-13. The final margin was three games.
  • John Tudor, victorious 34 times the previous two seasons, missed two months with a broken ankle and won only 10 games. In fact, no St. Louis hurler won more than 11. Hard-throwing Todd Worrell saved 33 games for a staff that ranked next-to-last in MLB in complete games.
  • The Cardinals survived a contentious seven-game NLCS with the Giants for their third pennant in six years.
  • Two statistics show the sharp contrast between Whitey Herzog's club and the Twin.
    Home runs: Cardinals 98 (last in the majors) Twins 196
    Stolen bases: Cardinals 248 (most in the majors by 50) Twins 113
    Minnesota hit exactly twice as many HRs as the Redbirds but stole less than half as many bases.
    Cards LF Vince Coleman stole 109 all by himself, almost as many as the entire Twins team.
  • The Cardinals would face an even bigger power deficit against the AL champs because 1B Jack Clark would not play in the Series because of a sprained ankle. Jack had led the Cards with 35 HRs (37% of the team's total) and 106 RBIs. To add to the hitting woes, a torn rib cage muscle prevented switch-hitting 3B Terry Pendleton from throwing and restricted him to batting left-handed as the DH in the games at the AL park.

Managers Kelly and Herzog shake hands before Game 1.
Series Results
  1. Saturday, October 17 @ Minnesota: Twins 10 Cardinals 1
    WP: Frank Viola; LP: Joe Magrane
  2. Sunday, October 18 @ Minnesota: Twins 8 Cardinals 4
    WP: Bert Blyleven; LP: Danny Cox
  3. Tuesday, October 20 @ St. Louis: Cardinals 3 Twins 1
    WP: John Tudor; LP: Juan Berenguer
  4. Wednesday, October 21 @ St. Louis: Cardinals 7 Twins 2
    WP: Bob Forsch; LP: Frank Viola
  5. Thursday, October 22 @ St. Louis: Cardinals 4 Twins 2
    WP: Cox; LP: Blyleven
  6. Saturday, October 24 @ Minnesota: Twins 11 Cardinals 5
    WP: Dan Schatzeder; LP: Tudor
The home team won every one of the first six games, none of which were decided by one run.
  • St. Louis was the top road team in the majors all season, but the Twins outscored the Redbirds 29-10 in the three games played in the "Homer Dome." The Cardinal pitchers held Minnesota to just five runs in spacious Busch Stadium.
  • Herzog went with his ace, Tudor, on only three days rest in Game 6 in hopes of closing out the Series against Twins and their rookie P Les Stra­ker, only 8-10 on the year. But the Twins hit John hard to the tune of 11 hits and 6 runs in four innings to stay alive.
  • So Whitey turned to his rookie, southpaw Joe Magrane, for Game 7. Kelly countered with his money lefty, Frank Viola, who had thrown a five-hitter in Game 1. No rookie had started Game 7 since the Yankees' Mel Stottlemyre in 1964.
    Magrane recalled Game 1. I wore earplugs the first game, and it was just unbelievably loud, but I didn't like the feeling with the earplugs be­cause there was an echo, and it made me feel like I was in a phone booth down the street. The Twins' record was so horseshit on the road, and so unbelievable at home, we figured that they had to be tip­ping signs in the scoreboard or something like that. So ... we were very paranoid they were picking up pitches.
    Herzog told Joe before Game 6: If there's a Game 7, you're going to start. When the Twins pulled far ahead, Whitey decided to take some pressure off his rookie. It was the eighth inning, and it looked like we were going to lose, and just to show you, a lot of managers wouldn't even be thinking about the fact that I'm a rookie, and Whitey said to me, "Why don't you go ... shower and get out of here, so you don't have to face the media and answer questions like, "What's it go­ing to be like starting Game 7?" I took his advice and got out of there.
    But the move didn't help. I didn't get any sleep at all that night. ... I was visualizing the ball coming out of my hand perfectly located. And I was thinking about all those days in the backyard, when it was always Game 7 of the World Series, and now I was going to get the chance to actually do it! I thought, "This could really make my year, my career, my life." And regardless of what happens, just the excitement, the fanfare.
  • St. Louis had the best Game 7 record in baseball history: 8-2. However, the Minnesota starting lineup had outhomered their Cardinal counter­parts 183-32.
    Herzog didn't deliver a pregame pep talk to his team. I did it before the seventh game against Kansas City (in 1985), and you know what hap­pened there.
  • Al Michaels led the ABC telecast with assistance from Tim McCarver and Jim Palmer.
    Kent Hrbek "prepared" for Game 7 in a most unusual way. His friend Wade told him the night before the game that "the Bluebills came in last night." That meant two or three days of prime duck hunting. Hrbek: I said to Wade: "Let's go." And Wade turned to me and said, "We're not going. You've got a fairly important ball game tomorrow" ... I told Wade I wasn't going to be able to sleep all night anyway, so I'd go to bed early, get a couple hours of sleep, be hunting by sunrise and come home and take a nap. That's nothing I wouldn't have done on a normal game day. ... So Wade finally relented, and said if you want to go , we'll go. ... we got up and left about 5 a.m. the next morning. ... we got some ducks, drove home and I took a nice little nap and then headed to the ballpark.
St. Louis Lineup
Vince Coleman LF
Ozzie Smith SS
Tom Herr 2B
Jim Lindeman 1B
Willie McGee CF
Tony Pena DH
Jose Oqendo RF
Tom Lawless 3B
Steve Lake C
Minnesota Lineup
Dan Gladden LF
Greg Gagne SS
Kirby Puckett CF
Gary Gaetti 3B
Don Baylor DH
Tom Brunansky RF
Kent Hrbek 1B
Tim Laudner C
Steve Lombardozzi 2B

Frank Viola

Vince Coleman

Ozzie Smith

Tommy Herr

Dan Gladden

Greg Gagne

Kirby Puckett

Gary Gaetti

Jim Lindeman

Willie McGee

Tony Pena

Jose Oquendo

Tom Lawless

Steve Lake

Don Baylor

Tom Brunansky

Tim Laudner

Steve Lombardozzi

Danny Cox

Todd Worrell

Roy Smalley

Al Newman

Jeff Reardon

Curt Ford

Brunansky, Baylor, and Hrbek Celebrate

Andy MacPhail

Twins victory parade

A raucous record crowd of 55,376 began cheering and waving their Homer Hankies 30 minutes before the first pitch.
Frank Viola took the mound secure in the knowledge that his lucky banner hung from the LF stands.He was 17-0 at the domes in which fan Mark Dornfeld unfurled the banner starting in 1984. Dornfeld didn't have tickets for Game 7 until Viola's wife Kathy called Saturday night to tell him that two tickets would be waiting for him at the stadium. And she reminded him to bring the good luck sign. Dornfeld usually hung it from the RF stands but this night hung it near the LF foul pole. Frank ex­plained afterwards: He's been good for me out there this year. It wasn't like he asked for the tickets or anything. I just know I've never lost a game while he was out there.
The previous weekend, Viola had to renege on a commitment he had made a year earlier to be the best man at his brother's wedding. Instead, he had to pitch Game One of the World Series he didn't dream the Twins would make. It's the best wedding gift I could have given him, Frank said after winning the game.

1st inning

  • LF Vince Coleman, only 1-for-20 hitting righthanded in the postseason, fanned on three pitches.
    SS Ozzie Smith, having the best offensive year of his career with a .303 ave­rage, nevertheless hit only .249 righthanded. Puckett moved quickly into the RCF gap to take Smith liner.
    2B Tommy Herr, the third straight switchhitter, bounced to 3B Gary Gaetti.
  • Herzog started Steve Lake behind the plate and put Tony Pena as DH because Steve worked well with Magrane. Also, Lake was a better throwing C than Pena, which was helpful because Magrane, despite being a lefty, had a delibe­rate motion to the plate.
    LF Dan Gladden poked a low liner just inside the 1B line that 1B Jim Lindeman grabbed on one hop while falling down and tossed to Magrane for the out.
    SS Greg Gagne struck out a low breaking curve.
    CF Kirby Puckett hit another low curve on the ground to 3B Tom Lawless and beat the throw to 1st. Replay showed that Lindemann scooped the ball on one hop before Puckett's foot landed on the base. It would be the first of several blown calls by Lee Weyer at 1B.
    Puckett, the Twins leading hitter at .332 during the season, had gone a mise­rable 4-for-20 in the first five games of the Series before a breakout 4-for-4 in Game 6. He recalled his feelings heading into that game. I was mad ... and took extra batting practice before Game Six. For the most part, the Cards' pitchers had made me look pretty bad chasing their junk. My reputation as a free swing­er preceded me to the Series, naturally, and I played right into their strategy of pitching me off the plate, way off the plate, and expecting me to get anxious and swing at anything out there. I fell into that trap, I'll admit it. I was very up­set with myself.
    Gaetti lined the ball into RCF and RF Jose Oquendo, normally an infielder, caught it on the run at his shins.

2nd inning

  • Lindeman (4-for-12, .333) looped the first pitch into CF for a single.
    CF Willie McGee, with the most hits in the Series of anyone (.391), lined the first pitch, a belt-high fastball, on one big hop to Gladden in LF.
    That brought up DH Pena. Pena reached out and pulled a high curve ball just foul into the LF stands. Then he swatted another high fastball into CF to score Lindeman, McGee stopping at 2nd.
    The Twins bullpen went into action with Bert Blyleven throwing quickly.
    Herzog came into the game with the idea of going for the big inning if the op­portunity presented itself. With Pena and McGee on 1st and 2nd, he normally might have had Oquendo bunt. But playing in the Twins' homer haven with a rookie P who figured to give up some runs, Whitey had Oquendo hit away.
    Continuing the pattern, Oquendo swung at the first pitch but fouled it. Then he popped to Hrbek.
    Lawless faced Viola for the first time since he smacked a three-run HR off the Twins ace in Game 4. This time he sent Puckett to the edge of the warning track in RCF. McGee sped to 3rd after the catch.
    Lake lined the first pitch just to the left of Gaetti for another single to score McGee.
    With Viola on the ropes, Coleman popped to Gagne in short CF.
    Cardinals 2 Twins 0
    Pitching Coach Dick Such met with Viola as soon as he reached the dugout to talk about getting his pitches down.
  • DH Don Baylor was hit on the leg by a low curveball.
    RF Tom Brunansky smacked a single through the 3B-SS hole. Baylor stopped at 2nd.
    1B Kent Hrbek struck out swinging on a low curve.
    Perhaps feeling the pressure of leading his hometown team in the post-season, Kent had rapped only one hit in 20 ABs in the ALCS against Detroit. He had fared better in the Series, 4-for-17 through the first five games. Nevertheless, Kelly dropped him to the #7 slot for Games 6 and 7.
    Righthanded-hitting C Tim Laudner grounded a single through the 3B hole. Coleman charged the ball and launched a perfect throw on one short hop to Lake to nail Baylor at home.
    Continuing what would be a bad night for the umps, replay showed Baylor's right foot crossed home plate well before Lake's tag near his left waist. The crowd started chanting "SAFE, SAFE, SAFE!"

    Steve Lake prepares to put the tag on Don Baylor.
    Danny Cox ran to the Cardinals bullpen to begin warming up.
    Fresh off a 3-for-4 outing in Game 6, 2B Steve Lombardozzi lined a belt-high fastball into CF to score Brunansky from 2nd. McGee's throw to 2nd nearly caught Laudner rounding the bag.
    Just like the Redbirds, the Twins returned to the top of the order in the 2nd inning. Gladden popped to Herr in short RF.
    Cardinals 2 Twins 1

3rd inning

  • Viola began getting his fastball down with immediate good results.
    Smith hit the first delivery into the ground toward 3rd. Gaetti, playing shallow to protect against the bunt, reached over his head and threw Ozzie out.
    Herr finally made Viola work, fouling off numerous pitches before finally striking out on a low curveball changeup.
    Frank took a long time to add the changeup to his repertoire. Twins pitching coach Johnny Podres had taught Viola how to keep his arm action consistent with his fastball delivery when throwing the changeup. When Dick Such took Johnny's place, he made a few adjustments to improve Frank's control of the slow pitch. The changeup I use now is the one I felt most comfortable with, but it took me two years to throw it over the plate, the southpaw explained in August 1987.
    Lindeman fanned on a high fastball.
  • Gagne went down swinging on a curve breaking toward his ankles.
    Puckett, with five consecutive hits, one shy of the World Series record held by Goose Goslin and Thurman Munson, drove the ball over McGee's head in straightaway CF, but Willie made a leaping catch and landed into the "hefty bag" outfield fence at the 408' mark.
    Gaetti grounded to Lawless, whose throw went off Lindeman's glove for an E3. Jim should have come off the bag to take the throw toward the plate.
    With the count 1-2 on Baylor, Gaetti stole 2nd. But Baylor whiffed on the next pitch.

4th inning

  • The Cards went down 1-2-3 again.
    Amid the football-like din, McGee fanned on a high hard one. It was Willie's 9th K in the Series.
    As the wave rolled around the Dome, Pena fanned in the same manner.
    Oquendo bounced the first pitch to Gaetti.
  • Brunansky skied the first delivery to Coleman.
    Hrbek surprised everyone with a bunt that Magrane fielded the mound and the 3B line, whirled, and threw accurately to 1st.
    Laudner drew a two-out walk.
    Lombardozzi flew to CF.

5th inning

  • Continuing the Cards' bad habit of swinging at high pitches out of the strike zone, Lawless fouled to Hrbek just off the 1B bag.
    Lake broke his bat on a grounder to 2nd.
    Coleman whiffed on a high fastball, the fourth of the last seven Card hitters to do so.
    Between innings, the Twins proved that they were not awed by the Big Stage of Game 7. All season long they had played pranks on Metrodome P.A. announcer Bob Casey, who always took a bathroom break after the top of the 5th. So this night, when Bob entered the restroom behind the Twins dugout, Tom Brunansky locked him in. Meanwhile, another player went to Casey's PA area behind home plate and put shaving cream in his telephone earpiece and soaked a towel in shaving cream. So when Brunansky released him, Bob hurried back to his post and put on his head set, thereby getting soaked in shaving cream. Then when he grabbed the towel to wipe his ear, he got shaving cream all over his suit. A few years later, Casey remembered the prank like this: All I heard was laughter. Those dummies didn't know they were in the seventh game of the World Series. GM Andy MacPhail recalled his reaction to the trick to a reporter on the 20th reunion of the '87 team: I'm so nervous I can hardly watch the game, much less participate in it, and they're thinking about locking Casey in the bathroom.
  • With the top of the Twin order coming up fr the third time, Cox threw in the visitors pen.
    Magrane came back from 3-0 to Gladden to get a full count bouncer to Smith.
    Gagne hit a high hopper between 1st and 2nd. Lindeman grabbed the ball and threw back to Magrane, who reached behind him for the throw and stabbed for the bag with his foot. Weyer called the runner safe.
    Replay showed that Magrane scraped his right foot across the bag before Gag­ne's foot came down on it.
    Magrane recalled: I didn't bother to argue. We couldn't hear one another anyway.
    Herzog surprised many - and left himself open to much second-guessing - by removing Magrane for Cox.
    Magrane says he told Whitey, I feel great. Herzog supposedly replied that he didn't care. I'm not going to let a rookie decide this game with Puckett.
    was pitching on two days rest and had not thrown in relief since 1984.
    Puckett hit the first pitch to the RCF wall for a double to send Gagne home with the tying run.
    Kirby: Whitey Herzog changed pitchers before I came up in the fifth, replacing Joe Magrane, a left-hander, with Danny Cox. I understood Whitey's move because I'm always happy to see a left-hander on the mound, and Cox was a hard-throwing right-hander. And he threw hard on the first pitch to me, but I was ready and hammered a double to right-center ...
    With the noise louder than ever, Cox walked Gaetti. Cardinals pitching coach Mike Roarke called for southpaw Ken Dayley go to work in the bullpen.
    With Baylor at the plate, a pitch got away from Lake and rolled a short distance behind him. Puckett hesitated, then went for 3rd but was thrown out easily.
    Then Baylor slapped a single to LF and, for the second time, Coleman charged and made a fine throw home. The ball arrived in Lake's glove a second before Gagne crashed into him. Steve held on for the 3rd out as the St. Louis bench erupted.
    Cardinals 2 Twins 2

Gary Gaetti barrels into Steve Lake, who hangs onto the ball.
6th inning
  • Herr knocked the 2-2 pitch past Gagne into CF. That broke Viola's string of ten straight outs.
    With Lindeman at the plate, righty Juan Berenguer and lefty Dan Schatze­der began throwing in the Twins bullpen. With Herr ready to run on the third 3-2 delivery to Lindeman, Viola picked him off. Hrbek threw to Gagne to get Herr in a rundown. When Greg threw back to 1st, the ball went past Kent to Viola covering the base. Herr ran into Hrbek, who was square in the base line. Viola put the tag on Herr. Weyer, ignoring the obvious obstruction on Hrbek, called the runner out.

    Tommy Herr collides with Kent Hrbek as Frank Viola takes the throw.
    Notice that umpire Lee Weyer is looking at the bag and not at the obstruction.
    To make matters worse, replays showed Herr's foot reached the bag before Vi­ola's tag. It was the second bad call by NL umpire Weyer. Afterward, mild-mannered coach Red Schoendienst let the ump have it. Lee Weyer has been calling plays too fast all season. He WAS a good umpire.
  • Cox walked Gaetti.
    With Hrbek at the plate, Roarke came to the mound to give Todd Worrell time to warm up in the bullpen. When Kent walked, Whitey told Lake to talk to Cox to bide more time. Then the skipper brought in his closer. Leaving the mound, Cox yapped at home plate umpire Dave Phillips, who tossed him.
    With the Lawless charging, Laudner squared but took a strike. After two more pitches, Tim swung away and fouled to Lindeman.
    Roy Smalley, celebrating his 35th birthday, pinch hit for Lombardozzi. Roy had two ABs in the Series, both against Worrell. The switch-hitting infielder, bat­ting from the left side, coaxed a 3-2 walk. Al Newman ran for Smalley.
    Gladden excited the crowd by whacking the first pitch into the stands down the LF line but well foul. Then he chased a low outside slider for the third strike.
    Gagne, with only three hits in 23 lifetime ABs with the bases loaded, worked the count full. With Worrell just a pitch away from getting out of the jam without a run scoring, Greg rapped a two hopper just inside the 3B line. Lawless speared it backhanded, jumped to his feet, and fired a one-hop throw to 1st too late. Twins lead 3-2.
    Gagne on the 3-2 pitch: I was saying to myself, "Get ready. Wait. Get set. It was a fastball inside. I wanted to make contact. I had an idea I could beat it out, but I couldn't afford to take a look at where the ball was going.
    With a chance to break the game open, Puckett struck out.
    Twins 3 Cardinals 2

7th inning

  • Would sitting on the bench during the long bottom of the 6th affect Viola? Berenguer and Schatzeder threw again just in case.
    Newman stayed in the game to play 2B.
    McGee hit a sharp grounder to Gagne, who gunned him down.
    Pena hit a 3-2 pitch off the RF "wall" above the 327' sign. Brunansky fielded the ball barehanded off the "baggie" and fired a throw to 2nd that almost nipped the head-first-sliding Pena.
    Brunansky: The last three innings, you couldn't hear. It was like the intensity of the dome filled the place up, and all around you, it was about to erupt.
    Oquendo struck out on three pitches.
    On the 0-2 pitch to Lawless, Pena took off for 3rd. The throw hit the base and bounced away from Gaetti. With the tying run 90' from home, Lawless lined the next pitch hard to CF right to Puckett, who hardly had to move.
  • Gaetti lofted a lazy fly to CF. Playing deep, McGee got a late start but took the ball easily on the run.
    Baylor skied to RF.
    Twins closer Jeff Reardon threw in the bullpen.
    Brunansky fouled to Lawless.

8th inning

  • Lake broke a bat for the second time, this time hitting a roller to Gaetti, who grabbed the ball and threw accurately moving to his left.
    With two switch hitters up next, McCarver speculated to his ABC audience that Viola stayed in the game another inning because Coleman and Smith were a combined 0-for-18 righthanded in the Series.
    Vince popped to Brunansky near the RF line.
    Ozzie hit a weak grounder to Newman.
    Kelly told Viola that Reardon would pitch the 9th. Tom explained afterwards: Frank knows Reardon gets the baseball in the 9th inning. That's the way we've done it all year. Viola had no problem with the move. Jeff's been doing it all year, coming in to close the door. Why change now?
  • Worrell had pitched more than one inning just twice during the '87 season. He now entered his 3rd inning of the evening.
    Hrbek bounced out 4-3.
    Reardon walked from the bullpen to the dugout with his jacket.
    Laudner smacked a single to LF.
    Newman, a switchhitter, fouled out to Coleman on the first pitch.
    Gladden lined a double to the RCF wall. Laudner came around 3rd and scored when the in-between hop bounced past Lake. If Steve had handled the throw, the Cards would have had their third out at the plate.
    With another insurance run at 3rd, Gagne whacked a low liner on one short hop to Herr.
    Twins 4 Cardinals 2

9th inning

  • Since no team trailing going into the 9th in Game 7 had ever won, the Cards' chances didn't look good. They would have to rally against Reardon, who had 31 saves in '87. He was the only P to record at least 20 saves each of the last six years.
    Puckett: I'll never forget that ninth inning. I had never been as nervous, not even in my first game in the majors three years earlier, and I've never been anywhere near as nervous since then. On our way to our positions in the out­field, I told Danny Gladden and Tom Brunansky that I could literally hear my heart beating - even above the crowd noise! For the first and last time in my career I was pleading that the ball not be hit to me. I was terrified I'd make the critical mistake.
    : The last inning, it seemed like every pitch took five minutes. It was so slow. I didn't want to count on anything before it happened.
    Gaetti: It was like a haze, everywhere. I couldn't hear anything. It was like I wasn't in my body. Like I was somewhere else watching.
    Jeff started against a hot hitter. Batting lefthanded for the first time in the game, Herr was 7 for his last 13. Tommy blooped to Puckett coming hard in CF.
    Puckett: Wouldn't you know it? The first batter lifts a high pop to short center. Not a tough chance but I'm telling myself the whole way - "Please don't miss it! Please don't miss it!" I squeezed that ball with both hands and looked in my glove to make absolutely sure it was in there. What a relief ...
    Lefthanded Curt Ford, batting for Lindeman, ran the count full, fouled off a pitch, then popped to Gaetti in short LF.
    McGee represented the Cards' last hope. He was only 3-for-22 (.136) against Reardon. Terry Pendleton came on deck to bat for Pena if Willie could keep the inning alive. But he bounced an 0-2 pitch to Gaetti.
    The Twins, a 150-to-1 shot to win the World Series at the beginning of the season, erupted in joy.

View video of the game ...

As the Twins dogpiled on the mound, Kelly sat in the dugout, switched his tobacco chaw from one side of his mouth to the other, and watched. Finally, a few players no­ticed their manager sitting there and, one by one, came over to hug him. Kelly had taken the same low key approach when his club won the ALCS. It's for the players. I want them to celebrate. It's their title. Eventually, Twins players returned to the field to wave their own homer hankies and speak to their fans.

Twins Clubhouse

  • Kelly, as usual, was a man of few words. We have great fans. We had great fans all season. But the boys on the field had to get the job done. How do I feel? Well, I'd like to have a drink of cham­pagne. My mouth is very dry, and if you don't mind, I'd rather be back in the clubhouse right now.
  • Viola: This is the happiest moment of my life. It's great just to win the World Series but to win the MVP makes it just that much more special. I'm thinking of all my teammates, my friends, and my family. I was happy to have another chance. I ended the season on a much better note than if I had ended it on Game 4. I would have had a bitter taste in my mouth for a long time. The key is getting ahead in the count, 0-1, 1-2. I didn't do that in Game 4. "Sweet Music" had no problem with Kelly's bringing in Reardon. He's been doing it all year, coming in to close the door. Why change now? Asked about pitching on three days rest, Viola responded: I felt great tonight. I had a real good fastball and a good changeup. I could have pitched on two days' rest. I have all winter to rest.
  • In the back corner of the champagne soaked dressing room stood an exhausted by happy Greg Gagne, who drove in the go-ahead run. I'm just relaxed. It's the most relaxed I've been all year. It's hard to even describe my feelings. Gagne was asked if it was "poetic justic" that his game-winning hit didn't leave the infield. I don't know about that. It wasn't very pretty, but I'll take it. I wasn't swinging the whole series, so this feels good, real good. I guess you could say it's ironic we beat the Cardinals in the seventh game of the World Series on an infield hit ...
  • Another tired Twin, Tom Brunansky, held a champagne bottle near Gagne. I'm physically and mentally drained. It's hard to pick this bottle up. It's going to take a lot of time for this body to recuperate. It just feels like there's so much pressure off our shoulders right now.
  • Twins GM Andy MacPhail, three years younger than his 37-year-old manager, said he was tense throughout the last three innings as he watched from his Metrodome skybox. It had to be tough for the players. It was just watching them. I could barely sit, and all I had to do was watch. I think it's going to take a while to sink in, read some papers, and confirm the fact that we are world champions.
    President Ronald Reagan broke with tradition by not calling the Twins clubhouse after their World Series victory. But Commissioner Peter Ueberroth received a call inviting the victors to the White House. Asked if he thought he could make the trip, Viola said, Yeah, I'll find time, believe me.

Cardinals Clubhouse

  • Herzog: No team in history has won all four at home, but no team in history has had to play here. They deserve to be champs. This is a very good team in this ballpark. They have great fans and great enthusiasm. I'm impressed with this club. After a second straight Series in which his team was the victim of bad calls, Whitey refused to blame the umpiring. I don't want to comment on the umpir­ing because, in all fairness, I felt they played better than we did, and it would take something away from them. (Had the Cardinal manager learned from the flap that his comments on the umpiring following Game 7 in 1985 had caused?)
    We played a pretty good ball game. Viola pitched a strong game. We've been vul­nerable to lefthanders. We did swing at a lot of balls out of the strike zone. We didn't swing at those pitches in St. Louis. Maybe we could see better there.
    I don't mind losing the seventh game of a World Series. I've been in three in the 1980s, and I'd rather be 3-0 than 1-2. But 1-2 is better than 0-0.
    On his starting P: Joe threw well. He got us to the 5th inning. I thought, if he could get us to the 5th, Cox could get us to the 7th, and then I could bring in Worrell.
    Asked if it was frustrating to lose Game 7 again, Herzog said, No, this isn't really that frustrating. We threw two guys out at the plate and should have made it three. Frank Viola just pitched a great game at the wrong time for us.
    I always thought if I could be reincarnated, I'd want to come back as a woman. Now I'd like to come back as a Twins outfielder. I played 14 years in the majors and hit 25 home runs. I figure I could hit 25 a year in the Metrodome.
  • Smith: This was a much better team than people anticipated. Unfortunately, somebody's got to win and somebody's got to lose. It wasn't meant to be. But it would be interesting to see other teams lose their No. 4 hitter and see what they could do.
  • Herr: We had the lead the past two games and couldn't make it stand up. I don't have any excuses. Excuses are for losers. We feel like we can play with anybody.
  • Pendleton: We've been through this before. In 1985, I spent all winter wonder­ing what I could have done differently. I'm not going to do that this time.
1987 Minnesota Twins
References: The World Series, David S. Neft & Richard M. Cohen (1990)
I Love This Game: My Life in Baseball, Kirby Puckett (1993)
The Spirit of St. Louis: A History of the St. Louis Cardinals and Browns, Peter Golenbock (2000)
The Seventh Game, Barry Levenson (2004)
Kent Hrbek's Tales from the Minnesota Twins Dugout, Kent Hrbek with Dennis Brackin (2007)
Next in this series: 1991 Braves @ Twins