Every once in awhile a team that isn’t supposed to be there, well, gets there. These Kansas City Royals remind me a little bit of the 1987 Minnesota Twins.
Now, before I get into all the similarities, there are plenty of differences, too. I realize this. The Twins won all of their home games in the ’87 World Series, where the Royals have split the first two games of the series against the San Francisco Giants in their home park. While the Twins almost swept their way over the Detroit Tigers in the American League Championship Series in ’87, the Royals had to defeat three teams to make their way to the World Series.
While there are other differences, I see many more similarities between these two teams.
The ’87 Twins won their division in spite of only winning 85 games. These Royals didn’t even win their division. Neither team was supposed to “get there.”
The ’87 Twins consisted of a nucleus of players such as Kent Hrbek, Tom Brunansky, Gary Gaetti, among others, who came up through the minor leagues together. These Royals have a group of kids that did the same thing, with Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakis, Salvador Perez and the likes.
The ’87 Twins struggled in prior years due to playing so many youngsters, although you could tell they were progressing and getting better. The same can be said of these Royals in recent history.
The ’87 Twins and these Royals had a few veterans that helped to provide leadership for the kids. The Twins had an important veteran presence in Bert Blyleven that stabized their rotation (although everyone knows its ace was Frank Viola) and the Royals have James Shields.
The ’87 Twins only had one member of their team, Kirby Puckett, make the All Star Game that season on a roster consisting of 29 players. The current group of Royals were represented by only their catcher, Perez, and closer Greg Holland, on a team of 32 members.
However, the biggest similarity I see is in the excitement of a young team combined with a fan base long removed from any post-season magic.
Whether or not the Royals can join those Twins as World Series Champions is still up in the air, but they definitely improved their chances tonight by taking care of the Giants in game two.