PxPixel
24 and Single: We remember the Twins' last playoff series win... that 'Everyday Eddie' almost choked away - Bring Me The News

24 and Single: We remember the Twins' last playoff series win... that 'Everyday Eddie' almost choked away

Sports producer Declan Goff reveals his latest 24 and Single column.
Author:
Publish date:
The Twins celebrate after defeating the Oakland A's in the 2002 ALDS.

The Twins celebrate after defeating the Oakland A's in the 2002 ALDS.

I've been single for over a year now and because I can't stop living in the past, I like to relive the glory days.

Currently, this year's Twins team is making serious noise for a playoff run. It would be their first appearance since 2010 – but the team has not won a playoff series since 2002. Yeah, it's been nearly 15 years since the last time Minnesota has played in the ALCS.

Fearing that I may be single for the next 15 years, I decided to down a case of Coors Banquet – by myself – and watch how good it used to be. Here's what stood out.

1. A wacky ninth inning

Both teams fought tooth and nail all game as the Twins led 2-1 heading into the ninth inning. After Dustin Mohr – my first favorite Twins player – worked a leadoff walk, A.J. Pierzynski hit a two-run home run that barely cleared the fence to give Minnesota a 4-1 lead. 

Image placeholder title

Before he became the face of the Boston Red Sox, David Ortiz started his career in Minnesota and he bopped in another run with an RBI single. Yes, Ortiz was a postseason hero for us, too. 

The Twins took a 5-1 lead to the bottom of the ninth and that's when All-Star closer Eddie Guardado made me shaky. 

Eric Chavez started the inning with a single, followed by a fielder's choice off the bat of Jermaine Dye.

One down. One on. Feeling good. 

Then David Justice ripped a double and Mark Ellis destroys a Guardado offering for a three-run home run and all of the sudden it’s a one-run game.

Guardado got Terence Long to fly out for the second out and the Twins were one out away from advancing. Naturally, "Everyday Eddie" wouldn't let fans go quietly into the night. A single by Randy Velarde put the tying run on base and the winning run at the plate, but Guardado got Ray Durham to pop out in foul territory on a great grab by Denny Hocking to win the game and series. 

It's still Minnesota's only playoff win since 1991.

2. Radke's best game ever

Brad Radke suffered through some miserable years with the Twins, so it was only fitting that he got the start in the do-or-die Game 5. He pitched a gem in Game 1 and he was just as brilliant in Game 5. The 29-year-old righty went 6.2 innings, allowing just one run on six hits while striking out four.

Only one hitter drew a three-ball count on Radke, who painted the strike zone all day like a pitching Picasso. The hurler was the highest paid player on the team, signing a four-year deal in 2000 worth $36 million. Many thought he could have gotten more money on the open market but he opted to stay in Minnesota.

He deserved to start this one and I really couldn't imagine any other player starting that day.

3. Where's our movie?

The 2002 Oakland Athletics are famous for whatever reason. In 2011, the movie Moneyball was released, starring the dreamy Brad Pitt as general manager Billy Bean. Oakland's payroll was a putrid $44 million that season, so the team took an analytical, sabermetric approach to assembling a roster of misfits to overcome the odds. 

Don't get me wrong, it's a cool story. But the Twins were their kryptonite, not only ending their magical season, but also ending Oakland's insane 22-game winning streak during the regular season. Basically, Oakland beat everyone – they had 103 wins – but they couldn't handle the Twins. 

I motion that we film a new movie staring Alan Arkin as Terry Ryan and Freddie Prinze Jr. as Brad Radke. Side note: it's terrifying how much those two look alike...

Image placeholder title

Why you should watch

The game's on YouTube but it's nearly three hours long. The first eight innings take no time at all because Radke and Mark Mulder – the starting pitcher for Oakland – were phenomenal.

Also, you can see Big Papi make a postseason moment for a team other than Boston. 

The Twins had a ton of regular season success in the 2000s, but the 2002 playoffs were the only time they made something of it.

Next Up

Related