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1987 Minnesota Twins season

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Title: 1987 Minnesota Twins season  
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Subject: 1991 Minnesota Twins season, Major League Baseball on ABC, 1985 Kansas City Royals season, 1986 Minnesota Twins season, 1988 Minnesota Twins season
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1987 Minnesota Twins season

1987 Minnesota Twins
World Series Champions
American League Champions
AL West Champions
Major League affiliations
Other information
Owner(s) Carl Pohlad
General manager(s) Andy MacPhail
Manager(s) Tom Kelly
Local television KMSP-TV
(John Rooney, Harmon Killebrew)
(Dick Bremer, Frank Quilici)
Local radio 830 WCCO AM
(Herb Carneal, John Gordon)
 < Previous season     Next season  >

The 1987 Minnesota Twins won the World Series for the first time since moving from Washington in 1961, marking the second time that the franchise had won the World Series. (The Washington Senators had won it in 1924.) Manager Tom Kelly managed the rare feat of winning the World Series in his first full season as manager.


  • Offseason 1
  • Regular season 2
    • Offense 2.1
    • Pitching 2.2
    • Defense 2.3
    • Season standings 2.4
    • Record vs. opponents 2.5
    • Notable transactions 2.6
    • Roster 2.7
  • Player stats 3
    • Batting 3.1
      • Starters by position 3.1.1
      • Other batters 3.1.2
    • Pitching 3.2
      • Starting pitchers 3.2.1
      • Other pitchers 3.2.2
      • Relief pitchers 3.2.3
  • Postseason 4
  • Farm system 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Regular season

The Twins were 85-77, first in the American League West. The team had one of the lowest winning percentages ever for a World Series champion, at .525. They also had the remarkably bad road record of 29-52 (.358 percentage) but made up for it winning 56 home games (best in MLB). Fortunately for the Twins, they played in a very weak division; only two teams finished above .500 and only 10 games separated the Twins from the last-place California Angels and Texas Rangers.

2,081,976 fans attended Twins games, the sixth highest total in the American League.

Only one Twin made the All-Star Game, outfielder Kirby Puckett. The highest paid player was Kent Hrbek at $1,310,000; followed by Bert Blyleven at $1,150,000.

1987 was the first year the Twins started using their modernized logos and uniforms, which are still in use today.

Joe Niekro, a pitcher for the Twins, was suspended for 10 games when umpire Tim Tschida discovered an emery board in his pocket. Tschida suspected Niekro was scuffing the ball, and saw the emery board fly out of Niekro's pocket. Niekro said he was filing his nails in the dugout, but American League president Dr. Bobby Brown didn't believe him, and ordered the suspension.

The Homer Hanky was introduced in 1987.


This was the last year for a long time that the Twins were stocked with power hitters. In particular, Kirby Puckett, Kent Hrbek, Gary Gaetti, and Tom Brunansky combined to hit 125 home runs. (The team as a whole hit 196.) Hrbek, Gaetti, and Brunansky each surpassed 30 home runs, a number that no Twin would reach until Justin Morneau and Torii Hunter in 2006.

Kirby Puckett led the AL with 207 hits.

Despite the power in their lineup, the Twins were outscored 806-786, one of the largest such differentials for a World Series champion.

Team Leaders
Statistic Player Quantity
HR Kent Hrbek 34
RBI Gary Gaetti 109
BA Kirby Puckett .332
Runs Kirby Puckett 96


The top three starting pitchers, Frank Viola, Bert Blyleven, and Les Straker provided stability throughout the year. Mike Smithson, Joe Niekro, and Jeff Bittiger were less reliable. Newly acquired closer Jeff Reardon was a reliable option at the end of games. Juan Berenguer was the most reliable set-up man, posting a 3.94 ERA.

Bert Blyleven led the AL with 46 home runs allowed.

Team Leaders
Statistic Player Quantity
ERA Frank Viola 2.90
Wins Frank Viola 17
Saves Jeff Reardon 31
Strikeouts Frank Viola 197


The defense was not as strong as would be typical for Twins teams under manager Tom Kelly. Hrbek was the most reliable fielder at first base, and the outfield of Dan Gladden, Puckett, and Brunansky was reliable. Third baseman Gary Gaetti and center fielder Kirby Puckett each won their second Gold Glove Award.

Season standings

Record vs. opponents

Notable transactions

  • March 31, 1987: Minor leaguers Jose Dominguez and Ray Velázquez and a player to be named later were traded by the Twins to the San Francisco Giants for outfielder Dan Gladden and minor leaguer David Blakely. The Twins completed the deal by sending Bryan Hickerson to the Giants on June 15.[6]
  • May 10, 1987: Bill Latham was traded by the Twins to the New York Mets for Jayson Felice (minors).[7]
  • May 22, 1987: Sal Butera was signed as a free agent by the Twins.[8]
  • June 2, 1987: 1987 Major League Baseball Draft
    • Willie Banks was drafted by the Twins in the 1st round (3rd pick overall).[9]
    • [10]
    • Larry Casian was drafted by the Twins in the 6th round.[11]
    • Mark Guthrie was drafted by the Twins in the 7th round.[12]
    • Chip Hale was drafted by the Twins in the 17th round[13]
    • Bret Boone was drafted by the Twins in the 28th round, but did not sign.[14]
    • Craig Paquette was drafted by the Twins in the 36th round), but did not sign.[15]
  • June 2, 1987: Eric Bullock was traded by the Houston Astros to the Minnesota Twins for Clay Christiansen.[16]
  • June 7, 1987: Mark Salas was traded by the Twins to the New York Yankees for pitcher Joe Niekro.[17]
  • June 24, 1987: Danny Clay and Tom Schwarz (minors) were traded by the Twins to the Philadelphia Phillies for Dan Schatzeder and cash.[18]
  • July 31: The Twins traded a player to be named later to the Cleveland Indians for Steve Carlton. The Twins completed the trade by sending minor leaguer Jeff Perry to the Indians on August 18.
  • September 1: The Twins traded a player to be named later to the Boston Red Sox for designated hitter Don Baylor.[19] The Twins completed the deal by sending minor leaguer Enrique Rios to the Red Sox on December 18.


Player stats


Starters by position

Note: Pos = Position; G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in
Pos Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
C Laudner, TimTim Laudner 113 288 55 .191 16 43
1B Hrbek, KentKent Hrbek 143 477 136 .285 34 90
2B Lombardozzi, SteveSteve Lombardozzi 136 432 103 .238 8 38
3B Gaetti, GaryGary Gaetti 154 584 150 .257 31 109
SS Gagne, GregGreg Gagne 137 437 116 .265 10 40
LF Gladden, DanDan Gladden 121 438 109 .249 8 38
CF Puckett, KirbyKirby Puckett 157 624 207 .332 28 99
RF Brunansky, TomTom Brunansky 155 532 138 .259 32 85
DH Smalley, RoyRoy Smalley 110 309 85 .275 8 34

Other batters

Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in
Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
Newman, AlAl Newman 110 307 68 .221 0 29


Starting pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts
Player G IP W L ERA SO
Bert Blyleven 37 267 15 12 4.01 196
Frank Viola 36 251.2 17 10 2.9 197
Les Straker 31 154.1 8 10 4.37 76
Mike Smithson 21 109 4 7 5.94 53
Joe Niekro 19 96.1 4 9 6.26 54

Other pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts
Player G IP W L ERA SO
Mark Portugal 13 44 1 3 7.77 28
Steve Carlton 9 43 1 5 6.7 20
Joe Klink 12 23 0 1 6.65 17
Roy Smith 7 16.1 1 0 4.96 8
Allan Anderson 4 12.1 1 0 10.95 3
Jeff Bittiger 3 8.1 1 0 5.4 5

Relief pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; SV = Saves; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts
Player G W L SV ERA SO
Jeff Reardon 63 8 8 31 4.48 83
Juan Berenguer 47 8 1 4 3.94 110
George Frazier 54 5 5 2 4.98 58
Keith Atherton 59 7 5 2 4.54 51
Dan Schatzeder 30 3 1 0 6.39 30


See 1987 American League Championship Series and 1987 World Series.

Farm system

Level Team League Manager
AAA Portland Beavers Pacific Coast League Charlie Manuel
AA Orlando Twins Southern League George Mitterwald
A Visalia Oaks California League Danny Schmitz
A Kenosha Twins Midwest League Don Leppert
Rookie Elizabethton Twins Appalachian League Ray Smith


  1. ^ Ron Gardenhire page on Baseball Reference
  2. ^ Juan Berenguer page on Baseball Reference
  3. ^ Jeff Reardon page at Baseball Reference
  4. ^ Al Newman page at Baseball Reference
  5. ^ Billy Sample page on Baseball Reference
  6. ^ Dan Gladden page on Baseball Reference
  7. ^ Bill Latham page at Baseball Reference
  8. ^ Sal Butera page at Baseball Reference
  9. ^ Willie Banks page at Baseball Reference
  10. ^ Terry Jorgensen page at Baseball Reference
  11. ^ Larry Casian page at Baseball Reference
  12. ^ Mark Guthrie page at Baseball Reference
  13. ^ Chip Hale page at Baseball Reference
  14. ^ Bret Boone page at Baseball Reference
  15. ^ Craig Paquette page at Baseball Reference
  16. ^
  17. ^ Mark Salas page at Baseball Reference
  18. ^ Dan Schatzeder page at Baseball Reference
  19. ^
  20. ^ Johnson, Lloyd, and Wolff, Miles, ed., The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball, 2nd and 3rd editions. Durham, N.C.: Baseball America, 1997 and 2007

External links

  • Player stats from
  • Team info from
  • The 1987 Twins, from
  • 1987 Standings
  • A set of 10 audio clips of plays from the World Series with the Cardinals

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