A few final thoughts about ‘87

Posted on August 19th, 2007 – 10:45 PM
By Howard

That was about as much fun as you can have while watching the home team score three runs in three games, and somehow (Johan, Silva, bullpen!) managing to win two of them. But this wasn’t a weekend to get caught up in the games as much as it was to celebrate the 1987 World Series winners.

After the game Saturday night, the Twins hosted a party for the ’87 team in the tent by the light-rail station. More than half the playets from the team attended, and it was a neat chance to watch them up close with each other and with their fans. The coolest thing about the weekend was the reception that Jeff Reardon received, everything from the $100,000 check presented by the Twins to the foundation Jeff and Phebe started in memory of their son Shane, who died of a drug overdose. Jeff and Phebe had no idea that was coming, and I don’t think Jeff could have imagined the steady stream of well-wishers who visited with him throughout the weekend.

Rest assured, there was a lot of fun and silliness. At one point during the party, the players in attendance (led by Dan Gladden) gathered for a group picture with the World Series trophy that was on display. Dozens of phones and camera phones emerged as people gathered to watch the goofiness and click away.

Frank Viola and I chatted for a couple of minutes, until he spied Bert Blyelevan about 15 feet away in the crowded tent. Viola called out, “Hey, a$$—-.”

Yes, Bert turned around.

Hardy Smith, who was 75 years old and a press box usher in 1987, was the oldest guy at the party. A little less nimble than he was back in the day, Hardy was doing pretty good for 95.

Greg Gagne brought his daughter for the weekend festivities, and you could tell she was awestruck by the way people reacted to her father, who kicked TC Bear’s butt in the Saturday night home-run hitting contest before the game, She was 6 or 7 years away from being born when the Twins won the Series, and there’s no way that a father’s stories — especially the stories of a modest, soft-spoken father — could match the things she was seeing and hearing throughout the weekend.

Gagne wasn’t sure at first that he wanted to attend the weekend. Now, I’m sure he can’t imagine not being there.

I learned that Tom Brunansky has five kids and that his brother-in-law, former Twins catcher Dave Engle, works in the Baltimore Orioles’ front office. Mike Smithson is the athletic director at Hickman County High School, which he attended as a kid and where the baseball team plays at “Smithson Field.” (He didn’t tell me that part.)

For the most part, we didn’t talk much about 1987, as much as what’s happened since.

It was a reunion in all the best ways. 

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