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32 years ago, the Minnesota Twins clinched 1991 World Series Championship: "It was meant to be"

Twins win the 1991 World Series | WCCO 75th Anniversary
Twins win the 1991 World Series | WCCO 75th Anniversary 01:05

MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins kicked off their 15th season at Target Field with a home opener against the Cleveland Guardians Thursday night. 

Long-time broadcaster Dick Bremer threw out the ceremonial first pitch. He was a Twins broadcaster and the team's play-by-play man for 40 years.

The team surprised him by having Joe Mauer catch the first pitch. 

Fans also seemed especially optimistic about the Twins this season. 

"I think we're gonna make the playoffs again," said Connor Wedel, a fan attending Thursday's game. "Maybe win the World Series, I don't know."

Steve Holms, another fan in attendance told WCCO, "If we go out of our comfort zone we say they get to the World Series. I think realistically, no injuries, they'll get to the next round."

The swell of excitement at Target Field is palpable.

It reminds us of a game that nearly blew the roof off of the Metrodome 32 years ago. 

"It was like reading a storybook."

On Oct. 13, 1991, the Twins defeated the Atlanta Braves to win the World Series Championship in an electric four-game series. 

In 2016, WCCO spoke with members of the '91 squad to honor the 25th anniversary of their win. 

"The dome was so electric. It was a horrible place to watch baseball. It was a great place to play. And the fans, them screaming and hollering and making it so loud. I mean it was horribly loud, to where it would shake the building," recalled Kent Hrbek.

There was much anticipation around this series, in particular the pitching match-up for Game 7. 

John Smoltz took the mound for the Braves, Jack Morris took the mound for the Twins. 

But these weren't the only players who played a role in the excitement. 

If it wasn't for Kirby Puckett's show-stopping performance in Game 6...there very well could not have been a Game 7. 

"Kirby had the game of his life, in Game 6. That certainly was all about Kirby Puckett," said Twins '91 manager, Tom Kelly. 

Puckett hit an RBI triple, made an unbelievable catch that robbed the Braves of an extra-base hit and finished the game with a walk-off home run in the 11th.

"It was like reading a storybook. And you kept turning the page, and chapter to chapter or game to game. And it got better and better and better. And it really ended up with a doozy," said Kelly. 

In the end, it was Gene Larkin who's hit secured the Twins' victory but Morris is often seen as the hero of the game. 

"My dad kept looking at me during breakfast. He didn't say anything, but he kept looking at me and with this different look that I had not seen. And I finally looked at him, I go, 'What? What do you got going on?' He goes, 'Well I'm just kind of curious, I'm wondering what my son thinks about pitching one of the biggest games of his life.' And I said, 'Dad, relax, we're gonna win,'" said Morris. "I literally said that. I said, 'Relax, we're gonna win.'"

In 122 pitches, Morris pitched a total of 10 innings with no runs, two walks, and eight strikeouts. 

"You don't wanna take the uniform off. You don't wanna leave the field. The fans are obviously going nuts," recalled Larkin. "It took me two days to go to bed. Two days. I was so on a high. And then when I did crash it was a big-time crash. It was like, out, done."

Twins 2024: The next chapter 

Twins fans were blessed with a beautiful day to start their 15th season, with many fans lining up outside Target Field as early as 8:30 a.m. Thursday. 

Those early birds certainly got their worm...if their worm was seeing Twins legend Kent Hrbek walk through the gate. 

The warm weather is helping to foster warm feelings about the season, creating a fresh sense of hope. 

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