The Minnesota Twins are just 6 days away from spring training. As we celebrate the return of the game we love, let’s look at the #6’s place in team history.
The Minnesota Twins are preparing for a 2018 season with expectations after making the playoffs in 2017 as a Wild Card team. We will be highlighting numbers from team history that represent the number of days until spring training from now until pitchers and catchers report on February 13th.
After the first taste of playoff baseball for quite a long time, it seems fitting that as our countdown hits 6 we would highlight the 6 American League Championship Series that the Twins have been a part of over the team’s history. In those six ALCS appearances, the Twins have a .500 record resulting in their three World Series appearances.
The most recent appearance in the ALCS for the Twins was the 2002 team. The 2002 squad started their playoffs by winning 3-2 in the ALDS over the Oakland Athletics. Two of those wins coming from Brad Radke starts. Unfortunately, the Twins then ran into eventual World Series champion Anaheim Angels. The Twins started off great with a win in Game 1, but then lost the next four games and got to see first hand the emergence of Francisco Rodriguez.
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In contrast, the Twins first ALCS was in their fifth year in Minnesota. Well, it was kind of their first ALCS since that was a day in time where you battled out the regular season to make the World Series. After finishing with the best record in the majors that seasons the Twins went on to meet the Los Angeles Dodgers in the championship. It was a close series as the Twins rolled out Mudcat Grant and Jim Kaat to start several games, but in the end, Sandy Koufax and the Dodger got the last win to secure the 4-3 World Series win.
Four years later, in 1969, the Twins would find themselves in position to try and advance to the World Series once again. Instead, they met the Baltimore Orioles in the ALCS and lost 3-0. Then just a year later the Twins had their chance for revenge on the Orioles in the 1970 ALCS. While the year was different the results were the same. A 3-0 Orioles series victory, closed out with another Jim Palmer win.
The other two ALCS appearances had the happiest of endings because both ended in World Series championships. In 1987 The Twins had the chance to beat the Detroit Tigers 4-1 with Gary Gaetti taking home ALCS MVP honors. 1991 had the same series result with a 4-1 victory but this time it was at the expense of the Toronto Blue Jays and Kirby Puckett took home the MVP honors.
As the offseason is still in full swing even six days away from the start of spring training. The hope is that the Twins would be in line to make their way into their 7th ALCS. For today the number is 6 ALCS appearances and 6 days until spring training.