Minnesota Twins 1987 World Series Anniversary Profile: Tim Laudner
With the 30th anniversary celebration of the Minnesota Twins’ 1987 World Championship this year, we continue to profile the players!
The Minnesota Twins are working toward another playoff appearance after a long layoff, something that they did in 1987 before they won their first World Series championship in franchise history.
The Twins had a pitching staff that had a pair of elite starters at the top of the rotation along with some hard-throwers in the bullpen. While there were backups that aided him, one Minnesotan was in charge of handling all those different arms…
Tim Laudner was born in Iowa, but he graduated from Park Center High School in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. He was a late-round pick of the Cincinnati Reds out of high school, but instead chose to go to the University of Missouri-Columbia. The Twins drafted him in 1979 in the 3rd round.
Laudner never was one known for his bat before 1981 or after 1981 either, but in 1981 he had one of the most remarkable minor league seasons in the history of the game, hitting 42 home runs and hitting .264/.375/.628 over 130 games for Orlando in the Southern League. That earned him a late-season promotion to the big-league club, and he was really there from that point forward.
Laudner really had his best major league season at the plate in 1986, in his 5th year with the Twins, hitting .244/.333/.451 with 10 doubles and 10 home runs over 76 games, sharing the catching duties with Mark Salas.
In 1987, Laudner had Salas present, but he moved past him quickly, due heavily to manager Tom Kelly. (Salas would eventually be traded later for knuckle-baller Joe Niekro.) He played 113 games, 20 more than his previous career high, and he hit .191/.252/.389 with 16 home runs. Though the batting average was low, Laudner was highly regarded by Kelly for how he handled the pitching staff.
The 1987 postseason was where Laudner had his chance to shine. He squeeked out only 1 hit in the ALCS against the Tigers, but against the Cardinals, Laudner hit .318/.444/.500 for the series with a home run and a double.
One of the most impressive home runs of the two Twins World Series runs was Laudner’s Game 2 home run in the 1987 World Series, hit to straight away center field, the deepest part of the park.
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Laudner had his most nationally-recognized season in 1988, when he hit .251/.316/.408 with 18 doubles and 13 home runs and earned an All-Star bid for his efforts. He spent the next season as a defensive replacement and backup for Brian Harper, and he chose to retire in 1990 when he did not make the major league team out of spring training and was sent to AAA.
In his major league career, Laudner played 734 games, hitting .225/.292/.391 with 77 home runs.
Laudner has remained around Minnesota, working with Fox Sports North as an analyst for Twins games, and he’s been a very public face of the network in many commercials and PSA’s over the years.
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Laudner is a guy who has been around the team for a while and many have felt that he should be placed into team honor levels, like the Twins Hall of Fame or other such things. That’s a tough one as there are plenty of guys who probably “deserve” it ahead of Tim, but he had a great Twins career and is certainly a guy who has been a great ambassador for the team since his career was over.