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Worst All-Time Twins Tournament, Nishioka Round, Game 7: We’re Haefner good time tonight

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The promised anticlimax is delivered.

Luke Appling Double Play
Not many pictures for “1948 Senators” in the image search. At least Kozar played a not-insignificant part in the game.
Photo by Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images

Game 7 Lineups

(6) 1948 SENATORS (5) 1981 TWINS
3 - Gil Coan - RF 32 - Gary Ward - LF
6 - Bud Stewart - DH 5 - Roy Smalley - SS
32 - Tom McBride - LF 2 - John Castino - 3B
7 - Eddie Yost - 3B 20 - Dave Engle - DH
5 - Sherry Robertson - 2B 9 - Mickey Hatcher - CF
23 - Junior Wooten - CF 10 - Hosken Powell - RF
4 - Mickey Vernon - 1B 14 - Pete Mackanin - 2B
8 - Al Evans - C 11 - Sal Butera - C
22 - Sammy Meeks - SS 25 - Danny Goodwin - 1B
16 - Mickey Haefner - LHP 17 - Pete Redfern - RHP

Result

Whether the string of consistently strong pitching performances through the course of this series has been due to superior pitching or depressing offense is up for debate.

Whatever the reason, it’s fitting the tournament was decided by one more.

Mickey Haefner pitched 8.1 innings of two-run ball and ‘48 never surrendered the lead, walking away with a 6-2 victory that gave 1981 the title of Worst Twins Team of All Time.

The Senators took the lead three batters into the game when Tom McBride doubled home Bud Stewart, then added another pair of runs in the third. Light-hitting shortstop Sammy Meeks led off the inning with a shot over the left field wall; Gil Coan followed with a single, stealing second and scoring on Stewart’s single. ‘48 nearly ripped the game open then, loading the bases with two two-out walks, but Pete Redfern got Mickey Vernon to ground to second to end the frame.

Meanwhile, Haefner allowed just one hit through the first three innings, but ‘81 began to see life in their bats in the fourth. After John Castino led off with a single, Dave Engle’s fly ball to center was only prevented from being a hit by a running catch by Junior Wooten. Mickey Hatcher and Hosken Powell followed with singles, Powell’s bringing in Castino and putting two on with one out. However, Pete Mackanin followed with a grounder to Vernon, who started a 3-6-3 double play.

After a quiet two innings, Washington extended their lead in the seventh, once again sending eight men to the plate and scoring a pair. Stewart and Eddie Yost singled before Sherry Robertson brought in one with a double. After Fernando Arroyo intentionally walked Wooten, Al Kozar hit for Vernon and brought home Yost with a single. Despite having the bases loaded with one out, ‘48 did not add to their lead, as Mark Christman popped out and Meeks grounded into a fielder’s choice.

It took two more innings for the Senators to put another run on the board, Yost doubling and scoring on a Wooten single to set up Haefner with a five-run lead entering the final half-inning. Unfortunately, Haefner was not able to complete the contest himself; after a leadoff groundout by Castino, three straight singles loaded the bases and summoned Milo Candini from the bullpen. Candini launched his first pitch past substitute catcher Jake Early, scoring Dave Engle, but Mackanin flew out harmlessly to center for the second out. When Kent Hrbek sent an easy ground ball to Robertson at second, the Twins dugout had slumped back on their bench before Robertson threw to Wooten at first for the final out of the series, the bracket, and the tournament.

1981 Twins, worst in team history.

Purgamentum exit.

(Recap tomorrow.)

Series LVP

Rob Wilfong, ‘81 2B
0-12, 2 BB, R, RBI, 7 K, 5 LOB, .000/.143/.000

Nishioka Round, Game 6 | Nishioka Round, Game 7 | Review