The St. Louis Cardinals hosted Game 3, 4, and 5 of the ’87 World Series. I had a hard time watching these games, knowing the outcome. I found myself getting distracted by my wife’s reruns of the Andy Griffith Show instead of watching Tom Lawless deposit three run homers in the left field seats off the Twins ace. It got to the point where I couldn’t watch the Twins pitchers get beat up anymore, but there were a few interesting memories from the three Cardinals victories.
Ozzie Smith charged out of the dugout every home game doing his famous backflips, which made me feel good inside. The Wizard’s grand entrance will be one of those memories I hope to tell my grandkids about someday. The Cardinals shortstop backed it up on the field, making every play with elegance and flash. He’s one of those players I wish I could have appreciated more as a kid, much like the way I took Michael Jordan for granted. I realized how important it is to soak up the greatness of some of the great players in the game, no matter what team they play for.
In Game 4, Al Newman talked about the rally caps brought up from the Portland Beavers in September that year. Every time there were 2 outs and a 2-2 count, everyone in the dugout would take off their cap, turn it over, and start shaking it back and forth. Going into that game, Twins hitters hit safely 6 straight at bats in that situation. Of course, as soon as they played the clip of Newman explaining it, Greg Gagne swung through a slider low and away to end the rally.
Left-hander Greg Mathews started Game 4 for St. Louis. The Twins drafted Mathews out of high school in 1980, but he decided not to sign for the $8K to $10K he would have been paid. Instead, Mathews became a 10th Round pick for the Cardinals in 1984. He was removed from that game in the 4th inning with a quad injury, and eventually played parts of only 5 seasons in the major leagues.
The Cardinals played the 1987 World Series without the services of two of their best players, first baseman Jack Clark and third baseman Terry Pendleton. Clark started his last game of the ’87 season on September 9th before getting hurt. Clark led the Cardinals that season in home runs, RBI’s, walked 136 times, and finished with an OPS of 1.055. Pendleton hit .286 with 96 RBI’s and 29 doubles. It’s intriguing to wonder how the results of the Series would have changed had these two stars been healthy and available.
The Cardinals outscored the Twins in St. Louis 14-5 in the three games at home. Minnesota led for only one inning the whole trip, as the Cards flipped the script from the first two games in the Metrodome. St. Louis did everything right at home; they bunted, took extra bases, prolonged at bats, stole bases, and made nearly every play in the field. Their performance at home made rookie manager Tom Kelly blush and put the Twins’ preverbial backs against the wall heading back to Minneapolis.
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