In October of 1991, the Minnesota Twins secured their second World Series in a five-year span. Both were impressive in their own ways, with the '87 crew heading to the ALCS in spite of winning just 85 games and the '91 club turning fortunes on their heads by going worst to first. But even 1991 wasn't all sunshine and rainbows - no matter what this video might tell you.
Look at that terrible dancing. Woof.
But as I said, things didn't go well early. They actually started pretty badly, which echoes of the 2014 squad by limping out to a 2-9 start before finishing April with a 9-11 record. They played .500 ball in May, giving them a 23-25 record heading into June. It doesn't sound terrible, but it put them in a tie for fourth place in the AL West, five and a half games behind Nolan Ryan and the Texas Rangers. Scott Erickson had won seven of what would be 12 decisions in a row, but Kevin Tapani had been mediocre since his complete game shutout to start the season and Jack Morris had been middle of the road. Kent Hrbek and Shane Mack had slow starts, too.
But by and large, in retrospect it couldn't be said that the Twins were necessarily disappointing. They were coming off of a 74-win campaign in 1990, having finished seventh out of seven teams in the West and 29 games out of first place, so to be 30% of the way through the season and just two games from .500 was actually an improvement.
On June 1, however, the Twins began the start of what would be a very special journey. Chili Davis homered twice in an 8-4 victory over the last-place Royals, and the team wouldn't lose again for two and a half weeks. Erickson and Morris put together back-to-back great starts, and Randy Bush's single walked the Twins off against Baltimore for the team's fourth win in a row. The Orioles were swept. The Indians were swept. The Yankees were swept The Indians were swept again.
Minnesota had rattled off 15 consecutive wins, catapulting them past Chicago, Seattle, California, Oakland, and Texas - and into first place. The Twins had out-scored their opponents 87- 39, whipping the media (and the state of Minnesota) into something of a frenzy. It was a stretch of inspired baseball, and for just a minute there it looked as though they'd never lose again.
A Randy Milligan double scored two runs off of Rick Aguilera on June 17, allowing Baltimore to break the winning streak, but the Twins would take the series and, indeed, would win another four games in a row before eventually losing again.
Minnesota would win the final game of the month thanks to a Morris complete-game shutout of the White Sox, giving the Twins an incredible 22-6 record in June. The entire team hit .279/.340/.432 in that stretch, clobbering 31 home runs en route to averaging 5.1 runs per game. Pitchers allowed just 3.3 runs per game, led by Tapani and his 1.56 ERA. Chili Davis crushed ten home runs. Kirby Puckett continued what would be another really good season. Hrbek and Mack woke up and turned their seasons around. It was an amazing team effort.
If you want to look at June 1991 in-depth, visit the Baseball Reference game log. Of course, we all know how it ended.
Congratulations to our current Twins team for putting up the best month a Minnesota club has seen in a generation! It's been a lot of fun, and here's hoping for a few more surprises along the way before all is said and done.