1987 American League Championship Series

The 1987 American League Championship Series pitted the Minnesota Twins, the American League West champions, against the Detroit Tigers, the American League East champions. Minnesota won the Series four games to one, en route to winning the 1987 World Series four games to three over the St. Louis Cardinals.

1987 American League Championship Series
Team (Wins) Manager Season
Minnesota Twins (4) Tom Kelly 85–77, .525, GA: 2
Detroit Tigers (1) Sparky Anderson 98–64, .605, GA: 2
DatesOctober 7–12
MVPGary Gaetti (Minnesota)
UmpiresJoe Brinkman, Durwood Merrill, Drew Coble, Al Clark, Mike Reilly, Jim McKean
TV announcersBob Costas and Tony Kubek
Radio announcersBrent Musburger and Bill White


The Detroit Tigers finished the 1987 regular season with the best record in all of baseball, at 98–64 (.605). They won the American League East by two games in thrilling fashion over the Toronto Blue Jays, overcoming a ​3 12-game deficit with a week to go, and clinching the division on the last day of the season with a 1–0 win over the Jays. The Twins, by contrast, finished with the worst record of any of the four teams that made the playoffs, at 85–77 (.525). Although they held off the Kansas City Royals by two games to take the American League West, they were clearly seen as the underdogs against the power of the Tigers in the 1987 ALCS.

The Twins would go on to win the first of two World's Championships in the next four years. As for Detroit, after their elimination in this series, the Tigers would not see the playoffs again for 19 years, when they won the American League Pennant in 2006.


Minnesota Twins vs. Detroit Tigers

Minnesota won the series, 4–1.

Game Date Score Location Time Attendance 
1 October 7 Detroit Tigers – 5, Minnesota Twins – 8 Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome 2:46 53,269[1] 
2 October 8 Detroit Tigers – 3, Minnesota Twins – 6 Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome 2:54 55,245[2] 
3 October 10 Minnesota Twins – 6, Detroit Tigers – 7 Tiger Stadium 3:29 49,730[3] 
4 October 11 Minnesota Twins – 5, Detroit Tigers – 3 Tiger Stadium 3:24 51,939[4] 
5 October 12 Minnesota Twins – 9, Detroit Tigers – 5 Tiger Stadium 3:14 47,448[5]

Game summaries

Game 1

Wednesday, October 7, 1987, at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Detroit 0 0 1 0 0 1 1 2 0 5 10 0
Minnesota 0 1 0 0 3 0 0 4 X 8 10 0
WP: Jeff Reardon (1–0)   LP: Doyle Alexander (0–1)
Home runs:
DET: Mike Heath (1), Kirk Gibson (1)
MIN: Gary Gaetti 2 (2)

The 1987 AL playoffs opened at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, with the Tigers throwing Doyle Alexander against the Twins' Frank Viola. In the bottom of the second, the Twins opened the scoring when third baseman Gary Gaetti homered off Alexander to give Minnesota a 1–0 lead. However, Detroit answered back the very next half-inning, as catcher Mike Heath homered to center field to tie the game. The game remained tied until the bottom of the fifth, when the Twins erupted for three runs. Gaetti led off the inning with his second round-tripper of the game, and Randy Bush followed by stroking a triple to right field and coming home on a double by Tom Brunansky. Steve Lombardozzi sacrificed Brunansky to third, and he scored on a subsequent base hit by Dan Gladden to make it 4–1.

Beginning in the top half of the sixth, however, Detroit staged a comeback. Kirk Gibson hit a home run that inning, and then Heath ripped an RBI single in the seventh that scored Larry Herndon to cut Minnesota's lead down to one. In the top of the eighth, the Tigers took a one-run lead with a pair of sacrifice flies off Twins reliever Jeff Reardon that scored Gibson and Alan Trammell.

In the bottom of the eighth, however, Minnesota took the lead for good. A double by Kirby Puckett brought Gladden home to tie the game, and Don Baylor and Brunansky drove in the go-ahead runs off Willie Hernández with a single and double, respectively. A single by Johnny Grubb and a walk to Lou Whitaker was all the Tigers could muster against Reardon in the ninth, as Gibson struck out to give the Twins an 8–5 victory and a 1–0 lead in the series.

Game 2

Thursday, October 8, 1987, at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Detroit 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 3 7 1
Minnesota 0 3 0 2 1 0 0 0 X 6 6 0
WP: Bert Blyleven (1–0)   LP: Jack Morris (0–1)   Sv: Juan Berenguer (1)
Home runs:
DET: Chet Lemon (1), Lou Whitaker (1)
MIN: Kent Hrbek (1)

For Game 2, the Twins sent Bert Blyleven to the hill against Detroit's ace, Jack Morris. In the top of the second, the Tigers opened the scoring when Chet Lemon hit a two-run home run off Blyleven. In the bottom half of the inning, however, the Twins stormed back, as Gaetti doubled to right and scored on another double by Brunansky. After a walk to Greg Gagne, catcher Tim Laudner hit the third double of the inning off Morris, scoring both Brunansky and Gagne for a 3–2 Minnesota lead.

The Twins extended their lead in the fourth, as Bush singled and then stole second and third. After consecutive walks to Brunansky and Gagne, Gladden singled to left to drive in Bush and Brunansky. Kent Hrbek then added a homer in the fifth, giving Minnesota a 6–2 lead. Tigers second baseman Lou Whitaker touched Blyleven for a homer in the eighth, but the Twins hurler would allow nothing more. Former Tiger Juan Berenguer struck out the side in the ninth to hand the Twins a 6–3 victory and a 2–0 series lead.

Game 3

Saturday, October 10, 1987, at Tiger Stadium in Detroit, Michigan

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 0 0 0 2 0 2 2 0 0 6 8 1
Detroit 0 0 5 0 0 0 0 2 X 7 7 0
WP: Mike Henneman (1–0)   LP: Jeff Reardon (1–1)
Home runs:
MIN: Greg Gagne (1), Tom Brunansky (1)
DET: Pat Sheridan (1)

The Series shifted to Detroit for Game 3, with the Tigers' Walt Terrell facing the Twins' Les Straker. The two pitchers matched zeroes for the first two-and-a-half innings until the bottom of the third, when Detroit's Pat Sheridan doubled to left, moved to third on a single by Whitaker, and scored on a force out by Gibson that sent Whitaker to third. After Gibson stole second, a balk by Straker scored Whitaker, and a single by Trammell brought in Gibson. A double by Herndon then scored Trammell and Lemon to give the Tigers a 5–0 lead.

In the top of the fourth, the Twins cut Detroit's lead to 5–2 with a Gagne home run and a Bush single that scored Hrbek, and in the sixth they reduced the lead down to one with a two-run homer by Brunansky. In the top of the seventh, a two-out single by Gaetti drove in Gladden and Gagne to give the Twins a 6–5 lead and put them on the cusp of taking a stranglehold on the series.

Facing the prospect of blowing a 5–0 lead and falling behind three games to none, the Tigers rallied in the bottom of the eighth. Minnesota brought in Reardon to get a two-inning save. After a lead-off single by Larry Herndon, Reardon got Tom Brookens to pop out to Hrbek. Pat Sheridan, 1 for 6 lifetime versus Reardon, then stepped to the plate and launched the reliever's first pitch into the upper deck in right field for a two-run home run that restored Detroit's lead, 7–6. In the top of the ninth, Mike Henneman retired the Twins in order to put the Tigers back in the Series, which now stood at 2–1 for Minnesota.

Game 4

Sunday, October 11, 1987, at Tiger Stadium in Detroit, Michigan

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 0 0 1 1 1 1 0 1 0 5 7 1
Detroit 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 3 7 3
WP: Frank Viola (1–0)   LP: Frank Tanana (0–1)   Sv: Jeff Reardon (1)
Home runs:
MIN: Kirby Puckett (1), Greg Gagne (2)
DET: None

The fourth game of the series matched Viola against Tiger left-hander Frank Tanana, who had thrown a 1–0 complete-game shutout over the Toronto Blue Jays on the final day of the regular season to punch Detroit's playoff ticket.

In the bottom of the first, the Tigers gave Tanana a 1–0 lead when Lou Whitaker walked to lead off the inning and eventually scored on a throwing error by Twins shortstop Greg Gagne. However, in the top of the third, Kirby Puckett homered off Tanana to tie the game, then Gagne added a homer in the top of the fourth to give Minnesota a 2–1 lead. The Twins made it a 3–1 lead in the fifth when Puckett came home on a Gary Gaetti sacrifice fly, but the Tigers came to within a run in the bottom of the fifth when an infield hit by Kirk Gibson scored Whitaker.

In the top of the sixth, Gagne doubled, moved to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a base hit by pinch-hitter Gene Larkin to give Minnesota a 4–2 advantage. In the bottom half of the inning, the Tigers again clawed to within a run when pinch-hitter Dave Bergman followed up singles by Chet Lemon and Darrell Evans with a single of his own, scoring Lemon and moving Evans to second. After Mike Heath sacrificed Evans to third and Bergman to second, Twins manager Tom Kelly pulled Keith Atherton in favour of Juan Berenguer. However, the Tiger rally was squelched when catcher Tim Laudner picked a stunned Evans off third and Berenguer induced a flyout from Jim Morrison to end the inning.

In the eighth, the Twins restored their two-run lead when Laudner reached on an error by Evans (who was playing third base, as Bergman had stayed in the game as the first baseman) and came home to score on a single by Steve Lombardozzi. In the ninth, Reardon managed to preserve a 5–3 Twins win, putting them one victory away from the pennant.

Game 5

Monday, October 12, 1987, at Tiger Stadium in Detroit, Michigan

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota 0 4 0 0 0 0 1 1 3 9 15 1
Detroit 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 1 1 5 9 1
WP: Bert Blyleven (2–0)   LP: Doyle Alexander (0–2)   Sv: Jeff Reardon (2)
Home runs:
MIN: Tom Brunansky (2)
DET: Matt Nokes (1), Chet Lemon (2)

In what would turn out to be the last postseason game ever played at Tiger Stadium, the Twins would send Blyleven to the mound to face the Tigers' Doyle Alexander.

In the top of the second, Minnesota drew first blood when Tom Brunansky doubled home Gary Gaetti and Randy Bush, but was thrown out trying to stretch his hit into a triple. Dan Gladden and Kirby Puckett added RBI base hits of their own to give the Twins a 4–0 lead, and Tigers manager Sparky Anderson replaced Alexander with Eric King.

As they had several times during the series, Detroit cut the Twins' lead down to one run in the bottom of the fourth, when Kirk Gibson scored on an Alan Trammell single and Matt Nokes followed with a two-run homer that scored Trammell. In the top of the seventh, however, the Twins restored their two-run lead when Kent Hrbek singled, moved to second when Gaetti was hit by a pitch, took third on a wild pitch by King, and plated on a sacrifice fly by Bush.

In the eighth, Tiger reliever Mike Henneman, who replaced King in the seventh, allowed a double to Gladden and a walk to Gagne. Puckett then grounded to Henneman, who attempted to initiate a double play. However, first baseman Darrell Evans misplayed the ball for his second error of the series, allowing Gladden to score and make it a 6–3 Minnesota lead. Although Chet Lemon homered for Detroit in the bottom half of the inning to make it 6–4, the Twins decisively stormed ahead in the top of the ninth. Brunansky hit his second home run of the postseason, and Gladden and Gagne followed with consecutive RBI doubles off Henneman and Jeff Robinson.

The Twins sent Reardon, who entered the game in the bottom of the eighth, to the hill to close out the series in the bottom of the ninth. Although an RBI single by Gibson scored Jim Morrison, the Minnesota stopper allowed nothing more, as Matt Nokes grounded out to Reardon to end a 9–5 Twins victory and clinch the franchise's first World Series berth since 1965.

Composite box

1987 ALCS (4–1): Minnesota Twins over Detroit Tigers

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota Twins 0 8 1 5 5 3 3 6 3 34 46 3
Detroit Tigers 1 2 6 3 1 2 1 6 1 23 40 5
Total attendance: 257,631   Average attendance: 51,526


  1. ^ "1987 ALCS Game 1 - Detroit Tigers vs. Minnesota Twins". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  2. ^ "1987 ALCS Game 2 - Detroit Tigers vs. Minnesota Twins". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  3. ^ "1987 ALCS Game 3 - Minnesota Twins vs. Detroit Tigers". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  4. ^ "1987 ALCS Game 4 - Minnesota Twins vs. Detroit Tigers". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  5. ^ "1987 ALCS Game 5 - Minnesota Twins vs. Detroit Tigers". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.

External links

1987 Detroit Tigers season

The 1987 Detroit Tigers season saw the Tigers make a startling late-season comeback to win the American League Eastern Division on the season's final day. The Tigers finished with a Major League-best record of 98-64, two games ahead of the Toronto Blue Jays. Detroit lost the American League Championship Series to the Minnesota Twins in 5 games.

This would be the last time the Tigers made the postseason until 2006.

1987 Minnesota Twins season

The 1987 Minnesota Twins won the World Series for the first time since moving from Washington in 1961, marking the second time that the franchise had won the World Series and the first time they won in Minnesota. (The Washington Senators had won it in 1924.) Manager Tom Kelly managed the rare feat of winning the World Series in his first full season as manager.

Cheers (season 6)

The sixth season of Cheers is an American television situation comedy set in a Boston bar called "Cheers". It originally aired on NBC in the United States between September 24, 1987 and May 7, 1988. The show was created by director James Burrows and writers Glen and Les Charles under their production company Charles Burrows Charles Productions, in association with Paramount Television. This season features the debut of Kirstie Alley as Rebecca Howe.

Darrell Evans

Darrell Wayne Evans (born May 26, 1947) is an American baseball player, coach and manager.

Evans played 21 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a third baseman (1,442 games), first baseman (856 games), and designated hitter (253 games) for the Atlanta Braves (1969–1976, 1989), San Francisco Giants (1976–1983) and Detroit Tigers (1984–1988). He won a World Series championship with the Tigers in 1984, led MLB in home runs in 1985, in runs created in 1973, and in walks in 1973 and 1974.

He was the 22nd player in MLB history to hit 400 home runs, the first to hit 40 home runs in both the National and American Leagues, and the second player to hit at least 100 home runs with three different teams. His 1,605 walks ranked eighth in MLB history at the time of his retirement and remains 12th most in MLB history. His skill in drawing walks contributed to a .361 career on-base percentage despite a .248 career batting average. He was twice named to the National League All-Star team, in 1973 as a third baseman and in 1983 as a first baseman. Baseball historian Bill James rated Evans as "the most underrated player in baseball history."Prior to his career in MLB, Evans attended Pasadena City College where he led both the basketball and baseball teams to California junior college championships. After retiring as a player, Evans served as a manager and coach for various minor league baseball teams.

Detroit Tigers

The Detroit Tigers are an American professional baseball team based in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member of the American League (AL) Central division. One of the AL's eight charter franchises, the club was founded in Detroit as a member of the minor league Western League in 1894 and is the only Western League team still in its original city. They are also the oldest continuous one name, one city franchise in the AL. The Tigers have won four World Series championships (1935, 1945, 1968, and 1984), 11 AL pennants (1907, 1908, 1909, 1934, 1935, 1940, 1945, 1968, 1984, 2006, 2012), and four AL Central division championships (2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014). The Tigers also won division titles in 1972, 1984, and 1987 as a member of the AL East. The team currently plays its home games at Comerica Park in Downtown Detroit.

The Tigers constructed Bennett Park at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Trumbull Avenue in Corktown (just west of Downtown Detroit) and began playing there in 1896. In 1912, the team moved into Navin Field, which was built on the same location. It was expanded in 1938 and renamed Briggs Stadium. It was renamed Tiger Stadium in 1961 and the Tigers played there until moving to Comerica Park in 2000.

From 1901 to 2018, the Tigers' overall win–loss record is 9,299–9,077 (a winning percentage of 0.506).

Don Sutton

Donald Howard Sutton (born April 2, 1945) is an American former professional baseball player. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a right-handed pitcher. He played for 23 total major league seasons as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Astros, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland Athletics, and California Angels. He won a total of 324 games, 58 of them shutouts and five of them one-hitters, and he is seventh on baseball's all-time strikeout list with 3,574.

Sutton was born in Clio, Alabama. He attended high school and community college in Florida before entering professional baseball. After a year in the minor leagues, Sutton joined the Dodgers. Beginning in 1966, he was in the team's starting pitching rotation with Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale and Claude Osteen. Sixteen of Sutton's 23 MLB seasons were spent with the Dodgers. He registered only one 20-win season, but he earned double-digit wins in almost all of his seasons.

Sutton entered broadcasting after his retirement as a player. He has worked in this capacity for several teams, the majority being with the Atlanta Braves. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998.

Frank Viola

Frank John Viola Jr. (born April 19, 1960) is an American former starting pitcher in Major League Baseball who played for the Minnesota Twins (1982–1989), New York Mets (1989–1991), Boston Red Sox (1992–1994), Cincinnati Reds (1995), and Toronto Blue Jays (1996). A three-time All-Star, he was named World Series MVP with the Twins in 1987 and won the AL Cy Young Award in 1988. Long-time Tigers manager Sparky Anderson said of Viola, "...He's an artist; I love watching him work..." He is the pitching coach of the High Point Rockers.

He batted and threw left-handed, and he was nicknamed "Sweet Music" – a nickname he picked up after a Minnesota sports writer declared that when Viola pitched, there was "Sweet Music" in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. The nickname was a play on the fact that his last name is also a name of a musical instrument, although pronounced differently. A fan began displaying a banner bearing the phrase in the outfield's upper deck whenever Viola pitched. Twins fans considered the banner to be a good luck charm. The banner is now the property of the Minnesota Historical Society. It was again displayed when Viola was inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame. Frank was honored as a member of the Twins' "All Dome" team in 2009.

History of the Detroit Tigers

The history of the Detroit Tigers, a professional baseball franchise based in Detroit, Michigan, dates back to 1894 when they were a member of the minor league Western League. Becoming a charter member of the American League in 1901, they are the oldest continuous one name, one city franchise in the league.

Kirk Gibson

Kirk Harold Gibson (nicknamed "Gibby") (born May 28, 1957) is an American former professional baseball player and manager. He is currently a color commentator for the Detroit Tigers on Fox Sports Detroit and a special assistant for the Tigers. As a player, Gibson was an outfielder who batted and threw left-handed. He spent most of his career with the Detroit Tigers but also played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Kansas City Royals, and Pittsburgh Pirates.

A fierce competitor, Gibson is perhaps best known for two dramatic home runs in the World Series, each of them off a relief pitcher who would end up in the Baseball Hall of Fame. With the Tigers, he clinched the 1984 World Series with a three-run homer off Goose Gossage, who had refused to walk him with a base open. While with the Dodgers, Gibson was named the National League MVP in 1988. In game 1 of the 1988 World Series, Gibson faced heralded closer Dennis Eckersley and hit a pinch-hit walk-off home run—often described as one of the most exciting moments in World Series history. He was named to the All-Star team twice, in 1985 and 1988, but declined the invitation both times. He announced his retirement from baseball in August 1995.

Following his retirement as a player, he spent five seasons as a television analyst in Detroit and then became a coach for the Tigers in 2003. He became the Diamondbacks' bench coach in 2007 and was promoted to interim manager in 2010 following the mid-season dismissal of A. J. Hinch. On October 4, 2010, the Diamondbacks removed the "interim" label, naming Gibson their manager for the 2011 season. Gibson served as the Diamondbacks' manager until September 26, 2014.

Larry Herndon

Larry Darnell Herndon (born November 3, 1953) is a former Major League Baseball outfielder for the St. Louis Cardinals (1974), San Francisco Giants (1976–1981), and Detroit Tigers (1982–1988). Currently, Herndon serves as a coach for the Lakeland Flying Tigers.

He won the 1981 Willie Mac Award for his spirit and leadership.

Matt Nokes

Matthew Dodge Nokes (born October 31, 1963) is an American former professional baseball catcher and designated hitter. He played eleven seasons in Major League Baseball for the San Francisco Giants (1985), the Detroit Tigers (1986–1990), New York Yankees (1990–1994), the Baltimore Orioles, and the Colorado Rockies (1995). He batted left-handed and threw right-handed. He also had experience at first base, third base, and left and right fields.

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