Friday, April 1, 2011

Ultimate Twins Team Bracket: 1987 vs. 1965

(Click to Enlarge)
There is one spot left in the championship round of the Ultimate Twins Team Bracket and the battle for the final spot might be the most intriguing match-up thus far.  Two World Series teams that both paved the way for generation ahead of them. The 1965 Twins brought the World Series to Minnesota for the first time but fell short of their ultimate goal. The 1987 Twins found magic in the fall of 1987 and brought the first title to Twins Territory.

Who will win this epic World Series faceoff?

Yesterday the 1991 Twins became the first club to qualify for the championship round of the Ultimate Twins Team Bracket. They defeated the '69 Twins in some high scoring games. To see the results, click here.

1987 Twins Batting/Positions (By Games Played)
C Tim Laudner (.191 BA, 16 HR, 43 RBI, .640 OPS)
1B Kent Hrbek (.285 BA, 34 HR, 90 RBI, .934 OPS)
2B Steve Lombardozzi (.238 BA, 8 HR, 38 RBI, .650 OPS)
SS Greg Gagne (.265 BA, 10 HR, 40 RBI, .740 OPS)
3B Gary Gaetti (.257 BA, 31 HR, 109 RBI, .788 OPS)
LF Dan Gladden (.249 BA, 8 HR, 38 RBI, .673 OPS)
CF Kirby Puckett (.332 BA, 28 HR, 99 RBI, .900 OPS)
RF Tom Brunansky (.259 BA, 32 HR, 85 RBI, .841 OPS)
DH Roy Smalley (.275 BA, 8 HR, 34 RBI, .763 OPS)

1965 Twins Batting/Positions (By Games Played)
C Earl Battey (.297 BA, 6 HR, 60 RBI, .783 OPS)
1B Don Mincher (.251 BA, 22 HR, 65 RBI, .853 OPS)
2B Jerry Kindall (.196 BA, 6 HR, 36 RBI, .563 OPS)
SS Zoilo Versalles (.273 BA, 19 HR, 77 RBI, .781 OPS)
3B Rich Rollins (.249 BA, 5 HR, 32 RBI, .641 OPS)
LF Bob Allison (.233 BA, 23 HR, 78 RBI, .787 OPS)
CF Jimmie Hall (.285 BA, 20 HR, 86 RBI, .810 OPS)
RF Tony Oliva (.321 BA, 16 HR, 98 RBI, .870 OPS)
DH* Harmon Killebrew (.269 BA, 25 HR, 75 RBI, .885 OPS)
*No DH in 1965

Best of 7 Series
Game 1 Match-Up: Frank Viola vs. Mudcat Grant
Frank Viola played his sweet music in Game 1 of this epic showdown. After a disappointing Game 1 in the semi-final match-up, Viola was on a mission to prove something to the hometown fans. He pitch masterfully for seven innings and only allowed one late inning run.  The bullpen of the '87 Twins tried to give the game back to their opponents from 1965. Tom Kelly had to turn to Jeff Reardon in the 8th inning with the bases loaded to save the game for the '87 Twins.
1987 Twins 5
1965 Twins 4 ('87 Twins Lead Series 1-0)

Game 2 Match-Up: Bert Blyleven vs. Jim Kaat
The '65 Twins brought their power bats to the Metrodome for this pivotal Game 2 against the '87 club. Blyleven was having trouble locating his curveball and that meant a lot of hanging pitches that ended up over the baggy at the Metrodome. Blyleven's struggles on the mound allowed Kaat to breeze through eight innings while only giving up a couple runs. The '65 Twins had stolen homefield advantage from the #1 seed 1987 Twins. 
1965 Twins 7
1987 Twins 2 (Series Tied 1-1)

Game 3 Match-Up: Les Straker vs. Jim Perry
The '87 Twins took a comfortable three-run lead into the bottom of the ninth inning in the first game of this series played at Metropolitan Stadium. The wheels started to unfold in this final innings as the bases were loaded for the '65 Twins with SS Zoilo Versalles stepping-up to the plate. A 2-1 fastball from the Reardon ended up in the left-field seats. The '65 Twins walked off the field with a one game lead in the series.
1965 Twins 6
1987 Twins 5 ('65 Twins Lead Series 2-1)

Game 4 Match-Up: Frank Viola vs. Camilo Pascual
The '65 Twins were fired up after the way that Game 3 had ended and this anger transfered onto the field in Game 4. The '65 team came out of the gates swinging for the fences and quickly found themselves with a five run lead. That lead would continue to swell throughout the game and it would become more than enough run support for Pascual. Tom Kelly's decision to start Viola on short rest could come back to haunt the '87 team.
1965 Twins 9
1987 Twins 4 ('65 Twins Lead Series 3-1)

Game 5 Match-Up: Bert Blyleven vs. Mudcat Grant
With their backs against the wall, the 1987 Twins rode their future Hall-of-Fame pitcher to the win in Game 5. Blyleven kept hitters off balance for the entire game and would pitch a complete game shutout. Homeruns by Puckett and Hrbek in the 5th and 6th innings would highlight the offense for the '87 squad. They had lived to play another day.
1987 Twins 3
1965 Twins 0 ('65 Twins Lead Series 3-2)

Game 6 Match-Up: Les Straker vs. Jim Kaat
The thought of going to a decisive seventh game was too much to handle for Jim Kaat and his teammates. A seventh game on the road in the Metrodome could almost guarantee a lose for the '65 team. A win in Game 6 would avoid any of the trouble of Game 7. Kaat was masterful for the second time in the series and provided an ora on the mound that his teammates could follow. The '65 Twin were moving on to the Championship Round to face the '91 Twins.
1965 Twins 8
1987 Twins 1 ('65 Twins Win Series 4-2) 

Check back at the beginning of next week to see who will survive the gauntlet of the bracket and be crowned the Ultimate Twins Team Champion.

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