October 27, 1991, 30 years ago: The Minnesota Twins become World Champions with a 1-0 victory in 10 innings over the Atlanta Braves, behind Jack Morris's masterful pitching. Gene Larkin's single off Alejandro Pena scores Dan Gladden with the game's only run.
The game is the 1st Game 7 to go into extra innings since the Senators-Giants Series in 1924. Morris is named the Series MVP for the Twins‚ who win all 4 games in the Metrodome while losing all 3 in Atlanta -- repeating their pattern against St. Louis in 1987. Four of the 7 games are decided on the final pitch‚ while 5 are decided by a single run‚ and 3 in extra innings. All are Series records. Morris's 10-inning masterpiece turns out to be the last extra-inning complete game of the 20th Century.
Through the 2021 season, the Twins' record in World Series play is 11-10: 11-1 at home (3-1 at Metropolitan Stadium in '65, 4-0 at the Metrodome in '87 and again in '91, and they have yet to get that far at Target Field) and 0-9 on the road. However, since that day, 30 years ago, they have never won another Pennant. The Braves have, although once in the World Series, they've rarely been better off. (Well, they are now.)
It's been 30 years. How long has that been?
The Metrodome was in its glory. This was the start of a 6-month stretch in which it would host the World Series, the Super Bowl, and the Final Four. On January 26, 1992, the team then known as the Washington Redskins beat the Buffalo Bills, 37-24 in Super Bowl XXVI. And on April 6, 1992, Duke University beat the University of Michigan, 71-51.
No other stadium has ever hosted all 3 of these events. To put that in perspective:
* Only 4 stadiums have hosted both the World Series and the Super Bowl: The Metrodome, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego, and Hard Rock Stadium in the Miami suburbs.
* Only 2 buildings have hosted both the World Series and the Final Four: The Metrodome and Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.
* Only 8 buildings have hosted both the Super Bowl and the Final Four: The Metrodome, the Superdome in New Orleans, the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ford Field in Detroit, Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, NRG Stadium in Houston, AT&T Stadium in the Dallas suburbs, and the Metrodome's replacement, U.S. Bank Stadium.
In 1982, the Twins and the NFL's Minnesota Vikings abandoned the suburban Metropolitan Stadium, and the University of Minnesota left its aging Memorial Stadium, all for the brand-new Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, named for Minnesota's best-known politician. Early on, lots of people hated it. Former Yankee manager Billy Martin spoke for them when he said, "It's a shame a great guy like HHH had to be named after it." (Yes, Billy said it, not Yogi Berra.)
Eventually, even the Twins got tired of the bad turf, the bad roof, and the cheap homers. They moved into Target Field in 2010. The University of Minnesota opened TCF Bank Stadium in 2009. After a 2010 roof collapse due to snow, forcing them to move a home game to Detroit and another (with more prep time) to TCF Bank Stadium, the Vikings gave an ultimatum: New stadium or we move. After the 2013 season, the Metrodome was demolished, and U.S. Bank Stadium built on the site; the Vikes played at TCF Bank Stadium in the interim.
At the time, the Colorado Rockies and the team now known as the Miami Marlins only existed on paper. The Arizona Diamondbacks and the Tampa Bay Rays only existed as ideas. The Milwaukee Brewers were in the American League, and the Houston Astros were in the National League. The Washington Nationals were still the Montreal Expos.
The Astros, the Expos/Nationals, Toronto Blue Jays, and the team now known as the Los Angeles Angels had never won a World Series. Nor had the Braves since moving to Atlanta. Nor had the Giants since moving to San Francisco. Nor had the Boston Red Sox since 1918. Nor had the Chicago White Sox since 1917. Nor had the Chicago Cubs since 1908.
The Astros, the Expos/Nationals, the Blue Jays, the Angels, and the Texas Rangers had never even won a Pennant. Nor had the Braves since moving to Atlanta. Nor had the White Sox since 1959. Nor had the Cleveland Indians since 1954. Nor had the Cubs since 1945. The Rangers and the Seattle Mariners hadn't even made the Playoffs.
All of those facts are no longer true.
Only 8 major league ballparks in use in 1991 are still in use today: Fenway Park in Boston, the Oakland Coliseum, Royals Stadium (now Kauffman Stadium) in Kansas City, the SkyDome (now the Rogers Centre) in Toronto; the 2 Chicago stadiums, Wrigley Field and the new Comiskey Park (now Guaranteed Rate Field); and the 2 Los Angeles area stadiums, Dodger Stadium and Anaheim Stadium (now Angel Stadium).
There were still living players from the 1924 World Champions (George "Showboat" Fisher of the Washington Senators), and the 1927 and 1928 World Champions (Mark Koenig of the Yankees). Of the defining players of my childhood, most were retired -- Carlton Fisk, George Brett, Robin Yount and Nolan Ryan were the exceptions -- and some were already in the Hall of Fame.
Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz were in high school. Jimmy Rollins was 12 years old; Albert Pujols and CC Sabathia were 11; David Wright, Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera and Zack Greinke were 8; Max Scherzer was 7; Buster Posey was 4; Clayton Kershaw and Stephen Strasburg were 3; Madison Bumgarner and Freddie Freeman were 2, and Giancarlo Stanton was about to turn 2; Jose Altuve and Gerrit Cole were 1; Nolan Arenado was 6 months old, Mike Trout was 2 months old; and Christian Yelich, Kris Bryant, Aaron Judge, Mookie Betts, Bryce Harper, Corey Seager, Gleyber Torres and Juan Soto weren’t born yet.
Current Twins manager Rocco Baldelli was 10 years old. So was Luis Rojas, the most recent holder of the currently vacant Mets' managerial position. And Aaron Boone of the Yankees was at the University of Southern California.
Lindy Ruff of the Devils was the head coach of the minor-league Rochester Americans. Barry Trotz of the Islanders was an assistant coach with the minor-league Baltimore Skipjacks. Tom Thibodeau of the Knicks was a scout with the Seattle SuperSonics. Gerard Gallant of the Rangers was playing for the Detroit Red Wings. Steve Nash of the Nets, Ronny Deila of NYCFC, and Gerhard Struber of the Red Bulls were in high school -- in Canada, Norway and Austria, respectively. Robert Saleh of the Jets was 10 years old. Joe Judge of the Giants was 9. And Walt Hopkins of the Liberty was 6.
The Twins dethroned the Cincinnati Reds as World Champions. The other reigning Champions were the New York Giants, the Chicago Bulls and the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Heavyweight Champion of the World was Evander Holyfield.
The Olympic Games have since been held in America and Japan twice each, and once each in Spain, France, Norway, Australia, Greece, Italy, China, Canada, Britain, Russia, Brazil and Korea. The World Cup has since been held in America, France, Japan, Korea, Germany, South Africa, Brazil and Russia.
There were 26 Amendments to the Constitution of the United States. The 27th Amendment, barring Congress from raising its pay in mid-session, was ratified the next year. The idea that two people of the same gender could marry each other, with all the legal benefits of marriage, was ridiculous. But then, so was the idea that corporations were "people," with all the legal rights thereof. In a contentious process, Clarence Thomas was just sworn in as a Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. He is the only one who was on that Court then who is still there now.
The President of the United States was George H.W. Bush. Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, their wives, and the widows of Lyndon Johnson and John F. Kennedy were still alive. Bill Clinton was Governor of Arkansas, and launching his 1st campaign for President. George W. Bush was the owner of baseball's Texas Rangers, yet another business at which he was failing. Barack Obama was a young lawyer in Chicago. Joe Biden was in his 4th term as a U.S. Senator from Delaware. Kamala Harris was a Deputy District Attorney in Alameda County (Oakland), California. Donald Trump was facing bankruptcy, and his divorce from his 1st wife, Ivana, was not helping.
The Governor of Minnesota was Arne Carlson. The Mayor of Minneapolis was Donald M. Fraser. The Governor of the State of New York was Mario Cuomo. The Mayor of the City of New York was David Dinkins. The Governor of New Jersey was Jim Florio.
As for the current holders of those offices: Tim Walz was serving in the Nebraska National Guard; Jacob Frey was 10 years old; Kathy Hochul was an aide to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan; Bill de Blasio was an aide to Dinkins; his likely successor, Eric Adams, was the president of the Grand Council of Guardians, an African-American patrolmen's association; and Phil Murphy was a rising star at Goldman Sachs.
There were still living veterans of the Spanish-American War, the Boer War and the Russo-Japanese War. There were still living survivors of the Johnstown Flood, the Galveston Hurricane, the General Slocum disaster and the San Francisco Earthquake.
The Prime Minister of Canada was Brian Mulroney, and of Britain, John Major. The monarch of both nations was Queen Elizabeth II -- that hasn't changed. Each of North London's major soccer teams held one of English soccer's 2 major trophies: Arsenal had won the Football League Division One, and Tottenham Hotspur had won the FA Cup. (It remains their last major trophy, unless you count the 1999 and 2008 League Cups.)
The Pope was John Paul II. The current Pope, Francis, was teaching theology in Frankfurt, Germany, under his birth name, Jorge Mario Bergoglio. Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev had recently been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. There have since been 6 Presidents of the United States, 6 Prime Ministers of Britain, and 3 Popes.
In 1991, Douglas Coupland coined the expression that defined people born between the mid-1960s and the mid-1970s, myself included, in the title of his novel Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture. Alexandra Ripley published Scarlett, the authorized sequel to Gone With the Wind.
Tom Clancy published the Jack Ryan novel The Sum of All Fears, John Grisham The Firm, and Bret Easton Ellis American Psycho, later turned into a film in which Christian Bale became the kind of man his later character, Batman, would have pursued and caught. None of the Harry Potter or A Song of Ice and Fire novels had yet been published.
Stephen King published Needful Things, George R.R. Martin was working on his Wild Cards series, and J.K. Rowling hadn't yet published anything. No one had yet heard of Deadpool, Alex Cross, Bridget Jones, Ash Ketchum, Robert Langdon, Master Chief, Rick Grimes, Wynonna Earp, Lisbeth Salander, Bella Swan or Katniss Everdeen.
Major films of the Autumn of 1991 included the football comedy Necessary Roughness, Frankie and Johnny, Little Man Tate, My Own Private Idaho, House Party 2, Curly Sue, 29th Street, Billy Bathgate, Highlander II: The Quickening, and Strictly Business, which helped launch the career of Halle Berry.
The James Bond franchise was in legal limbo, with Timothy Dalton still expecting to play Agent 007 for a 3rd time, but it didn't happen. Also in limbo was the Doctor Who franchise, with Sylvester McCoy having played The Doctor last. Michael Keaton was in the middle of his run playing Batman. Christopher Reeve was the last live-action Superman, Lynda Carter the last live-action Wonder Woman, and Nicholas Hammond the last live-action Spider-Man. A Flash TV series starring John Wesley Shipp had recently been canceled after just 1 season on CBS, mostly due to cost overruns.
Recently debuting on television were Home Improvement, Roc, Herman's Head, Reasonable Doubts, Step by Step, Brooklyn Bridge, Homefront, The Commish, I'll Fly Away and Silk Stalkings; the nationally-syndicated talk shows hosted by Maury Povich, Jenny Jones, Jerry Springer, Montel Williams and Charlie Rose; the cartoons Doug, Rugrats, The Ren & Stimpy Show and Darkwing Duck; and the live-action kids shows Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego and Liquid Television.
The Number 1 song in America was "Emotions" by Mariah Carey. Nirvana released Nevermind, Pearl Jam Ten, Guns N' Roses Use Your Illusion, Red Hot Chilip Peppers Blood Sugar Sex Magik, U2 Achtung Baby, and Michael Jackson Dangerous. Miles Davis and Freddie Mercury died. The day before his death, in a final public statement, Mercury admitted what he had long denied, that he had AIDS. Davis denied it to the end, his death officially attributed to pneumonia.
Inflation was such that what $1.00 bought then, $2.01 would buy now. A U.S. postage stamp cost 29 cents, and a New York Subway ride $1.15. The average price of a gallon of gas was $1.14, a cup of coffee $1.55, a McDonald's meal (Big Mac, fries, shake) $5.23, a movie ticket $4.21, a new car $15,473, and a new house $144,400. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the preceding Friday at 3,004.92.
The tallest building in the world was the Sears Tower in Chicago. There were mobile phones, but they were still pretty big, and hardly anybody had them. The leading home video game system was the Sega Genesis. The Internet existed, but hardly anybody knew it. There were birth control pills, but no Viagra.
In the Autumn of 1991, the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia were in the process of breaking up. The long civil wars in El Salvador and Cambodia came to an end. An earthquake killed 768 people in India. Russia and Israel restored diplomatic relations. So did China and Vietnam.
In America, a wildfire killed 25 people in the Oakland hills, killing 25 people and destroying many homes, including that of baseball legend Reggie Jackson. New England and Atlantic Canada were hit by what became known as "The Perfect Storm." The Upper Midwest was hit by "The Halloween Blizzard," killing 22 people.
Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel, and Gene Roddenberry, and Leo Durocher died. Shailene Woodley, and Taylor Hall, and Gio Urshela were born.
October 27, 1991, 30 years ago. The Minnesota Twins beat the Atlanta Braves, 1-0 in 10 innings, in Game 7, to end one of the best World Series ever with one of the best games ever.
They have not won a Pennant since. Given that they finished 73-89 in 2021, it doesn't look like a new one will come soon.
Then again, in 1990, they went 74-88, last place in the American League Western Division -- and won the World Series the next year. So, who knows?