Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ultimate Twins Team Bracket: 1991 vs. 1969

(Click to Enlarge)
It's Final Four weekend here at NoDak Twins Fan and in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. To correspond with the tournament, there have been a series of post to match-up the top eight teams in the history of the Twins. It was tough for the selection committee to narrow down the field to eight and these Final Four match-up will be even tougher to decide.

If you missed any of the First Round match-ups, feel free to click on the links below.
#1 Seed 1991 Twins vs. #4 Seed 2006 Twins
#2 Seed 2002 Twins vs. #3 Seed 1969 Twins
#1 Seed 1987 Twins vs. #4 Seed 2010 Twins
#2 Seed 1965 Twins vs. #3 Seed 1970 Twins

The first series in the Final Four will have the 1991 Twins playing the 1969 Twins. It will be a battle of two different era's in Twins baseball, the power-house teams of the late 1960's vs. the last World Series Champion from Minnesota. Who will be able to survive and advance to the championship series?

1991 Team Batting/Positions (By Games Played)
C Brian Harper (.311 BA, 10 HR, 69 RBI, .783 OPS)
1B Kent Hrbek (.284 BA, 20 HR, 89 RBI, .834 OPS)
2B Chuck Knoblauch (.281 BA, 1 HR, 50 RBI, .701 OPS)
SS Greg Gagne (.265 BA, 8 HR, 42 RBI, .705 OPS)
3B Mike Pagliarulo (.279 BA, 6 HR, 36 RBI, .706 OPS)
LF Dan Gladden (.247 BA, 6 HR, 52 RBI, .662 OPS)
CF Kirby Puckett (.319 BA, 15 HR, 89 RBI, .812 OPS)
RF Shane Mack (.310 BA, 18 HR, 74 RBI, .893 OPS)
DH Chili Davis (.277 BA, 29 HR, 93 RBI, .892 OPS)

1969 Twins Batting/Positions (By Games Played)
C John Roseboro (.263 BA, 3 HR, 32 RBI, .654 OPS)
1B Rich Reese (.322 BA, 16 HR, 69 RBI, .875 OPS)
2B Rod Carew (.332 BA, 8 HR, 56 RBI, .853 OPS)
SS Leo Cardenas (.280 BA, 10 HR, 70 RBI, .741 OPS)
3B Harmon Killebrew (.276 BA, 49 HR, 140 RBI, 1.011 OPS)
LF Bob Allison (.228 BA, 8 HR, 27 RBI, .751 OPS)
CF Ted Uhlaender (.273 BA, 8 HR, 62 RBI, .684 OPS)
RF Tony Oliva (.309 BA, 24 HR, 101 RBI, .851 OPS)
DH* Cesar Tovar (.288 BA, 11 HR, 52 RBI, .757 OPS)
(*No DH in 1969)

Best of 7 Series
Game 1 Match-Up: Jack Morris vs. Jim Perry
The Metrodome provided the perfect backdrop for this series opening game. The Homer Hankies were flying to cheer on their team from 1991. The crowd had little to get excited about until later in the game. Both of these veteran pitchers were comfortable on the mound from the start of the game. An error in the 7th inning by Leo Cardenas led to the '91 team pushing six runs across the plate. That would be all that Morris needed as he guided the Twins to their first win of the series.
1991 Twins 6
1969 Twins 0 ('91 Twins Lead Series 1-0)

Game 2 Match-Up: Scott Erickson vs. Dave Boswell
The starting pitchers in this game offered a stark contrast to the aged veterans of Game 1. Both Erickson and Boswell were both in their 20's while the Game 1 starter's average age was in the mid-30s. These young guns took awhile to get comfortable on the mound but managed to get the game to a 3-3 tie after six innings. A bullpen battle ensued as both teams tried to find the appropriate match-ups at the plate. In the 8th inning, Hrbek was due up with two men already in scoring position. The '69 team turned to their left-hander, Joe Grzenda, to try and get out of the jam. After a 12-pitch at-bat, Hrbek hit a 2-run double down the left-field line. Those two runs would be the difference in the score.
1991 Twins 5
1969 Twins 3 ('91 Twins Lead Series 2-0)

Game 3 Match-Up: Kevin Tapani vs. Jim Kaat
The '69 Twins knew that they couldn't go into a three game hole in a best of seven series. The switch in venue from the Metrodome to Metropolitan Stadium seemed to revitalize the club. The March weather in Bloomington was frigid but that didn't seem to effect the performance of the '69 Twins.  Kaat was sharp in eight innings of work by allowing only one unearned run to score. After being held to three total runs in the first two games, the '69 club finally found their swings and scored more than enough for Mr. Kaat.
1969 Twins 12
1991 Twins 1 ('91 Twins Lead Series 2-1)

Game 4 Match-Up: Jack Morris vs. Jim Perry (Part II)
This pivotal game would prove to be a difference maker in the outcome of the series. Both pitchers from Game 1 returned to the mound at the Met to do battle in Game 4. From the start of the game each pitcher looked fatigued from their previous start. Each manager stuck by their horse on the mound and let them ride out the storm from the opposition. Neither pitcher would figure into the decision of the game but the '91 bullpen would be the heroes by putting up zeros on the board after Morris exited.
1991 Twins 7
1969 Twins 6 ('91 Twins Lead Series 3-1)

Game 5 Match-Up: Scott Erickson vs. Dave Boswell (Part II)
Game 5 was an ugly one for the '69 Twins. Their long battle in the first round, combined with the wear and tear of this series, put the '69 club on the ropes to start this final game. The '91 Twins chased Boswell from the game early and they wouldn't look back. The '91 Twins would not be denied the chance to play for a title in the Ultimate Twins Team Bracket.
1991 Twins 8
1969 Twins 2 ('91 Twins Win Series 4-1)

Half of the Championship Series is set for the Ultimate Twins Team Bracket.

Check back tomorrow to find out who will square of against the '91 Twins for the right to be the best team in Twins history.

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